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Old 04-01-2014, 04:19 AM
 
206 posts, read 116,060 times
Reputation: 679

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I'll be retiring from my job at the end of 2014 and thinking about returning back to Western Washington after being away for 33 years sometime in the Spring/Summer of 2015. I was born and raised in Seattle and visit family members about twice a year, so I'm still somewhat "in touch" with the area. Due to a decent retirement plan, I will net close to 6Ks a month. Plus, I'm holding my 401k plan in reserve for at least another 5 to 7 years before touching it... After a few months of "vacation," I plan on seeking out a part-time and non-stressful type of employment to help with expenses and my hobbies.

Other than a mortgage payment, I'm pretty much debt free AND hope to stay that way!!

The main reason why I'm thinking about moving and buying a home in the NW Tacoma/University Place area is that I've read and heard that property taxes are far less there than in the Seattle/King County area... Is that true?! If given the choice and taxes were not an issue, I wouldn't mind living up in the hills in the Renton area... Taxes are an issue since I'll be living on a fixed income for the rest of my life. 6Ks a month sounds good in 2014, but not as good in 2024... I tend to think long term since I'm in my early 50s and historically in my family, we tend to live into our mid to late 70s.

Anyway! I've only visited Tacoma a few times in the past and didn't think the place was that bad... Growing up in Seattle, I only heard negative things about Tacoma... Somewhat funny since "I" grew up in the Rainier Valley area of Seattle... Anyway! I've seen several homes in the 350K to 400K range in the NW parts of Tacoma via the internet and the area seemed to be pretty nice with some views of the water, which is a big plus for me. I'm just wondering if that area is somewhat safe... I'm sure it not as rough as some of the other areas of town to the south and east. I'm not too worried for myself since I'm retired military and law enforcement and can see trouble before it hits. My wife is pretty small and not as tough as she think she is. I don't want to worry about her safety if she goes to the local store or walks around the block. I also have 2 Granddaughters that will stay with me from time to time and I want them to be safe as well.

Yes, crime has no boundaries and like everything in life, there is risk, I just want to minimize them as much as possible.

A few other related questions to the NW Tacoma/University Place area;

A) What is a rough estimate of property taxes on a 350K single family house?
B) How long would it take on an average to drive to Downtown Seattle from NW Tacoma during rush hour?
C) I'm pretty much a "blue collar" type of guy. Are their plenty of good, but not too fancy restaurants in NW Tacoma?
D) Are there any Record/music/stereo shops and new/used book stores in the NW part of Tacoma or downtown?
E) Are there any places, other than Starbucks, to chill-out at while enjoying a coffee and reading?
F) Any safe parks and/or trails in the area during the day?
G) Any gangs, homeless related problems or serious violent crime issues in that part of town?

I have access to the military bases and will do most of my food shopping there, but is there a Safeway/QFC or a Fred Myers in the NW part of Tacoma?

BTW, I've been living in Anchorage, Alaska for the past 13 years and prior to that, the New York City area for 10 years as well.

Thank you for reading this and providing any tips or advice about the NW area of Tacoma!
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Tacoma Washington
292 posts, read 425,901 times
Reputation: 152
It seems like a very nice area. I always thought Tacoma was crappy until I drove through the NW part of it. It reminds me of Portland and I am looking at buying there also. I was quite taken with the area.
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Old 12-31-2014, 01:56 AM
 
13 posts, read 13,409 times
Reputation: 15
I would really like to hear some more local folks replying to this thread. I am also very curious about the UP area.
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:25 PM
 
1 posts, read 728 times
Reputation: 10
Hey bergun, seems like we are on similar paths and here is my input until someone else more local can chime in. I used to live in Lakewood/UP but currently live overseas till I PCS back there next year.

A) What is a rough estimate of property taxes on a 350K single family house?

Just looking through the Redfin public records on homes price at 350k comes up with taxes from $2600-$4351, really cant tell you what the formula is for taxes through.

B) How long would it take on an average to drive to Downtown Seattle from NW Tacoma during rush hour?

Daughter says (lives in Seattle) 35-40 minutes regularly, an hour in traffic).

C) I'm pretty much a "blue collar" type of guy. Are their plenty of good, but not too fancy restaurants in NW Tacoma?

The NW tacoma tends to be more residential so restaurants are on the chain side but there are plenty of options. Make sure you try Marcia's silver spoon cafe, Marcia , damn they have some huge portions of food. Yelp is your best friend when looking for places to eat.

D) Are there any Record/music/stereo shops and new/used book stores in the NW part of Tacoma or downtown?
Half-price books has both records and used books, near the Tacoma mall. Not a sit down and enjoy coffee place though but good selection of used books.

E) Are there any places, other than Starbucks, to chill-out at while enjoying a coffee and reading?

There are plenty of coffee shops, some hip, some more laid back. 6th Ave is the hipper location but I found other laid back shops while driving around UP/Tacoma. Just wish there was a cigar lounge/coffee location in Tacoma.

F) Any safe parks and/or trails in the area during the day?

Not too much of a help here but I used to ride my bike around the Chambers Bay golf course in UP, beautiful location. Point Defiance has a nice park and shore access also, another pretty location. The REI store people in Tacoma are your best bet for info though.

G) Any gangs, homeless related problems or serious violent crime issues in that part of town?

This area tends to keep the riff-raff out and when I lived there I never had an issue or saw a gang problem but I used to live in LA so this is a small city to me. South Tacoma usually has your knuckleheads but I still never felt threatened while there. Lots of good Mexican restaurants in that area!


You and I will probably be looking at the same areas for houses but I might have to rent first due to moving all my crap from overseas and not jumping into the first house I see when we get there. Of course I am simple and just want a place with a garage/work area for my hobbies also (woodworking, speaker building!) and she wants the quaint turn of the century house with all the associated old house headaches but has "character".

Send me a message off-line if you have any other questions.

ps, if you still like to shoot, theres a pretty decent indoor range in downtown Tacoma, Bull's Eye Indoor Shooting Range TacomaBull Eye Shooter Tacoma . Military friendly people.
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Old 01-03-2015, 03:24 AM
 
3 posts, read 1,751 times
Reputation: 10
Neighborhoods in Tacoma known for its active gangs, drugs, crime :
East Tacoma
South Tacoma
South End...especially on the Hosmer Streets towards the end of the city limits.
Many Hispanic Gangs in that area.
And none other than Hilltop.

People like to talk great about Tacoma but thats just because they haven't witnessed firsthand of the crime and things going on around.
Honestly West End, North Tacoma are places where you should look into because those are the only neighborhoods to suit your needs.
University Place & Fircrest are nice places as well. They got low crime and beautiful parks. Golf courses like Chambers Bay.
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Old 01-03-2015, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Olympia
1,013 posts, read 3,435,335 times
Reputation: 805
I believe the best neighborhoods for your consideration are Ruston, Fircrest and University Place. They are less crime/gang burdened. There are plenty of nice and charming homes within your price range of $350K.
Figure on spending between $3,200 and $3,600 a year on property taxes. If the home has a water view, taxes will likely be over $4,000.
My favorite coffee shop in Ruston is the Antique Sandwich Company, but there are plenty of non-Starbucks coffee shops.
If you'll end up living in Ruston, you'll have the entire Point Defiance Park at your doorsteps for leisure. It's the second largest city park in the US. You'll also have access to the Ruston Way waterfront with paved trails.
From University Place you'll have the easiest and fastest access to I-5 through Hwy 16. It will make the drive to Seattle a bit faster. To get to downtown Seattle during rush hour from the Tacoma Dome will take you a good hour, sometimes more. The drive to JBLM from the Tacoma Dome will take approximately 20 minutes.

I hope this helps.

Sandy
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Old 01-03-2015, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Washington State
67 posts, read 153,332 times
Reputation: 89
Hilltop is not so bad any more. It has gentrified A LOT and will continue to do so with new developments such as light rail. Good real estate investment.

However for your price range you can definitely afford most any area in Tacoma except waterfront areas. The area North of 6th has some good coffee shops and restaurants (especially 6th Ave. and Proctor), good trails t Pt. Defiance, the Ruston Way waterfront, low crime aside from some car prowlings, and a nice urban vibe. There are several Safeways in North Tacoma and a Fred Meyer not too far away on 19th and Stevens. It reminds me a lot of West Seattle, Greenwood, or Wallingford actually.
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Old 01-14-2015, 02:04 AM
 
Location: Tacoma
13 posts, read 11,746 times
Reputation: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingbutterflies View Post
Neighborhoods in Tacoma known for its active gangs, drugs, crime :
East Tacoma
South Tacoma
South End...especially on the Hosmer Streets towards the end of the city limits.
Many Hispanic Gangs in that area.
And none other than Hilltop.

People like to talk great about Tacoma but thats just because they haven't witnessed firsthand of the crime and things going on around.
Honestly West End, North Tacoma are places where you should look into because those are the only neighborhoods to suit your needs.
University Place & Fircrest are nice places as well. They got low crime and beautiful parks. Golf courses like Chambers Bay.
Oh please. Unless you were raised in a gated community, the family farm, or [apparently] the PNW, Tacoma is not near as bad as you claim. Don't make me post stats. I'll do it.
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