Author Topic: Washington State city advice  (Read 4404 times)

Frugal D

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Washington State city advice
« on: April 19, 2016, 04:21:39 PM »
Hi all, I'm seeking some advice on where in Washington State my wife and I can best optimize for a mustachian lifestyle. We currently own our home in Central Seattle, but the news of our first child due in November has me rethinking our location. I'm trying to optimize, in order, for:

1. School district
2. Housing costs
3. Mustachian lifestyle
4. Work

A little more about our situation...

Me: Work from home and need to go to the airport, on average, bi-monthly. Salary is roughly $200k.
Her: Manages a retail store in Seattle, but planning to be SAHM when baby arrives.

Home value: $850k
HELOC: -$250k (plan to have this paid off by 1/1/2018)
401(k): $220k
Business equity: $93k
Cash/emergency: $25k
Other debt: $0

Given my parameters, it's really looking like my best options are going to be Duvall or Snoqualmie. Any others that I might be missing assuming we're not moving to eastern Washington?

Appreciate the insights.

onlykelsey

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2016, 04:26:53 PM »
I am not sure I've ever set foot in Washington, but my gut reaction to selling in Seattle right now is pretty negative.

I think we know that MMM doesn't care about school districts (so long as the kid is safe), but I would certainly not worry about it five years before said child starts kindergarten.  Is there any reason you want to move now, and not in four years?  It seems like stashing in the higher COL city for a few more years makes the most sense.  I also have lots of SAHP friends (temporarily or forever), and those in the suburbs seem to be sort of lonely.  Those in cities seem more involved in the community and less bored.  Obviously this is more of a question for your wife to think about, but it seems worth considering.

Noodle

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2016, 04:43:09 PM »
Is your concern about staying in Seattle that your current living space won't work once you have a bigger family, or is it the school district, or something else?

I just ask because there is a ton of local bad-mouthing of Seattle Public Schools, but they are actually pretty good by the standards of most places I have lived. The elementary schools in particular can be excellent.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2016, 05:04:48 PM »
Congrats on the upcoming baby! My wife and I just had our first child, and have no plans to leave the city. The public schools in our neigborhood are excellent; I volunteer at the nearest high school and have come across plenty of really smart kids who have gone on to study at all manner of top-tier universities. I hear this does vary by neighborhood though. With your existing house already being worth $850k, you should be able to afford something suitable somewhere in the zone for any public school in the city. You do have five years to make a move if that's what you really want to do. Take some time to research schools and come to a decision.

I find that your third criterion (Mustachian lifestyle) is really enabled by living in a walkable, compact neighborhood. Before moving to a more car-oriented suburb you should consider whether the schools there are enough better to make that trade-off worthwhile.

Fuzz

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2016, 05:09:40 PM »
I'd pick Cashmere or somewhere off of US 97 near Hwy 2. It's hard to beat the Wenatchee Valley for quality of life, especially with a SAHM and you have any interest in the outdoors. Top notch recreation and plenty of sun. As far as the airport goes, from Snoqualmie, it's 45 minutes; Duvall it's 1hour+, and Cashmere 2ish hours. So your marginal increase in drive time is around an hour. If you were going to go closer, maybe Teanaway outside of Cle Elum, but I think the community is better in Chelan county. I'd encourage you to expand the range, if you're willing to add some drive time. Also, I think there are flights.

You might also look at parts of the rain shadow on the Pennisula but I think the drive time is comparable from somewhere like Squim. Whidbey is pretty nice too.

MerryMcQ

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2016, 05:24:53 PM »
We live in University Place, which is South of Seattle, between Tacoma and Gig Harbor. It is 45 minutes to the airport from here and there are buses that run straight there.

Our schools are excellent, with a lot of parent volunteers and great activities - PJ movie nights, carnivals, ice cream sundae socials, concerts, plays, community gardens, etc, etc. There is a community college (TCC) within walking/biking distance, and high school juniors & seniors can attend classes there free (running start program). The high school has a ton of AP classes as well as a lot of art programs and sports. The elementary and middle schools have music every day, PE, arts, and lots of after school enrichment options (my son just took advanced robotics in 6th grade). There are a lot of options for gifted students, as well as great support for students needing more help.

The town is very walkable, has a great library with oodles of community activities, the fire station hosts parties a few times a year ( they cook hot dogs for everyone), there are multiple festivals during the year and a parade in June, plus we have a Apple Cider festival where you can make homemade Cider in a park (which is a huge Apple Orchard... Pretty cool park).

The town has a lot of parks, nice bike trails, is on the sound, is 15 minutes drive to PT Defiance zoo/park, a mile walk to a rollerskating ring, jungle gym, and lots of other kid friendly entertainment.

Houses range from $250k for a nice 3 bedroom with good sized yard, to $$$!!! for a mansion on the waterfront. It's a mature town so lots of big trees. There is a nice mix of socio-economic groups and it's pretty diverse ethnically (for Washington).

I love our town, but I have to say the schools here are amazing. We've been in several other school districts and they can't compare.

slugsworth

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2016, 05:57:46 PM »
You can look at school ratings by going to http://www.greatschools.org/school-district-boundaries-map/ I think Bainbridge island might be a middle ground as you can be close to Seattle, have a village, and you could buy something for half the cost.  Vashon Island also has very good schools and a cute village. Shoreline also gets a 9 on one of its two high schools and may allow you to get a comparable house for $200k less or more. 

What constitutes a mustachian lifestyle to you?

If it was me, I would seriously consider renting somewhere for a year or four. Until your child needs to attend school. You could easily be ER very soon.

Frugal D

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2016, 06:02:04 PM »
I am not sure I've ever set foot in Washington, but my gut reaction to selling in Seattle right now is pretty negative.

I think we know that MMM doesn't care about school districts (so long as the kid is safe), but I would certainly not worry about it five years before said child starts kindergarten.  Is there any reason you want to move now, and not in four years?  It seems like stashing in the higher COL city for a few more years makes the most sense.  I also have lots of SAHP friends (temporarily or forever), and those in the suburbs seem to be sort of lonely.  Those in cities seem more involved in the community and less bored.  Obviously this is more of a question for your wife to think about, but it seems worth considering.

I'm with you about selling in Seattle in the near term - I can't really see any reason for housing to stop appreciating given our economy and the all-time inventory lows. I guess I failed to mention in my post that this discussion is just in exploratory stages for now. I like to plan (too far) ahead so just trying to think about things that I wouldn't have considered on my own.

Frugal D

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2016, 06:08:29 PM »
Is your concern about staying in Seattle that your current living space won't work once you have a bigger family, or is it the school district, or something else?

I just ask because there is a ton of local bad-mouthing of Seattle Public Schools, but they are actually pretty good by the standards of most places I have lived. The elementary schools in particular can be excellent.

Combination of living space + school district + a tiny piece of me is beginning to hate how congested the city is getting. I do feed into a great elementary school so this could easily be a decision I delay for another 12 years.

Frugal D

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2016, 06:13:06 PM »
Congrats on the upcoming baby! My wife and I just had our first child, and have no plans to leave the city. The public schools in our neigborhood are excellent; I volunteer at the nearest high school and have come across plenty of really smart kids who have gone on to study at all manner of top-tier universities. I hear this does vary by neighborhood though. With your existing house already being worth $850k, you should be able to afford something suitable somewhere in the zone for any public school in the city. You do have five years to make a move if that's what you really want to do. Take some time to research schools and come to a decision.

I find that your third criterion (Mustachian lifestyle) is really enabled by living in a walkable, compact neighborhood. Before moving to a more car-oriented suburb you should consider whether the schools there are enough better to make that trade-off worthwhile.

Thanks. I presume you feed into Roosevelt (really great school)? We currently feed into Garfield which I'll admit isn't terrible - just not as good as I'd like. 

Good point re: walkability. That's probably something I take for granted right now.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2016, 06:15:03 PM »
Burien - think South of the city along the 509.  Burien elementary schools are great.
Shoreline - still affordable to live there, but I'm not sure about the schools.
Bellevue - think Bellevue High School, or Sammamish High, two of the top-100-high-schools in the nation.  Yes, there are areas of Bellevue that are affordable, but housing inventory is at an all-time low right now. 

Wait until fall / early winter to make a move decision, and use the cyclical nature of PNW housing prices to your advantage.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2016, 06:16:25 PM »
Congrats on the upcoming baby! My wife and I just had our first child, and have no plans to leave the city. The public schools in our neigborhood are excellent; I volunteer at the nearest high school and have come across plenty of really smart kids who have gone on to study at all manner of top-tier universities. I hear this does vary by neighborhood though. With your existing house already being worth $850k, you should be able to afford something suitable somewhere in the zone for any public school in the city. You do have five years to make a move if that's what you really want to do. Take some time to research schools and come to a decision.

I find that your third criterion (Mustachian lifestyle) is really enabled by living in a walkable, compact neighborhood. Before moving to a more car-oriented suburb you should consider whether the schools there are enough better to make that trade-off worthwhile.

Thanks. I presume you feed into Roosevelt (really great school)?

Ballard, actually. I'm not at all concerned about high school quality for the moment; my son won't be at that level for about 14 years. A lot can happen in that time with regard to relative school quality. That said, I wouldn't hesitate to send my son to Ballard as it exists today.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 06:18:11 PM by seattlecyclone »

Frugal D

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2016, 06:20:07 PM »
You can look at school ratings by going to http://www.greatschools.org/school-district-boundaries-map/ I think Bainbridge island might be a middle ground as you can be close to Seattle, have a village, and you could buy something for half the cost.  Vashon Island also has very good schools and a cute village. Shoreline also gets a 9 on one of its two high schools and may allow you to get a comparable house for $200k less or more. 

What constitutes a mustachian lifestyle to you?

If it was me, I would seriously consider renting somewhere for a year or four. Until your child needs to attend school. You could easily be ER very soon.

Mustachian lifestyle for me is easy access to parks, water, and close enough to walk or bike to libraries or a downtown area. I've definitely looked at Bainbridge and Vashon - just not sure what island life would be like.

The thought of being ER soon is also driving this. 

 

Noodle

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2016, 06:28:09 PM »
Is your concern about staying in Seattle that your current living space won't work once you have a bigger family, or is it the school district, or something else?

I just ask because there is a ton of local bad-mouthing of Seattle Public Schools, but they are actually pretty good by the standards of most places I have lived. The elementary schools in particular can be excellent.

Combination of living space + school district + a tiny piece of me is beginning to hate how congested the city is getting. I do feed into a great elementary school so this could easily be a decision I delay for another 12 years.


I can totally sympathize with getting tired of Seattle and its traffic woes. The high school situation may resolve itself by the time your unborn child needs it, as the real estate market etc. causes the feeder district to evolve.(Or Seattle actually manages to convince a superintendent to hang around for a few years.)

Seattle Carter

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Re: Washington State city advice
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2016, 09:08:09 PM »
Just stumbled onto this thread, how funny. I am in the same position as Frugal D: own a home in Seattle ($1m) and starting to research the possibility of moving to a smaller town or city in Washington State. Have two daughters (5 & 6) and my priorities are pretty much identical.

I love what I'm hearing about University Place, but I need to stay north of Seattle for family reasons. Right now I'm taking a hard look at Shoreline, Mill Creek and Snohomish. But this is a minimum of 2-3 years away. I'm also a planner 😀