Author Topic: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle  (Read 6917 times)

NW Girl

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Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« on: March 21, 2013, 08:54:18 PM »
Do any of the Seattle Mustachians out there have any Seattle neighborhood recommendations?     

My husband works in the Lake Union area and he will be biking and riding the bus to work, and I will work for my former East Coast employer at home.   We have two school-aged kids.  We have one car, but plan to bike and bus for our transportation.  We have been trying to look on the fringes of the trendy neighborhoods so we get the advantages of a short commute and other amenities without the high prices.   However, with the current low inventories of homes for sale it has been a frustrating process.  We could technically afford to go up to $400k, but prefer to buy at $300k (or lower) in order to pay our mortgage off quickly.  Any advice out there?  Should we sit tight and wait for inventories to increase so we don't have to go through a bidding war for every half-assed piece of property on the market?  Thanks in advance!

NW Girl

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2013, 08:55:36 PM »
I should add....we have been living on the East Coast for the past decade and although I grew up in Portland, the Seattle housing scene is new to us.

DebtDerp

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 08:59:08 PM »
Seattle is in a bit of mini bubble right now:

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlewaterfronthomes/2013/03/14/asking-prices-for-seattle-homes-up-13-1-inventory-down-38/

I would suggest renting while the prices cool down... I've heard stories of homes getting multiple bids on opening day of being sold. I could be wrong, but things seem a little overheated right now.

Sorry, pressed post too quickly. Seattle has a pretty good bus system so if you do end of renting or buying the neighborhoods I like are Ballard (bus) and Queen Anne (walk/bike). I can't tell you how schools are in these areas but there seems to be a fair amount of families in those neighborhoods. I'm not sure on pricing, but Magnolia is also a good area.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2013, 09:15:07 PM by DebtDerp »

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 09:13:57 PM »
Single family home in city near Lake Union for below $300?

Ummm....good luck with that.

Maybe try the Central District (gentrifying), International District or Georgetown (kinda South). Unless you find that gem fixer-upper in a more affluent area, one of the problem you will run into quickly is the places with cheaper housing are not generally known for great schools. If you have two school age kids, you might consider deciding what you your minimum requirements are for schooling and going from there. All the bike riding in the world won't make up for you deciding you need to send your kids to private school.

NW Girl

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2013, 06:59:25 AM »
Actually we are looking for a townhouse or condo.  We've spent the past 11 years in NYC and DC and we're intimately aware of the high cost of city living.  However, I thought it was realistic to find a 2 bed condo less than 1000sq foot condo somewhere between Lake City and Lake Union for around 300K.  My only other requirements are decent schools and sidewalks.  So far, no luck.  Just very little on the market to choose from.  We did bid on an 850 sq foot house in Bryant which was admittedly 10-15% undervalued at 300K, but ended up selling for a little over 400K, buyer waived inspection (it was built in the 1920s).   That is just insane to me and I don't know how to approach this market while still trying to provide some stability (financial and geographic) for my family.

Thank you for your suggestions though! 

Sweet Tart

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2013, 07:16:49 AM »
If you can give up on sidewalks you might be able to find something.  We live in Pinehurst south of 125th and love it.  Greenwood, Crown Hill, Pinehurst, Olympic Hills, etc. are more affordable but with no sidewalks.  I bus to Belltown every day and my DH works from home.  The school thing is trickier these days, but our neighborhood schools are good (Sacajawea/Eckstein/Hale--I think Hale is one of the most underrated in the city), and there are options if you don't like your assigned school.  We know kids from the neighborhood who go to different high schools that better fit their needs.  They didn't have a problem getting in to Roosevelt or IB at Ingraham.

I don't know what the market is like in Maple Leaf (should be less than Bryant) but that's another great accessible neighborhood with good schools and more townhouse options.

NW Girl

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2013, 08:01:31 AM »
We have looked in Pinehurst and liked it, overall.  Is it still walkable without the sidewalks?  Do you feel safe?  I also liked Greenwood but there hasn't been anything available except for crappy overpriced single family houses.  The schools looked good from my Internet research as well, so it is nice to get some reassurance from you that is the case.  Thx!

No Name Guy

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2013, 09:04:29 AM »
Don't give up on south Snohomish county.  Sound Transit has excellent express service from the Mountlake Terrace P&R and Lynnwood P&R to down town.  From there, a short walk to south Lake Union.  Housing is FAR less expensive.  Back in the day, when I was a downtown office drone, I'd take the bus from the Lynnwood P&R ever day - one would show up every few minutes during the peak commute times.  Ditto on the way home.  I'd trained myself to sleep until the pitch of the engine changed as the bus slowed to exit the freeway.

Downside for Lynnwood / MLT for some folks:  Not hipster 'hoods.  I consider that a plus. 

If you pick and choose carefully, you can be within walking / easy biking distance of amenities.  Also - you'd be hard pressed to spend 300 / 400k for 850 square feet.  My neighbor is getting ready to sell - call it 1500 SFR that will go for lower-mid 200's.

YMMV

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2013, 11:36:25 AM »
Whoot whoot +1 for S. Snoco, my hood. I'm in Edmonds. Very good schools, very safe. Nice place to raise a family and lots of amenities like parks, beach, ferryrides, etc. $300K is doable, particularly for a condo or small home. Also direct, if limited, train service to king street station in Seattle.

Edit: Something else just occurred to me, since you are talking about biking to Lake Union. Not sure if you've looked at this
http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/2012BikeMap.pdf
but the Interurban Trail has good connection from Shoreline (goes all the way to Everett, actually, but that's pretty far to bike commute) in N. King County to Seattle including Lake Union, though in city the trail goes on road I think.

Shoreline, as an example, has good schools, is a nice family friendly area with a wide range of neighborhoods and price points, including very affluent and more value-centered, but except for a few pockets along Hywy 99 most of Shoreline is really nice. It might be worth it, since a lot of family friendly neighborhoods are north of the city, to follow the path of the Interurban and see what looks good to you that would still be bike-doable. 

Good luck!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2013, 12:38:10 PM by Erica/NWEdible »

purpleqgr

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2013, 03:26:23 PM »
I'll mention Lake Forest Park and Kenmore, on the north end of the lake. You have access to the burke-gilman trail, which gives a nearly flat, almost straight shot to the U district and Lake Union. I live in Kenmore, and a lazy bike ride gets me to downtown Seattle in under an hour.

The schools are highly rated, and you can get a decent place under 300k without problems. I like that I have decent access to both sides without fuss, though I'm not -close- to anything like the mall/trendy spots/money gobbling commercial outlets. Just the quirky downtown area of LFP, almost nonexistant commericial center of Kenmore, and an easy bikeride to plenty of other spots.

SmackDab

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2013, 06:19:14 PM »
I would definitely not want to be a buyer in this market, although it's possible that the situation may be slightly better with townhouses as opposed to single family homes.

You might want to take a look at Seattle Bubble (http://seattlebubble.com/blog/) as an interesting resource for commentary about the Seattle real estate market. The title is a bit of an anachronism, as the blog was originally created to (correctly) argue that the market of 2005-2008 was bubble-icious, and the zillions of graphs and monthly market stat rundowns can be a bit much, but keeping an eye on it over time will give you a good feel for the market conditions here, I think.

If I were you, I would probably rent until the inventory situation (currently at record low levels) improves. Good values can be found, although you have to be quick and it can be a frustrating, laborious process. I went to an open house for a rental in north Ballard a year or so ago that got mobbed by at least 40 people while I was there, and one guy even offered to pay a full year's worth of rent up front in order to secure the lease. Granted, that rental was under-priced, but I had never seen anything like that until I came to Seattle.

slugsworth

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2013, 12:24:28 PM »
I live in Greenwood and really like it and would be happy to give you a tour.  I think Greenwood and Lake City are your major North of the ship canal neighborhoods for cheap housing that meets your needs.  To keep it near/at/below $300k you may need to give up on sidewalks, or be very specific about which street you live on.

yolfer

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2013, 11:54:54 PM »
First off, welcome to Seattle!

I'm in the market for homebuying right now (been searching since the beginning of the year) and I'm getting very frustrated with the low inventory.

My family and I currently rent in the Central District (CD) and would like to buy here too. It fits in the "fringes of trendy neighborhoods" department since it's about 10 minutes by bike to Capitol Hill (arguably the trendiest neighborhood in Seattle), as well as Madrona (an upscale family neighborhood) and Columbia City (ditto).

I ride my bike everywhere, and live walking distance to a grocery store, drugstore, Chinatown. There's a huge park in the neighborhood (Judkins Park) and access to one of the major commuting bike trails (I-90 trail). There are lots of bus lines nearby (4, 7, 8, 14, 27 are the ones that come to mind) but I'm not a frequent bus rider.

We live in a pretty nice 4bd for $1775/month, for what it's worth. I'm happy to give you more info about the CD. I love it here!

Sweet Tart

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Re: Mustachian Neighborhoods in Seattle
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2013, 10:51:14 AM »
We have looked in Pinehurst and liked it, overall.  Is it still walkable without the sidewalks?  Do you feel safe?  I also liked Greenwood but there hasn't been anything available except for crappy overpriced single family houses.  The schools looked good from my Internet research as well, so it is nice to get some reassurance from you that is the case.  Thx!

We love Pinehurst.  I never feel unsafe, but there are areas around Lake City Way that I wouldn't hang out in.  It's totally walkable even without sidewalks and we're within walking distance of multiple supermarkets, coffee shops, the library, a seasonal farmer's market, etc.  We love our neighbors and it's very down-to-earth and friendly (well, as friendly as Seattle can be).  From where we live there are several direct options for busing downtown and the Northgate transit center is a hub for busing all over the city and will have a light rail station in the future.  Lake City Way can be colorful but it's improving and if you're going to be here long-term the Pierre family has plans to redevelop the auto properties and is working with the community for input on the design and direction of the redevelopment. 
« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 10:52:49 AM by Sweet Tart »