Many students choose to live in off-campus housing (either in an apartment or a room in a shared house) during their time at the University of Washington. Here are some online resources that current and former UW students have recommended to help you find off-campus housing:
1) FIUTS UW International Students Facebook Group: Students in this group often post about housing being offered, or seeking roommates.
2) University of Washington Housing Facebook Group: You will need a UW email address to join this Facebook group, which is a forum for current and future UW students to post available housing and discuss housing issues.
5) Students often find housing by walking around the University District neighborhood looking for the "For Rent" signs displayed on local apartments and houses. Many available rooms and apartments are not listed online, so walking around to look is a great way to find a place to live as well as to get a sense of the neighborhoods and the commute to campus.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rental Housing in Seattle:
Should I try to arrange housing before I arrive or wait until I get to Seattle?
It's up to you; some students do successfully secure housing in advance. However, many find that it's difficult to make a decision when they have not seen the place or met the landlord or roommates in person, and landlords are often hesitant to rent to students who are still overseas. Most rental housing is posted on Craigslist and other sites a few days or a couple of weeks before it's possible to move in.
Even though you might choose to wait to begin your search and send inquiries, it's a good idea get an early start researching your options. Spending some time on the sites listed above will help you to understand the different types of housing available, the neighborhoods you would prefer to live in, the typical prices, and the process for renting in the United States.
How long does it take to find rental housing?
One you begin your search, finding housing can take anywhere from a couple of days to a several weeks - it depends on your budget, your requirements, where you want to live, and the timing of your arrival. Be persistent, do some research ahead of time, and talk to other students in order to find a place more quickly!
If I'm searching online, do I need to be worried about housing scams?
Online scams do happen occasionally, so be careful! Be aware that if you start contacting potential landlords prior to arriving in Seattle, you need to use caution when making arrangements with people you do not know, and do not wire money overseas to individuals you have not met.
How much will I need to pay when I move in?
Most rentals will ask you to pay the first and last month's rent plus a security deposit when you sign the lease, so be prepared that the initial cost of renting will likely be significantly more than just one month's rent.
What will I need to have in order to begin my housing search?
You will may need a local phone right away to arrange appointments to view apartments and houses, since some landlords prefer to coordinate over phone rather than email. There are many stores close to the University where you can purchase a U.S. phone or SIM card.
You may also need a local bank account since most places will want you to pay with a check or will need proof that you have enough money in your account to pay the rent. There are many banks in the University District that have lots of experience helping international students to open accounts.
What do I do about furniture?
Though some apartments come furnished, furniture is not included in most apartment rentals and you will usually be responsible for buying your own furniture. Craigslist is a common website to find inexpensive, used furniture. Alternatively, many students also rent furniture while they are in Seattle through CORT Rental Furniture. This is often cheaper and more convenient than buying.
Where can I stay in Seattle until I find permanent housing?
Take a look at our page of temporary housing options.