Seeking advice for home buying & location

Asked by Primus, Dallas, TX Fri Aug 31, 2012

Will be relocating to Redmond next year. While I'll be working out of Redmond, wife would be working @ downtown Seattle.

What's a good location that would suit both of us from commute perspective?
Looking for a 3 bedroom single family home, 500k to 600k budget. We love open floor plans, modern/contemporary interiors. Exterior may/may not be modern. My lab demands a decent yard ;-
While we love urban neighborhoods, a scenic view from balcony (mountain, water) would be a great addition. Not necessarily 'waterfront' per se as those are expensive.
Where do we start;)? One site that has appealed to us is 360 Modern. If I may, NW is 'expensive':)

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Primus, Home Buyer, Dallas, TX
Sat Sep 1, 2012
First off, I must say you guys are GREAT! Very much appreciate your response!

Regarding kids, we are not there yet, but there is a good chance we'll get there by next year ;-
So, school is also a major consideration. From what I gather, Bellevue is amongst the best in the nation and Redmond etc are not to far off in terms of good schools. Both, my wife and I have stayed at hotels in Bellevue, Kirkland and we do really like the downtown. But, we also know that we are looking at it from the eyes of a visitor ;-

BTW, what the norm today in terms of downpayment? Is 20% a must? So, for a 600k house, am I looking at 120k? My credit et al is excellent, just that we have an investment property in Dallas (rental out) and my wife insists on not giving up our existing house either. Rental is very hot, so I don't foresee any issues renting out multiple houses, but I wonder how this affects my ability to purchase a new house. Any recos on online loan pre-qualification calculators?

Also, we are open to buying land and building our own house (we've had the experience of custom building our existing house in Dallas). That said, I don't know feasibility of doing this in areas like Bellevue etc. Sounds like I am smoking some good stuff huh ;-
1 vote
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Mon Sep 3, 2012
You asked how much lots sell for, I did a search with few parameters other than the cities discussed and not recreational or commercial property. There are quite a few and they still may not all be suitable for your purposes, but we can filter them down further if you want to investigate more completely.
0 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Mon Sep 3, 2012
Thanks for the additional question. I think a picture or two is worth more words than I can place here, so I've attached the results of a search for new construction homes in the areas we discussed. Builders in this search include Bennett Homes, Burnstead, Buchan, CamWest, Conner Homes, Greenbank Development, Lozier, Murray Franklin, Polygon, Pulte and possibly more.
Looking at the listings you'll find links to pictures and an adjustable map to get a sense of the location.
You may notice that these all start at 4 bedrooms, I did this to reduce the results to a manageable level.
I helped a friend buy a building ready lot and he used a local construction consultant to walk them through the various stages of design, development, permits, selecting contractors, etc and they built a beautiful home below the prevailing costs at the time. The problem is they did this when the market was going up and the lot was completely ready with utilities on site. The total time from purchase to move in was about 2 years and many of the contractors they used were people they already knew. Starting from scratch in a new place and renting while you are going through the process while the market is so favorable right now may not be as advantageous as buying an existing home or other new construction where the builders are competing with one another and have their systems down pat.
If you want to pursue either option, feel free to contact me and I can send you some vacant land listings and consultants or more existing home listings.
0 votes
Primus, Home Buyer, Dallas, TX
Mon Sep 3, 2012
Thx Dan. Just for curiosity sakes, how much do the lots sell for?
1. Read to build lots: Is there a site to lookup existing lots on sale?
I tried redfin and while it shows a few, I can't tell if they are ready to build or just the basic plot.

2. Builder list: I've found a couple of builders (Burstead Homes, YS-debelopment). Is there some sort of list which shows builders for the Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue & maybe sammamish areas?

0 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Sat Sep 1, 2012
20% down payment avoids mortgage insurance, but you can purchase with as little as 3.5% down.
Picking an area with great schools, even without kids is always a good idea. Resale will eventually be an issue, so it never hurts to consider this.
Redmond, Kirkland and North Sammamish are all in the Lake Washington School district which is well rated. Belleveue is great, but the differential from the best schools in Bellevue and the ones that dont' do as well is wider than many districts, so if you land in Bellevue look at each school individually.
In terms of building yourself, you probably can't build here as affordably as you can purchase a new construction home in a development. There are several great builders with projects going on, so you should check a few of these out to see how you like them.
It may be a useful thing for you to contact one of us to start sending you current listings and arrange a tour for you when you are in the area. I enjoy playing tourguide when working with Relocation buyers and I'm sure others here do too.
0 votes
Stacey Lange, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Sat Sep 1, 2012
I have a great lender here in the area who will gladly chat with you and offer a preqalification with no-obligation just so you have a better idea as you start to devise a plan of action -- he is a great guy, very informative and competitive -- I would use him personally!
0 votes
Mary Sunde, Agent, Bellevue, WA
Fri Aug 31, 2012
I was just helping a Seattle native last weekend relocating from St Louis. They have been gone
for 10 years. She will be working in South Seattle and he on the Sammamish Plateau. Although
we looked at Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish they felt commute, style and size of home and price (their home in St Louis is $150 and they were looking under $500K Newcastle
homes with Issaquah school district best fit all their needs. It is a easy I-90 communte for
her to Seattle (no toll on bridge) and a reasonable commute for him to Sammamish near
Redmond. The home they lliked best was $500K, 2400 sf, very nicely updated interior, new
roof and furnace, beautiful back yard and about 6 blocks to a local lake.

I have spent over 30 years helping relocating clients find a home that meet their needs.

You may want to contact different agents as has been suggested. Does either your or your
wife's employer offer a relocation package? If so they may be using a relocation company.
You are usually free to accept their recommendation or choose an agent on your own.

If you are feeling you might need more help choosing an agent that best meets your needs
please feel free to contact Peggy Scott at Windermere Relocation and mention my name.
Her e-mail is

There are so many positives about living in the Northwest it is hard to mention them all. Having
lived for 2 years in Texas it will, no doubt, be a change for you but I have little doubt a very
positive one.

We look forward to having you in the NW.
0 votes
Jirius Isaac, Agent, Kenmore, WA
Fri Aug 31, 2012
Jirius, Broker, Kenmore, WA
Welcome to the Pacific NW. It is very expensive here, but also so beautiful. We see the mountains almost every day. On Wednesday, my 14 yr old son & I decided at 3pm to go on a mountain hike. We drove 1 hour to a trail head, hiked up to 3 waterfalls 5 miles & back down, had dinner in Monroe, and were back home by 9:30pm. Where else can you do that. I relocated many years ago from Michigan and am so thankful every day that I am here.

All of the East side is worth looking at. Take a look at a map. Here, traffic is easy except going towards Bellevue or Seattle from the north or south in the morning, or away from them in the afternoon. East & west is ok either way. That is important if you have a job that requires normal work hours. If not, it makes no difference. I would be happy to discuss any of this further with you any time if you want to give me a call. Schools are also a consideration & are good all over the east side. You can go out I90 all the way past Issaquah, & the commute would still be easy.

I would suggest, that as a buyer, you Google every agent that responds to your question here on Trulia, learn as much as you can about who they are online, read their client testimonials, so you know what their clients are saying about them, and then give us each a call and just ask us why we think you should work with us instead of another agent. This will take you a little while to do, but will be time well spent, as choosing the right agent is the first step towards choosing the right home. Then, pick the best fit for you, get to know them during the next year, let them advice you, and then let them go to work for you with the skill and knowledge that they have. I hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks, Your Friend in the Business
Jirius Isaac

Isaac Real Estate Team

Champions Real Estate Services

TriStar Finance #MLO-107799

Office: 425-483-6849 Cell: 206-841-9976

Winner of Seattle Magazines 5 Star

Real Estate Agent Best in Client Satisfaction Award

Mortgage Loan Originator Best in Client Satisfaction
0 votes
Stacey Lange, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Fri Aug 31, 2012
Primus -

After 4 years in Dallas, I returned to my home state of Washington and the Northwest. It is a big change - although we have the master planned communities that you see so often in the sprawling Dallas burbs, it sounds like our NW style might be a good fit. Based on your appreciation for the modern homes you might like some of the neighborhoods that offer updated retro homes -- that you can find in communities like Kirkland where you can maybe get clean straight lines on an older home that has been updated and in your price range you might be lucky to grab one with a view of sorts (although with a stellar view -- the price tag goes up). Kirkland would be a great compromise for you and your wife, as it is close to both Redmond and Seattle -- You can find some FABULOUS views (although distant) in Lakemont area -- still a Bellevue address but right on I-90 corridor. So many choices - best of luck to you!
0 votes
Chris Loelig…, Agent, Redmond, WA
Fri Aug 31, 2012
The NW is expensive. I had the same sticker shock when we left Dallas (Marsh and Royal lane area) in '99 and moved here. My wife works in Seattle and I work out of Redmond. We live in Sammamish. The commute for my wife isn't too bad but you could do a little better by being in Redmond, Kirkland or Bellevue. Problem is that those areas will bump your home price up and not necessarily get you anything more than a slightly shorter commute. 360 Modern has some nice homes. I have been in a few of them over the years. It will be hard to find something like that on the East side (East of Lake Washington) but I can search for "modern" styled homes and see what I come up with. Send me your email if you are interested and I will get any options to you for consideration.

Are kids and schools a factor?

0 votes
Kimberly & B…, Agent, Redmond, WA
Fri Aug 31, 2012
Hi Primus,

One of the many great things about the area, is that the Redmond, Kirkland, and Bellevue corridor is so commute friendly. It certainly expands to Woodinville and Issaquah as well, depending on the exact location. It is tough to move from the South where you get a lot more for your money- I relocated from NC 15 years ago, and was thinking that surely I should have a house staff for the price of my first home here :)

Let me know if there is any way that we can help!


Kimberly Tenhulzen, Broker

Tenhulzen Real Estate

0 votes
Alain Picard, Agent, Puyallup, WA
Fri Aug 31, 2012
I would have to say in my opinion Bellevue would be a great area for you. It's right in between Seattle and Redmond and has one of the most desired school districts in Washington just in case you have school aged children. Give me a call or send me an e-mail if you need to know anything else.

Alain Picard
5121 Pacific Hwy E Suite E
Fife WA 98424
0 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Fri Aug 31, 2012
I have to agree, the NW is more expensive than most other markets around the country. The good news is you will find some options in the price range you selected. I live in Sammamish which is SE of Redmond and due east of Seattle & Bellevue. Buses run every 8-10 minutes during rush hour to downtown. Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue, Issaquah would all be good options with some varying character in each city. I've lived in all of them over my years here and would be happy to explain the variations each community offers.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Home Buying in Popular Redmond Neighborhoods

Email me when…

Learn more