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I love Wash, but the real estate prices and real estate taxes scare me. I'm retired (62) and would hate to buy a place, and find I can't afford the real estate taxes in a few years. I love the climate there, and love the green and the water. Like to walk trails, and enjoy nature. Any suggestions?
I don't need a job....but need affordable.
Being retired actually makes your request possible
Most areas within a commute of Seattle/Bellevue are going to be $400,000 minimum for a house. $650,000 for a 3 bed 2 bath is not unheard of in many places.
The Olympia area is very nice and much more affordable (my aunt and uncle live there).
You might really enjoy Kitsap county (Kensington, Polsbo, and Bremerton). It is basically the island/peninsula area in the middle of Puget Sound. They have affordable housing and lots of RV dealers (which I am sure indicates a high retiree population!). You also would be a ferry away from King county (Seattle area).
Pretty much anything on the Pacific coast or the north coast will be affordable and very outdoorsy, but it will also be much smaller and more remote. Personally I would love to retire in Port Townsed... you'd be near Olympic National Park and a ferry ride away from Victoria. BC (a great place to spend a few days!).
1. Kingston or Indianola (22 properties currently listed under $300k)
2. Clinton or Freeland on Whidbey Island (17 properties currently listed under $300k)
3. Camano Island (11 properties currently listed under $200k)
4. Anancortes (example:$191k, 1056sq ft, 2bed, 1bath with a water view)
These areas all offer plenty of views, greenery, water activties with good access, and affordable living. You will save money on property taxes by avoiding King Co, both options 3 & 4 are definately in Snohomish County and some parts of #2 may be as well. Good Luck!
Have you spent very much time in Western WA? We are also nature lovers who grew up near the Gulf Coast and relocated here. One thing to keep in mind is that even if you love the outdoors, chances are you will stay in out of the rain in most of the fall through most of the spring. We actually braved it and tent camped in the fall and spring during our first few years, but eventually tired of being out in the wet cold and started waiting until summer like nearly everyone else. Now we find that we enter hibernation mode as soon as the rain starts. If you tend to travel anyway, however, and having the time as a retiree, you can always escape to Sequim, which is sunnier, or take a jaunt east now and then.
If all that is still okay with you, you have a couple of other options in addition to the excellent ideas posted by other members. If you are willing to, you can live 'up the road' from the water and find some more affordable housing. Just look into a water area that you like, and search for housing costs in towns that are a half-hour drive away and closer. There are some little towns along state highway 6, for example. Also, what about looking around a large lake or near a state park? All of the state parks i've seen feature water of some kind and are lovely.
It really all does depend on what "affordable" is for you.
You guys are too Seattle Centric and $300k is not affordable, at least to me anyway. Western WA does include places along the coast that are near water and very affordable, you can still buy places under $100k there.
If the original poster is coming with $500k cash and wants to spend $250k and be near Seattle, then yes Kitsap makes sense. If she has $200k or less, I'm thinking Aberdeen or places like that where housing is still affordable.
How about Eastern WA, much drier and warmer and cheaper.
Good luck either way, let us know if you want Seattle area or just Western WA.
No, I don't need to be close to Seattle, and the Olympic Penninsula area appeals to me, though I'd welcome suggestions about other areas too. 300,000K is pushing it for me. It's been a few years since I've been to Anacortes, but it was also nice. Growing up in southeast Alaska, I don't THINK the rain would bother me, but it has been a few years! I appreciate all the comments!
Anyone else know much about senior tax exemptions in WA?
Also, here are some more specific lower-cost near-water areas to check into. These are the ones with which i am somewhat familiar (actually owned in Belfair/Sunset Beach), but i'm sure there are more. These have, in our experience, small town friendliness and their own charm.
Ocean Shores (right on coast, windy, popular tourist area)
Long Beach area -Oceanside, Klipsan, Ocean Park(a bigger Ocean Shores)
Belfair/Sunset Beach (gorgeous state park nearby,lots of waterfront-bay properties check places down 101 and 106)
Shelton (adorable friendly town next to a bay and inlet)
Grapeview (small area south of Shelton)
Silverlake (inexpensive, huge lake, but more remote, haven't spent time here but have seen lots of less expensive housing, west of Mt. St. Helens,)
I'm not a "chatter" and just joined your site. Can I add a question to this topic? We are also interested in relocating to WA. from southern Idaho. Mixed generational, work/retired and w/pets. Very low-key and wish to live out of Seattle. If you were looking to commute into downtown Seattle -is there a route (ferry?) or direction that will be easier than others? Thanks! e
I moved to Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island about 5 years ago. It's a large island in the north Puget Sound - surrounded by water, and south of the San Juan Islands. The city of Oak Harbor, on the north end, is a small city and is home to a naval air station - it's the busiest location on the island, but that also means it has several nationally recognized stores and restaurants, in addition to local options. The downtown area is being revitalized with new shops and restaurants. Race Week is an annual sailing regatta.
Further south is Coupeville, the island county seat, then Freeland, Langley and Clinton as you travel south. Those are smaller towns that have preserved more of their historic feel. You'll find art galleries, quaint shops, etc. The island is considered rural, and even on the north end, outside Oak Harbor's city limits, there's still a lot of open green space.
Driving off the north end of Whidbey, there's the Deception Pass bridge. To the "mainland" and the next biggest cities (Burlington and Mount Vernon), it's about a 40 minute drive. You can also travel to and from the island at the southend via a ferry which runs between Clinton and Mukilteo, or to the west via the Keystone/Port Townsend ferry which will connect you with the Olympic penninsula.
We bought a 3 bed, 2 bath manufactured home in 2005 for 155K, which was valued at 205K in 2006 for a re-fi. There's been a boom in the housing market, but there's still a great deal of affordable housing if you can live without a water view. Not so much a problem: you can drive from one end of Whidbey to the other in under an hour. Also, a lot of new construction in the Oak Harbor area, from homes to condos. Taxes aren't overwhelming, like in some areas.
Lots of parks, hiking and biking trails, eagles who live here year round, great for boating, salmon fishing, open spaces and quaint harbor towns, plus gems like the Penn Cove mussel. There's a general hospital in Coupeville, central to the island, plus another in the city of Anacortes (about 30 mins, north). Seattle is about two hour's drive time.
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