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Seattle real estate

DaveDr89

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All,

Going to Seattle for a house hunting trip in one week.

Broad criteria below:
- within 5-7 miles of south Lake Union area
- property type preference: duplex, single family, condo
- desired price range 400-700k
- high walkability score

Thoughts on current rents and buying prices? I've done some basic online research but would love to hear the opinions of folks that have lived there.

Thanks!
 

RedLantern

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Is it just you, or do you have a SO and/or kids? How old are you? Any pets?
 

DaveDr89

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Just me and the SO. Mid 40s. Would like to avoid renting if possible. Thoughts on current buying prices and where they are headed? Thoughts on best areas within 5 miles of south Lake Union?
 

RedLantern

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Pricing is pretty nutso, not as bad as places like SF, but the median home price in Seattle is well into the 500s now. It will be higher in areas with high walk scores. Prices are still climbing and most every decent home is sold well above asking with multiple full price + offers and zero/very limited contingencies. 5-7 miles from south lake union covers pretty much the entire city. I assume you are going to be working at amazon or something in SLU?

As for specific neighborhoods:

Look for:
SLU, Green lake, Phinney Ridge, Ballard, Queen anne Greenwood, 15th/upper capitol hill, madison park (may be able to afford a small condo there at the top of your price range)


Avoid:
Belltown - scene is kind of crazy, young 20's club scene + street level drug dealing and homeless people.
Pike/pine/lower capitol hill - better than belltown, less drug dealing, more variety of businesses, restaurants, anyone over 25 is too old/not cool enough to live there though. Visiting is fine.
Magnolia: cool place, but it's a backwater and traffic in/out of there will kill you.
University district

It all really depends on your tolerance for traffic/crowded busses and how much you like "new" neighborhoods.

Pretty much anywhere even in the neighborhoods I listed is going to involve heavy traffic or a crowded bus ride to work. I would be tempted to look for a condo in SLU, it's too new of a neighborhood for me, but I know that newness is a positive for a lot of people. Good luck! Feel free to ask any further or specific questions!
 

DaveDr89

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Thanks for the advice. Yes, will be working in SLU area.

RE my tolerance for traffic/crowded buses, it is very low so my real radius is probably in the 2-4 miles range or less so that should narrow down the search further.

Yeah, if I can't find a decent house my fallback will probably be a condo in SLU either to rent or buy. It looks like a decent 2 BR in that area will be at least 2500/mo to rent and 500k to buy?
 

RedLantern

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^ Yeah, at least. The problem is that you just can't find much of anything. Super low inventory, all of your SLU cohorts are in the same boat as you. A lot of people bike/ride to work, don't know if that's something you're into. Also, if you have any flexibility to your work schedule, you might be able to avoid peak crowding hours on the busses.
 

DaveDr89

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Thanks.

In general, given the way rents are going, it looks like a potentially smart move would be to buy a single family home or duplex that's not too far from SLU as opposed to renting close to SLU at $2700/mo or higher (which is what something decent and not too small seems to cost). One loses the convenience but it might be worth it from an investment perspective.

For example, one could buy this: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4134-Palatine-Ave-N-Seattle-WA-98103/49090145_zpid/ and get some rental income but have to deal with a daily commute to SLU, or one could rent this http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/apa/5101862709.html and walk to SLU but then be in the same boat in 1 yr when buying prices are higher. Thoughts on this simple comparison? How bad is the commute from that location above?
 

RedLantern

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Yeah, I mean, I'm not real big on renting when buying is an option. The question of course is how long do you reasonably expect to be here? Or, in the event that you leave, do you really want to be a landlord? Some people can't stand living in a house that maybe needs a little fixing and would rather be in a new apartment. Femont/Wallingford is a fine neighborhood, the commute wont really get much better than that unless you are actually in SLU or maybe lower capitol hill (belltown too, but I wouldn't live there). As for specifics on how long the commute would be, I can't say. It would probably be a bus situation and I hear stories about how they are getting overcrowded, but I don't live around there and don't work down there so I have zero first hand knowledge.
 

arsenalx

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First post here :)

My company (a fairly large RE investment firm) just added Seattle to the top of our list for future investments. Pricing may seem tight now, but there are a few years before it reaches a peak, Seattle's demographic trend is really promising and should be able to drive up RE prices & rents. Should be a good investment in the long run.

Hope this helps.
 

DaveDr89

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Thanks. Yeah, my house hunting trip gave me a pretty good idea of the lay of the land. Heading back soon and will focus on getting something. Looks like a lot of places initially go on the market and are taken soon, whereas a lot of other properties start a bit overpriced and then have price drops of 5-10% after 3-4 weeks.
 

deejaysoy

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What's up you working at Amazon? Not sure if I plug in here or the classified section, I'm putting up my South Lake Union Condo www.Veerlofts.com for sale next week. Here's the link to Zillow. It's a Vulcan Building (Paul Allen) that I purchased in 2008. There's another unit if you want a full size loft right here for 538k. 3 units sold in my building in the past two months, hopefully the hype is good.

I love living in SLU but my 1 year old needs a house. Going 3-5 miles away from Seattle could get to be about a 30-45 minute commute since the city is so dense now. Plus that streetcar is jammed.
 

DaveDr89

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any luck selling your condo? Looks like it's still on the market. Still looking for an house on this end. Inventory seems to be slowing down.
 

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