Hey Let’s Ask the Internet for Neighborhood Advice!


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Last week I had another guest post at Get Rich Slowly on the subject of why you should rent first when you move to a new city.

I’m not going to repeat everything I said over there, but I did want to share the map at right. What you’re looking at is a map I made based on a recent forum thread on LinkedIn started by a simple question about buying a home in Seattle:

I have some friends who are relocating to the Seattle area. They will be working in downtown Seattle, have kids and about a $650K housing budget. Looking for thoughts on best cities to live in the Seattle area for education, school districts, quality of life, etc. Any ideas would be appreciated!

I placed a pin on the map for each answer to this question that was offered by one of the commenters on LinkedIn. The 61 different answers ranged south to Northeast Tacoma, north to Mukilteo, West to Bainbridge Island, and East to Duvall.

Good luck making any sort of rational decision based on that advice. What a mess. If you’re just moving to the Seattle area, do yourself a favor and rent for a while so you can get to know the neighborhoods first hand.

  

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

15 comments:

  1. 1
    dj says:

    I can’t imagine moving to a new place that I was unfamiliar with and then dropping $650K on a house, even if one has school age kids. I rented the CD and Capitol Hill before eventually buying in the Rainier Valley.

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  2. 2
    chad says:

    I totally agree — I have been thinking of moving to a new area in Seattle and believe that renting would help me understand the nuances of a new Seattle neighborhood, even though I already live nearby. You might even just rent for 6 months or a year while you search for a home to purchase.

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  3. 3
    Matt says:

    A more productive question might be “Which neighborhoods should I avoid?” You may get less variation there.

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  4. 4
    The Danza says:

    I got transfered in 2005, sold my house and had never been to Seattle before my company gave me 4 days to find a place. My wife wanted to buy, buy, buy…after all we just sold a house in St Louis for 400K and made a nice profit. No way was I buying after I saw what you get for the money in Seattle. We decided to rent. A brand new Townhouse in Greenwood, well not even Greenwood…more Northgate. Five years later we still have not bought…We now know that Mukilteo is the place for our family. If we would have bought in 2005 for 400K we would have already blown through all our downpayment and still been upside down on that townhouse. Instead we have saved, invested and waited. Our next home purchase will be a cash purchase for a much nicer house. I want to punch my TV when I see people on house hunters rushing to buy in a new city in less than a week. Crazy.

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  5. 5
    Brandon Adams says:

    This reminds me of one of my friends whose family eventually settled on Mercer Island. They first rented a house in Renton because they bought into the hype at the time that it was the up-and-coming new trendy Seattle-adjacent suburb.

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  6. 6

    RE: Brandon Adams @ 3

    I Imagine the Mercer Island Schools

    Make Renton’s look like Seattle area “Communal Public Schools”…..where tests are about 10% of the science/math grade and homework “copying and cheating” is the other 90%.

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  7. 7
    S. Marty Pantz says:

    Don’t mention Edmonds to them….please, please, please.

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  8. 8
    Matt the Engineer says:

    Most of the advice was wrong. The clear answer is Queen Anne. Easy access to downtown with good transit, yet a family-friendly neighborhood with good schools, plus you can walk to friendly small retail and community services for anything you need. Housing is pricey, but with $650k they can get a nice house with a yard.

    Of course I only figured this out because I rented for half a year in Seattle before buying.

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  9. 9
    Logic Dog says:

    “Housing is pricey, but with $650k they can get a nice house with a yard.”

    Assuming a downpayment of 10%, that’s a PITA of $3,700 a month or so, not including maintenance or remodeling. Do they make $160,000 a year, ’cause that’s how much they need to have coming in. And I’ll bet they can find a rental on QA of that same house for $2,500.

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  10. 10
    Racker says:

    All the planes fly over the muk, and the trains, and their schools are filled with gangs. Stay away, stay away!,.

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  11. 11
    ray pepper says:

    I have lived in Lynnwood, North Seattle, Woodinville, Kirkland, Bellevue, Renton, Burien, Auburn, North Tacoma, and Gig Harbor the last 24 years. Hands down Gig Harbor wins on every category for me including affordability. Hell of a commute for you North Enders but hopefully one day you Bubble Heads will have the opportunity to live here.

    Thats my neighborhood advice!

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  12. 12
    robotslave says:

    RE: Matt the Engineer @ 8

    …a family-friendly neighborhood with good schools…

    Sure, if you’ve got the cash to send your kids to private school when they reach the ripe old age of 11. Otherwise, have fun figuring out what they’re going to be learning outside the classroom if you keep telling yourself the local public schools are super-duper, and let them attend McClure.

    This problem isn’t unique to Queen Anne, of course, but there’s denial, and then there’s zip-code-exceptionalism denial.

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  13. 13
    Matt the Engineer says:

    RE: robotslave @ 12 – Yeah, McClure sucks – my niece went there. How that can exist in the same neighborhood with our fabulous elementary schools is beyond me. But I hear Ballard high is a good school as well. But I should have mentioned the middle school exception to our good schools.

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  14. 14
    Matt the Engineer says:

    RE: Logic Dog @ 9 – Renting works too. But we’re talking location, not method of financing. The post mentioned they were looking for a $650k house.

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  15. 15

    […] thing I recommend not wasting your time with is asking people on generic Seattle-area internet forums for advice about which neighborhood is the &#8… Unless of course you’re just looking for a list of basically all Seattle […]

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