Saturday, June 8, 2013

Our New Seattle Apartment!

We found an apartment in Seattle!!!! We've been in Seattle for almost a week hunting for places to live and going to job interviews. It's probably been one of the most stressful parts of the move/my Seattle dream so far. I was forewarned that the housing market here was competitive and I knew we were at a disadvantage since we are coming from out of state with two cats and no jobs yet (my husband, an auto technician actually landed one while we were here) aside from my freelance writing and online teaching gigs. On the advice of friends (and a friend who is a realtor), I made these spiffy little packets with our current bank balances (we did save about 20K to make this move. Given our situation and me being a worrywart it was the only way I felt comfortable. It's been a nine-year dream so we've being saving a long time), our credit reports, a letter of reference for the cats from a vet, and our resumes and a letter of recommendation from my husband's current boss. Since we've owned our home for so long and don't have landlord references, I got a letter from the woman who lived with me (my roommate/tenant) before my husband moved in) as well as some letters to show we are good community members. I serve on the Forest Park Library Board, so I was able to get a letter of reference from the Library Director as well as the MAYOR OF THE TOWN. I felt pretty good about these.... until we walked into our first open house with like 20 other couples. Our packets might have stood out a little bit, but still how would they choose! We were looking mostly at houses at first. I really wanted green space and my mechanic husband wanted a garage or driveway. We looked mainly in the south part of Seattle--Columbia City, Beacon Hill, Seward Park, Rainer Valley. Central District would have been our ideal spot, but we didn't find anything listed there. We also looked in West Seattle a little bit, but were told by several folks it would be a rough commute. Since we only have one car and I am looking for both online and in-person work, we needed something on a good bus line or near the light rail. I'm not sure why we focused south. I think the transportation just seemed easier. My friend who lives in the CD said she hoped she hadn't biased us, but I think we are South (and West) side loyal in Chicago anyway.

By Monday night, I was panicking. I knew we didn't really stand a chance at any of the open houses. We had a couple one-on-one meetings with landlords renting houses, one in particular that was my TOTAL DREAM HOUSE and I thought I made a good connection with that landlord. When we didn't hear from him after a day or two, I got nervous, though. Then we saw a house in West Seattle that was a solid second place for TOTAL DREAM HOUSE and she liked us (and was one of the most straight forward people we met), but had some other folks she'd promised to show it to later in the week. I was afraid of not signing SOMETHING before we went back to Chicago. I mean, that seemed like a near impossible thing to do from afar. So my husband started making appointments for apartments. I really didn't want to go from owning my own townhouse for 9 years back to apartment living, but A. all utilities plus Wifi are included in the rent. B. the landlord was very cool, went through our packet then and there (he was the first one who did that) and told us that if we wanted the place, it was ours. C. IT'S BIG AND GORGEOUS!!! It has brand new appliances in the kitchen, a huge living room and master bedroom/suite, an adorable little space for an office, washer and dryer in the unit, a guest bathroom with shower, and an INCREDIBLE view. Ohhhh and so many closets, which helps because I'm a MAJOR packrat. The only downsides are that we have no green space (but there is a community garden near by that I can join) and it's mostly carpeted (we are not a fan of that, but we'll deal). We don't have a garage, but we've got a parking spot and a storage shed and it is close to a couple of bus lines. It's on the north side of Beacon Hill so fairly close to Downtown, the Central District, Capitol Hill, etc (like it's the equivalent of going from one side of the 2 mile suburb I grew up in to the other. At worst.) So, it's not a dream HOME, but as my husband wisely pointed out, we should not be renting our dream home, we should be saving to buy it, and with this place we can and enjoy a damn fine living space in the process!

Here it is, starting with the most important part, the view from my office :)

The office itself:

The too-big to see in one picture living room:

 The kitchen (long view, but there are tons of cabinets, great appliances, like the great stainless steel fridge my husband is investigating and a dining area):

The Bedroom/master suite

 And the view from there!


M said...

Looks awesome!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...


Unknown said...

You've found a wonderful apartment, Stephanie. Each room looks great and spacious. The outside view was enthralling as well. You are surrounded with trees and you've got an awesome view of the entire town at the same time. And was that a mountain in the background? Perhaps you're still organizing some of your things until now. Good luck! I hope that you and your husband live happily together there. :D

Von Madison @