Home Buying in Renton>Question Details

Julie Sickles, Both Buyer and Seller in Ohio

Is a daily commute from Gig Harbor to Renton for work insane? Want to live in Gig Harbor but work in Renton. Any other places similiar to Gig Harbor?

Asked by Julie Sickles, Ohio Sun Jun 5, 2011

We need to be somewhat close to Renton and like everyone else we want the biggest bang for the buck, with good schools and outdoor recreation! Thanks!

Help the community by answering this question:


There is only one Gig Harbor. However, I'd need to understand what attracts you to Gig Harbor ( I love the place, by the way.). Then I'd ask, how much longer are you planning on working in Renton? I found a GREAT place (in Gig Harbor) for a couple and he is working for Boeing....plans on retiring in 2 years. They decided that she would transition her business to Gig Harbor and phase out of the King Co. area. He decided he could tolerate the commute for 2 years. This allows her to get her business level built up (in Gig Harbor) to the level she had in King Co. and them to live where they want. By the tiime he retires from Boeing she should be able to do the level of business she desires, until she is ready to retire....since she is a couple of years younger. Innovative ideas are what can make a big difference for a lot of people. I do know of some other great places to live but I'd need to know more about the life style desires you envision.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 13, 2014
It would help to know what exactly you like about Gig Harbor. If it's just the relative rural feeling, then there are a number of places that might have the same feel that would be closer to Renton (e.g. Kent, Maple Valley). If it's the feel of the downtown area, fewer places (e.g. maybe Sumner???) If it's the proximity to salt water, even fewer places (e.g Des Moines). The factor you do mention (outdoor recreation), you probably have more choices east of Puget Sound than at Gig Harbor, because you have better access ot the Cascades while having similar access to the ocean areas.

BTW, being from out of the area you might not be aware that the Tacoma Narrows bridge is a toll bridge. That fee would add up if it were part of a commute.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 5, 2011
Again, this is a 2011 question.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 13, 2014
Did you buy the house in Renton or Gig Harbor?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 12, 2014
Insane! Long commute plus bridge tolls every day. If you are looking for communities with a few there are several others depending on what you are looking for. Nina Thornsburg Zprudential Northwest
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 29, 2013
I know Gig Harbor very well. Was there this evening, again. Even see Cathy's name down here.....helped sell a place for her in Texas, via relocation..... So, currently I have two clients moving from the "Kent area" to Gig Harbor. Selling their homes here and helping them buy there. G.H. is going to see some incredible grrowth in home values in the not too distant future (in my opinion). Big business didn't build all the new stores that are in and more going in without knowing what the statistics are and what is happening. The new hospital, etc. In short, the place is ready to explode. I'm personally, currently looking, to purchase in that area. Personally, I think the the toll is great! It is effectively like the world's largest gated community!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 7, 2013
My husband works in Renton and we live in Gig Harbor...The town is awesome for living in and the schools are some of the best. My husband's been doing the commute for almost 5 yrs now with no major complaint - except that our 2002 Toyota Prius battery is going out on us finally and we'll have to think of something fast!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 2, 2013
I agree with Kary. Knowing your favorite elements of Gig Harbor would help a broker match you to similar neighborhoods. The first area for me that comes to mind is Des Moines. You are close to the water, a walkable older downtown, easy access to freeways for your commute but still a small town beachy feel.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 19, 2012
Yes, it would be!!! Unless, maybe you work non-traditonal hours, evening or something. also there are fees for the toll bridges to factor in.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 18, 2012
The worst part of that commute is probably the direction going to Renton at the Hwy 16/I-5 interchange and I-5 right after that. I'm not sure the new interchange is going to change that much, because that area can be messed up almost any time of the day.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 6, 2011
Not insane at all!
There is no where as quaint, as beautiful, as involved with the sound, the views, the water, as Gig Harbor. One of our favorite destinations.
The bridge is in, the road is 4 to 8 lane and the commute is entirely doable.
Web Reference: http://www.philipleng.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 6, 2011
Wow, you got some great answers already..there are obviously a lot of options. Wherever you are thinking of commuting from, I would recommend that you drive there early in the morning, drive from there to work & back at whatever time you would be doing this for your for at least a week & see how you feel. Good luck whatever you decide. by the way, I love Kenmore, population 20k. I live on 1.5 acres 1 mile form downtown & across the street form Swamp Creek.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 5, 2011
"Insanity" is a very personal decision. I know people commuting to Seattle from Ellensburg everyday, I couldn't do it, but to them it’s "normal." My advice is do the drive in rush hour traffic a couple times and then consider whether the trip is sane or will make you crazy.
There are good options not far away. Some neighborhoods with a Renton address are in the Issaquah School district. Maple Valley can be affordable and provide some small town feeling, decent schools, larger lot sizes (even acreage) and a reasonable commute.
Spend some time exploring alternatives, try the drive and talk to some locals who can give you a good sense of what works for them. I've attached a link to compare school districts and even individual schools, see if other districts appeal to you. Welcome back to the Northwest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 5, 2011
Hi Julie!
The commute from Gig Harbor to Renton is about 45minutes which can greatly increase depending on which route you take and how bad traffic is, I have heard it being quite a bit longer recently. Plus you have to pay tolls both ways, or the "good to go pass" is about $4! Which can take a lot out of your budget. So you have to decide if you want to pay that.
Next you need to know you budget and how much you want to spend on a home. Many areas just north of Milton would be less expensive but many would need some updating. There are some nicer areas but some more run down also, which is why it's such a deal. Would you consider living farther north?
Next you should decide if want to live on the east side or west side of I-5. There are some great north Seattle neighborhoods that are wonderful for activity but I don't know if you are interested in going north either.
I live in Edmonds. It's right on the water, definitely small town feel, the market is nice and stable here. Commute is 37mintues to renton with light traffic and no toll. The town has family oriented events like halloween when all the stores hand out candy and streets shut down and for traffic and and it's like a party. They have the Taste of Edmonds which is like the Bite of Seattle with a much smaller crowd. There are farmer's markets on the weekends and I love it here. There is also Richmond Beach area, Shoreline also check out the schools, I really love the Edmond's schools which is why we live here. But many aren't bad either. Another great town that is really up and comming is Ballard it's still north of Seattle but has a great small town feel , also waterfront, and I hear their schools are good too. If you want to live a little distance from west side, then on the east side you could consider Kirkland which has a great friendly feel, I think it supports a very active lifestyle and much of the market is stable as well. It is east side and on the water also.
I could keep going as there are so many choices.
Find a website that you like and that can give you information on the school districts in areas you are considering, then find a professional that can help you find a get the most house for your money. I like the reports my website gives for crime and schools, but definitely find one that works for you!
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 5, 2011
p.s. I find Kirkland very laid back and Kirklandnd the RE market there is quite stable and good for buyers right now.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 5, 2011
Good question. I personally think its a bear of a commute and wouldn't do it. But then again I get cranky driving from one end of town to the other! If you love Gig Harbor for its proximity to the water and city, the marina, and woodsy/neighborhoody feel, then you may want to look at Kirkland. I live and work there and I would say that the quality of life is great, it's a tight knit community, and you get the feel of a "water" town because it's literally on Lake WA. But one of the best features is that if you work in Renton, your going against traffic and I would say you'd have a 20m commute vs. an 1h20m+ commute.
Hope this helps,
Jennifer Nilssen
TEC Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 5, 2011
Hi guys thank you for answering my question. I love Gig Harbor because it seems to have the whole package. Close to the water, lots of trees left standing and quaint downtown area. I'm originally from Arington area and have visited Gig harbor, but not too familiar with the rest of greater South Sound area. Bellevue seems a little uppety for me, but I would consider living there if that market is more stable.
Feel free to keep the answers coming!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 5, 2011
Good morning Julie!

Let me be the first to welcome you to Washington ! I moved here from Connecticut 27 years ago and it has been a wonderful place to raise children, live & work. What is is about Gig Harbor that you are drawn too? The water, the boating community, the size? Knowing the answer will help me to better serve your needs. As for the best schools - Bellevue & Issaquah are the best school districts in the state. Both towns border Renton with Issaquah providing the most opportunity & accessability for recreation activities with a small quaint downtown area similar to Gig Harbor. I'd be happy to provide you with listings of homes for sale in both Bellevue and Issaquah if you'd like to provide me with a little more information about the type of home you'd like to live in and your price range.
You can email me directly at suelunsford@windermere.com, I look forward to your reply.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 5, 2011
I live in San Diego and would like to relocate to a more *rural* existence in the PNW. I work form home so traffic isn't a huge issue for me, but my husband may or may not still be working when we chose to move, or start his own business (again) there. What parts of Gig Harbor are the best for rural-ness....2+ acre properties zoned for horses?
Flag Sun Aug 31, 2014
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