Things You Can Do To Secure Your Rental Deposit Back

When tenants move out of their rentals, there are many things that landlords and tenants tend to disagree on in terms of acceptable  wear on the living space. Some landlords won’t charge tenants for minor scratches on the wall and floors, but if you want to receive most of your damage deposit back, here is a nice checklist of things you can do to ensure the deposit lands in your bank account. Be sure to do a walk through with your landlord upon moving in and out of your rental, and take photos of any damage to the walls, windows, appliances etc to make sure you are not held liable for those damages when you move out. windermere

If you live with a pet or have some noticeable stains to the carpets, be sure to give your carpets a good cleaning prior to the move out inspection, as this is something many tenants are charged for. You also want to make sure you have it in writing for who is responsible for cleaning the carpets when you move out. When you’re doing the move out walk through with your landlord, be sure to take note of any damages they intend to hold you accountable for, and review your move in notes and photos to be certain they weren’t there before you moved in. Any discrepancies should be brought to their attention prior to your move out. If you are interested in finding a new rental home, contact your local real estate agent today.

Creating a Budget For Your Rental Home

When embarking on the search for the perfect rental, it’s important to factor in your monthly budget, but yet challenging to predict the associated costs. You’d like to spend enough to live in a good location and enjoy the amenities, all the while trying to save to one day buy a home. Finding that balance between spending and saving can be tricky, so here are some tips to help you create a budget while you’re saving for the ultimate home purchase. If plausible, you should shoot for a rental home with a monthly lease that is less than 33% of your gross income. That rate generally does not include utility rates and you may want to budget for emergency costs as well. QA high

It is also important to weigh your wants vs your needs. Larger apartments are wonderful for entertaining, but smaller apartments are more cost-efficient and while you want want that extra half bath for your guests, it might knock off a nice price cut if you don’t make that a top priority when searching for your rental. Things that are worth considering are finding  rental with a reliable property management company in a safe neighborhood, within a reasonable distance to your workplace. These are necessities vs wants, and worth spending a little more on when considering your rental budget. If you’re interested in finding the right Seattle rental for your wants and needs, contact your local real estate agent today.

Seattle Rental Rates Continue to Rise

Over the past year, there has been more new construction for apartments than over the past two decades, but rental rates in Seattle seem to be unaffected. According to the Seattle Times, vacancy rates continues to remain low, and while the price retention doesn’t sit well with renters, the nearly 2,000 new apartments that filled quickly over the past year indicates a healthy rental market. Over the past few months the average rental rate rose to $1,190, and the vacancy rate in the city is set at 4.41%. Many are concerned that the overbuilding will affect rates, as a percentage of current renters are expected to become home buyers in the near future, but that didn’t seem to happen this year.

Photo credit: www.third-estate.com

Photo credit: www.third-estate.com

Many attribute this to the influx of employment opportunities in the city with Amazon Microsoft, and Google, setting the bar higher for an increase in employee housing, thus creating a greater need in Seattle’s rental market. The influx of new employees, combined with homes being taken off the market and put up for lease, has created a very healthy, thriving market, and it will be interesting to see where this next year takes us. For more information on Seattle rentals, contact your local real estate agent today.

Tips For Saving On Your Summer Garden

If you have an outdoor area with your rental home, then you’re likely aware of how much you can spend to make it lush and beautiful with greenery! If you don’t have a plan in place, you can very easily spend a fortune on grass, plants, pots, planters, flowers and more, and just as easily kill everything that you spent that fortune on. Here are some sure fire tips to creating a nice affordable garden on a budget. planter box

Know your space – Not having a plan before you go to the store to buy your plants, is like going grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Be sure to know what kids of plants/flowers will work best in your rental- Will they be in a shaded area? Will they be on the rooftop, which can be fairly hot? If you buy flowers that require sunlight, but will be sitting on your doorstep in the shade means they won’t even live to see sunny weather. Make sure you have a proper drainage system in place – plants don’t like when they’re roots are wet, and will not flourish as well as if they had ventilation.

Opt out of the expensive planters – If you have space for a container garden, planters can get very expensive, and there is a much cheaper, affordable option that is just as pleasant- pots! IKEA has a nice selection of pots, as well as Home Depot, and Fred Meyer.

Buy plants that come back every year – If you’re spending money on plants this summer, you want to enjoy them for a while so why not buy ones that grow back year after year, instead of the ones you only have for one season? Perennials are a great options, easy on the eyes and the pocketbook, and fairly low maintenance.

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.

Tips to Avoid Secondhand Smoke in Your Apartment

Even if you yourself pledge to keep your apartment smoke free, sometimes your neighbors don’t follow suit, and its very easy to consume secondhand smoke from a neighboring unit. Most of the newer buildings in and around Seattle are smoke free, but nevertheless, some folks don’t always follow the rules. There are a few courses of action you can take to try to persuade your neighbor not to smoke indoors, or closer than 25 feet from your unit. You can remind your landlord of the economic costs of smoke damage to the unit. cigarette

Cigarette smoke can cause significant damage to the interior walls, and according to Zillow, is the number one cause of home fires in the US. You can also see if your apartment manager is willing to take steps to make your unit airtight, and to seal off those areas where smoke might be coming in. Areas like around light fixtures, small gaps under the doors, and electrical outlets can be sealed with silicone caulking or insulation foam. Every renter is entitled to what is called “peaceful enjoy” of their apartment, and if you’re feeling like this isn’t being fulfilled, its your right to take action.

Can Your Landlord Require You to Invest in Renter’s Insurance?

The quick answer is yes; an influx of landlords are requiring their tenants to have a renter’s insurance policy set in place, during the time of their tenancy. This must be addressed before the signing of a lease, and outlined within your lease. In other words, your landlord may not require you to obtain a policy half way through your lease term, but when your lease is up and it’s time to renew, they can add that within the requirements that need to be met for an updated lease. rental

While some renters don’t feel the need for insurance, there are actually benefits for both renters and landlords, as a result of having a tenant with renter’s insurance. The first good thing renters should know is that having renter’s insurance is relatively inexpensive, (usually between $125-$175 a year) and provides decent coverage, should something happen to your home. What can insurance cover you ask? Things like damage done to your home from flooding, fires, and people stealing your belongings to name a few, and when these things happen, it’s nice to not have to eat all of the costs, and have insurance providers take some of the weight off your plate. It can also provide some liability coverage should someone get hurt in your home, a dog bite, etc. If you’re interested in obtaining a policy even if you’re not required, it can really be a small price to pay, in the case of extensive damage. Calling your insurance provider to receive a quote is a good first step.

What Can You Rent for $1,500/Mo These Days?

If you’ve been renting or researching the rental Market in the Seattle area lately, you know that the cost of rent has continued to rise in recent months with inventory low and and high demand. But how do we compare the cost of rent to the rest of the US? Our friends at Zillow have sorted through rentals across the States, and compiled a list of what a typical rental, from single family homes to high rise apartment units will look like if your budget falls in the $1,500/Month price range.

In Miami FL,  for $1,495 residents can reside in a 3 bed, 3 bath 1,412 sf condo with lake views, and of course a sun deck to enjoy that Florida sunshine. In Las Vegas, one can rent a 2 bed 2 bath penthouse in a resort style apartment complex. Features include a large master, granite counter tops, and amenities such as a workout facility and pool and spa. over here in the Pacific Northwest, the Zillow folks have chosen a  2 bed 2 bath 727 sf West Seattle rental listed for $1,450 a month, with hardwood flooring, stainless steel appliances, and laundry facility in unit. This unit also has a built in sound system. How do you feel Seattle stacks up among other metro neighborhoods?

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!