If you want to move to Seattle but want to actually be able to afford rent, you should choose Kent as a good choice for a home. Kent offers easy access to big city amenities, but nothing about the area really feels like a big city. One of the good things about Kent is that it has a great mix of housing available. Its about 50 percent rented and 50 percent owned, and there is about 6 percent of homes vacant. The annual residential turnover is about 30 percent, so if you don't see what you like right off the bat, chances are if you wait a year or two, you'll fish out something good.
If you're going to look for an apartment in Kent, make sure to be prepared. You might want to ask a broker to help you look, a broker will probably charge you a fee of about one months rent or 15percent of your annual rent. However, they will scour all the properties in the area for you, and if you give them your budget constraints, as well as information about the size of apartment you want and the amenities it must have, they will be able to scope out and show you homes like the one you're looking for. If you want to apply for an apartment you see, be sure to come with the proper documents in hand. Examples of what you'll need are copies of your ID, bank statements, tax returns, proof of employment, letters from previous landlords and any other documents that might prove you're financially qualified for your home.
Have your checkbook ready; moving can be expensive in other ways: paying movers to move your stuff can cost a lot; however, real estate experts say that the price is worth it, since they can protect your stuff and keep you from having to replace it later. Also, when you get approved for an apartment, you'll need to pay about two months' rent up front to secure it, in addition to any other deposit your landlord might require. Before you move, be sure you're saving up-- a lot.
If you've decided that Kent is the right place for you to rent around Seattle, you might want to know a little bit more about where you should look in Kent. The area is small, but it does have distinct characteristics, depending on where you are in it geographically. Check out the information below to see where the right people, price range, and size of house is for you.
East Hill: This neighborhood is smack dab in the middle of Kent, geographically. It has a good mix of housing in terms of price and size. There are lots of houses here, as well as apartments, and there are lots of rentals--this could be a good place to look if you want to be part of a strong, young community and don't feel like being surrounded by families all day. $$
Berry Dale: This is the southeastern corner of Kent, and people who live here come for the really quiet neighborhood feel. It mostly has single-family homes, although there are some mobile homes and some row houses. Its not the place to look if you want a condo in a high-rise, though. You're going to find a lot of families with kids. $$$$$
West Hill: West Hill is in the western part of Kent, on the opposite side of the valley from East Hill. The area has a beautiful lake and parks, as well as lots of quiet residential neighborhoods. This is a trendy part of Kent, and you can walk around here to get to businesses. $$$
Downtown: Also known as the City Center, downtown Kent is the heart of the business district of the city. The area is full of shops, dining and entertainment. You should choose it if you want excitement, if you're looking for an affordable rental, since it has more than a lot of the outlying quiet residential areas. $$$
O'Brien: In the northwest corner of Kent, you'll find O'Brien, one of the most affordable areas in the city. Its nearly all renters, so you should come here if you want to find an apartment and be surrounded by other people who are renting apartments. Its one of the less safe and more urban areas, but that can be good if you're looking for something a little more stimulating than country living. $
Theres a chance you're moving to Kent to actually be in Kent, now that REI and Oberto (Oh boy!) headquarters are there. But its more likely that you go to Kent to commute into Seattle. There are buses throughout Kent that will take you around the town and from the business district closer to your house. There are also buses that will take you into Seattle when you want to go there. There is also a train service between Kent and Seattle on the Sounder Train. This is a great option if you detest work traffic and all the frustrations that come with it. However, most people in Kent have their own cars and drive themselves around. This is because it is convenient to run errands, to get around at your own pace and schedule, and also to take advantage of so many beautiful outdoor sights and scenery nearby.
If you're more of a homebody, there are lots of things for you to do here, too; you don't always need to get out of town to be entertained! If you like the outdoors, Kent has lots of options. Lake Meridian Park is a family friendly park with a huge, clean lake in the middle. People come to swim, fish, or lay on the man-made beach there. There is also the Interurban Trail, which passes over the Green River. People love to walk, run or ride their bikes on the trail. Another great walking trail over Soos Creak is the Soos Creek Trail. The trail is paved and a great place to meander on a lovely day. If you like to be active but like to do it inside, Kent residents love the Kent Vally Ice Center. Its one of the biggest ice skating rinks in the area, and you can also play miniature golf there or take a swing at one of the batting cages. If you're not the active type, there are still lots of things to do in Kent. Shopaholics can engage themselves at Kent Station--a new shopping center with the nations best chain stores, or visiting the farmers market in downtown Kent, which offers the freshest locally grown veggies and fruits.