First off, good news. Yesterday’s May Day protests and marches went by pretty quietly, I’m assuming entirely down to my blog post, so Seattle, you’re welcome.
In other news, I’ve been living in my permanent apartment for four weeks, so I guess now’s as good a time as any to talk about how that works over here.
For people who’ve rented in the UK, it’s going to be both a strange and remarkably easy process. The culture of accommodation shopping seems, at least to me, to be completely different from the UK, where you have to scuttle around in your car to meetings with an overly stressed middle-aged woman who looks as though years of fake smiling have left her with a permanent disfigurement. The benefit of this is that you get to watch her sweat as she tries to sell those pine green kitchen units as a positive. The negative is that this is utter shite and just proves she’ll say anything to shift the place. At least, that’s my experience.
Here, things are different. You can almost relax into it and enjoy it.
So, how is it different, I hear you ask? Well, dearest reader, let me explain.
For starters, the staff showing you around the apartment actually work for the building. They know, or at least most did, the various amenities, what’s included in your rent and all the other stuff that is pretty useful to know. They also usually have a good knowledge of the surrounding area i.e. not just, “and if you ever need to nip out for some milk, there’s a garage (gas station) across the road”. I know, overly stressed middle aged woman. We’re looking at it out the window. SMH.
The second major benefit is that everything is standardised. Now, I don’t mean by this that every apartment is the same, but after viewing a couple of places you can build a pretty standard formula that means “insert terminology” x square footage = good/bad. For instance, a traditional one-bed generally means you have a living area, kitchen with breakfast bar and one bed, one bath. An urban one-bed, on the other hand, means your kitchen is a corridor and you have no f**king doors. Dead easy, right?
The final thing is that everything is pretty much priced the same, with small variances on your various deposits, parking costs and all those other little costs. Often, back home, you can get two similar places for different costs and that can inform your decision. Not so much here, although with one caveat. If a building is newer, there is an obvious need for occupancy, so you might find they’ll do deals for you, but I’ll get into that later.
So how do you ultimately decide on where to live? It’s a tricky one.
So straight off the bat, we were able to rule out a couple of buildings. One rep, lovely girl but just a little overenthusiastic about what she was showing us, offered us an apartment which had two pillars in the front room by the window. I mean concrete pillars. I mean building supports. I didn’t really know what to say. Admittedly, I’m not up on interior design and given that New York bare brick walls are a thing, maybe this is too. Although, probably not. So that building got scratched.
Another building, that Allison had made an appointment with prior to us arriving, decided on the day that they had nothing. The guy was a bit of a douche about it too. So we scratched that building as well.
A third, and don’t get me wrong, this could have been a winner had it been good, was a two-bed that was going for less than a lot of the one-beds around. The problem here was that we couldn’t see it before we made our decision as people were living in it, “but it’s going on the market in a week and it’ll be in high demand”. Couple that with “it has bare New York style brick walls” and we both immediately thought back to our experience at the Acropolis and bricked it ourselves. So that was scratched.
In the end we had three contenders. One was crossed off the list because we didn’t get the same vibe as other places. Additionally, though this actually had no impact on our decision, the rep did accidentally unlock the room next to the one we were supposed to be viewing and walked in to find a resident in their apartment doing…I don’t really know what. Experience has told me to bail on those situations fast, so I took a step back from the door pretty quickly, but after the rep apologised it seemed all good. To be fair we were all cracking up about it for the rest of the viewings at that building so it can’t have been that bad. Our rep must’ve been making buttons until he saw that guy again though.
This left us two options and it is here that the caveat I mentioned earlier came into play.
You have two apartment buildings. Both offer the apartment we want, at a similar price and have the same amenities. One is on the Junction, essentially a hub in West Seattle, the other is a five minute walk away. One offers a month’s free rent, the other did not.
I guess, the moral of this story, if indeed there is one, is that if you’re moving into an apartment building and there’s a good one that’s just opened its doors not too long ago then get in there. A couple of grand is a nice incentive to buy and, albeit from a practical stance, we had to go for it.
I would at this moment like to mention Junction 47, the apartment building we almost moved into, as a standout in the area and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to live in this area of West Seattle. The guys there are great, really helpful and ultimately it came down to the above incentive as the reason why we never moved.
At the same time, the staff in the Whittaker, our building, are also awesome. We’ve been made so welcome since arriving here and if we’ve needed anything, whether from billing or maintenance, it’s been seen to at our earliest convenience.
Anyway that’s it, I guess. If you’re looking into moving into West Seattle then I would suggest both of the above buildings. Check them out on their websites and make up your own mind.
As always, like, share and follow. As I’ve said before, if you want any aspect of moving, life in Seattle or anything at all looked at in more detail then get in touch, either directly through the contact page or through the various social media channels.
Until next time, guys, take it easy…