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Old 02-17-2016, 02:48 PM
 
8 posts, read 5,007 times
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My family (husband, wife and two small children, one of which will enter Kindergarten in the fall) moved to the Ballard area in 2013 from the Midwest. We love living in Ballard (homes with character! sidewalks! Good schools! Lots of families! Great restaurants and other amenities! Proximity to the city!) but apparently so does everyone else We've been renting for the past 3 years, but would like to buy and stay for awhile, but the housing market is intimidating here, to say the least. We're looking to spend under 600K, but hearing so many horror stories in the neighborhood of 30+ offers, I'm kind of scared off the idea of even attempting to buy in Ballard!

Both my husband and I currently work from home, so commute isn't a pressing matter, however, I could see that changing in the future and would like to stay close enough to the city where commuting wouldn't be too crazy if that became a necessity (the commute I have in mind would be to Pioneer Square). We also travel frequently, and being closer to the airport is a bonus.

After much arm chair real estate shopping, and city data surfing, I found a few alternative spots that seem like the could be a good fit for our family and a place we could potentially buy. For now I've zeroed in on West Seattle, and Burien. I kind of love the Burien downtown, so quaint and walkable, and the housing market doesn't seem to have the heat of Ballard, but the schools!! Why are the schools rated so poorly? I've actually found a co-op elementary in Burien that seems great, but I would love to have the option to send my kids to public school too. I haven't been able to find many actual reviews from real people about the schools in the Highline district, just the greatschools website info, but I know that's based on test scores (which are notoriously low in areas with a population with lower socioeconomic status and/or ESL.

Help me great minds of CityData! Would Burien (or West Seattle) be a good fit for my little family, or should we try our luck with the more popular Seattle neighborhoods? Is Burien up-and-coming or too rough and gritty? And one last question, with Burien being so close to the airport, is there any chance it would ever connect to the lightrail? Thanks!
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Old 02-17-2016, 03:01 PM
 
1,845 posts, read 2,397,525 times
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West Seattle is awesome, similar to Ballard. The views are amazing and there is a strong sense of community. However, the 30+ offers on a single house are happening in WS, too.

Burien -- if I lived there, my plan would be Explorer West (private) for middle school, hoping my kid gets into Aviation High School (public but competitive enrollment based on test scores and interview), maybe the ferry to Vashon (highly rated, free, open to other districts) for HS.
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Seattle
3,756 posts, read 2,550,889 times
Reputation: 1972
I actually love Burien, often overlooked I believe. Go visit the schools in person, I bet you'll meet some great teachers and administrators. If you want to stay in West Seattle, at a $600K budget, perhaps look in the Arbor Heights area.

You are wise to avoid Ballard on your budget, it is a feeding frenzy. Have you considered Shoreline or Edmonds? Great schools, prices a little better and competition a little less.
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:07 PM
 
2,634 posts, read 4,759,861 times
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We recently moved to Seattle and are renting in West Seattle and I agree with the other posters, its a great area. I've been watching the listings and there seem to be listings coming up in your price range, not sure what they end up selling for however. These are not just in Arbor heights but other more desirable parts of West Seattle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by homesinseattle View Post
I actually love Burien, often overlooked I believe. Go visit the schools in person, I bet you'll meet some great teachers and administrators. If you want to stay in West Seattle, at a $600K budget, perhaps look in the Arbor Heights area.
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Seattle
3,756 posts, read 2,550,889 times
Reputation: 1972
Noah, the problem is that most homes in coveted areas are selling for a fair amount more than list price. I'll give you an example from this week. Just yesterday I helped my clients with an offer on a cute little 2 bedroom vintage home with large lot in the south part of West Seattle, listed below market (IMO) at $350K. We pre-inspected, waived contingencies, wrote a great personal letter, had strong earnest money. I recommended that they escalate to $430K. They only went to $402, we lost to an offer of (you guessed it) $430K. Because it was near Arbor Heights and not farther north in West Seattle, there were only 5 offers instead of 15. I'm not jesting, in this market, you look for any advantage you can.

So, competition is less in Arbor Heights, Burien even more so. Burien would be best, Zelda, in terms of value for money, and all of the other things I mentioned.
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:21 PM
 
2,634 posts, read 4,759,861 times
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Oh I don't doubt it at all and appreciate your insight. I fear if we decide we want to buy we may be priced out as 400's will probably be our range but at the same time I've seen some of the sales that took place last year (including the house we are renting) and while not cheap I expected worse, of course 6 or 9 months could make a difference in such a crazy market.

Burien looks like a possible back up location although schools will be a concern as well as being a little farther away.

Do you have a sense of # of months of inventory on the market in West Seattle compared to Burien?

Quote:
Originally Posted by homesinseattle View Post
Noah, the problem is that most homes in coveted areas are selling for a fair amount more than list price. I'll give you an example from this week. Just yesterday I helped my clients with an offer on a cute little 2 bedroom vintage home with large lot in the south part of West Seattle, listed below market (IMO) at $350. We pre-inspected, waived contingencies, write great personal letter, had strong earnest money, I recommended that they escalate to $430K. They only went to $402, we lost to an offer of (you guessed it) $430K. Because it was near Arbor Heights and not farther north in West Seattle, there were only 5 offers instead of 15. I'm not jesting, in this market, you look for any advantage you can.

So, competition is less in Arbor Heights, Burien even more so. Burien would be best OP, in terms of value for money, and all of the other things I mentioned.
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Seattle
3,756 posts, read 2,550,889 times
Reputation: 1972
Noah, I don't have the exact stats at my fingertips, as I'm out showing homes Suffice it to say, anything priced correctly is selling right away.
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Old 02-17-2016, 07:45 PM
 
8 posts, read 5,007 times
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Thank you everyone, especially homesinseattle, for your thoughtful replies! I think West Seattle Gal is right, that we should actually go and tour schools in Burien. We moved to Seattle from Kansas City, MO and bought our house in an area that was considered pretty sketchy (our realtor even tried to dissuade us from buying But we loved it, loved the diversity, loved our neighborhood, and really never felt ill at ease. But now that we have kids, especially one entering Kindergarten, I guess I'm more tentative with our housing choices.

We *have* thought about Edmonds and Shoreline, but haven't really taken a shine to either, although the schools are impressive. There's just something very attractive to us in those walkable downtown areas of Burien, West Seattle, and Ballard (which Edmonds does have, but it's just feels SO far away!) Also, the Lake City area of Seattle looks interesting (and with light rail in the area in the distant future that's a bonus), but I think we would prefer to stay south of the city and not deal with all the traffic if we don't have to. We're pretty spoiled living in Ballard and working from home, we really haven't had to experience Seattle traffic at all (except for when we have a poorly timed flight).
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Old 02-17-2016, 07:53 PM
 
64 posts, read 33,554 times
Reputation: 22
We just moved to West Seattle after living downtown for a year. The school ratings are definitely a put off - but when speaking to actual parents of the children - they say they schools are good and getting better rapidly. We paid $450 for our house which was listed at $439. It had multiple offers (though i think it was bologna) and we came in with the escalation to $460 and a nice personal letter.

We came in at a lull (closed sept 25). Our agent was impressed how quickly it went. It was also our first offer and it was on a brand new home. We got lucky - you can get lucky too depending on your timeline.

We live near Roxbury and west of 26th Ave. It's totally fine - don't be shy of it.
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Old 02-17-2016, 07:59 PM
 
Location: 98166
646 posts, read 1,032,027 times
Reputation: 519
We just moved to Burien a few months ago. Absolutely love it here. I can't speak for the schools because we don't have kids. The downtown is awesome. There is a Trader Joes here too. Tons of trees and Seahurst Park is incredible. It is also way closer to Seattle than you think. I can be downtown in 15-20 minutes. West Seattle is super close to. It is also about 10 minutes to the airport with minimal airplane noise(up where we are on top of the hill on the border of Three Tree Point and Normandy Park). That's great for us because we both travel a fair bit for work. Anyway, if you end up moving to Burien, don't tell anyone else how awesome it is Let em all keep moving north and east...
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