Need Help Seattle Suburb Home Purchase

18 Replies

Hi ,


We are planning to move to Seattle from Boston and looking at buying a house, we can use help in deciding on how to move forward .

1- I work from Home for now and only need to travel to Seattle downtown maybe 1-2 times a month.

2- We have no kids its just me ,my wife and our dog , we prefer house with nice yard and if possible views ...the american dream.

3- Looking to buy something between $ 350-450 K budget.

4- Prefer a neighbourhood that will not crash in property value as we are putting our savings into the home, an investment that can appreciate well over time.

Any help or advice in terms of which all neighborhood to search is much appreciated, ideally a nice suburban house with brilliant views

Thanks again .

Mohit - thanks for the post and welcome to Seattle ….. finding a home ( not condo / townhouse ) for 450K close to the City will be challenging …..if you are OK getting into the North or side edges of the county - you will have some luck ( I think )……you might consider Kitsap county ( across the sound from Seattle as the values are much better and the views too .. if you will need a loan to buy the house , I would definitely advise you getting fully pre approved for financing BEFORE you begin looking …..the price point you outlined is competitive still and you will want to have all your ducks lined up

Thanks 

I recommend finding a buyer's agent that focuses on the outlying areas for Seattle and Bellevue. Just so you know, 60 - 70 mile radius provides many options and variety for house values as well as for surroundings, such as island living or mountain foothills. The downside is that even a 15-mile commute into Seattle can take 45 mins one way and the further out you are, you could be looking at 1.5 - 2 hour commutes one way depending upon location and time of day. There are increasing options for public transportation via light rail, train and bus, which can help in this regard, though.

Buyer's agents for Snohomish County, Pierce Counting, and Kitsap County (if willing to commute by ferry) would be best to find. King County where Seattle and Bellevue are is pretty large and you can find pockets that will meet your criteria too, but it's a more competitive market. Give good criteria to the agents that you find and you will be fine.

Expensive, more upper income areas besides Seattle are Bellevue, Issaquah, Mercer Island, Redmond. Those will be tough areas to find unless you are looking for small, older condos and fixer homes. Bainbridge Island tends to be higher nowadays as well but is still a little more affordable since it is across the Sound. Snohomish, Everett, Lynnwood, and Marysville areas are more reasonable in Snohomish County. Tacoma, Auburn, Kent, Des Moines, and Federal Way are more reasonable in Pierce and South King County. Neighborhoods can vary greatly in quality and safety, which affects price, so be very specific about what you are looking for with your agent.

I hope this helps.

Originally posted by @Mohit Mathur :

Hi ,


We are planning to move to Seattle from Boston and looking at buying a house, we can use help in deciding on how to move forward .

1- I work from Home for now and only need to travel to Seattle downtown maybe 1-2 times a month.

2- We have no kids its just me ,my wife and our dog , we prefer house with nice yard and if possible views ...the american dream.

3- Looking to buy something between $ 350-450 K budget.

4- Prefer a neighbourhood that will not crash in property value as we are putting our savings into the home, an investment that can appreciate well over time.

Any help or advice in terms of which all neighborhood to search is much appreciated, ideally a nice suburban house with brilliant views

Thanks again .

Hi Mohit, challenging but definitely possible.  I suppose it depends also on your specific criteria for "brilliant views." :)  You really shouldn't need to be 60-70 miles out.  Possibilities exist much closer.   Best wishes on your search!

Originally posted by @Greg Bishop :

I recommend finding a buyer's agent that focuses on the outlying areas for Seattle and Bellevue. Just so you know, 60 - 70 mile radius provides many options and variety for house values as well as for surroundings, such as island living or mountain foothills. The downside is that even a 15-mile commute into Seattle can take 45 mins one way and the further out you are, you could be looking at 1.5 - 2 hour commutes one way depending upon location and time of day. There are increasing options for public transportation via light rail, train and bus, which can help in this regard, though.

Buyer's agents for Snohomish County, Pierce Counting, and Kitsap County (if willing to commute by ferry) would be best to find. King County where Seattle and Bellevue are is pretty large and you can find pockets that will meet your criteria too, but it's a more competitive market. Give good criteria to the agents that you find and you will be fine.

Expensive, more upper income areas besides Seattle are Bellevue, Issaquah, Mercer Island, Redmond. Those will be tough areas to find unless you are looking for small, older condos and fixer homes. Bainbridge Island tends to be higher nowadays as well but is still a little more affordable since it is across the Sound. Snohomish, Everett, Lynnwood, and Marysville areas are more reasonable in Snohomish County. Tacoma, Auburn, Kent, Des Moines, and Federal Way are more reasonable in Pierce and South King County. Neighborhoods can vary greatly in quality and safety, which affects price, so be very specific about what you are looking for with your agent.

I hope this helps.

Mohit,

Welcome to the area!

Greg makes some good points here about the reasonable locations North and South of Seattle.

I work in the downtown to north side of Seattle. My family and I live in Marysville (~30 miles North). My family and I used to live in Bremerton which is a ferry ride away. We loved the area but the commute everyday on the ferry became a hassle and I was spending about 5 hours commuting each day but you said that you will be tele-commuting mostly. Now, from Marysville, I average about 30 to 40 minutes one way commute but I’m not in traffic during rush hour.

Best of Luck!

Mike

Originally posted by @Mohit Mathur :

Thank you so much for your help and advice. I guess I need to spend some time thinking about rent vs buy situation to start with. 

There is no need to be pessimistic. There are some great opportunites in your price range. Personally, I would suggest looking to the SE of Seattle in some of the smaller communities such as Maple Valley or Black Diamond. You can get some great views of Mt Ranier and still find something at an affordable price. I'd be happy to talk to you about some of the options.

I recently moved to Upper Rainier Beach / Skyway area  (about 8 miles S of downtown seattle on the hill above renton)   So far,   its looking like it was a good decision.     there are respectable homes in your price range though most will need some cosmetics or a bit of love in some way or other.   For example:

https://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/9624-52nd-Ave-S-...

came on the market recently a block from my new place.  I've toured it,   it needs cosmetics but is clean and fully functional and should be fine with conventional financing.   No holes in the walls, raccoons or poop buckets to be seen.

This area is one of the last "affordable" areas in or close to seattle, and it does have some challenges still but given the proximity to Seattle and Renton and light rail transit nearby and various other factors,   its gonna keep improving as long as the big one doesn't hit or Mt rainier doesn't go kablooie.

welcome to the area! If you are willing to move 60-70 Miles from Seattle as you mentioned, you can get “a lot more bang for your buck.” A house in your budget South if Seattle could literally be twice the house and you could be in instant equity depending where you buy. I stay away from Seattle itself as a real estate agent and investor simply for the traffic and population density. I like a slower pace. 

Welcome to the Greater Seattle Area! It is really a great region and there are a lot of suburbs all around that each have different things to offer. It all depends on your priorities. We settled on the area well south of Seattle down between Auburn, Milton and Federal Way. We actually go in to Tacoma when we want to do something in the big city, but Federal Way and Auburn generally have most everything we need on a regular basis. House prices here are pretty reasonable and a lot of newer subdivisions have been built in recent years so you have a choice between older or newer construction. We wanted a newer home and were able to find that. As others have said, being further from Seattle and Bellevue gets you a lot more home for your money. It also gets you away from some of the worst of the traffic. 

You can likely find something in Tacoma that fit those requirements. Certainly views, and you may be able to get in to the north end of Tacoma at 450. Honestly, if you're at home a lot you may want to look into Bonney Lake or the Orting valley. Both of those markets (particularly Bonney Lake) is going nuts with commercial development and you might be able to find something for 450, although last time I was poking around they had crept up to 600. Full disclosure, I'm a commercial broker, not Residential. Just live here!

@Mohit Mathur , look at Poulsbo and Kingston! I take the ferry into Seattle once/twice each week and it's a much  nicer commute than sitting in Seattle traffic! :-) There's a foot ferry from Kingston to downtown Seattle that's about 40 minutes, or you can walk on the Bainbridge-Seattle ferry. If you need to drive like I do, you can get a ferry pass that will save a few bucks each way. 

And you can definitely find a very nice home at that price point over here in Kitsap, even with a view. Message me directly with your email and I'll send you some listings to see if anything fits the bill. 

I'm biased, for sure, but I love it here. Lovely small town, wonderful people, and still close to the city. 

@Bob Malecki can second that sentiment, I'm sure. 

Good luck with your search! 

BTW, I moved out here from Mercer Island. Best you'll find on MI at your price point is a 1 bedroom condo. Not worth it unless you are both commuting to opposite sides of the lake every day, IMO. MI is awesome, but those prices are mainly driven by dual-income families who come for the great schools and the middle ground between Seattle and the Eastside.

Hi Mohit,

Welcome to the area (although you haven't moved yet).... licensed Realtor working in Seattle and surrounding areas here. Unfortunately, you won't find anything in Seattle at that price point... not anything you'd want to live in, that is, unless it's a condo.

And sure, Tacoma can be a good spot but if I were you, I'd go north. For the same amount of money, you can pretty much get twice the house in Tacoma as you can in Seattle. However, a lot of the "Seattle action" already went south to Tacoma, driving up prices down there. Up north, though, like in Everett and surrounding areas, you can get more of house there as you can in Tacoma. Everett's also dumping a lot of money into it's infrastructure. Their plan is a good 15-20 years out until expected full completion, but it should seriously help out the area (Google "Metro Everett" for more specifics about some of what they're doing). Not to mention nearby Paine Field that just started regular flights of some major airlines including Alaska and United. 

Anyway, just my two cents. Fell free to contact me if you're curious for more information. Otherwise, good luck on your search!

I live in North Snohomish county. I used to commute to SoDo (South downtown near the stadiums). I warn you that rush hour drive can be a 3 hour trip. It's about an hour if you can miss traffic. I used to ride the Sounder train, half hour plus a buffer to the Everett Train station and an hour on the train. Not too bad of a trip but the train only runs at commuting times. You can still find a house with a yard up here in your price range although the prices are continuing to rise and some neighborhoods are not as nice as they could be. Remember that some outlying areas can have pretty sucky internet so check into that. I'm about 30 minutes to the new Paine Field airport.

My nephew bought a house last year out in Maple Valley. He commutes to South Lake Union (Amazon guy). Much smaller yard than mine but huge house. Also was around your price range, not sure that they still are. Go to the Black Diamond bakery while you are out there looking. 

Even cheaper is Skagit county. It is a more rural county and has lots of farms. Reasonable distance to Bellingham airport. I-5 runs through it. It would tack on about 30 minutes from where I live.

Plan on taking some time to wander around since you have so many options. Include places that are ferry commutable. I know a lot of people who do that every day.