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When you move to Spokane, you may have to rent for a few months until you get a house. There are a lot of good reasons to rent in Spokane versus buying right away, including:
- Getting to know Spokane neighborhoods/the city
- Getting financing from a lender for your mortgage
- Not wanting to deal with home maintenance/shoveling your sidewalk after a big snowstorm
However, if you’ve tried to find suitable places to rent in Spokane, you’ll quickly realize it’s really difficult! Until you move here, you won’t realize that some nice places to rent don’t have an online presence at all – it’s word of mouth, and you find out through friends.
Or you find out about places to rent from Facebook groups, but you can’t be a part of those groups until you live in Spokane. And before that – you’ll need a place to live!
The rental market moves fast in Spokane. Places that were open a day ago are being rented very quickly. However, these tips will help you find a decent place to live at least for a few months until you figure out what you want and where you want to live in Spokane.
First, Figure Out What You Need
Everybody has something that’s a non-negotiable. For some people, that’s having a place to park. For others, it’s being able to bring their pets. What’s a non-negotiable for you? Consider things like:
- A pet-friendly apartment
- Garage and/or parking space
- A yard or balcony
- Close to downtown or other entertainment
- Washer and dryer in-unit
- Amenities like a gym or pool
If you want everything listed above, prepare to pay for it! In most cases, you’ll want to rank your non-negotiable list. What’s your #1 must have? What’s #2? And what are things you could live without temporarily?
For us, having a pet-friendly place with an in-unit washer and dryer was key. We’ve used laundromats before, and I wasn’t up for using them again… in the snow.
What’s one thing all Spokanites should have? A snow shovel! It’s an absolute must for winter in Spokane.
People with larger homes/more area to shovel might get a snow blower, but if it’s your first winter or you have a smaller area to clear, consider a cheaper snow shovel first.
Next, Determine Your Budget
Your budget will have a tremendous impact on what you can afford. As of 2023, it’s rare to find an apartment in central Spokane that’s less than $1,500 (yes, even for a one bedroom!) You may be able to find a cheaper, smaller place by searching Facebook groups, but I wouldn’t advise renting from a Facebook posting until you’ve moved to Spokane and can check it out yourself.
Some apartments offer residential parking permits for street parking to their residents, and some residents have found ways to park farther away to get free parking. But not every apartment complex offers this, and you’ll probably pay extra for that convenience.
Two more important things to have when you move to Spokane – a snow brush and ice scraper combo, plus a winter emergency kit for your car! These are particularly helpful to have if you’ve never lived in snow before.
The more you go outside of downtown Spokane, the less you’ll pay. You’ll also get more amenities, in most cases.
Just be aware of all the extras. Be sure to ask questions about:
- Utilities (most of the time, they won’t be included)
- Water, sewer, etc. (in some apartment complexes, these will be included)
- Maintenance (apartments should cover this, but if you rent a home, this might not be covered)
- Extra fees for pets
- Extra fees for parking
Finally, expect to spend your monthly rental cost x 2 for deposits. Many apartment complexes and homes are asking for first and last month’s deposit, and plus maintenance or redecorating fees, pet fees, and more up front.
Time to Search!
If you’re looking for an apartment, duplex, or home to rent in Spokane, you have a few options.
This is probably the first way many out-of-towners search for places to rent. It’s how we found our apartment! It’s best suited for people looking for apartments, as homes for rent (particularly if they are under $1,200 in Spokane) are going quickly in this market.
If you’re willing to live farther out from Spokane, like Spokane Valley, Cheney, Liberty Lake, etc., you’ll have more luck finding more homes at better prices.
Be very, very careful when you’re inquiring about homes you find online, particularly on free sites like Craigslist. Unfortunately, some people are trying to scam new transplants out of deposit money by putting up a “house for rent”, charging a deposit, and then disappearing. You can check out this article on Zillow for how to avoid getting scammed.
Option 2: Property Management Companies
If you’re planning on renting for a longer period of time (a year or more), you may want to work with a property management company. This is a good option if you want a home – something with a yard, place to park, washer and dryer, etc.
While some apartments will have all of those amenities, in most cases you’re better off renting a home, particularly if you need more than 2 bedrooms. From what we’ve found, you can rent a home with more bedrooms and a yard for the same price that you can rent a one- or two-bedroom apartment in Spokane for.
Two property management companies that were recommend to us (thank you, Reddit Spokane!) include:
A Note About Pets
Landlords are very strict here in Spokane about pets – most apartments and homes have “breed restrictions” on many common dogs, and many apartments/rental homes say “no pets” at all.
You can always ask the property manager if you can pay extra to bring your pet (bonus if you have documentation that your dog is trained, your pet is up to date on vaccinations, etc.), but do expect to be either told “no” or to pay an exorbitant amount to have your pet.
In this current market, expect to pay an extra $250-500 deposit per pet and an additional monthly pet fee.
The market in Spokane is hot right now for homes, particularly if they’ve been updated and are under $300,000. If you’ve been approved for a home loan and are looking to buy in Spokane, your best option is to work with a local Spokane realtor to find something in a good neighborhood in your price range.
Luckily, there are still quite a few neighborhoods in Spokane that are affordable and in good shape. If you’re willing to put in a little sweat equity, too, you could save even more on the price.
If you’re only staying somewhere for a short period of time, you could check out temporary accommodations like VRBO or hotels. We stayed in a La Quinta when we first moved here and had to live in a hotel while our apartment was “cleaned.”
However, these places are very expensive for what they offer. We had a week gap between when we arrived in Spokane and when our apartment would let us move in, and when I did a price comparison, it was actually cheaper to stay in a hotel than a long term accommodation. Your results may vary, though, and we highly recommend you check out temporary accommodations like VRBO just in case a hotel won’t work for your situation.
Rental Options in Spokane
As of right now the rental market in Spokane is tight! This is particularly true if you are looking for a 2+ bedroom, have pets and don’t want to live too far outside of the city.
Currently, the city of Spokane is looking at building more affordable housing and changing zoning laws in order to build up, so we could start to see pressure relieve on options and pricing within the next year or two.
In addition, I’ve heard of a lot of more affordable places by word of mouth now that we’ve been living in Spokane for a while. The more you get to know people here, and let them know you’re looking for a better place to live, the more helpful people are. Until then, check out the recommendations listed above and head over to our Facebook page to let us know your Spokane rental story!