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Old 04-25-2009, 02:35 PM
 
12 posts, read 35,818 times
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We are ready to leave Katy area of Houston by the end of August, after living in here for about a year. What we're looking for is a clean and safe place, and not too far away from a major airport. We've looked at Portland, OR (too many sex offenders in the area), the Hudson Valley, NY (too far away from JFK Int'l), and we are still looking.

I work at home so no need to commute, but I travel to London and China regularly. We have a 2-year old son and not planning to put him in a day care for another year.

We plan to rent a nice apartment with good pool(s), gym, health facilities for a year of so before we decide to buy a house, which city, town, suburb or island in the greater Seattle area you can recommend for us?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-25-2009, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Seattle area
857 posts, read 3,746,100 times
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I can't speak to the apt facilities, but two things:
1. You'll have to give a budget for an apt. There are spectacular places overlooking the water that come with spectacular prices. You OK with that? Or, there's nice places with lesser or no views with lower prices. What's your affordability range? Housing here is far more expensive than Houston (and the quality of life - and air - is commensurately better too).

2. You say no-daycare for another year. Does that mean you're looking for a nanny the first year? Be advised it's about $15/hr here and you're likely to have to pay the taxes, holiday, vacation on top of that. Yeah, some people do things under-the-table, but it is not like TX where there's a line of folks outta Mexico happy to work for you for watever you'll throw their way. And, for a good daycare (or preschool, since kiddo will be 3 in a year!), there can be a very long wait. As soon as you ID your target permanent neighborhood, get on the waiting lists for places that look good to you. It may be well over a year before anything opens up.

Good luck with your move! And hope you enjoy the shorter trips to China!
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Old 04-25-2009, 03:10 PM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,350,632 times
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Do you have jobs lined up? The *official* unemployment rate in the state of Washington is 9.2%.
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:14 PM
 
12 posts, read 35,818 times
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Thank you, jenlion and azoria.

Our budget is flexible and I am not looking for a job. I stay at home when I'm not traveling around the world, and my wife is a full-time mom, so we are not looking for a nanny for now. We want the boy to be taken care of by ourselves till he's 3. Thank you for the waiting list idea.

Do you have any specific areas to suggest? We are not restricted in the Seattle metro area. How's Gig Harbor, North of Tacoma, Bainbridge Island, Edmonds (to the north), Bellevue, or Issaqua (to the east)? (I'm looking at the Google maps)

Thank you.
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Old 04-26-2009, 12:53 AM
 
Location: Greater Seattle, WA Metro Area
1,938 posts, read 5,784,844 times
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Longnshort, we relocated to the Eastside in the summer of 2007 from Austin, TX. We live in Sammamish which is just north of Issaquah, but we are in the Issaquah School District. I am very familiar with Katy, TX and Houston. You will find the Seattle area a much different feel due to the weather and topography. It is absolutely gorgeous here and the air is so much cleaner than what you are used to, so night and day in that regard. The airport should be fine for you as well. But what I would like to know is what are your interests (are you outdoors people, indoors people, do you like more open space or a more urban feel, are you city people, do you enjoy the arts, are you runners/hikers/cyclists, etc.) and what your budget is. All those things can be important depending on what you enjoy doing esp. since your commute doesn't matter so much to you and you probably don't care much about schools at this point. Gig Harbor is a lovely, smaller town. Probably would be likened to like a Buda TX vs Houston TX but really pretty. Bainbridge is also cool but can be isolating for some. Bellevue is certainly a nice city with lots of posh condos, great shopping and restaurants, parks, etc. and also with lots of family oriented areas. Issaquah is certainly a terrific place to raise a family too. So you have some good choices on your list...we just need to learn more about you to be helpful. You left out some areas of Seattle that are popular with families...West Seattle comes to mind as does Magnolia and Greenlake. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-26-2009, 09:18 AM
 
12 posts, read 35,818 times
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Thank you texastrigirl. I had read some of your other posts. I have never been Seattle before, just as we had never been Houston before we moved here from overseas. Yes, we like outdoors, and since we have a 2-year-old boy, we are not into nightlife type of things, but we often drive great distance just for food ;-) We certainly will be looking out for great real Chinese, Italian food (spicy pig ears, eggplant parmesan...) We, including our son, love walking/hiking (little guy can walk over 2 1/2 miles on his own now). Price or school is not of much a concern for now. We want a nice clean area with friendly neighbors and is safe from crime and sex offenders.

We are not looking for the most expensive properties either. We have lived in several major cities overseas before we moved back to the States, usually renting in the 'best communities' (beach front, riverside etc). I found it was hard to make friends in those kind of places. In some cases, they just do not want you to be there (we had our car vandalized with anti-American slogans carved all over it). Don't know why they behave that way in the 'rich communities.' Now we are living in a good, but not the most expensive apartment complex in the area, and my wife is very happy with so many new friends here. We will definitely feel a loss moving away from them, but we are looking for a cooler, clean-air place.

We will always be on the move. I am waiting for my wife to get her US citizenship so we can live and travel around again. We may be living in Europe when my son reaches school age. Now the greater Seattle area does sound good.

Please give me more specific advices. Thanks again.
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:27 PM
 
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
5,008 posts, read 10,789,347 times
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longnshort, I'm afraid for us to give you more specific advice on where to live you will have to give us more specific details on what your budget is, whether you prefer city feel or more suburban or rural, etc.

Some off the hand assumptions I'm making:

You and your spouse make ~$75,000 per year (that is the average income for a family in King County)
You have no significant debts (student loans, pre-existing mortgages, large credit card debt, etc)
You can afford a $60k downpayment on a house (or will in a year) and have good credit
You want good schools for the 2 year old for when he eventually does go to school
You want clean neighborhoods

With those assumptions I would say living on the East side of Seattle is definitely possible. Issaquah is nice, and if you have to wait until you move you will likely find yourself in a buyer's market in terms of housing still. Bellevue is also possible. Both have very good schools and are safe. Both are suburban.

If you prefer a more urban feel I would look at Magnolia, Wallingford, Ballard, or if you look south of the city, middle Beacon Hill. South of the city in Kent or Renton are nice too.

Mercer Island is nice too - if you want to rent. Average home price is roughly 1 million so I'm assuming you can't buy here =P

As usual with living closer to the city you will have the rough spots but Seattle is in general a very safe city. It is also beautiful in the summer! It is also a LOT more "liberal" than Texas is, it is closer to European socialism, but not as left as that. More homeless people, and some are aggressive, but they usually stay out of the nicer areas. Ballard has some homeless but they are the long term old-timers who just find a way and don't bother anyone.


Tacoma and Olympia I can't comment on too much. From my travels to Tacoma, I would assume you want something with a little more of a city center. Don't get me wrong, some areas around Tacoma are nice, just very bland.
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:07 PM
 
12 posts, read 35,818 times
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Thank you eskercurve,

Your info is very helpful. I will try to study more by the names you mentioned there.

You assumption is pretty much right. We like outdoors, nice, uncrowded living, but my European wife doesn't want to drive, so walking to shops is something she'd like.

We are not buying for at least 1 year until we figure out where (which part of the country) to live first. We are not too concerned about school district either, except we want to live in a 'nice' neighborhood. We want to raise our boy primarily ourselves for now, and by the time he reaches school age, we may be living somewhere in Europe, or China.

We prefer a nice apartment/condo community with nice pool(s), gym and so forth.

Thank you again.
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:49 PM
 
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
5,008 posts, read 10,789,347 times
Reputation: 4125
Quote:
Originally Posted by longnshort View Post
Thank you eskercurve,

You assumption is pretty much right. We like outdoors, nice, uncrowded living, but my European wife doesn't want to drive, so walking to shops is something she'd like.
We want to raise our boy primarily ourselves for now, and by the time he reaches school age, we may be living somewhere in Europe, or China.
You want your cake and eat it too huh? ;-)

Most suburban areas are probably much less crowded than what your European wife is used to. But that also means much fewer shops within walking distance. How long is she willing to walk?

Seattle proper has many individual neighborhoods which are very nice and have apartments / condos / townhomes and are still close to individual neighborhood centers, but not major shopping areas.

One area to consider is Northgate area. It's safer than Southcenter, it's close to Northgate mall, and is relatively safe and diverse. It's also within a short bus ride to the University Village mall and the areas around the university (and sufficiently far enough away from the rabble that lives there).

And ... growing up in China, huh? Interesting. Can't say I'd do the same, but I applaud your enthusiasm.
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Jackson Heights, Queens, NY
93 posts, read 282,252 times
Reputation: 41
Airport-

If you don't care about living RIGHT in the city, there are nice suburban communities minutes from the airport. Downtown Seattle is about half an hour from the airport, and limited public transportation is available to the aiport from there (2.25 bus that makes a few stops downtown then heads straight for the airport).

There is a non-stop flight to London on BA, and a non-stop to Japan, I don't know about trips to china, but Seattle is a short hop from San Fran, and LA, which I know do.

As for the feel, Seattle is A LOT more liberal than Texas, overwhelmingly so (I grew up there), and the people seem friendly, but generally aren't much more than that. Seattle is a Beautiful city, probably the most beautiful i have ever been to, but it is often hidden by the constant clouds

I didn't really like Seattle, but putting my antimosity for the city aside, for those who fit into the mold, it is a GREAT place to live.
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