Rent Out Your Seattle Home Like a Pro in 2024

Written By Sparsh Mehta

Last Updated May 1, 2024

An image of the Seattle city skyline, with a view of houses and condos in the foreground. Learn more about where to invest in Seattle real estate.

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Life in Washington State is a desirable one. And with a diverse cultural scene, spectacular national parks, and big employers across healthcare, tech and retail — Seattle and its surrounds has plenty of demand for rentals. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy place to make a quick buck either. A high cost of entry, hot competition, and economic uncertainty mean you need a smart, long-term strategy to realize financial goals from a rental home. 

In this article, we dive into 8 tips for achieving rental success in Seattle and beyond.

8 ways to optimize your rental home in Washington state

1. Create a long-term rental strategy to achieve financial goals 

Seattle is one of the most expensive cities in the US, but also a city where patience is greatly rewarded. Having a smart rental management strategy in place and holding property can help you achieve your financial goals comfortably. 

According to data from NeighborhoodScout, Seattle real estate appreciated by 98% between 2013 - 2023. Even with prices cooling post-pandemic, long-term homeowners are well and truly ahead. 

Spokane is another area in Washington that has done exceptionally well. With more renters chasing affordable housing and space to work remotely, Spokane property appreciated by 146.46% in the same period. The last five years alone saw appreciation grow by 64%, or an average of 10.41% per year. 

When considering your financial goals for a rental home in Washington State or Seattle, it’s worth thinking long-term. Exiting the market quickly may not see the same returns due to the high entry costs. 

2. Lock in predictable, consistent rent 

A long-term renting strategy is easier if you can predict your returns over time. A per-night rate as a short-term rental may be enticing, but this also comes with a lot of headaches and uncertainty. 

Seattle in particular has strict limitations, licensing and fees for short-term rentals that don’t apply to the long-term rental market. Washington state lawmakers are also considering an additional 10% tax on STRs, creating further uncertainty around income. 

There are far-reaching benefits for both homeowners and the wider community when you opt to rent out a home on a long term basis. Belong wants to give confidence to homeowners in choosing this option by offering predictable, guaranteed rent. With Belong, you’ll get paid your rental income like clockwork, regardless of when residents pay.

Read More: How Guaranteed Rent is Changing Property Management Forever

3. Stay informed on local tenant-landlord laws and bills

Washington is full of local ordinances, so laws and eviction rules vary between cities. This can make compliance a bit of a minefield if you don’t have your finger on the pulse! Cities including Seattle, Tecoma, and Bellingham have all passed strong renter protections and eviction laws that differ from the rest of the state. The City of Olympia passed new tenant protections as recently as March 2024. 

Homeowners should also watch bills on the horizon such as House Bill 2114. This seeks to limit rent increases in the state to 7% per year (but has a way to go before it becomes law).

Belong makes compliance simple. We’ll help you meet financial goals while also providing unparalleled service to your residents. This goes beyond staying on the right side of the law, with 24/7 human support. And if things take a turn, Belong homeowners are protected with $15,000 of eviction coverage

Read More: 5 New Laws Washington State Landlords Should Be Prepared For in 2024

A photo of the Washington state mountain area

The Washington and Seattle real estate market is very seasonal. While the pandemic era chaos saw rents surge, seasonality is returning with peaks and troughs. Understanding demand trends for your pocket of Washington is essential to setting competitive rent and securing long-term residents at the right price. 

Take a look at Zillow’s median rental price for single-family homes in Seattle. The graph below illustrates a steep curve that peaks between June and September before dropping right off in December-January. 

A Zillow graph showing a seasonal trend of higher rents in summer vs winter in Seattle and Washington

Belong data shows similar trends, with prices peaking in the warmer months every year across Washington state. 

Read More: How To Achieve The Best Rent By Listing In Summer

A women and her pet-dog, a common household setup for Seattle

5. Consider making your home a pet-friendly rental

Washington state has a very high pet ownership rate — there’s over 42,000 pet licenses registered in Seattle alone (more pets than kids!). 

The trend towards remote and hybrid work has also seen an increase in pet adoption. If you’re looking for ways to increase the appeal (and price) of your home, it’s safe to say that pet-friendly rentals have a competitive advantage in Washington. With proper screening and allowable pet fees, this could be a simple way to expand your applicant pool. 

6. Market your home, neighborhood and amenities

Washington state is home to incredible national parks, cultural icons, industry titans, and many top-rated school districts. Owning a rental home within walking distance of any of these pull-factors will have an impact on the return and income you can expect. 

Be sure to include these factors when marketing your rental home — and when creating a pricing strategy. If you’re struggling, Belong can help by using a clever combination of technology, real-time demand and human smarts to set the best price that will attract long-term residents to your home. 

7. Invest in and protect your asset

A rental home isn’t a reliable source of income when it’s vacant. One way to ensure your rental home remains a successful asset in a state like Washington is to invest in proper maintenance and have the right insurance coverage. 

Budgeting for maintenance and insurance is a short-term expense that can pay off long-term. It’s cheaper than having to make major repairs or go through a period where the home can’t be lived in, especially in the case of a fire or natural disaster

This is why Belong has built an incredible vendor network of over 10,000 vetted contractors across the country. Homeowners can make instant requests and set up subscriptions for regular maintenance on your rental home — even purchase rental home insurance. And to avoid any dents in your cash flow Belong offers flexible payment options for these services. 

Read More: Why Ignoring Rental Home Maintenance Could Cost You More Than Repairs

A smart home device in a rental apartment

8. Consider smart home or sustainability upgrades to your rental

People love Washington because of its diverse geology — and they want to keep it that way. Seattle and Washington residents tend to be environmentally conscious, so investing in cost-efficient sustainability upgrades with lower running costs could attract more applicants and potentially justify higher rent. 

And with tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon calling Seattle home, simple smart-home upgrades are likely to be appreciated by professionals looking for a place to rent. 

Achieve financial freedom with real estate in Washington

If you’re looking for stability in your rental experience, Belong has you covered. We’re making rental finances predictable by offering stable, guaranteed rent. We’re providing flexible payment options to keep your cash flow steady. And we’re doing it while providing a better way of living for the millions of Americans who rent. 

Working together, we can put people first and change what it means to rent a home in Seattle and greater Washington. Belong can help you reach your financial goals, while also creating lasting, positive impact on innumerable lives for decades to come.

Interested in learning more about Belong in Washington state? Check out one of our local pages below:

Disclaimer: We don’t enjoy using the word ‘landlord’. We prefer to refer to members in our network as homeowners and residents, since we’re on a mission to upend and redefine the traditional landlord-tenant relationship. That said, this article is for homeowners either taking the rental leap for the first time or looking for answers with more common industry terms, which is why we have included them. This article is an overview of tech trends and is not an endorsement of any of the companies mentioned. 

About the author

Sparsh Mehta

Head of Marketing

I grow new markets and bring our industry-changing experience to homeowners and residents around the country. Lover of the Outdoors, Scuba Diving, Skiing, Hiking, Live Music, and all things Technology.