Which neighborhoods in Bellevue would you recommend for us?

Asked by Ireneandmike, Bellevue, WA Mon Dec 7, 2009

Hi, we're a 30 something couple who is planning to relocate to Bellevue area next year from Los Angeles. We're looking for advice on whichneighborhoods to start our search for a single family house. We have a budget of 500 k and looking for at least a 3 bedroom with access to great schools and close to amenities like shopping, restaurants, and parks. It would be great if the neighborhood was somewhat walkable too.


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Laura D’s answer
Laura D, , Bellevue, WA
Sun Apr 4, 2010
So, you've heard the answers from all of the realtors/brokers and they may/may not be objective. We live in Bellevue, near the High School and Downtown. We are in the Enatai Elementary area-one of the nicest in town. But, a budget of only 500K won't usually do it around here. There are some good buys in Surrey Downs (between 108th AVE SE and I-405, just south of Main Street, Downtown Bellevue. You may have luck there under 500K. I would highly recommend it here, it's the best of both worlds. And no, I don't have a house for sale there. (can u tell that I am a bit bitter at the real estate professionals who persist on not telling all the truth?) So, the housing market here has not reached the bottom (IMHO), so you may want to rent of a year and see for yourself. It's a great rental market and a great time to test the waters. Clyde Hill, Medina, Enatai, Beaux Arts, Cherry Crest are all great areas-on the rich side, great schools, no crime whatsoever, but may be a bit snobby at times. Eastgate, Factoria areas have great schools, cheaper houses and more working class people, but you may run into a neighbor who insists on keeping their 4 broken down cars in their yard/driveway, etc. Not often, but it will happen. In the previous snobby neighborhoods, that would never happen. ;-) So, it depends what you want. I had those same parameters, plus the 550 bus goes from a block from our house to downtown Seattle in 20 minutes-easy commute!!! So, we ended up on 108th AVE Se, between Main Street and Bellevue Way, just on top of the hill of Surrey Downs. It took me a TON of research to get here, but after 2 years, we would not go anywhere else. I hope that helps....Keep in mind if buying: the Prime Variable mortgages are re-setting this year, which will cause a slide in home prices in the upper end of the markets (500K-1MM+), so you may want to see what happens...Most Seattle-ites are in deep denial about housing here, but coming from Califaornia, I am sure you've seen that before. We are not from here, so we've watched what the housing denial has done to the people around us. If I had to rate the buying climate here: cautious, but there are good opportunities out there for short sales/foreclosures in the upper markets. Good luck with the move. By the way. there is a park every 1/2 mile around here: nicest in the country...so no worries about that.
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godseyteresa, Home Buyer, Bellevue, WA
Wed Mar 13, 2013
I am an IT consultant and one of the things I found useful when looking for a house was close access to work as crossing the Lake Washington bridges is a time and money waster. I found that a lot of software companies including Microsoft, Ebay, TMobile, AT&T and Google are located on the Eastside and they also provide employment to a lot of contractors. If you don't have a fulltime job and will be looking for contract work your best bet again would be on the Eastside- There's a concentration of jobs around Factoria (South Bellevue), downtown Bellevue, Redmond/Bellevue/Kirkland border (close to Microsoft). You can get a sense of the companies locations on this site's directory.
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Lori Denham, , Bellevue, WA
Tue Mar 23, 2010
I would recommend some of the beautiful mid to high rise condominiums in downtown Bellevue, all within walking distance to shopping, top restaurants, grocer, movies, parks, and neighborhoods for walking, not to mention Lake Washington! One place in particular really stands out...The Continental Bellevue, located at 511 100th Ave, NE; Bellevue, WA 98004. It was rebuilt and newly opened in August of 2009, with 39 elegantly appointed homes, a fabulous roof top deck with BBQ, gas fireplace, and awesome city lights view! Many of the homes have decks, or juliette balconies, and views of the city, Mt. Rainier and The Cascade Mt. range or westerly views. With only 4 floors, and on the cusp of the upscale single family Bellevue neighborhoods, it has a homey feel, while also being just a short walk to Bell Square! It's a must see!
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Greg R Benson, , Bellevue, WA
Thu Mar 4, 2010
My favorite city is Kirkland. It's just minutes from Bellevue and the downtown area is right on Lake Washington. It has that small town feel with all you need to live. There are lots of great parks and is a favorite place for many people to walk, jog and bike. There are plenty of specialty and art shops there as well as good restaurants.
Kirkland is also a GREAT place for a family. I have a 3 yr old and my wife and I love to take her to the live music for kids on the waterfront. Check out more here http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/depart/parks/Recreation_Program…
If/when you make the trip up here I would love to give your family a tour of the area. contact me through my website.
Take care and you will love it up here.
Web Reference:  http://www.gregrbenson.com/
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Thank you for your advise. We will consider Kirkland as our home search area. What about high school rating?
Flag Wed Jan 23, 2013
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Tue Dec 8, 2009
Hello again Irene & Mike,
As you can tell from all the answers, you've asked a very popular question. I agree a trip into the area to investigate and feel out the neighborhoods is always a good idea. Until then, as you check out various websites for listings, you can also run the address through a neat website called http://www.walkscore.com
I thought of this as a good tool since you mentioned walkability. Some of the criteria used in the calculation they use may differ from your own preferences, but it helps you see how various neighborhoods and homes rate for walkability.
One other consideration to reinforce is that there are other great areas east of Seattle with potentially more affordable homes and therefore choices for you within your price range. Parts of Redmond, Kirkland, Sammamish and Issaquah would be worthy considerations. All have excellent schools and depending on the neighborhoods ease of commuting and shopping.
Welcome to the Northwest. :-)
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Van Durr, Agent, Bellevue, WA
Tue Dec 8, 2009
Irene And Mike,

West Bellevue might be a good place to start If you are looking for a somewhat walkable neighborhood.

Van Durr
John L. Scott Real Estate
Bellevue Main
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Karen Mcknig…, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Tue Dec 8, 2009
Dear Irene and Mike,

Since you are relocating, what I recommend is that you take a trip up to the Seattle area and explore Bellevue and the surrounding area. Until that is possible, you can do a lot of research on the internet. As always, your price range will send you to different pockets of homes and there will be trade offs, for which only you will know what is most important - based on your goals and the problems you want to solve. Also, the homes actually look different in person than they do on the internet.

At my website, http://www.karenmcknight.com, you can set up your own map based search to start seeing the homes available in your price range and their locations. Now is an excellent time to buy, because prices in Bellevue and the Eastside of Seattle have dropped since 2006.

As you know interest rates are still low, and predictions are, that after the first quarter, interest rates may start going up. That is because the Feds purchase of mortgage backed securities, which has kept rates down, is phasing out. I only mention this, so that you can factor that into your timing. One percent in interest rates makes a huge difference in your buying power.

Bellevue is part of the Eastside and the entire Eastside has excellent schools. I have sold the Bellevue area for over 20 years and have put some very valuable links on my website, which you are welcome to use to gain detailed information. If you go to http://www.karenmcknight.com and click on the left hand button called About the Area, you will find the links to the Eastside schools, which includes Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond, Kirkland. Redmond and Kirkland are both in Lake Washington School district.

You may also be interested in demographics because it is the demographics that drive the quality of the schools. On my website you will also find a link to demographics and a description of the amenities of all the different little towns that are connected to Bellevue.

If you want, I can send you a beautiful booklet with descriptions of all of the Seattle area and all the wonderful things to do.

Feel free to call me if you would like more in depth insight for what is important to consider when relocating.

Warm Regards,
Web Reference:  http://www.karenmcknight.com
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Anni Zilz, Agent, Mercer Island, WA
Tue Dec 8, 2009
Hi Irene and Mike,
I am also a transplant from the LA area. Bellevue and Mercer Island schools are the best in the state. There are so many great neighborhoods in the Bellevue school district. I am sure you will find something you like here. A good real estate agent will guide you in your search. I love Surrey Downs! Just steps from downtown Bellevue and Surrey Downs Park and yet quiet (Bellevue can be noisy). Start there. Good luck.
Web Reference:  http://www.annizilz.com
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Ardell Della…, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Tue Dec 8, 2009
I recently did some stats by School District that you may find helpful. Part of Bellevue is in the Lake Washington School District, and part is in the Bellevue School District. You may be considering Bellevue, parts of Redmond 98052 and parts of Kirkland. Most people moving here combine "Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond" when looking for homes, especially if they work at Microsoft which is on the Bellevue/Redmond border. Woodinville may also be an option for you...or Redmond on the Woodinville side which is the Northshore School District and English Hill is an excellent neighborhood you might want to include in your search options.


The graph in the above link shows you that the majority of homes in the Northshore School District, sold for $500,000 or less in 2009.


All things considered, Lake Washington School District is an excellent choice in your price range with about half of all properties sold in 2009 being $500,000 or less.

In the link below, you will see that the options are diminished if you select "Bellevue only - Bellevue School District Only"


The dark blue bar in the graphs are the number of homes for sale in the various price ranges shown on the left side. The light blue bar are the number of homes sold in 2009 at those price points.

The best schools and neighborhoods often come with older homes vs. new construction. Two excellent sites for looking at property are Estately.com and Redfin.com as they define the areas well and give stats for closed sales in the area.

My best advice would be to pinpoint the location of workplace, and then search within a radius of that workplace, instead of searching by "City of Bellevue". If you do search by City, Include Redmond and Kirkland. If you search by Zip Code, I usually use 98007, 98008, 98033, 98034 and 98052 for the $500,000 give or take price range.

Good luck! Not sure where you are coming from in L.A. I lived in the South Bay and my children and grandchildren are in Hermosa and Redondo. I just helped a couple move here from Hermosa this weekend, and they were thrilled at their options relative to prices there. You shouldn't have any problem finding a nice home with a good school. Not much to worry about given your price range on "The Eastside".
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Diane Guest, , Bellevue, WA
Tue Dec 8, 2009
Irene and Mike,

How old are your children? One of the things to think about is that 2 of the 5 top rated schools in Bellevue are "closed," meaning you have to live in the service area to attend. Additionally, not all schools offer the same options. You might have a preference of one school over the other based on foreign language options, focus on sports programs or recognition in other areas such as music, drama, advanced technologies. [Inserting a point of pride - my son was awarded honorable mention at the Seattle area Young Playwright's Program last night. The drama program at his school is unbelievable].

It's hard to go wrong in Bellevue. There are beautiful homes and neighborhoods with pride everywhere. The city is great at responding to needs and there is an emphasis on making Bellevue a wonderful place to live now and continuing on. Congratulations on your move here!

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Robert Luecke, , Laguna Beach, CA
Tue Dec 8, 2009
I grew up in Manhattan Beach and am a transpant here myself. I still have two sister that live in LA, one in Redondo and one in North Hollywood. I would focus on Clyde Hill area. You will not have a lot of options at $500k, but there are a few older home that meet your criteria and I personally think it is a better area then some of the other areas mentioned.

Here is a one of the MLS numbers. It is priced at 599k. I think a litte high, but has some Lake View.
Web Reference:  http://www.shopprop.com
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James Hsu, Agent, Bothell, WA
Tue Dec 8, 2009
Hi Irene,
Are you looking for older home, newer home, doesn't matter? I've worked with a couple buyers about your age that came up from LA and neither of them were big into maintenance and fixing up house. One of the things with Bellevue suburbs is that ...they tend to be older homes. A bulk of the neighborhoods were built in the 50's and 60's ..into the 70's. At $500K ... you'd likely be held into the older home range ..or fixed up but smaller stuff. Size of your family now and potential future would dictate the size of house you'll likely want/need. Also, coming from LA ... (at least for my 2 past LA clients) ... short vs long commutes were quite different than what I would consider short or long. :) How far (time wise) of a commute would you like to have or could tolerate? 30 minutes could get you to Sammamish (depending on where in Bellevue you wanted to go) which is east of bellevue. Schools are good, generally find newer homes within your price range. Or Issaquah, ...kinda southeast of bellevue, south of sammamish is also a good option. If you go North ... you run in to Kirkland and Redmond (northeast). Kirkland is also mostly older homes and redmond is mixed ..old and new ..depending on where. This bit and how big of a house you want ... together with your price range will basically dictate where your best choices are. The school districts all around Bellevue are generally regarded as good to really good to stupidly awesome. ...Bellevue SD being the stupidly awesome..but also being sometimes stupidly expensive.

Older homes have their own set of pros and cons ...likewise newer homes do too. It's more about what you two are able or willing to tackle.

Let me/us know more details!
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Kirsten Robe…, Agent, Bellevue, WA
Mon Dec 7, 2009
Hi Irene,
I find that many people relocating to the Bellevue area really like the Lakemont neighborhood. It is a planned development, although it has been built out over several decades and has certainly matured so it doesn't feel too new. If you are moving from a development in the LA area, you will appreciate the manicured and maintained feel of Lakemont. The schools in the area are excellent, there are walking and hiking trails throughout. shopping is close by and convenient and most importantly, it is close to 1-90 which will get you into Seattle and most of the Eastside quickly if need be. Although $550K is in the low to mid price range for the area, there are several homes available that might fit your criteria.

Depending on what type of neighborhood you would like to live in, there are other options available as well. Lakemont is just one of several areas of Bellevue, which is quite diverse in terms of neighborhoods and price ranges. Some other neighborhoods in Bellevue you might consider would be the Cherry Crest area of Bridle Trails and Tam 'O Shanter in East Bellevue. If you want a very walkable, village feel, the nearby city of Kirkland is a great option too.

I would be happy to answer any questions you have about the area. I am an L.A. transplant as well. I have been here for 16 years and would never go back. ;-) kirstenrobertson@cbbain.com
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Craig Nosler, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Mon Dec 7, 2009
Hi Irene,

Thank you for your inquiry. I am a Realtor with RE/MAX Integrity, with over 10 years of experience selling homes in the area. I would be happy to provide you with any information and assistance that you need. Although there are a few other good candidates for neighborhhoods in the Bellevue area, a good place to start for you might be the East Belleve area. This suburban area, mostly built in the 1960s +/- offers you an excellent opportunity for reasonable home prices, good access to freeways, shopping, parks, and easy access to downtown (less than 10 minute drive, and 15-25 minute drive to downtown Seattle), along with an exceptional school district, being that the Bellevue School District is widely thought of as being in the top two or three districts in the state. Home prices here typically will fall between $350-$500k, with three bedroom, two bath homes of around 1,500-1,800 square feet found in the $425k range, depending on updates and ammenities of course.

Here is a link to available homes in the area from my website:


The Newport area of Bellevue also offers similar options as well, which you can also find on the specific neighborhoods map of my site.

Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you moving forward.

I would be happy to help in any way that I can.

Craig Nosler, CRS, ABR
Associate Broker
RE/MAX Integrity
Web Reference:  http://www.CraigNosler.com
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Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Mon Dec 7, 2009
Hi Irene, Bellevue is a great city with good schools and some close in neighborhoods. Your price range is reasonable to find what you are looking for. Currently there are 118 homes under $550,000 in the Bellevue School District with 3 or more bedrooms.
Parts of downtown Bellevue could work as well as Crossroads areas would keep you close to shopping, busses and restaurants.
Let me know if you have more specifics to consider. Best of luck.
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