Home Buying in Seattle>Question Details

Boston-to-se…, Home Buyer in Seattle, WA

We are moving from Boston to Seattle to work at UW. Top concerns: good public schools and easy commute. $500k or up. Queen Ann or somewhere else? Thx.

Asked by Boston-to-seattle, Seattle, WA Fri Oct 7, 2011

We are also looking into renting a house in Queen Ann or Laurehurst for a while. Any other areas should we consider? We have two kids (2nd grade and K). Close proximity to an excellent elementary school will be important to us.

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27
Here is a good link to compare schools. You can select up to 4 schools and compare side by side the class size and test scores as well as review neighborhood stats.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 5, 2012
Consider Queen Anne, Magnolia, Madison Park, Leschi, Laurelhurst but don't discount other in city neighborhoods. You'll want to do some research to find your target schools and then identify what style and size of home you'd be comfortable in. If you're working at the UW I'd say stick to homes that are on the Seattle side of Lake Washington, you'll be glad you did when you start commuting. But if you're commuting by bus, go ahead and look across the lake, but try and stay near the 520 corridor so that you can hop off the bus near the UW medical center. I still think it's a better idea to stay in Seattle.

I know some will disagree with me--I can't for the life of me figure out why some of these agents keep trying to get people who've never lived here to buy in other cities when they're working in Seattle, but whatever. Woodinville? No. Are you agents on crack? Try driving to woodinville from the UW at 4:30 pm and then tell me if it's a good idea. Even 20 minutes a day saved adds up.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 4, 2011
I"ve been a Queen Anne resident for over 20 years and my in laws haved lived near the UW for over 30 years (they both work there). They have lived in the Windermere, Laurelhurst and Matthew's Beach neighborhoods. My inlaws really liked all 3 of their neighborhoods and have commuted to the UW by bike for years. While we have very much enjoyed QA, especially the great restaurants, grocery stores, parks and the ability to walk everywhere, it is getting a little over developed (single family homes being turned into condo buildings/townhomes and quaint craftsman homes replaced by ugly modern boxes) and congested. The public elementary schools are great, but the middle school is really lacking. And Ballard high (the closest high school option) doesn't compare to those on Mercer Island or in the Lake Washington School District.

If you want the best schools, consider Mercer Island or Bellevue or somewhere in the Lake Washington School District (Woodinville, Redmond, Bothell, etc.). If you don't mind slightly inferior schools, then and want to live in a more urban, liberal area, than choose Matthew's Beach, Wegewood, Laurelhurst, or the Bryant neighborhoods--they have the best schools in the Seattle area. You will also have the shortest commute from there and could even commute safely by bike via the Burke Gilman trail. If you are OK with living in the suburbs and don't mind a modest commute, I think your best bet would be Woodinville or Redmond. You can get a gorgeous (if you are OK with newer rather than quaint older homes) 3000 sq. ft house on 1/2-1 acre lots (big yard) in a great school district for under $700,000. You would barely be able to get a decent 2000 sq. ft house on a 4000sq. ft lot for that price on QA. It really comes down to what kind of area you want to live in (urban vs. suburban), what style of home you like (older vs. newer), what your definition of short commute is, and how big of a house and lot you want.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 2, 2011
Hi Boston to Seattle,

You will enjoy Seattle. It has a very similar ambiance to Boston, but without as high a percentage of college students and with a West Coast flair.

The neighborhoods you and the other agents have mentioned are great. Something to consider about the Seattle schools is that the quality varies by school. You will want to choose homes that are well inside the boundaries of a particular school in case the boundaries change.

An option available to you is just over the 520 bridge in West Bellevue or Kirland. Those schools are Bellevue and Lake Washington school district, respectively, and have outstanding reputations. Your commute can be 10 minutes to 30 minutes depending upon the time of day you travel.

I have family in both areas, so am speaking from personal experience.

If you would like statistics comparing the schools, go to http://www.karenmckniight.com and click on About the Area / Area Links. You will find web sites for each school district and the Washington state website that posts all Washington state school test scores.


There is also a link to Seattle area towns which is very informative. I can "snail" mail you a free book about the greater Seattle area which describes neighborhoods and great amenities in each area. Let me know if you would like me to send that to you.

Warm Regards,
Karen
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 19, 2011
I can't recommend Queen Anne enough! QA may have caught your eye first for a reason. I live in Queen Anne and my children attend the public schools in the neighborhood. The shools are great, close proximity to downtown, water, parks, shopping, views. I jog at night with very little trepidation. Overall great place to live!


Jason Roach
Ewing & Clark, Inc.
206-695-4831
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 8, 2011
Welcome to Seattle! NE Seattle is a great location for working at the UW, and it boasts many of the best schools in Seattle. It is comprised of the following neighborhoods: Ravenna, Bryant, Hawthorne Hills, Laurelhurst, View Ridge, Wedgwood, and Maple Leaf. Then just to the west is Wallingford, and just to the south is Montlake. There are definitely options in your price range in these neighborhoods; however the type of home for the money really does vary among them.

Queen Anne does have great schools as well. You can expect your commute time to the UW to be twice that of NE Seattle, and homes in your price range to be more limited
.
The following websites are good resources for exploring Seattle schools:

http://www.seattleschools.org
http://www.greatschools.org/washington/

For information on Parks and Recreation a good source is:

http://www.seattle.gov/parks

In addition, Seattle’s premier shopping center “University Village” is located in NE Seattle. You can check it out at:

http://www.uvillage.com/

I worked in the heart of the University District for over 25 years and chose to live in Wedgwood over 20 years ago. I really enjoy the peaceful neighborhood feel, the great access to many amenities, and yet only 10 minutes away from the heart of downtown! Please do not hesitate to contact me with any further questions you may have.

Wishing you the best with your move to the Pacific Northwest.


206-501-9591
dontaufen@windermere.com
http://www.DonTaufen.myWindermere.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 8, 2011
First off welcome to Seattle! Most of the agents are right on with the NE area. I think you should talk with some agents to see if you make a connection with one. Depending on what size of home you are looking for you may not even need to go up to 500k. In some of the surrounding areas like Wedgwood and Maple Leaf are very budget friendly.

If you have any questions about moving to Seattle please feel free to contact me.
Saviya Rowland
saviyarowland@cbbain.com
206-334-8348
Coldwell Banker Bain
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
@Bonnie,
I misread the question as up to $500k, your are correct between $500k and $750k there are currently 19 active listings. As in MI grad, class of 78 this would be a great option with a reasonable commute for Boston-to-Seattle to consider.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
Hi Dan, you would be surprised at the affordability of Mercer Island. The recent median price on Mercer Island hovers between 780-800K. Boston-to-Seattle, you would be pleasantly pleased to find many options between 500-700K. This is a myth I am pleased to dispel! Many families move to Mercer Island because of the schools, and central location to both Seattle and Bellevue.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
Boston,
Welcome to the NW. You'll find Seattle a welcoming place. You've heard from lots of in-city agents; let me speak for the burbs. From the eastside you can get downtown in 30-45 minutes in traffic, less in off hours.
Mercer Island has great schools, but will be hard to fit into your budget. Bellevue will give you lots of options in that price range with some good schools and some great ones. Kirkland and Redmond (Lake Washington School District) and Issaquah to the East, (Issaquah School District) have award winning schools and reasonable commutes.
If in city is what you want, you have lots of options, if you want a more suburban to even rural option, look east.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
The real question is how far "up" is "up."
A lot of employees like to bicycle to the University; trying to get back to Queen Anne or Magnolia at the end of the day is a leg burner. so that is one of the Ups.
Generally speaking the transit service is faster if you go north and south in the city so looking in the Ravenna, Bryant, Roosevelt, Sandpoint, View Ridge, Inverness, Wedgwood, Green Lake and Maple Leaf is faster than Ballard or Greenwood. The challenge is that these neighborhoods very quickly rise in value to $600-800 K for a family of 4-5 with a back yard and easy access to the U. Laurelhurst, Windermere, Queen Anne and Magnolia will short of start at $600 K and easily work into $1 M.
The link that I'm going to provide is to Great Schools.com. If you buy at the lower range, you should be able to afford some of the private school options.
I've lived in the U district for over 40 years and raised a son in the process. Most of my neighbors are associated with the U in one way or another. If you are looking for someone with experience in this neighborhood I would love to interview with you. Thank you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
I have a lot of buyers looking in Bothell because of the Northshore school district. Besides that Lake Washington school district is really good. For the Seattle area you will really want to do your research. Some schools might be good for music, others may be good for sports, and others may be good for math.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
Any part of Seattle, east of I-5 and north of Portage Bay will be an easy commute. It's easy to go north-south in Seattle; east-west is a little trickier, but people live west of I-5 to work or attend the U and seem pretty good with that!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
My son (5th grade) swears by Catharine Blaine K-8 on Magnolia although any school in the QA--Magnolia area is excellent. It's fifteen minutes to the UW (my broker is in University Village so I'm quite familiar with it) and downtown is ten minutes away.
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
These are all great answers but I think you'd be wise to find an agent and discuss in detail what you're looking for. At best the answers you'll get here will be generic, based on very little info about you, resulting in a few answers that may not be great options for your specific situation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
Shoreline may be a good choice too. Great schools, well funded, no book my three kids all have I pad or I books provided from the schools. http://www.shorelineschools.org. Home Prices 400-850k, 4+bed- 2.5+ bath, 2500-4000sf homes, 7200-15000sf lots, low property taxes compare to Seattle, great shops like Costco and Home Depot, newer or new homes with Sound and Olympic views in Richmond Beach,WA Lake views in Lake Forest Park. As far as commute top 15-30 min at UW. Great parks and Super Safe for kids and properties.

Oltion Hyseni
RE/MAX METRO REALTY INC
Managing Broker
WSHFC Certified Instructor
Cell:206-229-9893
E-mail: oltionhyseni@remax.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
Shoreline may be a good choice too. Great schools, well funded, no book my three kids all have I pad or I books provided from the schools. http://www.shorelineschools.org. Home Prices 400-850k, 4+bed- 2.5+ bath, 2500-4000sf homes, 7200-15000sf lots, low property taxes compare to Seattle, great shops like Costco and Home Depot, newer or new homes with Sound and Olympic views in Richmond Beach,WA Lake views in Lake Forest Park. As far as commute top 15-30 min at UW. Great parks and Super Safe for kids and properties.

Oltion Hyseni
RE/MAX METRO REALTY INC
Managing Broker
WSHFC Certified Instructor
Cell:206-229-9893
E-mail: oltionhyseni@remax.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
You might stretch out the commute and check out Lake Forest Park, just across the north border of Seattle. Excellent schools, nice neighborhoods.

I lived in Brookline just west of Boston for 4 years for college and the rest of my life here. Lake Forest Park is that nice neighborhood just across the border.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
I love all of these areas and have lived in these areas also. So if you have specific concerns I would be happy to give you insight about where I would live with my kids. I would not choose all of these areas but I think Wallingford, Ravenna and Greenlake, and North Queen Anne are amazing to live in. Perhaps I would start with choosing a school and then a great home can be found in your school district of choice. Are you working with an agent over here? If you have an agent in Boston that you know and trust then perhaps they can refer you to their Seattle office via their Relocation department.

I believe choosing a good school is a great first place to start in narrowing where you'd like to live. So I would also like to suggest that you check out this site http://www.greatschools.org/washington/ as it gives an enormous amount of information to help you choose which school district you like the best. It's hard to put your kids in a school at the advice of other people, I know how you feel as I have a 3rd grader and a 3 year old myself.

I have worked with many families who have or are in the process of relocating to the Seattle area for new jobs, if you have any needs or further questions I would be happy to help!

Great Luck in your relocation!

Shilo D. Conn
Realtor
CENTURY 21 North Homes Realty, Inc.
206.660.4277

http://www.RealEstateGetsYouHome.com
Join my FB group "365 Things To Do in Washington State!!!"
Find me on Twitter @RealEstateShy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
Good ideas, Christy. Also, http://walkscore.com is a good resource if you want to know the walkability of a certain location. Just a short drive away is the community (and city) of Mercer Island, which, according to a recent Forbes magazine, Mercer Island School District is on the list of the top public school districts nationwide. I am very familiar with the Mercer Island School District if you would like a parent perspective.
Web Reference: http://bonniebeddall.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
I would also recommend N. Ballard area, North Beach, Sunset Hill, Olympic View & Blue Ridge. Below is an article about an elementary school in the area that just won national honors!

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/education/2016215285_l…

How long of a rental are you looking for? I currently have a short term rental available on Queen Anne, 5-6 months available. If I can be of any assistance please feel free to contact our team.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
Hi there,


For the best and easiest commute, Dave and Bonnie are right. Some of these areas DO represent more safe and affluent areas. How old are your children?


For your convenience, here is a map of Seattle:

http://yourseattleproperties.com/map-of-seattle/


As you know information changes all the time, so here are some great websites that you can use to evaluate and learn about the schools.

http://www.schooldigger.com/go/WA/search.aspx

http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?year=2010-11

http://www.greatschools.org/


Feel free to contact me for more information!

Sincerely,

Christy Kim
Real Estate Broker/Investment Properties Specialist
Certified Short Sale Negotiator
eXp Realty, LLC
206.235.3427 (Mobile)
888.317.5197 ext. 120 (Toll-free)
christy.kim@seattlepowersearch.com

Web Reference: http://www.yourseattleproperties.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
When we moved here we made our choices based on schooling for our kids. I like this website, http://www.k12.wa.us/ You may want to start by clicking on the "report card" link on the middle right of that page.

We used a very similar website to learn about how the districts and individual schools compared when we moved here and we couldn't have been happier with our choices. It as a good place to start for us.

Chris
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
Good call Jeff! Also - the Montlake area, just south of UW offers easy commute, beautiful parks, shops restaurants, and good public and private schools
Web Reference: http://bonniebeddall.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
In addition to Dave and Bonnie I would add Capitol Hill - Stevens elementary is well respected. Easy access to the U as well.
Web Reference: http://www.JeffPrescott.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
I would also add to Dave Skow's list: the Ravenna area. I just represented a buyer in the purchase of a beautiful home there in a great neighborhood with great schools, off of 16th Ave NE, south of 65th.
Web Reference: http://bonniebeddall.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
likely best bet will be to stay in NE quadrant ( wedgewood, bryant , wallingford , laurelhurst , view ridge ) ...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 7, 2011
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