Kim Reidy knows how to put people in apartments. As the director of relocation for Pointe3 Real Estate, it’s her job to make sure incoming employees of Seattle’s largest companies have a place to live. It doesn’t have to be a jungle out there.
Mark your calendar.
“Landlords want to fill units ASAP,” says Reidy. And since tenants are required to give 20 days’ notice before moving out, most new listings go up on the 10th or 11th of the month, after landlords have been informed of an upcoming vacancy. Jumping on these early increases chances of beating out the competition.
It’s first come, first served.
Most open houses for privately owned properties start on Thursdays and run through the weekend. Sign up for a Thursday or Friday appointment whether or not you feel confident about the space. This way you get in before the weekend traffic, and the landlord will likely have more available meeting hours.
Listen to the market.
Some unit prices change daily, especially within the large complexes. It’s simple, says Reidy. “The more units available, the cheaper the rent.” Newer complexes tend to be pretty transparent with inventory numbers online. Check the building’s site to see how many units a building has available. If supply is up, you’ll likely get the best price. If it’s slim pickings, you might consider looking elsewhere.
Bring that checkbook.
It’s the easiest way to stake a claim on a great apartment. Most landlords will ask for a screening fee and a deposit up front. Be warned: If you have bad credit, or no credit history, expect to cosign or fork out last month’s rent as well.
Prices tend to go up in summer, when there is more competition, and stabilize in winter. Signing a lease in winter also decreases the chances of your rent increasing when the lease is up, since landlords will likely want to keep the unit occupied during the slow season.