I would start investigating areas now! About half of my clients are relocation and I like to start working with them as soon as possible. Even if you are renting, it's your home and you need to be happy. In the Seattle area, one of the main "influences" of your search is your maximum commute time from your job. There are several software programs that can help with that (MS Streets and Trips is the one I use). Then you can let your fingers do the walking on the keyboard to get a feel of the different communities. Nowadays, almost every Realtor has a blog and many times they are about the agent's community. Great resource to get the feel of the different areas. You can check crime rates, look at satellite pictures on Google Maps, check school information (if that is applicable, check out the Seattle Times School Guide), find parks, leashless dog parks, etc. Check out the walk-score at http://www.walkscore.com!
Secondly, if your husband's company is allowing a homefinding trip, I'd suggest the 31st of May through the 2nd or 3rd of June. That's the time that people will be moving out and the most will be available.
Lastly, there are some nice rentals listed with the MLS in Seattle area and you can get that information from a Realtor. Craig's List is a resource as well but be very careful as there are a plethora of scammers on there right now for rentals. DO NOT believe anything that seems too good to be true. It is. No money prior to seeing the home with either their agent or the owner...check the tax records to make sure the county shows the same owner's name as the landlord if it's not an apartment complex. Many people from out of town (or the country) are trying to take advantage (scam) of potential renters by "renting" a home they don't even own using Craig's List.
Hope that helps! If you have any questions, give me a call at 206-216-3440! I don't "work" rentals but am always glad to help point you in the right direction!
Years ago my wife and I felt like we found a secret stash of rentals when we went through an agent. We found some great deals that weren't available via the newspaper, and Craiglist didn't exist then. I would suggest you find an agent to at least send you rental options and discuss with them what your goals are. You may also find a valuable resource for a future purchase in that agent, and or consider lease options rather than just straight rentals. A lease option would lock up today's prices which may seem like a bargain in a few months if things finally rebound.
An agent can also help guide you through the various communities so you can decide which area suits your requirements. I would also start your online search early so you can gain a sense of this market.
Welcome to Washington.
Hope your move is smooth!
An agent will also help you understand some of the character of the areas you are considering. We have lots of interesting neighborhoods in and around Seattle, depending on your priorities.
Craigslist scams are few and far between, but so are auto accidents. The link below will take you to a site that illuminates the most common ones.
Realistically, Penny, you really shouldn't waste time on anything where somebody isn't willing to meet you at the property.
Those 260 can be viewed from the websites of most major companies, if you so desire.
Property managers are real estate agents too, Penny, and they are quite willing to show their listings, although they often do not co-broker them, so other agents do not have access.
If you contact a Real Estate agent, they can send you a list of rentals available, but will not spend the time with you driving you around the city, unless you are willing to pay them some kind of up front fee. But everyone works differently when it comes to rentals.
You can look up rentals that are available on diffrent rental sites, and craiglist as well.
Cassie Walker Johnson
(206) 999-9820 cell