... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

The Power of ZERO

I placed an ad in my usual hotspots- Craigslist, Zillow and Trulia for a two bedroom apartment and I received over 500 calls.  I’m not exaggerating.  My voicemail was full, and my phone rang non stop.  Why had my skills of artistically selling my available units  resonated so powerfully, I pondered?  I re-read my post, before I anticipated the myriad of phone calls to return. The unit, a spacious 2 bedroom was in the great walking score of Columbia City neighborhood and near the Lite Rail.  It boasted new granite counter tops, wood floors, the exterior was under complete renovation with new paint, new windows, private balcony, new elevator and access to parks, shops, restaurants and night-life all for $195!  WAIT read again $195 – the power of zero – no I shrieked its $1950!!!

I immediately corrected the error and as I got through the myriad of phone calls and texts, I had the most engaging call with residents seeking affordable housing.  I talked to young men in the military, families waiting on the Section 8 waitlist (which is as long as 10 years), and new transplants to the area.  I talked to people who are driving Uber all night and working all day to make ends meet.  I even had several calls from residents looking to rent and then sublet to Air B n B.

There is without a doubt a very critical homeless problem in Seattle.  As I travel frequently, it has become more alarming to look at the families living under freeways, parks, and without shelter.  A local news segment in Seattle caught my attention a few weeks ago.  Local citizens are using homeless camps as a dumping ground for items they no longer desire.  SHAME on anyone who would stoop this low.  Who do you think is going to remove your old couch, television, and trash?  Rather than sticking the  plight on the homeless, I suggest organizing a neighborhood and homeless camp cleanups~

I hire Junk B Gone Hauling Services  to remove abandoned furnishings weekly, whether they are on my property or public.   Call Booker 206 722-4285

In an attempt to bridge the divide, I will share some insights which are common sense, but then again, we can always use reminders.

As landlords, we face a lot of criticism with the escalating costs of rental housing.  I can attest, as landlords, we do a lot of deficit spending.  Because my family has been at this for so long,  we run a near zero vacancy factor, because we keep rents below market and honor long term residents.  From the landlords perspective, please take a moment and look at these two photos:

  This is the exact unit after a hoarder moved out and we renovated.

As a life-long landlady, here are some of my tips for potential residents and to help keep costs down.

You only get one chance to make a good impression.  Applying for an apartment is like interviewing for a job.  As Mr. Rogers said, “Won’t you be my neighbor?’

  • If your car is a moving trash can, clean it up- no one wants Sesame Street Oscar as neighbor!
  • Maintain timely rental payments.  Find responsible room mates – you don’t want your credit affected by a deadbeat co-habitant.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “But I paid my half.”  We don’t rent rooms.  If you split a meal at a restaurant, you can’t pay for 50% of the steak!
  • Clean up after yourself.  If you smoke outside, the cigarette fairy is not coming to dispose of your habit.   This is definitely not the most glamourous part of my job:(
  • Report plumbing leaks, and problems as they occur.  If there is a no dog policy- don’t try to sneak in a visiting pooch!
  • Don’t leave broken down cars on the lot.

Trust me your landlord notices.  And when you go to make that move, your references and history will speak for itself.