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Old 02-28-2008, 11:15 PM
 
26 posts, read 86,474 times
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I'm in the latter stages of interviewing for a job in Seattle. When asked for a salary range I was looking for, I said I wanted around 72K. I'm 27, without any kids, and I would live my girlfriend, who would earn 30K at minimum.

I can't imagine with a combined income of 102K, or even just my 72K salary, we would struggle, yet I read things on here about how you need at least 120K to live comfortably.

But why???

I've browsed apartments in Seattle, and while not cheap, the rates are no where near Manhattan expensive either. It seems to me that a one bedroom apartment in a decent, maybe in even "nice," neighborhood can be had for under $1200 a month, leaving plenty of money left over for other expenses. I've also seen cost of living calculators that also say Seattle is not nearly as expensive as San Francisco or NYC.

So let me ask...where exactly does Seattle's super-expensive reputation come from? Is it accurate? And if it is accurate, does it only apply to buying a house?

As a 20 something looking to rent, is the Seattle cost of living really that big of a concern? What type of salary does a person in my situation need to live comfortably and save some money?
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:26 PM
 
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Default At that salary, you're fine

If you're making over $100k with no kids and renting, you shouldn't have any troubles.

Housing costs are insane, insurance is expensive, and inflation is rising faster here than anywhere else in the country, but compared to San Fran, New York, or LA, Seattle is not terribly expensive.
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:37 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles
4,568 posts, read 8,325,095 times
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Maybe it depends on where you moved from. I lived in several cities before Seattle and all which are more expensive to live than Seattle. Do not believe this ridiculous stuff about you having to make $95,000, $100,000 or more to live here. It is just crazy. When I moved here from D.C. everything here was cheaper, and still is. Car insurance, food, rent, bus fare, utilities, restaurants, downtown parking. Its not cheap to live here but people talk like its midtown manhattan. Out of the 5 major metropolitan areas on the west coast including Seattle Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, Seattle is the next to last for least expensive to live.
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Old 02-29-2008, 07:42 AM
 
524 posts, read 1,783,990 times
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Its "expensiveness" depends on whats the "norm" you are moving from. For us, everything went up in cost drastically. For instance, these "Mcmansions" that everyone refers to out here cost about $300,000 at the most back in PA whlie here they are close to a million. You can barely get a one bedroom condo for 300,000 here. So compared to NYC costs are relative but compared to some other areas costs are high.

You will be fine with a combined 6 figure income out here for 2 people.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Austin 'burbs
3,226 posts, read 9,877,031 times
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I think when people say they have struggled to make it on 6 figures in the area, they are mainly families with children, with outside expenses you wouldn't have as a couple, or a single person.

Housing is across the board, high though. If you are going to rent, you will not have an issue. If you plan on buying, you should come with a significant downpayment.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:58 AM
 
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I think when most people talk about how you need 100K to live in Seattle, they are referring to what you need if you're buying a house. You'll do great renting on 72 or 100k per year, and even have money left over to hear live music,dine out, etc.
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Old 02-29-2008, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Happiness is found inside your smile :)
3,177 posts, read 10,114,219 times
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If you don't have kids and are renting you'll be rolling in money

We have kids, babies and own a house. Our Mortgage is 2200K per month, and daycare is $1600 per month - so there's $3800 out the window that you won't be paying!

It would kick a$$ if I was single with no kids - I make over 100K by myself. Just THINK of all the fun I could have!

PS - I'm from Calif, and to me Seattle is cheaper
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:23 PM
 
209 posts, read 559,433 times
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So let me ask...where exactly does Seattle's super-expensive reputation come from? Is it accurate?
.......................

No it is not really accurate.

You have to remember that in WA we pay only Federal Income tax.

There is no State Income tax, No local wage tax, and property taxes (if you own your own home) are quite low compared to the value of the home.

A 500,000 home in Seattle would pay about $3500 in property taxes. quite low compared to other major metropolitan areas. (I have seen areas where property taxes are double that on an equivalent home, even though the equivalent was about 100k less in price)
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:40 PM
 
14,029 posts, read 25,855,451 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Condorll View Post
A 500,000 home in Seattle would pay about $3500 in property taxes. quite low compared to other major metropolitan areas. (I have seen areas where property taxes are double that on an equivalent home, even though the equivalent was about 100k less in price)
Is the Property Tax Rate in Seattle less than other areas of WA? I'm in Thurston County, (Olympia) and find my tax rate to be 1% of assessed value which is about a quarter of a percent higher than the example given.
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:44 PM
 
1,570 posts, read 4,289,969 times
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Washington has high sales taxes, which partially offsets the lack of a state income tax.

As others have noted, it really matters where one comes from, though, as far as perspective and "reputation" go. Home prices are relatively high here, but because we moved from the San Francisco area, they seemed quite reasonable to us.
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