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Old 01-21-2013, 07:26 PM
 
14 posts, read 41,427 times
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I have been doing some investigative research on a possible move to the Seattle area and I am having a hard time understanding, how do teachers afford to live in the Seattle area?

Currently I live and teach in Chicago and make about $60k/yr teaching at an elementary school in the city. With that and my wife's very part-time income of about $15/yr - my wife, myself, and our one year-old daughter have not had a problem living and even saving a bit each month in our $1700/mo 3br/2ba apartment.

I've always wanted to depart from this concrete slab of a city and head northwest where real nature and hiking exists within a 30-40 minute drive.

But as I have eventually located various position listings and salary schedules for a variety of school districts in the area, I see that generally speaking I would be making about $50k/yr for the same job. That's a $10k/yr decrease for living in a more expensive market. Those districts I looked at were Seattle Public Schools and others such as Bellevue, Issaquah, Snoqualmie, etc.

There must be some teachers on this forum, or someone must know a teacher or two - - how do they afford to live anywhere in the Seattle area on $50k/yr? And unfortunately, as I'm sure many teachers have spouses with greater income, that isn't likely to develop in my situation.

Thanks for any information or advice you can offer.
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:41 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
872 posts, read 1,832,061 times
Reputation: 564
Howdy!


To be honest with you, your salary will be between 50-55k here, but I would suggest living just outside of the city to stretch your income.

Did you make a mistake when you typed "3 br/2 ba"? Even if you did, if you are able and willing to spend around $1500-1600 a month on rent, you would find better places than you would in Chicago.

I can give you a few examples:

The Overlook at Lakemont Apartments in Bellevue, WA | Apartments.com

Juniper Ridge Apartments in Bellevue, WA | Apartments.com



If you meant two bedroom, two bath, then you will be well within range to get a nice place for $1200-1400.

I think you would do better than you believe. Seattle food/utilities are much cheaper than they are in Chicago.

I just moved and considered both of these places to live and they both are nice.

P.S. depending upon where you teach and how long you have been teaching... you could be in much better shape than you think.
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:55 PM
 
14 posts, read 41,427 times
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Thank you so much for sharing some insight! We do currently have a 3br/2ba, but are more than willing to go 2/2. In all honesty, we don't particularly want to live in the city of Seattle, but to the east of the city. If we could literally live in the foothills of the mountains in the Snoqualmie / North Bend / Fall City area, I believe my family would be incredibly excited. But in reality we've just narrowed our intentions down to "not in Seattle".

And thanks for those listings links! I see that they are both in Bellevue, any other recommendations?
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
872 posts, read 1,832,061 times
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To be totally and completely honest with you:

Outside of the skyscraper apartments in downtown Bellevue, you can live pretty much anywhere you want outside of the city of Seattle. I visited approximately 10 apartments in 3 days. It all comes down to a lot of preferences. For example, I chose one on Mercer Island because I am surrounded by water and I am close to both downtowns and the island feels like a great small community. But really, you probably can't go wrong, there are a bunch of great places to live on the east/northeast side of Seattle.

Check out the towns of:

Kirkland
Woodinville
Issaquah
Bothell
Redmond
Kenmore
Sammamish


Or if you don't have to be in Seattle, Olympia is a very nice town that is MUCH cheaper than any other part of the Puget Sound area. It has average to less-than-average crime (the towns on the outside of Olympia between Tacoma and Olympia are very nice, too).

If you were to look somewhere like Olympia, your rent for a THREE bedroom, two bath place would be between $800-1000. Very doable.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:19 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
87,821 posts, read 81,562,175 times
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OMG, do not live on the East side of Lake Washington if you plan to work in Seattle! The commuter traffic can be nightmarish, and even outside of commute hours, if there's an accident or some other traffic snafu, you won't be able to get to work on time, reliably.

I did teacher-training in the Seattle schools, and the teacher I worked with said he made more than his former classmates who were professors at the UW. And those professors can afford to live in town just fine. Though rents have gone up since then, and maybe teacher salaries haven't kept pace. Take a look at Lake Forest Park, Lynwood, Mountlake Terrace, and Edmonds, just north of Seattle. Rents are a little lower there, and they're close enough for an easier commute than across the lake.

Last edited by Ruth4Truth; 01-21-2013 at 08:35 PM..
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
872 posts, read 1,832,061 times
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That, of course, is IF you want to work in Seattle. If you do not, then no need to worry about it. A safe rule of thumb: Try to live where you work or at least within ~15 miles of it.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:51 PM
 
14 posts, read 41,427 times
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Thanks for the tips Ruth and wlw! I'm not sure exactly what average commuter times are in Seattle (from Issaquah let's say), but I have to believe it's considerably less than my 2 years of commuting from Chicago to Schaumburg (about 25 miles). The morning drive was usually 60 minutes with an evening route home of anywhere from 60-90 minutes. I never felt like it was "lost" time though - between audio courses from The Teaching Company and Audible, I learned and "read" a whole lot during that job. But living near work will definitely be something I will keep in mind.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:01 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
87,821 posts, read 81,562,175 times
Reputation: 91628
I just looked on Craigslist. There are bargains if you know the area well enough to know a bargain when you see it. I found a nice 3-bedroom apt. in a beautiful part of Seattle (Ravenna Park area), in an older home that's been divided into two apartments. $1600. That's well below market rate for Seattle. But it might still be too much on your budget. Anyway, if you keep checking Craigslist, you could find something in Seattle. Rents in Mountlake Terrace seem to be significantly cheaper, and it's closeby, to the north. This should be doable. Just keep checking Craigslist, and contact some property management companies in Seattle, too.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:24 PM
Status: "Enjoying the winter" (set 25 days ago)
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
34,062 posts, read 61,960,043 times
Reputation: 37994
Here in Sammamish most of the teachers we know that live in this area have a spouse that makes more than a teacher, mostly Microsoft and Boeing. On the other hand, we also know teachers that bought in the 80s back when home prices were more in line with their salaries
and still have nice low payments.

In some better parts of Seattle such as Ballard and Greenlake I have recently seen 3 BR houses going for $1,600 rent, but they were never advertised. The people that got them happened to be driving by and saw the previous people moving out or someone cleaning it up and got the owner's number. The better rentals go real fast.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:31 PM
 
14 posts, read 41,427 times
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Thanks Hemlock, that isn't all that different from here in Chicago. Teachers who are able to own in a decent neighborhood are doing so because they have a spouse bringing in more money than they are. That probably won't be my situation anytime soon. We are happy to continue to rent though, preferably not in Seattle-proper.
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