Although we discussed the things I learned about my Seattle research ranging from cost of living to cultural things, this episode is dedicated to things I picked up on from the changes in cost of living to expect and housing differences. Especially with me being a real estate nerd, I definitely analyzed what I learned and differences I saw in the housing market (rentals and sales).
Renting vs. Owning in Seattle
I didn’t mention this in my podcast, but when Nick and I decided on Seattle, we also decided on renting versus owning in Seattle. Not knowing if we’d like the area or his job, it was best to stay flexible. Also, the process to purchase a home anywhere in the country is a long and painful one right now. Although the market is cooling down, we’d rather go for a rental home that we could secure faster. The goal was to find a nice townhome or single family home with a yard for our puppy! But things took a turn…
Homes in the Seattle Area
We also looked up quite a few homes just to see what we were working with! Homes under $500,000 were so small and outdated. We were appalled honestly, especially compared to the DFW. Surprised, not so much.
As far as rental homes, there were a few other turn offs for us but they may not be so bad for you! So keep an open mind!
- Rental homes (single family and townhomes) are easily over $3,000/month for rent
- Landlords/property managers are more than happy to rent “sight unseen” but this can be a problem for the future tenant
- Typical signing fees included first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit equal to a month’s rent
Searching for an apartment in Seattle
Searching for an apartment was almost as difficult when it came to our wishlist. Also, having a dog poses a small problem when finding an appropriate home.
Again, many apartment homes were smaller than we liked and more expensive than what we anticipated. But with some persistence, we found a nice place, in a great location, for a reasonable price (given the area).
Some of the other things we weren’t prepared for like consistent low ceilings, poor natural lighting, limited ceiling lighting, and no central A/C in apartment units. We’ve managed to navigate these obstacles as well. Unfortunately, we still don’t have central A/C, but apparently portable A/Cs are a thing!
Advice for your home search in Seattle
Based on what we experienced with our home search and cost of living, this is what I’d suggest to anyone else considering a move to Seattle:
- Use Nerd Wallet’s cost of living calculator to calculate the difference from where you live now
- There may not be a noticeable difference, but automatically add/subtract a set percentage to your budget
- Identify where you do not want to compromise in your home search and what you can sacrifice