Is there a go-to website for apartment-hunters in Seattle?
November 11, 2008 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Is there a go-to website for apartment hunters in Seattle?

I've looked on, The Stranger,, and several management companies' sites. All are showing very sparse results for in-city 1BRs under $1000. Am I being unrealistic in thinking I should be able to find a place in, say, Ballard or another commuter-friendly neighborhood within the city limits for 1K or less? Even when I expand my search parameters to under $1200, I am only finding a handful of available units.

I'm priced out of my current neighborhood, Capitol Hill, by ongoing yuppification, and I'm afraid I'm going to end up in Lynnwood or something unless I sell a kidney to make rent. I just can't believe there's less than a dozen vacancies in-city that meet my criteria; I must be looking in the wrong places. Help, please! My dad is severely diabetic and I can easily envision a future where he needs a kidney, so I am extra-reluctant to part with one.
posted by cirocco to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 11:05 AM on November 11, 2008

I don't live in Seattle - but there are pages of 1 bedroom apartment listings under 1000 posted just today on craigslist. Isn't that how everyone finds apartments now? There is even a one bedroom in capitol hill for $825...
posted by Wolfie at 11:06 AM on November 11, 2008

My daughter pays $750 for a small, older but nice studio 2 blocks from Greenlake...also a great commute and a fun setting. She found it, as mentioned above, on Craigslist. She plans to move to a larger place in the same area soon and says she'll be able to find a one-bedroom for $1000 or less, again on CL. Good luck!
posted by mumstheword at 11:14 AM on November 11, 2008

If you're looking for lower-priced digs, i would recommend the old fashioned "walk around the neighborhood you want to live in and look for for rent signs". every great apartment i found there happened like that.

ballard is a happening neighborhood. this isn't 1995. you may need to revise your opinion of where you'd be willing to live.
posted by micawber at 11:16 AM on November 11, 2008

Scroll around, there are a ton of apartments in Seattle limits in your price range
posted by CAnneDC at 11:49 AM on November 11, 2008

Craigslist is less than ideal--people post in the Seattle subsite with listings that are like two hours out of the city, and the primitive UI and nonstandardizing headings make it hard to narrow down what I'm looking for. I've got their apartments page loaded in another window, and it's saturated with places like Kenmore, Puyallup, Mukilteo, and Cle Ellum. I don't have a car. I can't live in Mukilteo!

micawber, I guess it's a by-product of living in the PNW since the eighties, but I still just can't think of Ballard as "happening" no matter how many condos they build off Market. I was in the Nordic Heritage Museum last week and they had a flier up for a lutefisk and meatball dinner. That's emblematic of how I think of the neighborhood, but you're right that my concept's, er, dated. Much like myself.

Thanks, all!
posted by cirocco at 12:14 PM on November 11, 2008

Oh, durr, Craigslist has tabs now so that you can immediately drill down to in-city listings. I missed that at first glance. I'm going to flagellate myself now with a damp noodle.
posted by cirocco at 12:18 PM on November 11, 2008

I just signed a lease on a condo Nov 1st, and struggled with the same problems with my search. So a couple thoughts.

- Use craigslist with an RSS reader. With the in-city listings, do a search (or couple) and down at the bottom of the page will be a link to a RSS feed with those search terms. I had 4 different searches saved as feeds with various price ranges and search term incantations. Found my condo through there.
- is also good, so I'll second that suggestion.
- is a wonderful resource is you aren't intimately familiar with certain neighborhoods. I kinda knew I wanted to live in an area like Queen Anne or Capitol Hill, but without walkscore, I would have no idea if the walk to the grocery store is 20 minutes or 5.
- I did get a few good leads through SeattleRentals, but their search is suspect.
- I didn't have much luck through nwsource or the strangers.

In the end, I really think you need to adjust your expectations. My original budget needed growing by $200 in order to find what I wanted in a neighborhood I liked. I'm not sure all the amenities and creature-comforts you're looking for, but a full 1BR for under $1000 anywhere near downtown is going to be a dump. Studios I looked at in good-repair were $1100 to $1300. The reality of record low vacancies (and the fact that Seattle is an expensive place to live) means that rent won't be cheap unless you're willing to live in suburbs or with roommates.

Good luck!
posted by whycurious at 12:32 PM on November 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

I found plenty of places for less than $1200 in Fremont using Craigslist. Of course, they were either places I wouldn't want to live in or were snapped up right away by someone else, but those are always the breaks in real estate.
posted by grouse at 3:23 PM on November 11, 2008

as a seattle native for 20 years and someone who's lived in or near the capitol hill area for 7 of those, my advice would be the opposite of the advice that i'd give most people in other areas.

i know it's unthinkable and i wouldn't say this for pretty much anything else... but when it comes to an apartment in that neighborhood, stop looking online.

capitol hill is a sweet neighborhood and everyone wants to live in it. any apartment that gets posted online that's a good deal and a nice place is snatched up rapidly. if you go to an open house that was listed on craigslist, expect to find 25 hipsters already there when you arrive with their rental resumes in hand and better credit than you have. however, a surprising number of good apartments don't even bother to post online. they know that if they put up a paper sign with a phone number and a rent price they'll get enough calls from that alone.

so pick the part of the hill where you want to live, grab a coffee from vivace, and go walk around that area collecting phone numbers. write them down or call them immediately from your cellphone. make sure you keep a note about which building it was 'cause they'll rarely tell you when they call and it gets confusing.

i'd also suggest that you consider the central district, where i live now. i currently live in a huge old house with some roommates on 21st and pay $400/month in rent. it's a ten minute walk to 15th, a 15 minute walk to broadway, or faster if you bike. i'm walking distance from lots of cool cafes, restaurants, etc. and can still hang out anywhere on capitol hill and walk home.
posted by groovinkim at 12:59 PM on November 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, man, I should have seen this post sooner but then, what do I know about Ask MetaFilter ?

Well, here's the deal: I manage a nice little apartment complex just a couple blocks north of the Broadway shopping district on Capitol Hill. It's one row and two courtyards of three fourplexe apartment buildings that look like Army base housing--because that's what they once were back in the days of World War II. But whether they were for returning GI's going to college on the GI Bill or some kind of housing related to Boeing, I know not.

Whatever the original intent, they were designed for junior officers with start up families, from the look of it. All of them fit the same floorplan of one bedroom apartments with hardwood oak floors and tons of storage in the form of cabinets and closets. The courtyards have an old, old cherry tree each--which are quite pretty when they bloom in the spring.

And they come with central heating, rent for under $1K and come with yours truly as landlord. And a hummingbird sanctuary and night scented gardens in season, thanks to your humble servant. You can't beat that.

Well, my info's on tmy user page--so drop me a line soonest. We have one unit open right now and a couple turning over in the next month or two. That almost never happens here--these places disappear within two days of posting on cragislist. But, oh, the marathon that is, with the phones ringing off the hook and the emails flooding in within two minutes of posting there.

Which is why I mention it here, firstly... I figure the membership here makes for great chances at renting to a better than your average bear tenant. Or so I hope. So drop me a line.
posted by y2karl at 3:30 PM on November 25, 2008 [6 favorites]

Update for which you've all been waiting with bated breath:

Using groovinkim's "walk around, look for signs, call managers" method, I got myself into a nice little studio on Cap Hill for under $900. I'm moving in tomorrow, so I'm writing from a spookily empty room packed to the rafters in cardboard boxes. The new unit is "cozy," and you know what that means (411 square feet, galley kitchen with all the amenities of a log cabin), but there's on-site management and the building is quaint as all hell, dating from the early 1920s.

Y2karl's complex made my short list, too--unique postwar housing like nothing else I've seen in the city, complete with ever-rarer green space. Ultimately I decided I didn't want a ground-floor unit, which was all the good man had available when I dropped in on Thanksgiving. I highly recommend getting the nickel tour from Mr. K to anyone looking for a place, though!
posted by cirocco at 8:53 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

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