Rent Guru

Seattle's Premiere Rental Broker

Want to rent a home or apartment in Seattle? I am here to help you relocate. 

I am a licensed real estate broker with Team Diva Real Estate and Coldwell Banker Bain. I'm here to help you find the best place for rent possible. 

 

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Top 5 Tips For Renters Going Into 2015

Hey Everyone, 

It's January. For some of us, this means it's time for a change. That change might be a new apartment or house for rent. Here are my top five tips for renters this year. 

 

Happy New Year from Dexter Ave N! 

Happy New Year from Dexter Ave N! 

1. Your Landlord is Your Best Ally

Everyone loves to hate on their landlord. You have to pay them all sorts of money, and for what? An apartment you don't really like where something always seems to be broken. 

GET OUT OF THIS MINDSET IMMEDIATELY 

Your landlord can be your best asset when you are living in an apartment. Most often, the landlord is an employee of the owner. They may collect the money, but it all goes to the owner. Often repairs are not governed by the landlord but the owner. Your landlord knows exactly how much an apartment has to rent for in order for the owner to be happy. If they are good at their job, they also know when new units are going to be available in your building, when units are opening in neighboring buildings and how much they will cost. If they work for a larger property management company, they will have the inside track on new, availabilities in your PM company's holdings as well as how to have repairs done quicker than expected.

Landlords network way more often than you think. They also care about you more than you think. A building is like a family, your landlord wants to be your friend. Don't create situations where they have to confront you and send them a card every now an then. I know it can be scary to talk to people, but get over it. Buddy up to your landlord, take 'em out for a drink. You won't regret it.  

2. If You Don't Have to Move, Don't Move

How bad is your place, really? Often times, when I'm helping a renter move across town, they end up settling for a place that only meets 70% of their search criteria. 70%, people! I know this is an anecdotal, but here is my point: If you aren't being kicked out or price-jacked, your current place may not be as bad as you think. 

3. Search Early, Search Often

It's possible to start searching too early. Six months is WAY to early to start looking for a place. If you are on a month to month lease, and you're think about maybe moving in a couple of months, bookmark some apartment searching websites and check them once a week. The great deal you are looking for might be available now. If it's not, starting a casual search early will help you know a good deal when you see it. You might have to adjust your budget or location in order to get that view apartment with hardwoods and a washer/dryer combo. It's better to find out now than to wait until you've given your 20 days notice. 

4. Apartment Hunt = Interview

This is probably old news but it's still headline news. You should really treat your apartment hunt like a job interview. There are going to be multiple people vying for the space you want. Don't look at this as a burden, look it as a challenge. Here are ways you can make sure you're ready. 

·      Prepare all your data before you show up. Know the neighborhood. Google Maps can get you pretty far in this area. Figure out the great places to eat, where the library is, as well as how many coffee shops are on your commute to work. Looking this up ahead of time will allow you to make an informed opinion on the spot. 

·      Appearance is important. Landlords are judging you the moment you say "hello." Because of equal opportunity housing laws (Know Your Rights) they can't keep you from applying. They can't even keep from renting to you if you meet all the criteria, but they will take you more seriously if you put some thought into your attire. Throw on some buttons and comb your hair, it's not that hard, and you will stand out above 90% of the competition. Viewing apartments is not a stroll through the farmer’s market; it's an interview for your new home. Treat it as such. 

5. Don't Read The News 

I contemplated starting with this point. It's more important that you would think at first glance. Take it from someone who reads (almost) every news article regarding renting in the Northwest, no article will tell you where you are going to live next. Some, like this one, will give you actual tips that you can use. Most will tell you that the market is super hot and way to expensive or that rents are going up 130%. You already know that it's an expensive/hot market. Not every apartment is going up 130%. If you dwell on this negative thinking, you won't be happy in any apartment you choose. Stay positive, your unicorn dream apartment may not really exist but with a positive attitude, you'll find a Clydesdale apartment that you can put a party hat on. 

5a. If All Else Fails, Hire Rent Guru (Shameless Plug)

I'm a licensed Washington State Realtor here to help you with your search. 

 Happy Hunting!

-Rp 

 

Back to School Renter's Checklist

Hey Internet,

School is starting up again. Welcome back! So, you’ve decided to not live in the dorms this year – you’re gonna find a place off campus. Congrats! I commend you. You thought getting into your program was rough...it’s gonna be a little stressful, but as with online dating, if you give it some time and have an open mind, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Photo by  Mike Mozart

Photo by Mike Mozart

 

Here are some tips that helped me find a place for college. Some of them may seem like no-brainers, but it’s good to review:

Step one: budget.

Whether you're paying with student loans, from Mom and Dad’s pocket, or with a day job, it’s important to know how much you can afford to spend each month on an apartment. Make sure to include parking, utilities, and move-in fees in your budget. Don't forget to factor in food (beer) and other personal bills you might have, such as credit cards. Most places will ask for first month, last month, and deposit upon moving in. This amount of money can be overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to buy books and a new zip-up hoodie so you can fit in. Oftentimes, you can work with the property manager or landlord to pay the last month’s rent over time. That said, I wouldn’t bring this up until your background check has gone through and you’ve been accepted.

Step Two: study up on the market.

Now that you know how much you want to spend, it’s important to have a realistic idea of what you can get for your money. Apartment prices are all over the place without much structure. Sure, everyone wants hardwood floors, a Space Needle view and stainless appliances. Be honest with yourself: are you going to spend that much time in your place? You’re a student on the go; focus on what is most important to you.

Step Three: looking for houses.

Search every website you can. Watch out for scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Go to every opening you can. You might not apply to all of them, but you should see as much as you can. Pictures rarely do a space justice. How will you know you’re getting a good deal if you haven’t seen anything else? You’ll know the right one when you see it. The first few open houses will feel like a mad house. Once you get the feel, you’ll be able to navigate your way like a seasoned boat captain in port.

Step Four: look smart.

I’m not saying intelligence-wise. Dress like you’re important. Treat this as if it were a job interview. You don’t need to wear a tie, but make sure you’re well dressed and showered. Make the person showing the apartment feel like this is the most important appointment you have today.

Step Five: be on time.

This really means: BE EARLY. If it’s a one-on-one showing, be at least 5 minutes early. If it’s an open house, be no less than fifteen minutes early. Maybe more. This may seem ridiculous, but you would be surprised by how many apartments are rented right before the listed open house time. I’m sure you have some summer reading to finish up. Bring your book and a snack. You’ll be ahead of the pack.

Step Six: have all of your info ready.

You’re going to have to fill out an application, and almost every application is going to ask where you’ve worked and lived over the past three years. You'll need your social security or green card number. You might need to provide banking information. It’s also going to ask for contact info of your past employers and landlords, and you might want to consider having these people write you a reference letter stating what a great employee/tenant you were – it goes a long way. Make a bunch of copies. Flaunt your awesomeness. You might want to consider applying to more than one apartment. This way, you’ll have choices. It will cost you a little money, but it’s good insurance that you won’t be apartmentless.

Step Seven: ask the right questions.

Asking questions about the landlord is important. Informed renters are better renters. It makes you look like you care. “Where are you from?” "Do you live nearby?” “How did you get into owning/managing apartments/houses?” are all good places to start. Make sure you ask about utilities and parking, even if you don’t have a car. NEVER ask questions that will put doubt in the landlord’s mind, (e.g., “Where will my beer pong table fit?” "Is this wired for a second refrigerator?”). Don’t do it. If it’s that important (it’s not), make friends with someone in the electrical engineering program at your school.

If you are renting with roommates, make sure everyone is following these steps. Your whole team should be there, freshly pressed and ready to rock. You want to look like the simplest, most easy-going option for the landlord. It will make the difference between renting an apartment and being second place.

There are different types of rental options. Which of these sounds like the best fit for 

you?

Living alone - This could be in a one-bedroom or studio situation. Studios and one-bedrooms are readily available throughout town. These are the bulk of the listings you will find. Consider whether your budget allows for this.

Room share - If your budget won’t afford living alone, you can look into living with others. People will often post a room for rent within their apartment or house. They will often already have a lease, and you will sublease from them. These tend to be better for short-term renting, but some people find this fruitful for many years. Another room share option is through a company like Apodments or Footprint. They offer single rooms that share a common kitchen. Another added benefit is these rooms are often furnished.

Renting with friends – This could be a two-bedroom apartment or a multi-bedroom house. This is sometimes less expensive than renting alone. The nice thing about renting with friends is that you automatically have someone else to help out with housework.

No matter what style of rental you pick, if you use these tips, you will instantly be moved to the top of the heap.

Do you have any tips or tricks to effectively rent here in Seattle? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Feel free to contact Rent-Guru any time via Phone, Text, Email, or Social Media

Coldwell Banker Bain Lake Union, Seattle WA

Coldwell Banker Bain Lake Union, Seattle WA

This is my real estate team. 

This is my real estate team. 

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