10 Apartment Hunting Tips to Find the Perfect Seattle Apartment this Summer

Whether you’re searching for a Wallingford apartment, a cozy spot in Ballard, or a hip pad in Capitol Hill, these tips are sure to help!

Apartment hunting…Woof! If you’re currently hunting for apartments in Seattle, Washington then you know how tedious and stressful it can be. Even though many new apartment communities continue to pop up across town, it can still be really tough to find the right spot for you. What’s worse is that whenever you find a good place, there always seems to be about ten others ahead of you.

But don’t worry, Smith and Burns has you covered. Not only do we have a variety of floor plans suitable for any lifestyle neatly nested in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, but more than that, we truly want you to experience the best of this city by finding the apartment of your dreams, and we can help!

Here’re ten quick tips to help you find the perfect Seattle apartment this summer:

1. Prioritize

While the goal is to land your dream apartment, there’s little doubt that you’re going to have to make some compromises. When you’re hunting for Seattle apartments, a quick and easy tip is to just make a breakdown of your wants, needs, and deal breakers. These categories are pretty straightforward; wants could be things like location and nearby activities; needs could be things like square footage, number of bedrooms, monthly costs, and availability of pets; and deal breakers could be an overly long commute time, budget restrictions, noise, lack of parking, etc. Making a quick list an expressway of narrowing your search, which brings us to our next tip!

2. Narrow your focus

Obviously, you can’t live everywhere. Likewise, you can’t search everywhere either. Most people say, “I wanna live in Seattle,” and start searching for places across the entire city. This ‘cast-a-wide-net’ approach is never the way to go; it takes way too long, and once you finally find a suitable place, you’re going to have do a breakdown of the area to see if that suits you as well. Do yourself a favor and narrow the focus of your search. Search for Wallingford apartments, or Ballard apartments, for example. Get your priorities in line, choose a couple neighborhoods that you like, and go from there (we hear Wallingford is really nice). It’ll save you time and energy and you’re more likely to find that one real special spot that you’d otherwise miss.

3. Budget

This one goes without saying and should already be included on your list of priorities. Minding your apartment budget is crucial because, obviously, you can’t afford to live just anywhere. Additionally, much of your wants and needs surrounding your apartment hunt will be dependent on your monthly budget. Pro tip: remember to consider utility costs, security deposits, cleaning fees, pet deposits, and any other fees you may encounter. You may find a great spot, but if you fail to consider these aspects of your budget, you may suddenly find that it’s outside your capabilities.

4. General rule: Commute before comfort

Again, this tip should have already been included in your list of priorities, but it’s worth mentioning because of how lax some renters initially are over lengthy commute times. You may think an hour plus commute time is fine if it means you have a nice, cushy apartment to come back to. But trust us, it is not worth it. No matter how comfortable your pad is, if you’re commuting an hour each way to and from work, there’s little doubt that you’ll come to resent your apartment or your job, and that’s never a good place to be. Make sure a short commute time is high on your list of priorities, or else both your home and work life are sure to suffer. Heads up: Smith and Burns is conveniently located in Wallingford, which provides easy access I-5 and numerous bus lines throughout town.

5. Think Seasonally

Searching for an apartment in Seattle during the Summer can be a double-edged sword. Sure, you get to see the apartment at a time when there’s optimal natural light, which is nice, but don’t let that distract you from the future. Seattle winter is coming! It’s not as though your apartment will change with the season, but the amount of natural light and rain it receives certainly will. It’s unlikely these are deal breakers if you’re considering an apartment in Seattle, but it’s still worth considering.  Ask the property manager about this!

6. Don’t be afraid to get a little nosy

Curiosity killed the cat, but it sure won’t kill you. In fact, when it comes to finding a Seattle apartment, it may save your life. What do we mean by getting nosy? All we mean is that it pays to be inquisitive. Ask as many questions of the property manager that your brain can muster. Ask about utilities, other tenants, previous tenants, seasonal changes, your rental agreement, everything. If you get a chance, try and talk to current tenants of the building to get a feel for their experience there. They may just reveal things the property manager choicely left out.

7. Refine your search methods

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of searching for an apartment in Seattle: the tools you use to search! While many of you internet hounds out there will likely clamor to Craigslist, Padmapper or Trulia (no disrespect, these are great, useful apartment hunting tools), the best tool you could possibly utilize isn’t a tool at all; it’s your own social network! Seriously, you’re much more likely to have luck finding a place if you put the word out to your friends, family, and colleagues. They may know a place, if not, they may be able to refer you to someone who can help like an agent or a property manager. If this doesn’t work out, there’s always internet listings, but try and contact a potential place via individuals first.

8. Have no fear of the ones that come to you

You may be so locked into apartment hunting mode that you may ignore, or be overly wary, of apartment communities that market to you. This way of thinking is plainly ridiculous. Fantastic apartment living, like Smith and Burns, for example, are dying to fill their units with trustworthy tenants in the same way that you’re looking to find a great place. Don’t ignore ads or listings that may pop up simply because you didn’t find it yourself. Take every opportunity that presents itself. In fact, you may find listings that advertise to you are more worthwhile.

9. Do your homework

What do we mean when we say do your homework?  Simply put, make sure all your bases are covered, even the tiniest of bases.  Get your lease in writing. Make sure to measure each room and your furniture before you move it in.  Know the buildings policies and be familiar with your responsibilities outlined in your rental agreement. Make sure you document your move-in and document any existing damages, take pictures. Do your homework!

10. Be ready

Many apartments are going to require you to be ready to jump on the deal, or else the next available tenant could wind up taking your spot. It’s a good idea to bring your list of references and your checkbook with you whenever going to view an apartment or meet with a property manager. You never know when they’ll say “it’s available now if you’re ready” that may be your best shot. Make sure you’ve got the upfront payments you’ll be required to make (first and last month’s rent, security deposit, etc) so you’re ready to go!

Smith and Burns is dedicated to providing our residents with the best possible experience of life in Seattle. From our Wallingford location to our interior design,  amenity spaces, and floor plans, everything at Smith and Burns is carefully crafted with thoughtful living in mind. Not only do we want to help you find the Seattle apartment you’ve been looking for, we’re beyond confident that that apartment already exists here at Smith and Burns.

If you’re dreading apartment hunting in Seattle this summer, just sign up for pre-leasing at Smith and Burns and let the worries melt away.

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