Can I get an apartment in Seattle if I'm in Houston within three months?
April 29, 2010 2:02 PM   Subscribe

SeattleFilter: How quickly can I reasonably expect to find an apartment and move to Seattle in July/August? (details inside!)

I got into Seattle Law for 2010, and I'm debating attending pretty heavily. The biggest obstacle is that I'm currently in Houston, TX, and would need to move in a big hurry, preferably late July, but as late as early August.

I'd want to move into Capitol Hill at/around $1k/mo. I don't care how big the place is, really, cos I'll prolly be alone.

Anyway, I've heard it's REALLY hard to find places easily in Seattle in any kind of reasonable price range, and seeing as how I could only afford to come up for about three days to view places, I feel like moving is almost a pipe dream.

So, MeFites, any thoughts?
posted by aliceinreality to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
You could always get a shorter term place in the University District, which is a quick bus ride from Capitol Hill, and I assume there'd be openings in apartments there while the undergraduates are away for the summer. Then once you're local, look for a better place at your leisure.

OTOH, Seattlerentals (which I've used before with success, but that was a few years ago) shows studios in Capitol Hill from $600 and on up, and I recognize a number of those buildings as not being particularly sketchy or anything, so you may be in luck.
posted by hattifattener at 2:10 PM on April 29, 2010


I have had the opposite experience from what you have heard. A curiosity of Washington law is that tenants only have to let their landlords know if they plan to vacate (once the lease is up) 21 days before they leave. As such, it's actually quite hard to find apartments far in advance and much easier to find them on short notice. Craigslist is the way to go and I know plenty of people who found a place in that range on Capitol Hill with almost no notice.
posted by proj at 2:11 PM on April 29, 2010


You can find a place quickly in Seattle. You should go for it. You can find a nice place for $1,000 a month. If you hit Craigslist as soon as you get there and see as many places as possible, I think it'll be pretty easy to find something that you'll be happy with, and within your price range.
posted by ifranzen at 2:15 PM on April 29, 2010


Talk to your prospective law school. Ask them what resources they have. You are not the first person to move across the country to attend their school.

When I moved across the country for law school, it made more sense to live in the dorms for the first year so that I could get settled in the area and look for a place properly without having to just settle for whatever I happened to find.
posted by greekphilosophy at 2:17 PM on April 29, 2010


Yeah what proj said. I was living in Seattle when a friend asked me to look at places for him about 1.5 months before he was set to move there and when I toured and told them "I" wasn't planning to move in for 1.5 months they practically laughed in my face. It's a VERY quick turnover. Also, if you'd like, memail me ... I'm moving to cap hill next month and I will have just gone through the whole ordeal of finding a place to live when you're getting ready to move.
posted by kthxbi at 2:18 PM on April 29, 2010


Given that you are willing to pay up to $1,000 a month, and presuming that you aren't too picky about what you get, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Capitol Hill would probably be best, but in a pinch you could find places in the Central District. Beacon Hill also should have good bus service to Seattle University.

Most of the places I looked at a couple of years ago in Fremont/Wallingford were available at the beginning of the next month. There were a couple of immediate availability places. I saw very little for pre-leasing several months away.
posted by grouse at 2:20 PM on April 29, 2010


This is a snap. I recently looked at rentals in Seattle. There are plenty in your price range. My suggestion is to look pretty intensively on line, in the area near SU (i.e. Capital Hill, Pill Hill, the Central District, maybe Madison Park), line up a list of places, and fly in to look/apply/secure your rental.

I would personally recommend against Craig's List as your source for listings. Too many very bad people on that site. However, The Stranger, the Seattle Weekly, the Seattle Times site, and the Seattle PI site are all decent resources.

You may also want to ask SU if they can help at all.
posted by bearwife at 2:26 PM on April 29, 2010


Echoing everyone else -- 2-4 weeks is usually the right time frame for finding a place in Seattle. Also, I've known plenty of people who have moved into Seattle rentals sight unseen. Not the greatest idea, but it is an option.

Also, if you're going to Seattle U. don't rule out First Hill (where SU actually is located) and the Central District (which will likely have room in houses for rent). When I was in grad school in Seattle I rented an 800 SF mother in law for $650 in the CD.
posted by kables at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2010


Capitol Hill at $1K a month might be a little tough (not impossible, though) without a roommate. Central District will certainly be easier.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:37 PM on April 29, 2010


Yeah, this should be no problem. Around the middle of last May, I wandered around Cap Hill for a day making appointments to see rooms, then spent the next day checking all those places out. By June 1st I was moved into a nice $725/month studio. Totally doable.

Also, do not rely on online listings to find a place on Cap Hill. Landlords in this neighborhood get swamped with hundreds of requests when they list online, and since they can fill vacancies just by hanging their phone number outside their building, none of the good places bother to post on Craigslist or whereever.
posted by eggplantplacebo at 2:38 PM on April 29, 2010


Eh honestly I wouldn't even bother looking in central district/belltown for a 1 bdr right now. Since the McGuire on 2nd and Wall St. isn't up to code and has decided not to spend the money to fix itself it's kicking all 25 stories worth of apts out on the street. I have three friends that lived there (until this week) and according to them the 1bdr market downtown is completely fucked up right now with so many people snatching up all the available apts. In fact they've taken over all the brand new apts that just went up in cap hill too (like Joule and the Broadway Building) ... so if I were you I wouldn't even attempt to find places to tour right now because chances are it probably won't be available in July/August.
posted by kthxbi at 3:00 PM on April 29, 2010


you wont have a problem. just do it. very worst case scenario - couch surf till you can find a place. by the numbers - there's a good chance you know someone who knows someone who lives in seattle with a spare room or empty couch, just so you aren't crashing with strangers.

failing that, mefites.

i moved to seattle, from starting-to-look to move-in in two weeks. had i been motivated, could have done it in less. moving from one place in seattle to another took me days.
posted by nihlton at 3:12 PM on April 29, 2010


also, central district is a totally different flavor than belltown. doubt folks that got kicked out of swanky apartments there are gonna look for flats in the CD. parts of central are nice, but it has a reputation (deserved or not) for being a little seedy.
posted by nihlton at 3:14 PM on April 29, 2010


I moved to Capitol Hill 6 weeks ago. We had a friend look at places we found on Craigslist so we had a place before we even got here, but I wouldn't worry if I were you. We came from New York, where the apartment search is a soul-sucking and grueling ordeal, so this time around it felt like a breath of fresh air.

Walking around the neighborhood I see tons of signs for vacancies. Craigslist has become sort of the default venue for apartment hunting, unfortunately, so I wouldn't rule it out completely. If you can spend a couple days walking around the neighborhood looking for signs, though, that might be more satisfying and effective. Under $1000 shouldn't be a problem, especially if you don't mind a studio.

Agreeing with everyone else that looking too far in advance will be counterproductive.
posted by doift at 4:25 PM on April 29, 2010


Price: $1000 will go pretty far in virtually every neighborhood in Seattle, save Belltown/Downtown and parts of the hill. If you aren't too picky about what the unit is like you should have no problem.

Timing: When I first moved here I was in a fairly similar situation-- flew up for a three day period during which I had to find a place. It's doable. Most craigslist ads are either available immediately, or else they are available at the first of the month. There's a reasonable amount of availability.

Good luck!
posted by stilly at 5:12 PM on April 29, 2010


Thank you SO much, guys. I had no idea $1k was reasonable; I was under the impression I was being cheap! I feel a LOT better about this whole thing now. =)

My plan is to fly up for a week or so to see places, and maybe for my boyfriend to get job interviews for that week if he can. The plan is mostly for me to move alone though, since we're not expecting a lot on the job front.

But seriously, thanks so much for the peace of mind, MeFites. ^_^
posted by aliceinreality at 8:08 PM on April 29, 2010


I have a friend who manages an apartment building on Capitol Hill. If you want me to give you the info, send me a PM.
posted by bolognius maximus at 8:09 PM on April 29, 2010


Eh honestly I wouldn't even bother looking in central district/belltown for a 1 bdr right now.

I think this comment might result from some confusion about what the Central District is. It's not downtown, and it's nowhere near Belltown.
posted by grouse at 8:45 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh man grouse you totally pwned me! And all this time I've been calling what's north of Pioneer Square, south of Belltown, and west of Cap Hill "Central District" and no one has ever corrected me! You know who your true friends are because they tell you when you have that huge piece of spinach stuck between your teeth. Well, grouse, you must be one of my true friends.

I stand corrected. It should have read Eh honestly I wouldn't even bother looking in belltown/downtown for a 1 bdr right now.
posted by kthxbi at 5:49 AM on April 30, 2010


kthxbi - i found this useful

http://i43.tinypic.com/25evfo9.gif
posted by nihlton at 9:43 AM on April 30, 2010


I live on Broadway about 10 blocks north of SU (and am a 10 year Capitol Hill veteran). You'll be fine. I wouldn't recommend the newspapers or weeklies, though, as much as I'd recommend Craigslist and wandering around the Hill calling numbers on vacancy signs.

Welcome to the neighborhood :)
posted by girlstyle at 7:31 PM on April 30, 2010


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