Seattle Ranked #2 City to Live In!

You probably have several personal reasons of why you love living in the Seattle area as much as you do, but do you know where our city stands among the rest of the nation? According to a poll run by Businessweek.com, a national Bloomsberg site, our very own Seattle was ranked the number two city to live in across the United States! Ranked only second to San Francisco, Seattle is highly regarded for having a high median average income, mild year round weather, clean air, and being a lovely waterside metropolitan area.

We have top companies like Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, and Google that provide tens of thousands of jobs throughout the area, and a variety of neighborhoods sure to please every palate. According to the survey, the median household income is $90,303, we have 9 park acres per 1,000 residents, and have 16.8% locals with a graduate degree or higher. Do you think they missed some of the best reasons to live here? Check out who ranked after Seattle at Businessweek.com.

Helpful Tips to Get the Landlord to Pick You

As a new prospective renter, you’ve probably spent countless weekends searching for the perfect rental for yourself, and finally stumble on the right one for you; only problem is, 20 other potential tenants have applied and think it’s the perfect place for them too! Are there things you can do to help yourself standout amongst the other applications? Yes of course! Zillow has provided a few useful tips to set you ahead of the rest. First and foremost, you should really only be pursuing rental accommodations that you can afford. If you go into a showing knowing the maximum rent you can afford with your income, you’re in great shape. You’re landlord needs to know that you’re capable of paying your rent, and paying it on time, so being knowledgeable of this is important at the time of viewing.

Knowing your credit history is also important, as almost every landlord these days will be doing their homework, and checking your credit score prior to giving the OK to accept your application. Credit scores generally range from 300-850, and according to Zillow, a score of 550-580 should be sufficient for a first time renter with a decent income. You can actually go online and check your credit score for free through the Federal government once a year, and you’ll want to do so before searching for an apartment so you can keep that in mind. You should also dress presentable when meeting with a potential landlord to view an apartment (remember while it may feel like you’re interviewing them for finding the right home for you, their actually interviewing you to make sure you’re the perfect fit to work with their company, and the building’s tenants too!). Be on time, and dress business casual, or dressy casual will do the trick, as the first impression on how you appear, and present yourself during this initial meeting is crucial to setting yourself apart from the rest. For other tips, and things you can do to give yourself a head-start in the rental world, visit Zillow’s Blog.

Zillow App Updates New Features!

As we’d mentioned earlier this month, Zillow launched their new rental app for the iphone, making it a little easier for potential renters to keep inventory of their favorite listings handy when they’re on the go. Now the Zillow Android and iPhone apps have new features that will utilize uploading photos of properties, and using them to best document users’ favorite listings. Users are now able to use their device’s camera to take a photo while out touring the home and upload it to their favorite listings, and see those photos right there on the Zillow listing a minute later. Potential renters will also have enhanced features such as viewing the property location on a map right from the listing, or pull up driving directions synced from Google maps! For more information, download the app for yourself, and check out the new rental features!

Fall is Here! Maintenance Tips to Safeguard Your Home

As you know fall in Western Washington can be quite wet, and it’s important whether you rent or own your home to take proper precautions to ensure your home is prepared for fall and winter conditions.

Photo Courtesy of Seattle Pacific University

You can check the foundation for cracks in caulking around the exterior where pipes and wires enter the house, and especially around windows and door frames in older homes, to stifle heat from escaping through the cracks! Be sure to tell your landlord if you notice anything problematic, because even the slightest crack can cause water to get in and freeze, sometimes resulting in extensive mold damages. Check with your landlord if the roof was checked recently for damages that could lead to leakage, and put away summer tools and lawn furniture. Ask your landlord if they’re going to clean your screen doors, and store for the winter, as winter conditions can damage these as well. For more information on how to best prepare your home in the fall, visit Zillow.

Will the City of Seattle Require All Landlords to Register Rentals?

Are you living in a run down rental? The City of Seattle is considering cracking down on older problem rental buildings by requiring all landlords to register their rental units for inspections. According to NPR, the non profit group Tenants Union of Washington State is working in collaboration with other groups, along with Seattle City Council to determine a new system of rental registrations. In the proposal, Landlords would have to register all units, pay an initial fee, and go under inspection for health and safety issues every 5-10 years.

There would be some exemptions in place, such as vacation rentals, and mother in law apartments, but overall if the proposal is approved, landlords will have to adhere to a new set of rules. As of now the city council committee may come to a vote before the full council meeting on October 1st. For more information on the issue, visit NPR online.

Queen Anne Rental Home: $2,550

The 4 bed 2 bath home in the Queen Anne neighborhood is just one block away from the bustling Queen Anne Ave, seconds away from restaurants,  shops, grocery stores, and Seattle nightlife. This home has an expansive living room with a gorgeous wood burning fireplace, and ample natural light. The spacious dining room has a drop down chandelier and the kitchen opens up right into the private fenced backyard. The upper level has 3 large bedrooms, and one bathroom, and the master has a small view! The basement in this unit in completely finished and has a cozy family room, bedroom, bathroom and a utility room attached. For more information on this rental, visit Ewing & Clark Inc.

Status: For Rent
Bed/Bath: Four/Two
Price: $2,550

Zillow Launches New Rental App for the iPhone

If you’re a renter in the greater Puget Sound, you’re probably familiar with how competitive the market is today, and looking for that edge to help stay one step ahead of the rest. Renters have the task of sorting through their options, and have to view several properties at once, sometimes multiple in one day and have to remember which ones they liked, and what they liked about them. To aid renters on their quest for the perfect rental, yesterday afternoon Zillow launched a new rental app for the iPhone, just like their rental app that came out for the Android in April.

The new rental app has features that will allow renters to access rental listings, see whats around the property’s neighborhood, (schools, restaurants, parks, shopping, etc) and search by neighborhood. Renters will be able to use GPS and voice search options to search rentals in a specific area, and  use color coded options to see which listings are new to the market. Renters will also be able to view their favorite listings side by side, for a detailed comparison, and can contact landlords right there on the spot. If you have an iPhone and searching for rentals in the neighborhood, give this one a try!

Do Energy Efficient Appliances Help Save Money?

Has your landlord recently made the switch from your old rusty toilet, to a water saving model? You love the aspect of helping save the resources, but will the savings reflect in your utility bills as well? Zillow has graciously done a little research on the topic, and put together a cheatsheet for those renters confused with all of the benefits of new energy efficient appliances. First, it depends on the size and model of the appliance you are replacing, and inevitably the terms you agreed to pay for utilities in your lease. The average American spends roughly $2,200 per year on utilities, and nearly half of this amount goes towards heating and cooling, 14% towards heating water, and 13% to appliances including dishwashers, refrigerators, washers and dryers.

If you’re replacing a really ancient model you’ll likely see the upgrade reflected in your bill, but if you’re replacing say a 2 year old dishwasher, you might not see the difference that you’d expect. If the appliance has an energy star label, those are the most energy efficient, and will save more likely than others. It’s also important to be, the cost might not be reflected initially, but the savings that could add up in the long run might be worth the change. For more information on energy saving appliances visit Zillow.

Influx of Hotels Planned for Downtown Seattle

The Downtown Seattle metro area has not seen any hotels break ground in the past two years, and there are no current plans for any to go under construction in the next upcoming months. But according to the Seattle Times, all that might change this year, with current hotels having successful bookings, with little trouble filling rooms, and they’re able to have consistently higher rates. Developers are feeling more confident with those statistics in place, and are moving forward by proposing more hotels pop up in the downtown area.

Downtown Seattle Sheraton, photo courtesy of destination360.com

According to the Times, one of those proposals includes a hotel with 1,200+ rooms, which is larger than any hotel in the area except for the Seattle Sheraton hotel. If all of the projects presented were to be built, the Seattle hotel industry would increase by more than 15%! Developers like Touchstone, Kauri, and Daniels Development among others all have projects in various stages of planning for construction, and Seattleites looking for hotel living should keep an eye out for upcoming hotel projects that have apartment rentals planned into the space as well. For more information on upcoming projects in the Downtown Seattle area, visit the Seattle Times.