Chartrice Young | Tenant Screening Director
There are several new changes in Tenant Screening within the City of Seattle this year. I’d like to talk to you about two of them that affect our Seattle Housing Providers right now. As many of you know, the First in Time Ordinance has been struck down and Fair Chance Housing is now in place. Let’s look at how these ordinances affect tenant screening and selection as we move into this busy rental season.
Sean Martin | Interim Executive Director
The market in Seattle is changing. Simply posting an ad on Craigslist isn't going to cut it when 12,000 new units are coming online in 2018 with more coming in 2019 as well as talk about upzoing and the development that will come along with denser zoning and a denser city. For independent housing providers, this means fresh competition for your units as we enter into the busy rental season. It's vitally important that your online advertising includes essential items, looks really good, and is complete. It's also important to expand your postings beyond Craigslist. For quite awhile, Craigslist was the premiere online destination for rentals. When people were looking for a place to live, they turned to the popular local site. However, like everything else, times have changed. The rules on building a quality ad remain the same no matter the platform you plan to use.
Being a housing provider always has it's little annoyances. Some of them are bigger than others. But if you want to get involved in rental housing, there are some things that you'll have to face on your journey to building your own real estate portfolio. Many people get into this business and think that all it involves is signing a generic lease and collecting the rent. If you're hiring management, it can be like that, however, most people self manage due to the expense of management. If you're going to self-manage, then owning an income property is more complicated than "set it up and forget it!" An income property is a housing business. We say it all the time here at RHAWA, "Rental housing is a business; treat it like a business." Once you've changed your perspective, things become much easier. But there are some pitfalls to watch out for and RHAWA has done it's best to try and solve them for you!
If you have been thinking about getting into a larger investment within rental housing, buying yet more houses might seem a bit unwieldy. It can be difficult to make repairs and keep up with tenants when your investments are all over town! However, the multi-family building has the advantage of having multiple units in one spot. When most people think of apartment buildings, they might think of massive buildings that cost millions of dollars, but that's not always the case. Small buildings starting as small as a duplexes or triplexes and going up to 4-10 units can be well within someone's price range. Many of these buildings are coming up for sale as older owners look to exit the business. This means there is tremendous market opportunity and these buildings usually have tenants already in place and they are already generating income. This can make getting financing or finding a partner much easier than buying an empty house.
Real Estate Investment takes many forms. It's been a popular way to gain income for awhile. Online websites like BiggerPockets, Landlordology, and popular YouTube videos have reasonable sounding people standing on camera talking about how they built their real estate "empire" and ended the 9-5 grind. The reality, as any RHAWA member will tell you, is quite a bit different. However, if you're looking at real estate investing, it is definitely a journey. Let's talk about that rental housing journey.
Pets and Service Animals are a subject that we get many calls to the RHAWA Resource Desk about from our members. Many people have some anxiety about this policy and having to allow an animal when they have a no pets policy. The decision to accept pets or not is up to you. There is an argument for accepting pets, especially in the single family home market, however service animals are quite different. There are some significant differences between Pets and Service Animals. Since most of the confusion has to do with service animals, let's talk about pets first.
Cameron Cowan | Knowledge Steward
The busy rental season is upon us again and many housing providers will be offering their homes and apartments for open houses. However, right now is the time to get ready for those open houses. There's quite a bit to do, especially if the previous tenant has just moved out or is about to move out. An Open House is a chance for potential tenants to visualize themselves in the space and see what it will be like to live in your rental property. It's best to put a good face forward which means taking care of those nagging projects. 12,000 new rental units have come online in the Seattle area. That means this rental season is going to busy but highly competitive. Wooing tenants away from new construction can seem daunting. It doesn't have to be.