Perks and Penalties of Posting Negative Social Media Reviews

Have you had a bad run in with your property management company, that left a sour taste in your mouth? Maybe your landlord hasn’t come to fix that leak you informed them of three days ago, the shared laundry room has been broken for weeks, or you just can’t seem to get a hold of anyone when you really need to. We’re you pressed to jump on Facebook or Yelp to let the world know how you felt about the experience? Back in the days before social media, new tenants only learned of complaints via word of mouth or firsthand experience, but today we’re able to jump on the internet and have an extensive database of all the positive and negative experiences previous tenants have had with their landlords and property management companies. But before you resolve to bad mouth the company, be certain the information is presented fair and informative to the public. Yelp Logo

According to Zillow, people are beginning to get sued over posting negative comments for an online review, and the SLAPP lawsuits as their called (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) are gaining popularity. A number of states have anti-SLAPP laws to protect consumers, but many don’t, so before you post a comment into the abyss, do your research and make certain you will not be causing yourself more issues than necessary. Always tell the truth about your experience, comment with the intent to help others benefit from your review, and steer clear of opinions. For more information on this topic, visit Zillow.

Are the Days of Large Rent Increases Coming to an End?

The average cost in rentals with 50 units or more dropped slightly at the end of 2012, providing a ray of hope for Seattle renters. Are the days of steep rent increases coming to an end? According to the Seattle Times, landlords may have to start getting used to more vacant apartments and smaller increases in rent, with the influx in construction. Our local market is still very good for Landlords, but it is beginning to flatten out, and the east side of the city, particularly Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond have noticed the biggest change as of recent, with the average rent down 3%. rent

According to Tom Cain, owner of the research firm Apartment Insight Washington, the drop on the Eastside could be due to the toll increases of the 520 bridge. The greater Seattle area is also experiencing the largest increase in construction  in over 20 years, so with inventory up, in theory the cost in rent could flatten out sooner than later. For more information on Seattle Rentals, click here.

What to Look For in a Neighborhood

Finding the right neighborhood to live in can be even more important than house size, or amenities for some folks, and living next to good neighbors is just as important. Generally speaking, most people enjoy living in an area that has a high walk score with accessibility to public transportation, and close proximity to restaurants, shopping, etc. Getting along with your neighbors increases everyone’s happiness, so introducing yourself, and creating that comfortable know your neighbor feel is a great start to developing that lasting relationship. In an effort to help future neighbors get along, Zillow has put together a list of acts of kindness you can do to help the neighborhood, and get on the good side of your neighbors. Here are a great examples: Meet-Neighbors.jpg

1. Rake a neighbor’s leaves

2. Pick up trash that’s blown along the street or gutters.

3. Bake some cookies for your neighbor.

4. Hold the elevator.

5. Clean graffiti

For more examples of simple acts of kindness you can do for your neighborhood, visit Zillow.

Ballard Lofts Design Review Board Meeting

Interested in learning more about the Ballard Lofts project? There will be a design review board meeting for the 72 unit apartment complex proposed for the corner of NW 65th and 24th Ave NW on January 28th at Ballard High School. In recent months, the project has been a  hot topic around the neighborhood, as it will be replacing the long standing Viking Tavern. ballard lofts

Bill Parks, the building developer will be leading the discussion at the meeting beginning at 6:30pm, and present the proposal to the community,  and will also go over priorities presented at the previous meeting. The proposal for the project includes 25 additional residential units, and 3,665 sf of ground floor retail space, as well as parking for 36 vehicles below ground. If you’d like to learn more about the project, or application of the design review process, visit the Department of Planning and Development for updates.

Winter Causing a Spike in Your Energy Bills? Check These Spotty Areas for Air Leaks

The weather outside is frightful; dropping into the 30s and 20s this week in Seattle and surrounding areas! Now that winter is settling in nicely, you may have noticed a spike in your energy bills… and now you’re wallet is scarier than the snow flurries out your window! before you crank the thermostat, check out these nooks and crannies in your apartment, and see if there is any air leaking in, causing your home to lose heat. Your door is a great place to start. You use it to get in and out, so it’s going to cause some heat to escape throughout the day, but heat should not be escaping when the door is shut. bills

Door seals and weather strips can be damaged or outdated, so check with your landlord to see if this is something they will fix, or if you can solve to issue yourself. Your windows is another notorious place to cause issues, with heat escaping through the glass (especially in single pane windows) and through the casing around the glass. Window insulator kits are a great way to keep the heat in and cold air out, and can be found at most home improvement stores. If your rental has a fireplace that cannot be used, check to be sure it’s plugged and the flues are sealed, and if its a wood burning fireplace more heat will escape through the chimney than enters your house; so be sure the doors are closed if it’s not in use if possible. If you’re home still doesn’t seem to be keeping the heat in, you can check with your property manager to see if they have any further tips for keeping your particular unit nice and warm, and those bills down.

Magnolia Craftsman Home Rental: $3,200

Magnolia

This impressive 3 bed 1.75 bath Magnolia craftsman home is now available for rent, and features hardwoods throughout the main level, with a gas fireplace, and open floor plan for entertaining. It also has a great deck on the front of the home, perfect to oversee the neighborhood, sweeping bay and mountain views and great for entertaining. The lower level has a fully finished basement with custom built-ins and finishes, bedroom and recently updated bathroom. The home also comes with a 2 car garage, and is a first time rental; and it certainly shows! The home is just blocks away from Discovery Park, and in close proximity to the Magnolia Thriftway and the Magnolia Public Library.

Status: For Rent
Bed/Baths: 3/1.75
Price: $3,200

How Much Has Seattle Rent Risen In the Past 10 Years?

It’s not news to anyone living in Seattle that the cost of rent is considerably high today, given the low inventory and influx of renters in and around the city. But just how much has the cost of rent risen over the past decade? The folks over at Seattle Rentals pulled together some rental rates from 2002 in the Downtown Seattle area, and the comparison to 2012 is quite stagnant. rental

The average cost of rent in 2002 for a studio apartment rental was $548/Mo if you can believe it, compared to $940 in 2012. A one bedroom downtown unit used to be around $1,031, and today is $1,664, and a two bedroom was $1,662 whereas today is $1,719. What will rent be over the next ten years?