Seattle Real Estate
Now is the best time to buy that we will probably see in this century. Inventories are ample, interest rates are near an all time low, and if you have not owned a home in three years, there is an excellent $7500 buyer credit available right now.
There are a lot of special little neighborhoods throughout Seattle and based on my experience through the years, newcomers find it challenging to get a feel for the different areas and the different commute times. I have several excellent resources for you to start your research.
The first is my website, which gives you automated property comparisons, a simple property search tool and if you click on "About the Area" on the left hand menu bar, you will find a link to Web Towns - a wonderful overview of the flavor of the different neighborhoods.
The second tool is a magazine called Seattle Info Guide that my Relocating clients have found invaluable, because it gives great overviews of neighborhoods in Seattle. I'd be happy to "snail mail" that to you if you want. Let me know by emailing me.
The third is a special home search tool that is very user friendly and has an intereactive map interfaced with properties. The map is a tool I enter you into if you want that service.
Good luck in your research. Most "Seattleites" love it here!
First, I want to congratulate you on your new position in Des Moines. Also, UW is an excellent University and has a wonderful Law School so she will be in good company.
I am a Relocation Specialist with RE/MAX - Integrity here in King County. It is difficult to give you advice without knowing more about you and your bride's preferences and hard facts like finances. I will assume you are wanting something with a smooth commute for both of you and affordable so you don't have to eat Top Ramen or Macaroni and Cheese for the rest of your life.
I recommend renting only for about three months when you get here because we don't know how long the interest rates will stay low....I'm hoping for quite a while but there are no promises so far. I would rent in Federal Way or Burien to begin with. Both are affordable and a good place to commute to both the UW and Des Moines. I grew up in the area and know it well. Burien is being transformed and will have light rail or the Metro Bus to UW. It is also appreciating in value due to the conversions being made to the downtown area. Federal Way is right on the I-5 corridor and near enough to Des Moines for you to drive into work and her to hop on the bus to school...the bus would go straight up the freeway to the U District for her to get off. She can take a bicycle with her also to cruiz around the campus and back to her bus stop!
After you move in to rent, I recommend interviewing your favorite RE agents and picking the one that you are most comfortable with and has the most experience, education and works alot with buyer's. Many agents get frustrated with buyers and prefer to work with sellers....less time consuming and less gas!
Three months will be plenty of time to see different areas and communities, evaluate your preferences and options. Don't worry about breaking your lease with your landlord because a good agent will take care of that for you.
Now is the time to be buying if you can. Never in our history has there been such a great Buyer's market and the window won't be open like this forever. Pleass accept my best wishes for your move here to our wonderful area and the "Emerald City"! You're going to love it! I'd be happy to send you a relocation package of local information if you like. You can email me and I'll mail it off to you.
Email @ ElizabethCaraway@remax.net
I would visit various areas at different times of the day to see how they feel--kind of try them on!
Some many great answers and ideas for you. I would choose a couple of agents and share with them your budget, how long you intend to stay in the area, what your criteria is for home or condo either to rent or buy and what your lifestyle is (what you do in your leisure time and how close to amenities you like to be, whether you drive or like to bike/walk/bus to work) and what kind of neighborhood you ideally are looking for. Some areas are safer than others but don't automatically rule out less expensive neighborhoods that don't have a reputation of being safe neighborhoods. A son of a friend of mine, for budget considerations, and his wife just purchased in one of these neighborhoods and love their home and with proper precautions feel very safe living in their neighborhood. I, too, have worked with relocating buyers for over 20 years and am happy to answer any additional questions you might have. Greenlake, Phinney, Ravenna, Maple Leaf, Bryant are close to the U and wonderful urban neighborhoods. Columbia City is undergoing a rebirth, Ballard is NW and great, many areas of West Seattle are great and afforable. There are so many possibilities for you it would be a good idea to call and share your desires with an agent and they can help you choose the best area and situation for you and your wife.
It looks like you're going to be looking for a place either downtown, one of Seattle's south neighborhoods or West Seattle. Do you two like the urban scene or are you more suburbanite? Sounds like you're both going to be pretty busy so a condo or townhouse might be your best shot. Of course that depends on the number of pets you have. Surely you must have a cat or dog. And it's a good thing because Seattle has the highest number of pets per capita. Needless to say, there are many options for you. If you have a moment I would be happy to talk with you over the phone and provide you some ideas. I'm also happy to send you my relocation material. You're going to love it here!
This might help with info on renting....http://www.zilpy.com/ .....and...http://www.rentometer.com/
If you decide you want to buy, I would wait until I could spend some time actually driving around and seeing the layout of the city or surrounding areas.
As I said I'm a Seattle fan and can only tell you that you really need to be there to decide what best fits your lifestyle or preferences. Every neighborhood recommended has it's own feel, advantages/disadvantages.
http://www.tenmanagement.com/listings/state.do?code=WA ..Hud property listings.
http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/wiki/REO_Database_List.asp ..Bank REO sites...
Just so you can take a look.
Good luck and take the Bainbridge ferry, drive around the Island, check out the views of Seattle, the parks ect..It makes for a very pleasant outing.....BTW, If you see a really grumpy looking old lady wearing a Straw hat with a Brown band claiming to be an artist then tell MOM I said Hi !
I hate not being the first to answer these questions because others have some great advice that I don't want to repeat. So, I'll throw out three neighborhoods that no one has mentioned. Georgetown, Becon Hill and Capital Hill. All three have relatively decent commutes to both locations. Although DesMoins and the U are not places that are easy to get between considering you have Downtown right in the middle, so your schedules may play a big roll in making that decision.
Becon Hill and Georgetown in particular have somewhat higher amounts of inventory and bargains to be had.
As far as renting is concerned. I am hearing a lot about rental prices coming down, but I have to say I have not really seen it yet. They may be flat for a while but I am not sure about them coming down. I would suggest you go on craigslist.com or rent.com and check out some neighborhoods to see what you like.
Really hard to answer without knowing more about your situation.
Hope it helps.
As Kary mentioned below, you do need to know how long you plan on being in Seattle and how likely your wife may be hired outside of Seattle when she graduates. To buy you should be planning on being in that house for at least 3 to 5 years, if your long range plans are too up in the air, then renting would be the better course of action.
When I decided to move to Seattle, I found a book called "Seattle Survival Giude II" to be very helpful to find out more about the neighborhoods and areas around Seattle. There is much newer edition called "Seattle Survival Guide 4th Edition" :
Which I think you will find helpful.
Since your wife will be attending UW, and you are going to be working in Des Moines (my avian vet is at the Des Moines Veterinary Hospital) you would have the reverse commute if you lived closer to UW. Although, real estate is pricier closer to Seattle and the Burien, Nomandy Park and Des Moines towns are generally modestly priced. You may want to consider West Seattle, or more urban Columbia City, or Madison Valley as in between areas.
So you must let us know what Fun is to you both, that makes a difference in what areas or neighborhoods you would want to consider so we can point you in the direction that fits your lifestyle! Seattle has a wonderful, wide selection of fun things to do and see.... what appeals to you? Let us know so we can make suggestions!
You are so going to enjoy living here in Seattle!
John L. Scott Real Estate
I would need more details about you and "she" before I made a specific neighborhood recommendation. But the Central District or Columbia City might good areas to look at.
Wish you all the best with your move.
Neighborhood choices depend on your price range...commuting to DesMoines could be a challenge with the SR99 proposals... West Seattle, central seattle, and S. Seattle (Beacon Hill...Columbia City). All three areas make good future rentals as well.
I've owned rentals all over town...if want help don't hesitate to call or e-mail...(206) 419-CORY (2679) firstname.lastname@example.org. Best of luck.
I would be happy to help you. It depends on your price range and the type of home you are looking for and how far of a commute you each want. As you get closer to the city prices tend to get more expensive. Kent/Desmoines has some nice neighborhoods, Lakeridge, Bellevue. I would be happy to help you narrow it down. Give me a call or email. 206-714-1384 or email@example.com