Rental Basics in Seattle>Question Details

kimberlyg, Renter in Phoenix, AZ

My husband and I are considering a move to either Seattle or Napa, CA to be close to family. Looking for information on renting, etc.

Asked by kimberlyg, Phoenix, AZ Mon Sep 3, 2012

My husband is originally from Seattle and likes the U district. We are eventually going to buy, but plan on renting for at least a year. When I see the words "U district" I cannot help but think the neighborhoods are going to be full of college renters who throw crazy parties every weekend. We are looking to start a family soon and would like to be in a quiet family neighborhood with no longer than a 15-20 minute commute downtown. Would love to stay under $1500/month, with a small backyard for our dog.

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Nicole Demers-Changelo’s answer
Check out Phinney Ridge and Wallingford.

If you stay close to Aurora Ave N, that is a straight shot to downtown.

For your price range you might be pushed out to Greenwood and Maple Leaf.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 18, 2012
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 18, 2012
Here are some active rental listings:

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 4, 2012
I also live in West Seattle (agent and friend of Kim who posted here), have for 15 years and can vouch for the convenient location and great lifstyle. Quiet is the last word I would use to describe the U District. You get more quiet, and cheaper prices, in West Seattle because of "the bridge". People who don't live here think that bridge is too much of a barrier, but it has its advantages by keeping West Seattle more small town and not "suburban". But rents are very high right now and it's true you can't find anything of any size for what you have to spend. As for Napa - apples and oranges. I've been there, altho didn't live there. I think this has to be a conversation about employment and where can you find it? CA and WA or so different also. My parents chose to move our family to the country when I was 7 - they didn't want me in Seattle public schools. I don't have kids so can't answer where it is best to raise a family, and I love living in the city, but I don't know if I would live here if I had kids. Research school districts then decide. I've heard good things about Issaquah, Bellevue, etc. How about the schools in Napa? Because trust me, before you know it your children will be school age and there are a lot of people who bought homes 5 years ago and have since had children and now they are desperate to get moved for their kids to go into kindergarten. And they aren't able to sell unless they do a short sale or get foreclosed on and just leave. We rented in West Seattle for 4 years before deciding for sure we wanted to make this our permanent home. My advice would be to buy if you know you want to stay 10+ years - because the prices and interest rates are so amazing right now. But you have to be sure of the location first.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 4, 2012
I did a quick map search of some of the Seattle neighborhoods mentioned by others for rentals under $1600 per month and there are not currently a lot of choices. Rents are on the rise in many areas, and investors are buying up many well priced homes to take advantage of this.
If Seattle is your choice, it may be worth expanding your options and considering a purchase while rates and prices are still low.
Your husband may have enjoyed the U District as a younger single guy, but now with you and children possibly in your future some quieter areas may be worth considering. I live and work primarily on the eastside and commutes are not too bad. Buses run express routes downtown regularly and there are many good opportunities and great schools on this side of the lake.
One more thought, while Napa is well known for great wine, we have some fantastic wines here too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 3, 2012

I'm afraid that most close-in neighborhoods, north of the ship canal, will allow you a 1 bedroom, 700 SF apartment for $1,500. Homes will start at about $2,000 unless they are a mess. The rental market is extremely competitive in Seattle right now.
I have a flyer that I can send to you with rental links if you want to contact me through my website. I've lived and worked in Ravenna since .... way too long to express publicly.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 3, 2012
you can search all Seattle Real Estate Rentals -
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 3, 2012
Seattle or Napa? Born and raised in California and lived in Anacortes, WA for three years, my vote is Napa. Our weather in California is fantastic.

Since you are from AZ you are probably very acclimated to the Sun. My husband loved WA so he had no issue with the Weather. I on the other hand had emotional and health issues caused by the damp dreary weather.

It's a good idea to rent first before buying, to make sure that the community and everything else fits with your lifestyle. Connect with a local agent to help you understand your options.

Have an amazing day!
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 3, 2012
Yes, I agree the U District is probably not the best fit for you. For $1500/month, you'll probably get the most for your money in West Seattle, parts of Ballard, and Columbia City. I'm also a fan of Beacon Hill, especially given the proximity to downtown. I'm a long time resident of West Seattle and would be happy to provide you more information on that neighborhood. Renting first is a nice way to acquaint yourself with the city before you make the commitment to buy. Given the low interest rates right now, you may want to try to get a 6-month rental so you can take advantage of these great rates. (and, further maximizing what you can buy for your money!)

-Rebecca Carlson
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 3, 2012
I have lived in Seattle area for 20 years. If you are looking to live in the city, there are many great neighborhoods, but eastside with cities like Bellevue, Redmond, and Kirkland will offer you the suburban lifestyle with quick commute to Seattle DT. Unfortunately with high rent prices, $1500 will not buy you a large apartments or house with close community to shops and restaurants.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 3, 2012
Why does your husband like the U district? Is it because of the vibrancy and shops/ restaurants? The walkable neighborhoods and variety of home styles?

If these are the reasons, you might want to look south of the city where things are more affordable. The rents here are going up, and you can find a place to rent/buy in someplace like West Seattle. It's a great "urban village" and just minutes to downtown. Depending on the time of day and where you live it could take less time to get downtown than the U district. You can live in an area that has the CA beach vibe, the small town treelined streets vibe, the semi rural (homesteads in the city) vibe or the fancy condo living vibe.

My office is near the U District, but I do a lot of business in West Seattle, because I am such a fan!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 3, 2012
The U-District can be noisier, and crime is a bit higher. Why don't you expand your search to include some other neighborhoods in addition to the U-District? With your requirement for a 15-20 minute commute, you have lots of other choices including; Wallingford (west of the U-District), and Laurelhurst (east of the U-District), Ravenna (north of the U-District), and Montlake (south of the U-District). Going a bit farther out, there is Green Lake, Maple Leaf, and Bryant to the north. There are a couple of other great neighborhoods south of the U-District, Mt. Baker, Madrona, and Lakewood. All these neighborhoods will put you within 15-20 minutes of downtown. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 3, 2012
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