Moving To Seattle, WA – What To Know And How To Get Your Bearings
When you’re moving to Seattle or any new city, it can be hard to get an understanding for what to look for and what the different neighborhoods and suburbs are like, so that you can decide where you want to live.
For some people, the commute is the most important thing. For others, it is the school district, jogging trails and parks, or just how much space they will have in the home.
I work with new buyers who are moving to Seattle, WA and want to know the basics as they begin to research their relocation to the Puget Sound.
One important thing to know is that the whole region has kind of blended together into “the greater Seattle area.” Basically, anywhere within an hour commute of Seattle’s downtown will put you in an urban (or suburban area) with people commuting into the city for work. Because we have so much water around us, land is at a premium, and most of the traffic gets shunted onto the I-5 and 405 Freeways.
Take a look at some of these tips I’ve compiled for other clients moving to Seattle, WA and let me know at the bottom what questions I can answer for you!
What Is The Commute Like Into Seattle, WA?
I created this radius map to illustrate drive times to get into Seattle at 8:30 AM on a Monday morning… as you can see, you have a lot of options. Pierce County, by Tacoma has been experiencing more appreciation lately.
Getting your bearings on a new area can be a bit tricky…
a) BELLEVUE: Typically the EAST SIDE of Lake Washington (by Bellevue) is going to be generally more expensive.
b) SEATTLE: The city of Seattle has typically been very pricy as well, but we’ve seen a little softening of the market there in the past year as people are going out to the suburbs for more space and affordability.
c) TACOMA: Is not that close to downtown Seattle. It’s a pretty long drive (45 minutes) even in decent traffic. However, there is a commuter train that goes between Seattle and Tacoma that you could investigate. Tacoma has a decent downtown city/history of its own and Lewis-McCord Joint Army Base which accounts for a lot of traffic when shifts change at the base.
d) EVERETT: Everett has a naval station and is on the water as well. The downtown is a little decrepit, but there are some good deals on houses here. Earlier this year we had a historic home in this area sell for $400K. There are also newer suburban areas surrounding the “downtown” area, and they are rebuilding the waterfront to make this nicer. It has kind of a small/old feel in the downtown. This is sort of the last “city” and then you get into Marysville which feels more like a small farm town, and West of Marysville is an Indian Reservation which takes a lot of land by the coast.
e) ISSAQUAH: East of Bellevue – lots of new construction going on here, this is a growing area, and the “last stop” before you get to the Cascade Mountains to the East.
2) Pricing – Here’s a handy (ads-free) mortgage calculator you can take a look at to get an idea for what your monthly payment will be.
Remember, this mortgage calcualtor only tells you about your loan costs. You’ll have to add property taxes and insurance onto this to calculate your true monthly payment (plus the Home Owner’s Association if you’ll be in a condo).
Can You Find Affordable Housing When Moving To Seattle, WA?
In the sub-$250K price range, you’re going to find mostly mobile homes and condos. Getting one with a garage will be the trick. Also, note that condos often have about $300/month HOA+/- to account for, and mobile homes in a park will have a lot rent fee associated ($600-800/month). Single family homes start at about $400K+, depending on the area.
Let me know what you’re looking for in the form below, and I’ll send you some properties to take a look at so you can kind of learn the market, and I can go out and film neighborhoods or houses when you get closer, to build an idea for what the neighborhoods are like.
Talk to you soon!
Even if you’re a ways out from being ready to buy, it’s good to do your homework in advance of moving to Seattle, WA. It’s good to get your bearings at a MACRO level to understand neighborhoods, locations and price points…
Let me know how I can help, and I will continue to follow up and answer questions as we get closer…