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Old 10-26-2012, 08:03 PM
2 posts, read 3,981 times
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We are a mid 30s couple with two children (daughter 8, son 2) who are contemplating a move from Washington State to the Kansas City Metro Area for Hubby's job. We are interested in getting feedback about the best areas to fit our families needs. Good schools are definitely on the top of our list as well as ease of travel to shopping and entertainment. Hubby's company is located in KCK but he will mostly be working indepently from home so his daily commute is not a factor in our decision. Our long-term ideal goal would be to live in a area where we could have enough space to grow a garden and own a few animals such as chickens, goats and/or a horse but still be in close proximity to at least one major freeway. That being said we are definitely open to the possibility of renting a large apartment with a pool, etc. for a year or so while we get acclimated. Here in the Seattle area we live in Auburn which is close to many of the major freeways but still far enough away from the main hussle and bussle for us not to feel claustorphobic. Our least ideal situation would be living in a cramped suburban area in a "cookie cutter house" with no real personal space or trees to speak of. Here in WA we make a combined $80,000 but we would like me to be able to stay at home with the kids once we move. We are not sure what Hubby's pay will be but it will be a minimum of $75,000. We have lived on the West Coast our whole lives so we are still a little unclear about how far our money will go in the Kansas City Metro Area. We would like to live comfortably with the ability to save some money for our kids' college funds and enjoy locate entertainment and children's activities (dance classes, sports, preschool play groups, etc.) without over extending ourselves. Any and all input you may have about where to live would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:11 PM
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75,000 will go further here than the Seattle area.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:27 PM
Location: Washington, DC area
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While KC is cheaper than Seattle, if you want a nice house on some land with good schools and good access to the metro, you choices may be more limited than you might think.

I think your best bet will probably be the Smithville, Kearney or Platte City area. Those are rural areas but they are suburbs too. They will be cheaper and you will be able to find places with land without the worry of being swallowed up by sprawl.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:16 AM
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If you plan to have horses, then Smithville Lake area (NE side of metro) is probably best if you want to be around horse culture. There is encroachment of cookie cutter hoods in the area but also plenty of individual homes with many acres. There's direct access to downtown via Hwy 169 or I-35 - 30 minutes or so. Where is his job? KC metro is huge in area and if job is in S part of metro, then might consider Gardner KS area (though not as much horse culture as they used to have) or outside Lee's Summit MO area (SE of KC). N-NE KC area has the most significant horse culture. I have friends with horses and ride often around Smithville Lake - there's over 20 miles of trails along the lake. If you need to board horses before settling in, check out Trimble Equine Center near the lake, they also have private trails along lake. There are also a lot of trails in NW MO like Honey Creek bluffs outside St Joe and Jamesport (Amish town). The Ozarks also has some great trails like Eminence and Black, MO.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:50 AM
Location: Middle America
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^^She noted that the spouse's work is based in KCK, but that he will be working remotely, so commute is irrelevant.

Smithville was the first thing that sprang to mind when I read the OP. It will probably be exactly what they are looking for.
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Old 10-27-2012, 02:01 PM
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Thank you so much for your replying! Smithville looks exactly like the type of town we are looking for! I particularly like that it appears from searching the web that we could pretty easily find a rental home that would fit our ideal size and price range. That would allow us to become part of the community/school district we plan to be in long-term without having to make a commitment to buying a home right away. Plus having a lake so near by for recreation definitely isn't a bad thing!
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:57 PM
Location: Kansas City North
4,817 posts, read 8,228,387 times
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Many of us here recommend www.reeceandnichols.com real estate web site. You can search by city or school district.

I will tell you that if you want acreage, close in and a fairly nice house you will pay for it. We returned to KC a couple of years ago and originally looked at acreage.....the ones close in were mostly pretty tired, to get a "nice" house we were way past Smithville, like Kearney, Excelsior Springs, etc. YMMV.

You might also look in western Wyandotte County (Kansas) or even southern Leavenworth county.
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:35 AM
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My wife and I and our two daughters did precisely what you're contemplating now. We lived on Bainbridge Island and didn't care for it, and my wife is a KC native. We're more urban in our tastes, so we rented a loft in the city's Crossroads district to get a year of real estate detox, and we love it. As another lifelong West Coaster who's become a Midwesterner, I suggest renting to see what works for you here.

Costs are lower than WA in some ways, higher in others. Real estate is lower, as is gasoline, groceries, many services and things like booze (no 51% tax at state liquor stores). Sales tax is higher, there's a state income tax in MO, and if you live or work in KCMO, there's a 1% earnings tax on your gross income. Plus, if you're where we are, with the poor public schools, you need to consider the possibility of paying for private school, though that doesn't sound like an issue for you.

I would suggest looking in Parkville and Liberty as well. They're closer to the city while each having their own pretty downtowns, something that I don't believe Auburn has. Then again, Auburn is about 30-40 out from downtown Seattle, so maybe being close to the city isn't a concern.

Anyway, we have found the transition to be easy, other than the nasty summer heat. It's lovely to have a fall with sunshine, now that the traditional 9 months of gray rain have dropped over the PNW. You're going to like it.
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:06 AM
Location: Middle America
37,372 posts, read 45,363,863 times
Reputation: 52461
Parkville, and to a lesser extent, Liberty and Smithville, also have solid public school districts, which isn't always a given in the KCMO area.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:26 PM
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You might want to look around the North side of Excelsior Springs near HWY 69. There are some really nice sized yards, it's super quiet, clean, people here are tops. Liberty is 12 miles away on 69. It has everything the wealthy part of any metro has as far as shopping goes.

We sold our house in Omaha, NE, in an upper middle class area of an MSA of 850,000, where we'd lived for 27 years. We wanted the same thing, some space, and some peace, we were really tired of being crawled all over, and all the noise. We went ahead and bought here, ha, a leap of faith, we just looked and a bunch of houses in one day, thought it over and made an offer. We've been here around 3 months, we really like it. DH does have to drive to KCK for work each day, but it only takes him 15 minutes more than the old drive to work in Omaha did, and he says it well worth it.

The town has quite a bit for how small the population number is. Local groceries, (+a super walmart), hardware stores, pharmacies, fast food, lots of great little local places to eat too. If you find you have to run to a home depot or lowes for a quick repair item it's just 15 minutes to the main exits in Liberty. Best Buys, Pet's Mart, etc. all the box stores are pretty darn handy. :-) I'd second the motion on Reece and Nichols, we used Cliff from the Lawson, MO branch. He was great to work with. Might even see if you can get a lead on a lease option, if you like it you might not have to fool with moving again. Good Luck! PS-most things are cheaper here than they were in Omaha.
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