The Apartment Hunt: Woes and Wins

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(source: Danielle Moss)

Big life update… I found an apartment! *Queue cheers and applause sound effect* Quick recap: I’m moving cross country from Austin, TX to Seattle, WA and have spent the past few months apartment hunting. Since this is my personal space on the web, I have some serious frustrations with my Seattle apartment search that I need to let out for my own sanity. First, are my misconceptions.

Misconception #1: Seattle isn’t supposed to be a super expensive city. False. With the rise of young techies moving to the city (unfortunately I’m one of them), rent prices in the heart of the city have skyrocketed. Construction of high rise apartment buildings are underway to handle the demand and the same buildings that were going for let’s say $1500 in January, are now leasing for close to $2,000 and above. Call me frugal, but this Texas girl was not down with the thought of shelling out two stacks every month for 500 square feet. So I tried (and pretty much failed) to find an apartment where I wouldn’t have to compromise space, location, or my budget. I ended up compromising my budget and space, but won out on location. Ugh/yay.

Misconception #2: Parking was included. False. So, I’m already not feeling this apartment search because rent prices have increased so much, then I find out that parking isn’t included. My baby Mazda 3 needed a home, and that was going to run me $150 – $300/monthly for garage space. Didn’t realize I was moving to NYC.

Misconception #3: Buildings would know their August vacancy by now. False. Seattle has a 20 day vacancy policy meaning that tenants don’t need to inform that they’re moving out until 20 days before. For me, this means that trying to find an apartment this far in advance before my move in date (mid August) was nearly impossible.

Misconception #4: A one bedroom should look like a typical one bedroom — at least have a door. False. I phrased that really awkwardly, but allow me to explain. Seattle apartments LOVE a floor plan called an “urban” or “open” one bedroom. It’s like a medium between a studio and a traditional one bedroom. They usually run around 500-650 square feet, a galley style kitchen, and come with a sliding door (or no door *side-eye*) for the bedroom space. To get a traditional one bedroom downtown, you’d have to shell out top dollar. Am I asking too much? To just have a door to close at night?

Expectations vs. Reality

When I began my apartment hunt, I had this dream of a 800+ square feet downtown loft with concrete flooring and floor to ceiling windows (see dream loft below *swoon*). Hey, hey… a girl can dream. That loft is actually in Seattle. What I ended up with? A 621 sq. foot, “urban” one bedroom. I’m still budding with excitement and optimism though, because it’s my first “real” apartment to myself, the location is perfect – in the heart of the city, in an up and coming tech district, and just a 15 minute commute to work, and my loft dreams will eventually happen especially since I only signed a one year lease. Plus, my apartment building has a beautiful rooftop, an epic solarium – yeah I didn’t know what that was either – but that’s where I will be spending ALL of my time, and two gyms so I can whip my butt into shape. So, a couple of huge wins there.

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(source: UrbnLivn)
thesolarium

The application process was pretty pain-free. I applied and within a couple of hours I was approved and the apartment was mine!

What’s Next?

Now that my lease is signed, next on my plate is the big move. The logistics of moving my life from one side of the country to the next are overwhelming especially since my car is involved. So my current task is organizing all of that and purchasing my big furniture items. But, because I’ve endlessly searched the web for blogs detailing moving into a first apartment/moving cross country, I hope to take you all on this journey with me. Logistics are boring but decorating is the truly exciting part. I’m finally using Pinterest and I get really excited every time I stumble upon an interior design blog with my taste. Even with the small space, I’m excited to make my apartment a home and start on this young and fabulous grown-up life.

Have you tackled a big move or decorated your dream space? Share tips in the comments!