For those of our Team Reba readers who are looking into real estate property investment purchases, there are a couple of really great resources to get to know locally in the Greater Seattle and Bellevue metro area. Dupre + Scott has been following apartment ownership and rental trends for many, many years and has probably the best reputation of anyone locally for knowing what's impacting the Puget Sound region. Each year they speak to many of the local apartment and other multifamily property owners to survey what's going on with rents, vacancy, costs of maintenance and more. They also track what's getting built and what the saturation rate is for units. Lots of good info. You can access the Spring report 2011 via this link that can then give you a taste of their format and then either sign up for a free account, or as a subscriber you'll get a copy of their annual apartment survey.
Another great resource is the Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound. These folks lobby on behalf of the rights of landlords in WA State and they have a monthly newsletter full of great information that keeps abreast of changes in the various municipalities that affect property ownership for landlords. You'd be surprised how many legal issues a property investor must contend with on a monthly basis so if you're considering getting into this arena in your investment portfolio, be sure to do your homework. Several other great items they offer: Classes, lease forms, resources for needs that a landlord uses, and access to credit and background checks for prospective tenants. You'll be glad you got involved with a membership and it will help keep you out of courtrooms and hopefully also out of financial problems in the long run.