Am I crazy?! Quitting my job and moving to Washington.

29 Replies

I'm tired of the midwest (Chicago suburbs).  My wife and I have lived here our entire lives.  We do not have kids yet or any other main reasons to keep us here.  So, we are deciding to sell our house, leave my job, and move to Washington, Seattle or surrounding areas.  As of right now, I will not have a job lined up because it's nearly impossible to get a job if you're not local, I've been trying for years.  We are putting our house up on the market in July and expect to sell the house rather quickly, based on the history of nearby properties.  Once we sell the house, we will only have the money made from the sale.  The plan is to find a place to rent month-to-month while I intensely look for a job.  After landing a job, the goal is to house hack a duplex as soon as we can.  This is where I could use some advice and I have some questions.

1.  Is there a good way to find a place to rent with a month-to-month agreement, as cheap as possible?  Keep in mind, I have 5 well-behaved pets (1 dog, 4 cats) and I will not have job yet.  We would be willing to pay upfront.

2.  Assuming I land a job, how will that gap in my employment history affect my chances of getting a loan?  Will I need to be in this job for a certain amount of time before the lender accepts it as my income?

3.  Finally, I would love to make connections with real estate agents and other investors in Washington, especially those who deal with multifamily homes.

Thanks in advance.

Garrett, I'm a duplex investor in Washington State.  I live in Bremerton which is a nice ferry ride from downtown Seattle.  Feel free to touch base with me  if I can help at all.  

Hello Garret,

I would caution you to be prepared for some serious sticker shock when comparing housing prices in the Seattle area to the mid-West. If you want to live near Seattle, I believe the cheapest housing I've seen is a tiny little ~400 sqft. condo for $45k in Des Moines, which is about 18 miles outside of Seattle. Within Seattle city limits, I think the cheapest I've seen was a 1BR/1BA condo advertised at $100K with HOA dues around $400/month.

Regardless however, I wish you luck on your search, you should definitely stay active on BP if you move the area and jump into the REI market to connect with other investors.

Garret,

Rents in Seattle are very high, more so the more centrally located you want to be. If that is a concern the south suburbs will give you more for your money usually.  An upcoming area that still provides good access to downtown is White Center. Renton may also give you better bang for your buck. And from those south to Tacoma you'll find rents and prices generally cheaper. 

As to investing in Seattle proper, I think the window has about closed for finding investments that will cash flow or break even-- or at least hugely narrowed.  Others who are in more of an acquisition mode may chime in with better in-the-trenches info on this.

Tacoma is very interesting to me in terms of the numbers, and is likely where I will be shifting any future SFR investments, but admittedly I have no experience there; neighborhood matters perhaps much more than in Seattle.

Someone replied to you from Bremerton on the Kitsap peninsula; another area that could be interesting (the one hour commute by ferry to downtown Seattle is gorgeous), but the constraint of ferry-only access from Seattle has always stopped me. 

Hope that helps.

Mary, 30 yr Seattle investor.

Garrett,

As an engineer, I suspect that you will find a job. But I strongly recommend that you find a job before moving. Traffic is terrible here and I would live close to work. There are several interesting sub-markets in the greater Seattle area. Good luck!

Moving before you have a job lined up makes me nervous.  Not sure what field you are in, but websites like www.indeed.com aggregate available jobs in markets and can email you each day with the new jobs in your field for the zip code you are looking in.  

I'd line up a job first and make sure you find a market that is promising for an investor.  It's going to be impossible for you to get bank financing on an investment property if you don't have a job and if you go very long without a job you'll drain your reserves and will just have to spend more time building back up cash before you start investing.

Those are just my thoughts, but I'm also a cautious CPA. :)

Good luck!

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

I'm tired of the midwest (Chicago suburbs).  My wife and I have lived here our entire lives.  We do not have kids yet or any other main reasons to keep us here.  So, we are deciding to sell our house, leave my job, and move to Washington, Seattle or surrounding areas.  As of right now, I will not have a job lined up because it's nearly impossible to get a job if you're not local, I've been trying for years.  We are putting our house up on the market in July and expect to sell the house rather quickly, based on the history of nearby properties.  Once we sell the house, we will only have the money made from the sale.  The plan is to find a place to rent month-to-month while I intensely look for a job.  After landing a job, the goal is to house hack a duplex as soon as we can.  This is where I could use some advice and I have some questions.

1.  Is there a good way to find a place to rent with a month-to-month agreement, as cheap as possible?  Keep in mind, I have 5 well-behaved pets (1 dog, 4 cats) and I will not have job yet.  We would be willing to pay upfront.

2.  Assuming I land a job, how will that gap in my employment history affect my chances of getting a loan?  Will I need to be in this job for a certain amount of time before the lender accepts it as my income?

3.  Finally, I would love to make connections with real estate agents and other investors in Washington, especially those who deal with multifamily homes.

Thanks in advance.

 Good for you man. Take life by the horns!!!! I hear it on a weekly basis from my wife on why she wants to go back there.  You will love Washington, and if your really love the culture and the outdoors, you will not come back to the Midwest.  If all else fails you can live out in the woods out there lol. I have family down towards tacoma 45 mins south of seattle. You can find affordable living and more flexible/ affordable rents. But this also can  come with a little tougher crowd of neighbors. But hey, your form chicago, tough neighbors wouldnt even compare.

Good luck! Enjoy the sunshine in the summer before it goes away

My wife, young son, dog and I did the same thing 13 years ago you are considering doing. After the LLs laughed me off of the phone (no job, AND a pet) we bought a doublewide in a family park.  Any chance you could leave a cat or 2 behind?  I know our animals are family, but I have to admit that I flinched there.  I am one of the few LLs I know of that allow pets hardly at all here in central WA. Don't know if it's different on the rainy side. Just a thought.

What industry are you in?  We have a lot of engineers, healthcare pros and agricultural mgrs in my area.  I mention it just because we are so much less expensive than Seattle.  The fires will be finished by then hopefully!  Good luck @Account Closed !

I recently did the same thing you're talking about. My family and I rented out our house and moved from Utah to Washington (north of Bremerton in a small town called Port Townsend). I've been here for almost 8 months and it's been pretty tough finding anything as a rental (even looking in Bremerton!). Most of the leases are at least 1 year, which is not really what I want to do because I want to buy. 
As to your OP: 

1.  Is there a good way to find a place to rent with a month-to-month agreement, as cheap as possible?  Keep in mind, I have 5 well-behaved pets (1 dog, 4 cats) and I will not have job yet.  We would be willing to pay upfront.

I have one dog and it's pretty hard to find anything. IF pets are accepted, usually it's only small dogs. I have yet to offer upfront payments, only because I get shut down before we get there (I do have a pit bull though, and that eliminates about 99% of rentals). And cheap is relative, I can't seem to find anything "cheap" in my area that isn't for "single people or a couple" (a common phrase I hear).

2.  Assuming I land a job, how will that gap in my employment history affect my chances of getting a loan?  Will I need to be in this job for a certain amount of time before the lender accepts it as my income?

If you're looking for a traditional  loan, you will need at least 2 years of the same TYPE of employment shown from your taxes (so if you're an engineer, you will need to continue work as an engineer), and they wont like if there's more than a 6 month gap, so it may be best if you are employed  before you move.

Anyways, good luck with whatever decision you make! 

Look at all the advice from our local investors!  Seattle people love their pets, often you have to pay for a pet rent around here and might have to look a little harder, but Seattelites do love our fur-babies. When you make it out here, make sure to look join us at our local meetups and really get that Househack done.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

I'm tired of the midwest (Chicago suburbs).  My wife and I have lived here our entire lives.  We do not have kids yet or any other main reasons to keep us here.  So, we are deciding to sell our house, leave my job, and move to Washington, Seattle or surrounding areas.  As of right now, I will not have a job lined up because it's nearly impossible to get a job if you're not local, I've been trying for years.  We are putting our house up on the market in July and expect to sell the house rather quickly, based on the history of nearby properties.  Once we sell the house, we will only have the money made from the sale.  The plan is to find a place to rent month-to-month while I intensely look for a job.  After landing a job, the goal is to house hack a duplex as soon as we can.  This is where I could use some advice and I have some questions.

1.  Is there a good way to find a place to rent with a month-to-month agreement, as cheap as possible?  Keep in mind, I have 5 well-behaved pets (1 dog, 4 cats) and I will not have job yet.  We would be willing to pay upfront.

2.  Assuming I land a job, how will that gap in my employment history affect my chances of getting a loan?  Will I need to be in this job for a certain amount of time before the lender accepts it as my income?

3.  Finally, I would love to make connections with real estate agents and other investors in Washington, especially those who deal with multifamily homes.

Thanks in advance.

Hi There,

1) usually m2m rents for higher than 1 year lease unless you can negotiate it with an actual owner given you have great credit tons of reserves and can prove your merits as a good tenant you may get same rates for M2m as 1 year lease. 5 well behaved pets is probably a no go unless you have an large security deposit or other

2) If you your gap of employment is over 1 year then you'll need 6 full months on your new job but if its its less than just 1 paystub is sufficient to use your new salary. Any bonus, commission, or variable income will need 2 full years of documentation to use.

3) I am a lender/investor who would with Multi-family

I don't know how pet friendly Seattle is, but it may be hard to find anyone to rent to you with that many pets. You may also find that it is much harder to find a job once you don't have one. I'd really concentrate on trying to get a job prior to moving up there.

Best of luck with your move, and if you run out of food at least you have plenty of stew meat  ;)

(kidding on the stew meat)

BP Community,

Wow, thank you.!  In less than 24 hours many of you have generously gave me your opinions and advice.

To clarify, I am desperately trying to find a job beforehand.  The fact is, they will not hire out-of-state.  If Kiyosaki taught me anything, it's not to fear risk, it's to fear inaction.  So, I'm going for it.

Thanks to every one who replied and thanks Albert for answering the employment/lender question.  I was having difficulty finding that answer.

Garret a lot of it depends on your cash reserves.  With your situation I would rent to you and i'm fairly picky, but I like engineers and animals.  I would also be ok with you having no job, at least as an engineer, I would just ask you for extra cash deposit on move in.  I would also not worry too much about getting a job remotely.  I would not rent a place remotely either, as a tenant or landlord as I throw out of state applications away (time wasters).  You should Airbnb a place that's is friendly for a couple of weeks, check out the job and employment market, then make an informed decision.  Currently their are too many unknowable unknowns to make an intelligent decision in your current situation.

My friend just did the same thing but to Michigan, I keep telling him WTF move back. I like your ideas. I myself had a very, very hard time finding a short-term rental when I was looking to move (I have two labs and a house bunny, all extremely well behaved). I own 10 rental units and have monthly income, but I still couldn't find a rental. I got so frustrated trying to rent I ended up buying another duplex, but that would be hard to get financing without a job lined up. I wish you the best of luck and still say do it!

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

To clarify, I am desperately trying to find a job beforehand.  The fact is, they will not hire out-of-state.  If Kiyosaki taught me anything, it's not to fear risk, it's to fear inaction.  So, I'm going for it.

You mention that they won't hire out of state?  I'm not sure I understand this.  What industry are you in and why do you believe they won't hire you just because you don't currently have an in-state address?  

I've not heard of companies not hiring out of state employees if they have the skill set the employer is looking for and are willing to move to the company's location.  A lot of times companies prefer to hire local if they are trying to avoid paying a relocation package.  I'm surprised they are unwilling to hire you because you haven't moved yet.  Am I misunderstanding something?

Originally posted by @Michael Rogers :
Originally posted by @Garret Sweetwood:

To clarify, I am desperately trying to find a job beforehand.  The fact is, they will not hire out-of-state.  If Kiyosaki taught me anything, it's not to fear risk, it's to fear inaction.  So, I'm going for it.

You mention that they won't hire out of state?  I'm not sure I understand this.  What industry are you in and why do you believe they won't hire you just because you don't currently have an in-state address?  

Garrett As a mechanical engineer. I found it hard but not impossible to get a job in the aviation industry with boeing and I was picky at the time with no experience in the field.  If you are ready to go all out not really care about pay, benefits and relocation, and be exactly in seattle, get with a contracting agency like aerotek out there and they will get you in somewhere fairly quickly with a big company or supplier in any industry than  seek out a something more suitable for your lifestyle. LinkedIn is scattered with recruiters that get paid by finding engineers like you. Put a resume out there and stay hungry

@Account Closed  I am a local realtor that specializes in multi-families. Personally I own 20 units and have helped numerous other investors purchase multi-families in the Greater Seattle area. Despite what you hear, there are still deals to be had. Just last month I helped a client purchase a triplex just a few miles outside of downtown Seattle for under $400k. He will cashflow nicely with that one.

I would love to help you out in your search, send me a message if you are interested.

I did a similar move last August, from MN to WA (living in Seattle).  It worked for me.  

I have some ideas for you.  PM me and we can discuss further.

@Account Closed :

I'm tired of the midwest (Chicago suburbs)... So, we are deciding to sell our house, leave my job, and move to Washington, Seattle or surrounding areas.  As of right now, I will not have a job lined up because it's nearly impossible to get a job if you're not local, I've been trying for years.

Garret, good for you, what a great time to do it! What kind of work are you looking for, specifically? I work in tech, and can make some suggestions depending on your industry.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

I'm tired of the midwest (Chicago suburbs).  My wife and I have lived here our entire lives.  We do not have kids yet or any other main reasons to keep us here.  So, we are deciding to sell our house, leave my job, and move to Washington, Seattle or surrounding areas.  As of right now, I will not have a job lined up because it's nearly impossible to get a job if you're not local, I've been trying for years.  We are putting our house up on the market in July and expect to sell the house rather quickly, based on the history of nearby properties.  Once we sell the house, we will only have the money made from the sale.  The plan is to find a place to rent month-to-month while I intensely look for a job.  After landing a job, the goal is to house hack a duplex as soon as we can.  This is where I could use some advice and I have some questions.

1.  Is there a good way to find a place to rent with a month-to-month agreement, as cheap as possible?  Keep in mind, I have 5 well-behaved pets (1 dog, 4 cats) and I will not have job yet.  We would be willing to pay upfront.

2.  Assuming I land a job, how will that gap in my employment history affect my chances of getting a loan?  Will I need to be in this job for a certain amount of time before the lender accepts it as my income?

3.  Finally, I would love to make connections with real estate agents and other investors in Washington, especially those who deal with multifamily homes.

Thanks in advance.

Bold move. Wish you the best of luck.

There are several major medical device and biotech companies in the Seattle area.  My background is in engineering and have some connections in med tech.  Let's chat.

@Wayne Prentiss

I currently work as a research and development engineer for a medical device company, usually non-tech.  I am willing to work outside that specific niche, but that is where I have the most experience.

I've got a duplex in West Seattle that is  might that would be good for house hacking. PM me for details... don't want to get in trouble from the BP police but would be glad to let you know what to expect in for rent to value ratio in the Greater Seattle Area.

@garret 

Account Closedundefined  No you aren't crazy.  I travel all over the country for work and there is nothing quite like Seattle.  The economy is popping and its only the beginning!  Amazon, Alibaba, Google, FB and Microsoft are all invading Seattle area over next 4-6 years which means $.  Let me know if you need help finding work

Wow. You are brave! It can be quite a challenge to find a place to rent when you are unemployed along with the fact that you have 4 pets. The landlord is running a risk that you may default on payments while you are looking for a job. Rent can be over $1000 easily.  My 3 bedroom units are renting out at $1400 a month and it is 20 min away from Seattle.  Maybe at least find a part time or temp job first before you land with a full time job. That's what I did in the past.  Once you have steady income, then you can start looking at duplex again. You live on one and rent out the other side, so you basically live free and that's how you build up your wealth.  I am a realtor, loan originator with CPA background. I can give you some guidance if you ever need one based on my professional and personal experience. 

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