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Old 03-26-2019, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Embarrassing, WA
2,312 posts, read 1,613,704 times
Reputation: 2675

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
rkcarguy, I couldn't find anyplace named "Glenhaven" just south of B'ham. Alger is on the map I saw, but not Glenhaven. What are all those little lakes, on the road north from Alger to south Lake Whatcom, btw?

Great info on lower-cost living outside of B'ham, btw. Thanks for posting.

edit: ok, I found Glenhaven. Are there some basic amenities down there? It looks isolated. Grocery & pharmacy, at least? Yeah, I gathered the Glenhaven development has its own recreational amenities, but I meant, what do people do for grocery shopping? Do they have to go to B'ham?

One more question, if you don't mind. Where was the fire last year (or was it the year before?), that was south of B'ham somewhere, during that big fire season in BC?
Cain lake road runs up into Glenhaven off of the Alger Exit. It's strange because it's actually listed as part of Sedro-Wooley yet it's in Whatcom County I believe. Those little lakes are near and around Glenhaven. My great aunt lived there and sold recently to get a Condo, just because she was getting to be that age where the yard work was just too much. They ate at the Casino often and shopped in Burlington/Mt. Vernon. There are several options around WWU for groceries and such as well, and Glenhaven does have a little store...at least last time I was there is was still there.

I just think with where you are working at WWU, and the things you want/enjoy, the budget you have, that it'd be the best fit and shortest commute with the least traffic. As a bonus you can go shop the Costco in Skagit County and avoid all the Canadians at the B'ham one.

As far as fires we had some smaller ones pop up here and there because it was hot and super dry, but nothing to get concerned about as far as anything turning into a monster and burning hordes of homes or anything. The biggest issue was the smoke coming down from the BC fires we had a fog of it for almost a month last year, our air was "very unhealthy" and you could just stare at the sun like a dull copper penny in the sky there was so much smoke. Canada's fire crews are massively underfunded for the area they have to cover, and they also don't clear their underbrush and slash after they log an area so I don't expect things to improve much sadly.
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Old 03-26-2019, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Embarrassing, WA
2,312 posts, read 1,613,704 times
Reputation: 2675
Housing is really tough right now and that's my biggest worry for you. I just did a *county-wide* search on RF and there was only 44 listings under $300k. That's our biggest problem here and the reason why we have so many job openings, housing picks us all up by our feet and shakes every penny out of us.
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Old 03-30-2019, 02:11 AM
 
121 posts, read 128,360 times
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Maple Falls to Bellingham/WWU is about 40 to 45 minutes on a busy two-lane highway. It's doable - you'll probably meet others who are doing a similar commute. If you plan on doing a lot in the mountains - namely Mt. Baker - this could be a good location, especially for skiing. You would be much closer to Baker than the rest of Bellingham certainly. Just don't expect a lot of amenities, or a vibrant mountain town atmosphere. They do have events in the summer like a sasquatch festival which might be appealing to some.

You might want to consider Lynden or Everson. The character is very much rural, but you have great mountain views and you're not stuck exclusively with Highway 542. Lynden sometimes gets a negative rap on Citydata, but it's a really well-organized community with its own kind of charm and lots of nice mountain views. As a bonus, it's right on the Canadian border, and there is quite a bit going on in Langley and South Surrey (and the rest of Vancouver for that matter). Sumas is also interesting - it's a mix of rural and mountain scenery. Very attractive in my opinion, although some agricultural smells do tend to waft around. And it's next door to Abbotsford BC, which has a lot of shopping and amenities. It feels less hemmed in than Maple Falls, for what it's worth.

The estimates on commutes to Seattle and Vancouver sounds right. Seattle can be anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5, and that's if you can access the HOV lanes. Vancouver is closer to 1 or 1.5, but that's downtown Vancouver. "Metro Vancouver" - ie, crossing into Surrey or Langley - might be less than 30 minutes. You'll definitely want to explore the Coast and interior mountains in British Columbia.

You probably should rent for a year and visit all of these places, which are all very different from one another. You are going to find beautiful places across Whatcom County, but it's a real mixed bag from one place to the next when it comes to things like cost, traffic, weather, crime, infrastructure, and culture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scaiza View Post
Hello everyone. I hope you're all doing great.

My wife and I will be moving to Whatcom County this August and are super excited about the change of scenery, especially because we love the mountains. I have been attempting to research Maple Falls/Peaceful Valley area as the real estate prices are lower than that of Bellingham, where my wife has accepted a job offer. That being said, I had a few questions about the area I was hoping some of you could answer for me:

1. How long is the commute from Maple Falls/Peaceful Valley to Bellingham? I could look at Google Maps all day, but my wife informed me that her new co-workers gave her all sorts of different commute times when she visited for the interview in February. I don't know how true any of this is (Off-Topic) but they said Seattle was closer to a 3 hour drive and Vancouver took 45 min from Bellingham.

4. Which towns have the best view of the mountains as well as the easiest access?

5. Are there any other mountain towns you all recommend with a lower cost of living with reasonable commute to Bellingham? Wife is seeking no more than a 45 minutes drive, though I would ideally like to keep it less than this, consistent even in winter conditions.

I appreciate any help you all can provide. As far as any comments about "not moving here" or any discouraging responses, I appreciate the "warning" but it won't change our move. My wife has accepted a tenure-track position at Western and we've been seeking a mountainous state to move to, so we will be in Whatcom County long term.

Thank you for your help everyone. Stay beautiful.
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Old 03-31-2019, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Independent Republic of Ballard
7,450 posts, read 6,132,782 times
Reputation: 5188
I'd say look south or north of B'ham for affordable RE with a bit of land. East in the Cascade foothills and you're begging to get snowed in, the commute is questionable, and internet/cell service is spotty or non-existent. Even in the lowlands, it isn't far to the mountains. Avoid Lynden: very conservative/religious and lots of dairy farms (which stink).

South:

https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sal...t/10_zm/0_mmm/ $325,000 3bd/2ba (Burlington), 1,412sf, .37-acre lot, full remodel. A little over your budget, but with recent remodel shouldn't need any updates/repairs. In Skagit County, so taxes should be lower. Fairly easy commute up I-5 to WWU.

https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sal...ct/9_zm/0_mmm/ $329,950 3bd/1.5ba (Burlington), 1,330sf, 10,018sf lot, fenced yard.

North:

https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sal...t/10_zm/0_mmm/ $300,000 3bd/1ba (Ferndale), 1,346sf, .34-acre lot, fenced backyard.

https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sal...t/10_zm/0_mmm/ $316,900 3bd/2ba (Sumas), 1,592sf, .46-acre lot. Commute is 40-50 minutes to B'Ham, but internet/cell service should be okay, and you shouldn't risk being snowed in. Close to Abbotsford, B.C.

For more choices, raise your budget to $350,000-375,000. For instance:

https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sal...t/10_zm/0_mmm/
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:41 PM
 
92 posts, read 84,747 times
Reputation: 206
Personally, based upon what you've provided and what I've seen / know, I would put Maple Falls / Peaceful Valley on the back burner or at the bottom of the list. It IS beautiful in that area, but the commute would be tiring, difficult at times, risky (imo) and so on. Unfortunately, it is one of the last areas in the county that seems to have housing within your budget.



I've been looking for affordable housing (to buy) since 2016 in Whatcom County. I had to put that dream aside for now, so I continue to rent with my son. We found one location (Lummi Island) where I almost bought a home, but Internet access, commute (ferry only), bus service, etc. ruled that out. I still look - and often I'll see something offered for sale in Maple Valley and think "Sure, why not - we could handle that" because the price is so alluring/affordable and the area "looks so peaceful and pretty"... Fortunately reality wins over and I come to my senses. I'm reminded of the challenges in living in that area (especially if commuting for work, school, etc.) If I was retired and only needed to come into town maybe 2 -3x per month, I'd go for it.



I would highly suggest (and you might not have a choice) that you not jump into buying something out of desperation for housing (or for your pets) immediately. I'd hate to see you get into a house for the sake of having a house and struggle with the location. I know it is difficult to find a rental that will accept pets, but Bellingham has a lot of pets / dog lovers, etc. There are rentals that will accept them; just not a lot of houses for rent, so it might be a smaller space than you'd like. Plus, be prepared to plop down a large pet deposit if renting. If you can find a rental in the Lake Whatcom or Lake Padden areas you'd find wonderful, scenic parks to walk your dogs (with leash free areas) and they are close to WWU for your wife.



There are condos in the Bellingham area that may fit your budget to buy, but the inventory is limited and sells quickly. Or, mobile homes. But you won't have the views, land space for your pets and the lot fees /park rents can be quite high. But, they're more affordable than buying right now. If you are able to buy you could at least have a place for your animals if the HOA approves (there are a lot of HOA's here). No, I don't care for HOA's either, but it's something you may have to be open to.


If I were in your shoes, I'd look either further north (Everson, Sumas, Custer, Birch Bay) outside of Bellingham or South (Bow, Alger, Glenhaven areas) as suggested. I'd even go further and suggest looking into North/East Skagit County. Burlington. Sedro Wooley. The commute might be better than the Mt Baker Hwy. Not something I would care to do on a daily basis in the winter.



Most of the responses you've received have really covered a lot of solid reasons to look in other areas of Whatcom County. All of these areas sound much more reasonable for someone commuting daily to WWU.


I think those of us who live in Bellingham are not trying to scare you off but to encourage you and educate you regarding the area. Housing is really difficult here. Don't want you to get frustrated, just want you to know what you might be up against. Have you looked into the possibility of subletting someone's home, possibly a professor from WWU who is on sabbatical? I've seen ads listed on craigslist for temporary housing that might work for you. If they'll let you bring your pets, that might be a good option - give you a place to start as you get settled here and get to know the area and what we're all talking about here! :-)



One last item... Here is a link to an article from the Bellingham Herald re: Internet issues in rural areas that you might find useful... Obviously Internet access is going to be important to your remote work and for your wife...


https://www.bellinghamherald.com/new...228382539.html

Congrats to your wife on her new position at WWU... Hope the move goes smoothly for both of you. Maybe you'll get lucky and the perfect housing opportunity will arise to make things easier!
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Old 04-05-2019, 11:42 AM
 
7 posts, read 7,006 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by momma4evr View Post
Personally, based upon what you've provided and what I've seen / know, I would put Maple Falls / Peaceful Valley on the back burner or at the bottom of the list. It IS beautiful in that area, but the commute would be tiring, difficult at times, risky (imo) and so on. Unfortunately, it is one of the last areas in the county that seems to have housing within your budget.



I've been looking for affordable housing (to buy) since 2016 in Whatcom County. I had to put that dream aside for now, so I continue to rent with my son. We found one location (Lummi Island) where I almost bought a home, but Internet access, commute (ferry only), bus service, etc. ruled that out. I still look - and often I'll see something offered for sale in Maple Valley and think "Sure, why not - we could handle that" because the price is so alluring/affordable and the area "looks so peaceful and pretty"... Fortunately reality wins over and I come to my senses. I'm reminded of the challenges in living in that area (especially if commuting for work, school, etc.) If I was retired and only needed to come into town maybe 2 -3x per month, I'd go for it.



I would highly suggest (and you might not have a choice) that you not jump into buying something out of desperation for housing (or for your pets) immediately. I'd hate to see you get into a house for the sake of having a house and struggle with the location. I know it is difficult to find a rental that will accept pets, but Bellingham has a lot of pets / dog lovers, etc. There are rentals that will accept them; just not a lot of houses for rent, so it might be a smaller space than you'd like. Plus, be prepared to plop down a large pet deposit if renting. If you can find a rental in the Lake Whatcom or Lake Padden areas you'd find wonderful, scenic parks to walk your dogs (with leash free areas) and they are close to WWU for your wife.



There are condos in the Bellingham area that may fit your budget to buy, but the inventory is limited and sells quickly. Or, mobile homes. But you won't have the views, land space for your pets and the lot fees /park rents can be quite high. But, they're more affordable than buying right now. If you are able to buy you could at least have a place for your animals if the HOA approves (there are a lot of HOA's here). No, I don't care for HOA's either, but it's something you may have to be open to.


If I were in your shoes, I'd look either further north (Everson, Sumas, Custer, Birch Bay) outside of Bellingham or South (Bow, Alger, Glenhaven areas) as suggested. I'd even go further and suggest looking into North/East Skagit County. Burlington. Sedro Wooley. The commute might be better than the Mt Baker Hwy. Not something I would care to do on a daily basis in the winter.



Most of the responses you've received have really covered a lot of solid reasons to look in other areas of Whatcom County. All of these areas sound much more reasonable for someone commuting daily to WWU.


I think those of us who live in Bellingham are not trying to scare you off but to encourage you and educate you regarding the area. Housing is really difficult here. Don't want you to get frustrated, just want you to know what you might be up against. Have you looked into the possibility of subletting someone's home, possibly a professor from WWU who is on sabbatical? I've seen ads listed on craigslist for temporary housing that might work for you. If they'll let you bring your pets, that might be a good option - give you a place to start as you get settled here and get to know the area and what we're all talking about here! :-)



One last item... Here is a link to an article from the Bellingham Herald re: Internet issues in rural areas that you might find useful... Obviously Internet access is going to be important to your remote work and for your wife...


https://www.bellinghamherald.com/new...228382539.html

Congrats to your wife on her new position at WWU... Hope the move goes smoothly for both of you. Maybe you'll get lucky and the perfect housing opportunity will arise to make things easier!
I appreciate the response. I have still been keeping an eye out for rentals, but it is near impossible to find a place for rent that allows for more than two pets, or pets over the 50lb limit. Also, many of the places require a pet interview (Must see the pet) before allowing us to rent the space. The problem with all these rules are as follows:

1. We have three pets, and under no condition would we ever surrender any of them, and we don't have anyone who can look after any of them also. Family is all in Texas or out of the country. Nobody we know lives in Washington.

2. Both dogs are over the 50lbs mark. Our male is 73lbs, while our female is 55lbs.

3. The interview. Our male, even though he's a Pit, is super, super gentle and sweet. Our female, not so much. She is a very reserved dog, and very quiet, but also very territorial. Meeting the landlord outside upon our arrival is one thing, but if she doesn't have a good feel for him or her, she will growl at them. She is very protective of myself, her space, and unless you have a dog yourself, or she picks up a good vibe from you, she is not going to like you. This would turn off any landlord looking to rent to us.

4. They are Pits. There is a big discrimination against Pits and rental units. While both dogs are extremely well trained and behaved, it's the fact they are Pits, and blacklisted for no reason other than their breed type.

5. Renting with three pets, monthly fees, deposits, and monthly total for what would even be open for us is looking like $2K + a month easily, with first months, last months, pet deposit for each pet, and pet fees, we'd be out $7K right up front, with back to back monthly payments through the roof for a rental. Money we will never see again.

At that point it's just wiser to gun for a home. It might be slim pickins, and also quite difficult, but this the road we have to take. I can't justify spending $20K+ on rent a year. I know the Bellingham area is expensive (so was Massachusetts), but I rather look for a small home or a condo at that point. At least we won't have to shell out $1,000 in dog fees up front or pay a rent every month per pet. Even on the lower end of $25.00 per pet, that would come to $75.00. At that point an HOA fee for a condo might even be less.
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Old 04-05-2019, 11:56 AM
 
92 posts, read 84,747 times
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Scaiza,


Completely understand the logic in your post and what your needs are. It does sound like it would be difficult to secure housing with your animals. I know a lot of properties won't rent to humans sight unseen; forgot that might apply to the pets as well. If you do search for a condo, the HOA will probably have restrictions as well.



I also agree re: throwing money out the door on rent that you'll never see again. It's gotten insane here. I just saw a rental I've been watching listed today for $450 more per month than it did in 2017... with no improvements. I refuse to pad someone else's pockets like that.


Good luck in your home search. There are pockets where you can buy below 300k here. I just saw some prices that have dropped. Are you adverse to a fixer-upper? A mobile? Maybe you can get into a mobile with a bit of land for the dogs. I still think the Maple Falls / Deming / Kendall area could be tough for your wife's commute, but if you've got a 4WD and experience driving in ice/snow than maybe not so bad.



Wishing you the best in your relocation and hope you can find something that fits your needs. Don't give up!

Last edited by momma4evr; 04-05-2019 at 11:58 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 04-05-2019, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Independent Republic of Ballard
7,450 posts, read 6,132,782 times
Reputation: 5188
Since you mostly just need a place to plop down on, I'd say forget the "bit of land" and living in the mountains, but focus on a place within your budget with a fully fenced yard. For instance:

https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sal...352_rect/9_zm/

https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sal...534_rect/9_zm/
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Embarrassing, WA
2,312 posts, read 1,613,704 times
Reputation: 2675
Having many pets makes it even harder to find anything to rent especially with "pits". It's not so much the owners, but the insurance companies that have these mandates for such animals. My prior homeowners insurance specifically cited certain animal breeds, swimming pools, and outdoor trampolines as no-no's that were subject to inflated rates or just being dropped outright.
I know a co-worker of mine (who has since left and moved to Spokane) looked for 6 months for another place because of their 2 pets, and they just got lucky that an elderly woman in Lynden had passed away and her studio became available, and it was on the ground level with a little fenced in area so it sort of worked for his two dogs (small).

"Throwing money out the door on rent that you'll never see again", is the norm here sadly. About 2/3rds of the population rents here. Doesn't help that we have people on our city council that feel "a single family home is a privilege".
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Old 04-05-2019, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Out West
484 posts, read 316,109 times
Reputation: 1164
Scaiza,

Did you see these two places that are newly listed? Each is less than 30 minutes to Bellingham:

https://www.redfin.com/WA/Sedro-Wool.../home/15828345

https://www.redfin.com/WA/Ferndale/5.../home/15751030
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