One Does Not Simply Move Into Seattle - A Thread on Escaping Here
So Seattle seems great compared to whatever you're dealing with in your neck of the country. Queer friendly, protections for bodily autonomy. You've heard its expensive but you'll make do, right?
Unfortunately I've run into multiple situations in which folks coming to Seattle have ended up sleeping rough. That's not great. The cops will take your stuff and run your camp off its land if enough Karens get tired of not helping you. I've decided to write a general guide on preparing yourself before you come here.
1. Consider your needs
Before beginning your apartment hunt, consider:
- How many bedrooms will you need to house everybody in your group
- How much can you afford monthly for rent and pay for all the other things you'll need like utilities, internet, groceries, etc.
- Where will you need to commute to do your work
- Do you need in-unit/on-site laundry or can you take your clothes to a laundromat
- If you have a car, parking in a garage or on-site will cost extra (like $100/mo minimum)
- When must you move in
re: One Does Not Simply Move Into Seattle - Part 2
2. Save some cash
Before coming to Seattle or its surrounding areas, be sure you have some cash on reserve for:
- First month's rent, and a security deposit
- First month's internet and utilities fees
- The hotel you will stay at while you inspect housing
- At least a month's worth of groceries
- Bus fare ($2.75 a trip) or gas money to get you around the city
This article should give you some idea about what things cost:
re: One Does Not Simply Move Into Seattle - Part 3
3. Apply for housing
Here are the most commonly used sites for finding apartments or houses here:
https://www.zillow.com/ (Houses only)
You can find housing on Craigslist as well, but keep in mind there are a lot of scam posts on it. Watch out for red flags such as suspiciously low rent.
When applying for apartments, keep in mind:
- Landlords will check your credit score and compare it to other applicants.
- Landlords may require a background check.
- When using Zillow apps, you can pay for one background check and processing fee and use this check for multiple other apps.
- Never pay an up-front fee before touring a location.
Here are a list of neighborhoods in Seattle - the further from the city, the cheaper they generally are: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_neighborhoods_in_Seattle#List_of_districts_and_neighborhoods
re: One Does Not Simply Move Into Seattle - Part 4
If you're looking to live in Seattle proper (from Northgate to Arbor Heights), the good news is that there's a law called FIT (First in TIme) that requires the landlord to give an offer to the first applicant who passes their criteria for rental. Unfortunately you'll be facing a lot of competition in the city.
If you're looking to live outside the city such as Shoreline or Kent, no such law exists. I've heard anecdotes that landlords outside the city are getting tenants to bid for leases and they take whoever bids the highest.
I have been informed to avoid apartments in SeaTac specifically, as many slumlords own properties in that area to take advantage of airport, hotel, and other tourist-facing workers.
re: One Does Not Simply Move Into Seattle - Part 5
4. Get a hotel in Seattle and then inspect the housing
Always inspect your potential housing before you move in. Check for signs of moisture and mold (e.g. obvious stains, soft parts in a wall) before signing a lease.
When you get here to Seattle before the lease starts, the cheapest hotel you'll probably find is this one that costs ~$96/day after taxes - https://www.google.com/travel/hotels/Seattle/entity/CgoIvLP3hNiz9MwBEAE?q=travelers%20lodge%20aurora%20seattle%20wa
Be sure to budget for this.
re: One Does Not Simply Move Into Seattle - Part 6
5. Keeping the lights on in your new place
In Seattle proper, minimum wage is $15.75 an hour - https://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards/ordinances/minimum-wage
Outside of Seattle, Washington state minimum wage is $14.49.
Assuming you have a job in Seattle proper, here is an example of a budget you might reasonably have.
Let's use this calculator: https://smartasset.com/taxes/washington-paycheck-calculator
On minimum wage at $15.75, your weekly post-tax take-home will be $519/week, $2076/mo (plus a couple weeks' extra salary) and $26,988/year. At 40% of your income that's about $830/mo.
Say you've got a three bedroom town house in Pinehurst for $2500/mo:
Three people will have to give ~$835/mo to afford it. This unit will also cost:
- $60/mo for cheap internet ($20/person) or $150/mo for gigabit
- ~$250/mo ($85/person) for utilities (water + trash)
- ~$320/mo per person to feed if you are doing all your own home cooking
So about $1260 of your $2076/mo take-home is already gone, assuming you'll work 40 hours/week all year. That's not adding:
- Bus pass ($2.75 a ride)
- Clothes (Goodwill's decent)
- Bed/furniture/kitchen items
- Medical and dental insurance (apply for Apple Health https://www.hca.wa.gov/health-care-services-supports/apple-health-medicaid-coverage )
- Parking costs if you have a car and your place charges for a parking space
re: One Does Not Simply Move Into Seattle - Part 7
So living in Seattle on minimum wage is... doable for a large group but you'll be going from paycheck to paycheck and emergency expenses will occur. It will be much more useful if your household has a high earner to give the rest of you some comfort in case you suddenly need to pay for something. Definitely try to get something over minimum wage. You can work night jobs that pay more, for example.
6. Other things to know about Seattle life
- There's no state income tax but there is a 10% sales tax on everything.
- The Link and buses can take you from wherever you are north/south easily but there aren't many bus routes that will take you east/west. Be ready to walk.
One Does Not Simply Move Into Canada, I shouldn't have to tell people this
@Aradia Just an addendum for any US citizens/residents considering the same thing but for Canada, because I know of multiple cases of this happening:
One does not simply move into Canada. You cannot just crash with people in Canada and figure it out as you go along. This will not work. You need, like, a job lined up, or sponsorship, or whatever. Even if you are a refugee in a life-or-death situation and the US is too dangerous for you, Canada will still send you back. Here is some introductory reading. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/immigration-citizenship.html
Canada has right-wing extremists too. Many parts of Canada are extremely conservative and xenophobic. We are the country most similar to the US in the entire world and you cannot outrun deep-rooted systemic problems by moving here.
See also: https://xkcd.com/180/
🍹🌴 a smol island in the sun 🌴🍹