How to find an August sublet in Seattle?
June 29, 2008 1:09 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving to Seattle! How can I find a sublet for August?

My job starts in September, but I'm going to move there in August to get settled in and started up. I want to get a sublet before I move from the UK so that I can find a more permanent lease on the ground, looking at the places myself. Also, my new employer refuses to give me a binding contract until I have proof of my PhD which I won't be able to get for another week or so. So I'd rather not commit to a year-long contract until I have the commitment for the job.

I'll be working in the university medical center. I'm interested in living in Wallingford or Fremont, so I wanted to find a sublet there for a month to get used to the area and make apartment hunting easier. But most of the sublets available right now seem to be for July, or July and August, rather than just August. I think there are more sublets available now for the U-District in August, but August sublets in Wallingford might come available later, or as people realize they can't find a renter for July.

Unfortunately I'm going to start traveling on 12 July so I ought to have this nailed down by then. Do you think there is any point in waiting a few days to see if something in my preferred areas comes available, or should I just start looking for something anywhere today?
posted by grouse to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Craigslist? Start today, couldn't hurt (look for housesitting gigs, too - free rent!)
posted by tristeza at 1:22 PM on June 29, 2008

Response by poster: All of the searching I have done so far is on Craigslist. I also looked on nwapartments, and The Daily's classifieds, both of which seemed pretty useless.

The question is really more one of strategy. Am I likely to get what I want if I wait a few days, or had I better expand my search space now?
posted by grouse at 1:27 PM on June 29, 2008

I've found seattlerentals useful for apartment hunting around here.

I can't answer your strategy question, though...
posted by hattifattener at 1:41 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: As far as strategy goes, classes at the UW have been out for a couple of weeks, and there's nothing else that will likely free up a large number of short-term rentals, so the sublet situation likely won't get any better. (I should note I have not watched the fluctuations of the sublet market here.)

But are you saying that you could easily find a place in the U-district but eventually want a permanent rental in Wallingford/Fremont? If that's the case, I'd take the U-district option now. As long as you are west of the main campus (that is, west of 15th Ave. NE), Wallingford is maybe ten minutes away by bus or bike, and Fremont is another ten beyond that. You wouldn't have any problem getting there to look at places or just look around, and you're going to want to bus or bike to work anyway from that close, so you might as well get used to it.
posted by five toed sloth at 3:15 PM on June 29, 2008

Previously, kind of. And welcome!
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:39 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: This might sound obvious but have you tried posting to craigslist's housing wanted section yet? When I was in a bind a few months ago it worked out pretty well for me.
posted by 517 at 4:44 PM on June 29, 2008

The UW maintains a student housing office at the student union building ("HUB"). It's basically just an organized bulletin board, but there are good options for summer sublets; my girlfriend and I found a place there 2 years ago. Their website is here; I'm sure you can find an email or phone number. Failing that, memail me and I can walk down to the HUB and take a look myself.

Good luck! Wallingford and Fremont are great locations.
posted by rossination at 5:53 PM on June 29, 2008

Let me clarify: I realize that you are not a student, but there still may be resources available to you at the OCHA as you are going to be staff/faculty at UW.
posted by rossination at 5:54 PM on June 29, 2008

Response by poster: 517: I did post in the sublet wanted section. I got back some offers in Queen Anne and Magnolia for the last half of August, all of which is sub-ideal.

rossination: Thanks for that, I found their housing wanted wiki which is useful. I can't search their database until I get a UWNetID, which I don't think I will have until I am appointed, which will be too late. I'll MeMail you.
posted by grouse at 2:41 AM on June 30, 2008

YGMM, Grouse.
posted by rossination at 9:12 AM on June 30, 2008

Response by poster: Follow-up question: what are some things I should ask potential landlords about by e-mail? So far, I'm asking whether it is furnished, pets in the house, smokers in the house, utility cost, and deposit amount.
posted by grouse at 7:09 AM on July 1, 2008

Response by poster: Also, how do I know that people requesting $40 "application fees" aren't just going to pocket the money and then say no?
posted by grouse at 8:06 AM on July 1, 2008

Well, you don't, but you can search for the landlord's name or complex name on Google to see.

Welcome (soon) to Seattle!
posted by herbaliser at 10:58 AM on July 3, 2008

I should add that what I meant was, a $40 fee is standard around here.
posted by herbaliser at 10:58 AM on July 3, 2008

(Not universal by any means, but not unusual either. I think it's a more reasonable thing to charge a screening fee when the landlord can't meet and talk to you in person first. At least once I've had the landlord decide not to bother with the stated screening fees after talking to me.)

If you're looking in the U-District, there are some noisy places to be aware of — the Ave, the freeway, and the fraternity district just north of campus. (The frats might be quieter since it's summer, or they might not, I have no idea.)

If you're working at the UWMC, and can't find an ideal place elsewhere, I'd suggest also considering the Montlake/Madison Park/Portage Bay/north Eastlake areas.
posted by hattifattener at 3:27 PM on July 4, 2008

Response by poster: In the end the roommate of another friend of mine in Seattle decided to move out at the end of July and I will take his place in August. A nice bit of serendipity to counter my total lack of success in nailing down the sublet from afar.

Most of the more likely candidates were responses to my "sublet wanted" ad rather than from the dozen or so e-mails I was sending out each day at the end of last month (and things seem to have dried up since then, only a couple of new candidates each day now).
posted by grouse at 5:15 PM on July 4, 2008

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