August Update: Seattle Rentals

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The last month of summer saw a small drop in rentals in King County this year. According to data found on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service there were 287 leased properties in August of 2015 with the average rental price being just over $4,000/mo. Statistics for King County show a slight decrease in rentals; 334 in August of 2014 compared to this year’s 287. As the number of leased properties dropped, prices for these rentals have steadily increased. The highest rental of the month this year was leased at $9,500/mo for a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment in the heart of downtown Seattle. Last year, some comparable downtown apartments had been leased for closer to $8,000/mo. For those interested in investing in rental properties it’s a great time to profit on the demands of the increasing rents in the King County rental market. Get in touch with an agent today to find out how you can benefit!

Renters In Older Buildings Blindsided By Rent Hikes

rentWith all the talk about record-high rents in the Seattle area, you may look around at the high-rise apartments sprouting up in South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, and Ballard and think you’ve found the culprits for our status as the U.S.’s 8th most expensive city for renters. But here’s a surprising statistic reported recently by Sanjay Bhatt at The Seattle Times: rents in older buildings are actually rising at faster rates than those in newer ones. Rents in buildings built in the 1980’s grew by a rate of 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, whereas rents in buildings newer than 2010 grew by only 1.4 percent (granted, rents in these buildings are much higher to start with).

Renters who care little about granite counter tops and rooftop decks have historically been able to rent units for reasonable rates in older buildings that offer function without the flash. But as many of these mid-century buildings approach 60 or 70 years old, they’re being sold off to development groups who pass on renovation costs to tenants in the form of rent hikes. For residents such as those at the Linda Manor Apartments in West Seattle (a building built in 1964), those hikes came in the form of a 130 percent increase, according to The Seattle Times. One resident saw her rent rise from $1,000 per month to $2,300 per month.

With the addition of 86,000 new residents over the past four years and just under 29,000 new units built over the same time period, housing is at a premium and a low vacancy rate in King County is creating stiff competition for renters. Because of that, landlords are having no trouble filling units, even with ever-rising rents.

If you are interested in renting in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

 

 

Renter Or Rental Owner? Now Is The Time For Winter Maintenance

Madrona rentalEven if you live in a rental, the cold, wet weather of winter should prompt you to do some preventative maintenance on your home, both to limit your liability for any potential damage from the elements and to keep your home as comfortable as possible during the winter. Talk with your landlord, both to make sure they are performing their share of required maintenance, and also to find out what tasks are your responsibility.

The Rental Housing Association of Washington has several tips regarding what you can do as a renter to minimize damage to your unit this winter. If your lease requires you to perform yard maintenance, make sure you’re keeping the area around your foundation clear so excess moisture doesn’t build up and seep into the home (check with your landlord before you do anything beyond basic yard cleanup). Bag up fallen leaves and trim shrubs around the perimeter of your house. But don’t pull out that ladder just yet, as it should be the owner or landlord’s responsibility to make sure roofs are sound and gutters are draining correctly.

It is often the tenant’s responsibility to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working, and during the season when more people are using their heat and having fires, it’s important to make sure these are operating correctly. Check your lease to determine if this is something you need to keep an eye on.

Especially in damp climates like ours in the Northwest, it’s important to pay attention to moisture levels inside your home, as well as outside. In the winter, when you’re more likely to have all your windows and doors closed, keep indoor air dry and circulating with fans, or occasionally crack a window to let some fresh air in. If you haven’t turned your heaters on yet, make sure they’re free of dust and move any belongings away from vents to minimize fire risk.

These tips should help ensure that you have a warm and uneventful winter in your rental! If you are interested in finding a rental property in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

Most Expensive Active Seattle Luxury Rentals

Although we usually profile and feature “run of the mill” luxury rentals, today I’d like to feature some of the most expensive active rentals on the market in Seattle and environs. We’re talking like… top 10. Yeah, the big kahunas. Not that the other’s aren’t enviable to say in the least!

10. $8,500

Located in Belltown, this property boasts not only views of downtown, but also Puget Sound and the Space Needle. With a gourmet kitchen, floor to ceiling windows, touch screen sound system, garage parking and two storage units. Listed by Joseph Kelly of Soleil Real Estate of Seattle.

9. $8,500

This contemporary Lake Union home boasts a 270 degree view of the water, heated floors, top of the line kitchen appliances and marble bath. This 1,000 square foot house was built in 2011 and has been on the market for 139 days and is listed by Scott Wasner of Sotheby’s.

8. $9,800

Want a penthouse? Who am I kidding, of course you do. And nowone is up for grabs! For rent at least. This 26th floor, 3,081 square foot residence boats three bedrooms and enormous 290 degrees of skyline, mountains, and water. Oak floors, maple cabinetry, gas fireplace, and a chefs kitchen. On the market for 44 days, this property is listed by Julia Tsurusaki with Pointe3 Real Estate.

7. $10,000

Out next most expensive property calls Mercer Island home. Originally listed at $12,000, this 3,880 square foot gorgeous waterfront home features a newly remodeled kitchen with an ensuite deck and jacuzzi tub (uh, that’s awesome). 85′ of waterfront with moorage and dock, two jets lifts and a boat lift. Nicely settled near some parks, what could get better? Not much, that’s what. Listed by Anthony Yap of TAG Realty.

6. $10,000

Tied at $10,000, this Laurelhurst home has only been on the market for a month. Fully furnished with views of Lake Washington, this 4,660 square foot contemporary northwest home comes with Laurelhurt Beach Club access. Offering five bedrooms and four bathrooms, it’s listed by Timothy Lenihan of Windermere Real Estate.

5. $11,000

Now, this one has me drooling. This unit is within the Four Seasons Private Residences Seattle. Two bedrooms and a den, valet parking, 24 hour security and concierge, mile high views, this 2,082 square foot overlooks the Great Wheel through floor to ceiling windows. With a gas fireplace and an ultra modern kitchen, it’s enough to make anyone go gaga. Listed by Scott Wasner of Sotheby’s.

4. $11,000

Another beauty at $11,000, the stunningly designed Arthur Erickson Highlands home is a looker. Having seen this sumptuous property myself, the views and grounds as well as the guest house, I can say will all certainty that it. is. worth. it. Listed by our own Betsy Terry of Our Distinctive Home Shop in Madison Park, this 7,470 square foot masterpiece is constructed  from polished concrete, with a glass ceiling. Mountain and sound views, and a Pemberley-esque (We got any Jane Austen fans out there? No? Just me? Okay) park off the swimming pool.

3. $12,500

Located in Hunts Point and built in 1995, this home is nestled on prime waterfront with lake, city, and mountain views. Designed by Curtis Gelotte, the house is nestled between manicured landscaping and old growth trees. With moorage and a dock, this 3,710 square foot home is full of natural wood and stone details, evoking the architectural style of the pacific northwest. Listed by Anna Riley of Windermere Real Estate.

2. $18,000

Another jewel of Hunts Point, this residence boasts a stunning Chihuly glass chandelier hanging from a sky-lit ceiling. This 3,000 square foot west-facing residence features rustic timers, posts, and beams embodies pacific northwest architecture and art. Listed by Tere Foster and Moya Skillman of Windermere Real Estate.

1. $20,000

Topping our list is a mansion in Clyde Hill. At 6,000 this european designed six bedroom, eight bathroom masterpiece was custom built in 2007. With a gated entrance and a large pool in the backyard, a large up to date kitchen, and an indoor jacuzzi. Listed by Robert Radulescu with The Force Realty.

Well folks, which one is your favorite??

Deadline Is Here For Registering Rental Properties With 10+ Units

Schack1_bigLast October the City of Seattle passed the Rental Regulation & Inspection Ordinance that aims to establish a standard for cleanliness and healthy living conditions for all rental properties in the city, and the deadline for the first phase – registering properties with 10 or more units in preparation for inspections – is tomorrow, September 30. Inspections are expected to begin early next year, and inspectors will be looking to make sure that all carbon-monoxide and smoke detectors, locks, windows, hot and cold water, and a heat source are working; making sure there are no infestation issues; and that walls, roofs, and ceilings are in good condition.

The ordinance was put in place after a 2009 survey revealed that an estimated 10 percent of the 148,000 rental units in Seattle had “moderate to severe” physical problems. Over the next two years, most rental properties in Seattle will be required to register and subsequently be inspected, with the exception of owner-occupied properties where an individual room is being rented out, and “accessory dwelling units” that are occupied by an immediate family member of an owner. Units that already have inspection reports on file will not need to be re-inspected.

The city is hoping the ordinance will encourage owners to keep rental units up to the same minimum standard and deal with maintenance issues without having to rely on tenant complaints. Units will be inspected at least once every 10 years, and eventually prospective renters will be able view an online database of all registered properties that have passed inspection. Read more about the program here.

If you are interested in renting in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Kennydale Rental Home: $3,995

Kennydale

This extraordinary neighborhood home, featuring stunning views of Lake Washington is now available for rent! This home has a great open floor plan, rich hardwood floors,and walls of windows, creating a bright atmosphere throughout. This home features granite counter tops stainless steel appliances, two master bedrooms, a beautiful backyard and is truly an entertainer’s dream. Home is close to parks, beaches, boat launches, shopping, restaurants and I-405. For more information on this or other Seattle rentals, contact your local real estate agent today!

Status: For Rent
Beds/Baths: 4//3
Price: $3,995/Month

Walkability Score- What is it and why does it matter?

Pioneer Square Pergola

Pioneer Square Pergola

Walkability- it’s a word that some of you may be familiar with already, and one that real estate marketing often uses. But what exactly does it mean?

Used by Walkscore.com, it’s intended definition is to indicate how easily and readily connected a property is to the neighborhood and community around it. For instance, is the nearest grocery store within easy walking distance? Or would it be necessary to drive there?

The higher a property’s Walk Score (or Transit Score or Bike Score) on a scale of 1-100, the more connected the neighborhood is with the property. Take this chart example. But what makes a community walkable?

  • A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it’s a main street or a public space.
  • People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
  • Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
  • Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
  • Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.

Now, why is this score important? It’s generally known that those who walk more, whether it’s just a few steps or hundreds of steps a day are generally healthier than those who don’t. By walking more, not only do you get outside, but you also use your car less, and thereby reduce your carbon footprint. If you were able to find a property in a highly walkable area, you might be able to forgo the car altogether!

And here’s some great news: Seattle is rated as one of the most walkable cities in the U.S.! With a Walk Score of 71, a Transit Score of 57, and a Bike Score of 64, Seattle is the 8th most walkable city, with it’s most walkable neighborhoods being Downtown, the Denny Triangle, and Pioneer Square.

How important is the walkability of the neighborhood to you when looking for a new property?

Data Shows Half Of Seattle Renters Live Alone

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According to the most recent census data reported by The Seattle Times, Seattle’s population of renters is living up to the city’s reputation for introverted residents. 51 percent of the city’s rent-paying tenants live alone, which is a surprising statistic considering that the average rent in Seattle is now $1,480, up 21 percent from five years ago. Only Atlanta has a larger percentage of solo renters, and most other cities toward the top of the list (Cincinnati, St. Louis and Pittsburgh) have average rents significantly lower than Seattle’s.

But despite the significant rental costs, it appears Seattleites are willing to pay more in order to not have to share their space. No sinks full of your roommate’s dishes (just your own), no fighting over the parking space, and no sharing any of that precious square footage. Single-occupancy units are clustered more heavily in certain areas of the city, including downtown, where three out of every four units is occupied by a single person, and other densely populated neighborhoods such as Capitol Hill, Eastlake, and Fremont.

Though the rate of solo renters is high comparable to other cities, the percentage has dropped from 56 percent in 2009, so it appears renters may be starting to feel the squeeze of rising rents. For more information about renting in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

 

New Ordinance Aims To Establish Standards For Rentals

Photo credit: www.third-estate.com

Photo credit: www.third-estate.com

As many renters can attest, conditions in rental units can vary widely among properties, and getting repairs done can sometimes turn into a lengthy process, depending on the responsiveness of your landlord. The City of Seattle’s recently instituted Rental Registration & Inspection Ordinance is aiming to alleviate some of the worst conditions in rental properties in the city, after learning through the 2009 American Housing Survey that 10 percent of rental housing in the Seattle area has “moderate to severe” physical problems.

The ordinance will require all rental property owners to register their properties and hire either a City or private inspector to ensure their property is meeting minimum standards in areas such as smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, making sure broken or leaking windows, walls, and roofs are repaired, and making sure each unit does not have insects or rodents. The city has begun accepting registrations for properties, and registration will continue through 2016. Properties will be inspected at least once every 10 years thereafter.

According to The Seattle Times, owners are not required to register some types of rental properties, including units owned or managed by the government or a housing authority; housing associated with nursing homes and hospitals; transitional housing; housing associated with a religious order; or short term rentals such as vacation rentals and hotel rooms. The city is hoping this program will preserve quality of life in neighborhoods by educating all parties involved in renting units – landlords, renters and inspectors – to ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of what maintenance standards should be met.

For more information about Seattle rentals contact your local real estate agent today.

Queen Anne Rental Condo: $2,295

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This beautiful Queen Anne condo with stunning downtown skyline and Space Needle views is now up for rent. Located on the East side of Queen Anne Hill just steps from Bhy Kracke park, this condo provides the quiet environment of a residential street while being central to downtown and all Seattle has to offer. Included in the unit’s 1,100 square feet are a lavish master bath, walk-in closet, fireplace, and a wonderful terrace overlooking downtown. As an added bonus, secure parking is included with this unit. For more information on this condo or on other Seattle rentals, contact your local real estate agent today.