Seattle is a tough market for travel nurses to find adequate housing within their budget. Rents are high and rising constantly. It’s a desirable place to live and the economy is growing tremendously.
There are still ways to stretch your housing stipend, even in this tight market. With some advance planning, you can get a great place close to work, without blowing your whole budget.
Get a Roommate
Roommates are a great way to save on rent and explore the city with a new friend. You get someone to help stave off the loneliness of living alone in a new city. You get a shopping partner, a navigator, and a fellow tourist. You may share a bathroom, but you’ll get a larger kitchen and living room. In many buildings, this is also the difference between having a washer/dryer in unit and sharing with others in the building.
Is it really cheaper to share a unit? Yes, almost always. At Jet City, our studios start at $2300/month, but a more realistic price is $2500. By contract, a common price for a 2 bedroom is $4000, maybe $4500. For the price of sharing a bathroom, you save around $300 a month.
Choose an Older, Renovated Building
Seattle has a lot of newly constructed, high-rise apartment buildings with fabulous amenities. You can find theaters, dog grooming stations, fully equipped gyms, rooftop decks, and more. With those buildings, you also find very high prices. Base rents at new buildings can be as much as $400 a month more than those at an older but renovated building.
The secret here is to find a renovated property. These buildings tend to keep the older layouts, which won’t be as open as newer construction, but the materials used in kitchens, bathrooms, and flooring are nearly identical. What you really trade off here is in community features. Many older buildings simply don’t have the space to offer the amenities that larger buildings do. When you are staying for only a few months, however, these amenities may not be a deal breaker for you.
Ask About Parking Costs
Most travel nurses we work with bring their cars. Parking is a hugely variable cost depending on where you are in the city. The buildings we work with have parking costs that range from $125-$300/month. At some point, it becomes cheaper to rent a Car2Go on the weekends and use a ride-sharing app to get around during the week than to park your car, particularly if you are also paying for parking while at work.
Smart travel nurses will ask for the specific parking costs when considering a quote, and factor parking into their decision.
Keep these 3 tips in mind, and you’ll be able to find the perfect place without breaking the bank!