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??

Make Your Rental’s Bedroom Feel Like A Retreat

GetMedia (1)With customization options at a minimum, apartments often never quite feel like home for many renters. Living with your landlord’s choices for wall colors, flooring materials and finishes can leave renters feeling dissatisfied with their surroundings. But there are some things you can do to make one of the most important rooms in the apartment – the bedroom – feel less like a hotel and more like your own restful and relaxing retreat. Using some inspiration from the designers at Zillow, here are some ideas:

To start with, overhead lighting in apartment buildings is usually not the most flattering, but since you most likely can’t change the main fixture in your rental, invest in table lamps or floor lamps to give your bedroom a nice glow.  Stylish lamps can often be found inexpensively at stores such as Target or TJ Maxx.

Giving walls a fresh coat of paint is one of the cheapest and simplest ways to personalize your bedroom, but many landlords are not ready to let you wield a paintbrush of your own. Check in with them first, and if you get the go-ahead, a soft grey or classic white will give you a serene space that is also a blank canvas for the rest of your personal touches.

Once you’ve painted, pick up some new bedding in your favorite color palette to add some interest to the room. Along with a nice set of sheets (Target also carries inexpensive sets that feel much more luxurious), you have an opportunity to make a statement with your duvet cover and unique throws and pillows.

Can’t paint your walls? Paint your furniture! Take an old, tired dresser, give it a good sanding and dress it up with whatever color paint you’d like. Paint the whole thing, just the legs, just the top, it’s up to you! Heavy, dark furniture tends to weigh a room down, especially if there is little natural light, so adding some color in the form of furniture can be a major upgrade and is budget friendly.

Now you’ve got some ideas, so get decorating!

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

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.

Proposed Bill Would Make Micro-Housing More Expensive To Build

Thousands of tiny apartments, often called “apodments”, have been built in Seattle over the past several years, and they haven’t been a huge hit with many neighbors who live near them. More akin to dorm rooms than to traditional apartments, many of the units are only 150 square feet – about the size of a parking space – and occupy tall, narrow buildings that are often out of scale with the neighborhood and usually don’t provide any parking for residents, even in densely populated areas of the city such as Capitol Hill.

Micro Apartment sketch from Biz Journal

Micro Apartment sketch from Biz Journal

But the Puget Sound Business Journal is reporting that a new bill proposed by a Seattle City Council committee would put in place new regulations that could dramatically curtail this type of building. Under the new legislation, micro-housing would be subject to the Design Review Board, which can cost developers an extra $200,000 (currently they do not have to go through the design review process); units would have to be a minimum of 220 square feet; and builders would have to provide some parking spaces and possibly bicycle parking areas. The council vote on the new legislation is scheduled for October 6.

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

Seattle One Of Top 10 Most Expensive Cities For Renters

housing-marketIf you’re a renter in Seattle you don’t need telling that it costs a pretty penny to live here, but we now have census data that confirms our rents are up there with the most expensive in the country. The Seattle Times is reporting that Seattle finally cracked the top ten on the list of cities boasting the highest median rent, with a cost of $1,172 per month.

Between 2010 and 2013 rents here also saw the steepest increase of the top 50 most populous cities in the U.S., having risen by $113 per month (including utilities), or 11 percent. $1,172 is the median cost of what renters are currently paying in Seattle, so it does not reflect many newer apartment buildings that are listing un-rented units for much higher prices. Surprisingly, the number of renters in Seattle has kept pace with rising rents – in 2013 there were 307,000 renters here, a 13 percent increase from 2010.

Click here to see a chart of the top 10 most expensive cities for renters. If you would like more information on renting in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

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?

July Seattle Rentals Real Estate Recap

King County rental activity was up the last three months with 334 leased properties in July compared to 324 in June and 243 in May according to stats from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.  No surprise, as the summer months are often the busiest  in the rental business.

Highlands Rental Home

Highlands Rental Home

For the most part these numbers are down from the same time last year with 384 leased properties last July, 348 last June, but a whopping 329 last May in King County.  Currently, there are 385 available King County rentals on the NWMLS, with 82 in neighborhoods within 7 miles of the downtown core.  The current highest asking price is $15,000/mo for a 5 bdrm./6 bath single family home in Denny Blaine. If you’re interested in Seattle Rentals, contact your local real estate agent today.

Credit Bureaus Now Considering Rent Payment History In Score Criteria

housing-marketYour credit score. That elusive number between 300 and 850 that seems to follow you around wherever you go, determining whether you can buy that new car, rent that apartment, and perhaps most distressing for many Americans – whether you can become a homeowner. For many mortgage lenders, the minimum credit score required to approve a home loan is 640, and until now, on-time rent payments have not been a factor in determining your score. For many long-time renters who have accumulated a perfect track record of on-time payments, that omission has been a lost opportunity to give their credit a boost.

But now, Experian and TransUnion, two of the major national credit scoring bureaus, have begun using rental payment data in their credit-scoring criteria in partnership with a website called RentTrack. The site aims to help renters build credit by allowing them to pay their rent online, and by allowing landlords to report their tenants’ payment records to the bureaus. According to this report, almost 20 percent of renters saw their credit scores increase by 10 points after just a month of their landlord reporting payments. While it costs $1.95 per month for renters to use the site to pay online, they can also use it to track their credit progress, and many landlords will cover the cost.

For someone who hasn’t had much opportunity to build credit, this is a great way to practice good habits by making sure your rent is paid on time while simultaneously raising your credit score and opening the door to a future mortgage and home purchase. For more information on renting in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

Average Rent In Seattle Area Nearing $1,300 Per Month

98121After rising by 6.8 percent in the first quarter of this year, the average rent for an apartment in the Seattle area is continuing to rise as the year progresses, and the average now stands at $1,284 per month, according to a report in The Seattle Times. Since this statistic includes not just the city of Seattle but the surrounding cities, as well, there is quite a bit of variation in the average price when broken down by city, and even by neighborhood. The average in West Bellevue tops the list at $1,912 per month, while the average in SeaTac is more than $1,000 cheaper at $901 per month. In the city of Seattle alone, the average is $1,445. There is also a significant difference in rental costs depending on when the unit was built. For units built after 2010, the average is $1,754, whereas the average for a building built in the 1970’s is $1,019.

Among Seattle neighborhoods, rents in Ballard have gone up by the highest percentage, having risen 12.3 percent over the quarter to $1,628. For a neighborhood that has historically been home to mostly single-family homes, the apartment-building boom is significantly changing the residential face of the neighborhood, and while rents are high, Ballard also posted the city’s highest vacancy rate of 8.6 percent in the second quarter. There are many units still under construction, and when they are complete apartment inventory will have quadrupled over the past six years. To go along with that, vacancy rates are expected to rise to 18 percent.

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

 

 

 

Data Shows Half Of Seattle Renters Live Alone

cropped-rental1.jpg

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.