You are smart to do your research early, Cindy & I specialize in working with re-location clients and often they are blind sided by the many great neighborhood choices available in the Seattle area, within the commute time you mention of 20 to 30 minutes.
There are a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself to help narrow down your choices. Are schools a primary factor? Rank your commute time against your need for great schools or other interests. Are you an avid Skier? Profiling your interests and determining what is most important to you is key, as others hinted at.
In the meantime visit this site and search the map. http://www.seattleshomesearch.com/
for home prices, commute times, quality of schools and movers.
Now, lets get real about that commute time.
During the rush hours of 7 am to 9:30 am traffic on the I-5 and I- 405 freeways, both north and south, can be trying.
East and west on the I-90 ( the area Cindy & I specalize in) is a bit more commuter friendly, unless you are riding alone in your car, in which case it isnâ€™t much better than the I-5 commute. I shoud interject here that bus service east and west is very good and there is bus and train service north and south.
The 520 freeway north of the I90 and near Redmond, running east and west is pretty bad at commute time and new construction of the 520 bridge is on its way in the next 24 months, so it will get worse before it gets better.
For more insider scoops drop me a line at RichHamman@remax.net