Home Buying in Seattle>Question Details

Miguel, Home Buyer in Indiana

Looking for placed to live and play in Seattle!!

Asked by Miguel, Indiana Wed Feb 4, 2009

I am a Veterinarian and she will be going to Law School at the University of Washingotn in Seattle. We are looking for a place to live. I will be working in Des Moines. Any advise as to which neighborhoods to look into? Rent? Buy?

Thank you!

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21
Des Moines waterfront real estate is very affordable and can have great views. The closer in to Seattle you get, the better the investment long-term. Wallingford in North Seattle is a very stable neighborhood value-wise, right next-door to UW.

Sam DeBord
Seattle Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 24, 2009
Miguel,

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!

Warm Regards,
Karen
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 9, 2009
Georgetown!!!! Georgetown would be so much more fun since you want to live and play in Seattle! The very last thing I would want to see is someone coming from out of state to really live and play in Seattle not be anywhere close to that kind of neighborhood! Georgetown is great and still affordable whether you buy or rent:)
Web Reference: http://www.cooperjacobs.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 9, 2009
Greetings from Washington!
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.
Kind regards,
Liz Caraway
CRS,ABR,SRES,GMS,TRC
Relocation Specialist
RE/MAX-Integrity
800-790-7405
Email @ ElizabethCaraway@remax.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
I enjoyed living in Des Moines a few years ago. I had a condo on 6th so I was near the water. Des Moines is a great town and it felt like I was in 'center" of everything with many freeways nearby. You do have a lot of choices to consider! "Old Burien" is also pretty cool and both Des Moines and Burien will be more affordable than anything "in" Seattle.

I would visit various areas at different times of the day to see how they feel--kind of try them on!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
Miguel
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.
Mary
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 5, 2009
What ever you do. Don't live in Des Moines....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Miguel,
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!
Steve
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Miguel, I lived on Bainbridge Island for a number of years and think Seattle is a fantastic, beautiful city with a huge variety of neighborhoods. You can use this site for some information on neighborhoods, crime, communty info, housing trends ect,, All info from county public records....http://www.bhgrealestate.com/Views/Look/Default.aspx

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 !
Dunes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Miguel,

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Agree with the others! I don't think there is anywhere any better than the in-city neighborhoods for restaurants, shopping, etc. Greenlake, Fremont, Phinney Ridge, Queen Anne, Ballard are just a few of the popular places. I think renting could be a good option right now to pick the perfect neighborhood. There are lots of condos and townhomes that haven't sold for rent.

http://www.barbara-mcmahon.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
There are lots ways and places to play in Seattle, so you and your wife are going to have fun and enjoy living in Seattle!

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" :
http://www.amazon.com/Seattle-Survival-Guide-Essential-Handb…
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!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Wait another year to buy, save another 20%. Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
There are many neighborhoods within the city of Seattle. Based on your commute, I would recommend you limit your neighborhoods to only those located within the city of Seattle - otherwise your commute will be difficult - and traffic in Seattle can be pretty bad. Based on the location of your job and school, I would recommend Green Lake, Wallingford & Fremont neighborhoods. All make your commute easier by being close to the UW and easy access to I-5 or Hwy 99 which takes you South to Des Moines. These neighborhoods are safe, walking distance to local amenities, and offer all kinds of fun. Currently housing prices and interest rates are very good - you risk loosing that if you rent for a year. As well, you limit your moves. Check out listings available on my websites http://www.eSeattle.com and http://www.eGreenLake.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
I am also a realtor in the Seattle vicinity. I'd probably look somewhere between the UW and Des Moines, a twenty mile distance like West Seattle, Queen Anne or Capitol Hill. You don't give an indication of your plans after she gets out of law school, therefore it's difficult to answer you. Renting may be a good idea however if you are planning on staying in the Seattle area, financing will never be less expensive than right now. Good luck and if I can be of any help, give me a call at 206 948-6210. Thanks!
Wayne Lubin
John L. Scott Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
I would recommend that you rent for awhile before making the decision to buy. Your question gives the impression that you are not too familiar with the area. If that's the case, probably best to find a short term rental before you buy a home.

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.
Web Reference: http://www.homehounds.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
The original post does not mention a 3 year time period.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Larry is right on the money...if you are going to look to sell in three years it doesn't make sense to buy (it costs too much to sell...RE fees, movers, excise tax, title, escrow, etc). However, if you wanted to own rentals in the future then Buy Buy Buy...because you won't see lower rates...and prices will come back up, plus it costs less to get a loan on a primary residence than a rental.

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) cory@corybrandt.com. Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
What's your budget? What kind of neighborhood do you like? Between the UW and Des Moines, there are neighborhoods with very different character and amenities. Do you have kids? If not, will you? Do you want to walk to shops near your house? Do you want a view? What kind of house do you like--New, old, fixer, modern, etc? Do you want to avoid busy streets? Do you want easy freeway access? Will you be driving to work/school or taking the bus? Single family home or condo/townhouse?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
I don't know what the market is for veterinarians, but buying might not be the best idea because you might have to sell in 3 years when "she" graduates from law school.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
Hi Miguel

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 kjackson@johnlscott.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 4, 2009
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