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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wondering if any of you live near Bellevue, if you can recommend some areas to look for a home/townhome that have really good schools. (Academic as well as a healthy lunchroom) Up to a 30 minute commute to Bellevue as a goal.We love a small town urbanish feel. With the ability to walk to a park, grocery, cafe's. But we don't want to go broke buying a tiny home either.<br><br>
Suggestions?<br><br>
And after I get this ball rolling.. I'll need suggestions for play for my 2.5 year old.<br><br>
How exciting and freaky this is all at the same time! It'll be quite a change from Raleigh. Which was quite a change from Chicago.<br><br>
Thanks so much!
 

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We just got here so I am not much help, but I can tell you that traffic is horrible... dh works 20 miles away and tonight it took him an hour and a half to get home! When we were in temporary housing about 6miles from where he worked, it would often take 45min to get to work... it just depends on where you are going and how you are getting there and what time of day it is and if there are any wrecks. <grrrr> I sure miss my dh's 15 minute commute!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yikes! I'll certainly keep that in mind! So we should really live just down the block from the office then, yes? That kinda limits it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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My friend lives in Newcastle and loves it! There's also Kirkland, Bothell, Issaquah, Redmond and Woodinville - these are the towns sort of surrounding Bellevue.
 

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I work in Bellevue and live in Shoreline, a not friendly commute. Depending upon what your husband does or where the company is located, the bus is a great option. I take the bus to work every day and it's a lot faster than driving simply because the bus can take the HOV lanes. Also, if you live in Bellevue, you should be able to avoid the freeways and that will help.<br><br>
My ILs used to live in Newcastle, which is nice. It's not too far and you can get there without getting on the freeway. Issaquah is a little further out, but might be less expensive, don't quote me on that. One of my co-workers if having a lot of trouble finding a house in his price range in Bellevue and his price range is the same as what my husband and I paid for our house 4 years ago. So, price might dictate where you end up. Pretty much the further out you get, the more affordable.<br><br>
HTH<br><br>
-Melany
 

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My dh's office is in Bellevue and we live in Bothell and it took him over an hour to get home tonight! It usually takes him about 20 min, tho, because he tries to avoid rush hour traffic. It is totally the burbs, but we really love where we live.
 

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Dawn I am from SC, and yes this is quite a change.<br><br>
Like, another planet change.<br><br>
It's awesome though, and I don't want to go back!
 

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You might want to take a look at some of the neighborhoods in Renton. It is just south of Bellevue and the commute would be about 30 minutes or so. There are some great townhouse projects being built there that might interest you. Renton is really trying to change its suburban style pattern into something more urban and is an up and coming area. There are also some walkable single family neighborhoods closer to downtown Renton. Best of all, the housing prices are a lot cheaper than Bellevue, Newcastle and Issaquah. We live in the Renton area now, and are looking to buy a house in the North Renton neighborhood.
 

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My husband works in Redmond - right next to bellevue and we live in Kirkland - We love it here lots of parks and cool places to see - Pricey but nice. We bought the worst house in our neighborhood and did some work on it. We will definitely get the money back because the area is desirable. I highly reccomend anything in the 98033 and 98034 area codes. Also Redmond is a great place to live. Is your 2 and 1/2 year old a boy or a girl? Good luck.<br>
Gina
 

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Schoolteacher and parent perpesctive here: Both Bellevue and Lake Washington school districts are top notch. Lake Wash included Kirkland and Redmond. Also, there are lots of nice activities for 2.5 year old (got one myself) in the way of coop preschools, indoor and outdoor playgrounds at community centers, cafes with toys, and lots of activities like art, music, gymnastics, etc. Plenty of choice in preschools. The Renton School district does not have a very good reputation. I used to teach in South Seattle, near Renton, and I had a lot of students in my classes commuting from Renton (that is allowed) because they did not feel academically challenged there.<br><br><br>
Former commuter perspective: The commute on the 405 fwy, which runs right through Bellevue, is unbelievable. My dh has considered taking a job in Bellevue knowing full well that we would have to move because there is no way any of us could handle him commuting there. He would see us very late and would be very grumpy. I would much rather have a small house close to his work and have him home more often, less stressed. Kirkland and Bellevue both have neighborhoods close to their old town centers that will give you that old town, new small town feel. Otherwise, your commute to areas like Snohomish, North Bend, Renton, Maple Valley, etc (all of which used to be small towns but are exploding with growth) would be hell.<br><br>
Check this map out during commute times. It will show you how congested it is in seattle areas. You can decide for yourself.<br><br><a href="http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/seattle/" target="_blank">http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/seattle/</a><br><br>
Kathy in Seattle
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I hear 'pricey' often when I ask about Bellevue. How much would it cost to get a reasonable 3 br 2 bath with 1800 to 2000 sq feet? A tiny yard is groovy if there are parks nearby.<br><br>
Anyone?
 

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i don't know much about the eastside really. dp works in redmond but we chose the urban and commute (25-50 minutes on average) route and went with seattle proper. but we're thinking of buying so i'm on real estate site a lot. in a quick check i'm not finding anything under $339,000. (they go much, much, <b>much</b> higher.) i don't if that's pricey or not and i have no idea where any of these houses might be or what amenities might be nearby.<br><br>
here's where i looked:<br><a href="http://realestate.nwsource.com/sales/SearchResults.asp" target="_blank">http://realestate.nwsource.com/sales/SearchResults.asp</a><br><br>
i also might be able to help you with other real estate site if you'd like. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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We just bought and this was an extremely useful site. They allow you to search by physical area (you can literally draw a box around where you'd like to live) which was very useful for us.<br><br><a href="http://www.windermere.com" target="_blank">www.windermere.com</a><br><br>
Coming from the South as well, I can tell you that the housing prices here are going to make you cry. But take heart; everything else is reasonable or at least sensible. It evens out.
 

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My dh works in Bellevue and we live in Ballard, a neighborhood of Seattle. I love it, b/c we can walk to everything, nice parks nearby, etc<br>
(feels like it's own little town, really). However, it's pricey - a 3 bedroom, 2 bath would probably start at $350,000 here.<br><br>
Dh's commute is generally about a half hour, but he doesn't go at rush hour. It's definitely more then and also when it rains (for some reason, Seattlites don't know how to drive in rain - you would think they would! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> ) The bridge (520) can get very backed up. If you really want to avoid a commute, I would say look on the eastside. Dh and I love living in Seattle, though.<br><br>
If you are interested, I do know a fantastic real estate agent that could work with you (both for Seattle, surrounding, and the eastside). If you want her name, just PM me. She got us a great deal on this house. Depending on where you buy, the market is pretty tight - our house was only on the market for 3 days and had multiple offers when we got it - couldn't have done it without her!<br><br>
ETA: I'm originally a southern girl, too - from TN. I actually looked at real estate in my tiny hometown the other day and I could've bought my church there for the price we paid for our house here! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!">
 

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Welcome (in advance) to the Pacific NW, Dawn! It will definitely be a big change from NC, but hopefully you will come to love it . . . there is something about this region that really gets into your blood. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
DH and I live in Bothell right now and love it; we are both Seattle-area natives, and find that Bothell has a great mix of rural (within one block of our house we have neighbors with chickens, neighbors with sheep, and neighbors with horses!) and urban (Main Street, which is only about three blocks away, is a cute little street with great shops; we are only a stone's throw from great grocery shopping and plenty of farmer's markets in the summertime, and a short drive from local malls and retail areas). The Northshore school district is one of the top-ranked in the state.<br><br>
We have friends who recently relocated to South Carolina (just across the border from NC, actually!) after growing up in the Pacific Northwest; it will be interesting to hear from someone making the transition in the opposite direction.<br><br>
If there is anything I can do to help (research or legwork on this side?), please don't hesitate to ask.<br><br>
Take care, and good luck!
 

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we just bought in north seattle and I heard realtor chatter that the market is slowing down, stuff is sitting longer so it may be a good opportunity. At the beginning of summer there was a one month supply of houses and now there is a three month supply. The commute is bad around here, buy down the street from work if you can!
 

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Just so you know- on the school district issue- just because you live in a certain town and there is a school district of the same name doesn’t mean you are in that school district. Renton, for example, has areas in the Kent, Renton, and Issaquah School Districts. The school district boundaries may not be the same as the city boundaries, or the zip code boundaries, or any other kind of boundary. So before you buy make sure you verify the SD and don’t just assume you are in a certain district. Also, when you are looking at stats on school districts you are likely to find performance measures such as test scores as a key indicator. The difference in the performance between Renton and Bellevue schools, for example, has a lot more to do with the difference in diversity between those school districts. Renton, for example, has more ESL speakers and more ethnic diversity- both factors that contribute to lower test scores. I am an area native and went to school in a highly ranked district and I felt bored and unchallenged when I was there (one of the reasons we homeschool now). School district choice is a tricky issue.<br><br>
I agree that the closer you can get to where you work the better off you will be. Bellevue is so expensive, though. Few people can afford it. New construction averages between $800,000- $1 million and older construction (depending on how old) probably averages $400,000-$600,000. Also, Bellevue has a very urban downtown core, but the rest of it is strip commercial and subdivision city.
 

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Well, a 3/2 that is 1800 plus in redmond, kirkland or bellevue will probably be in the 300k to 400k range. Bellevue has areas that are pretty reasonable, but not as nice. If your willing to live in a townhouse your dollars will go farther. I have a good friend who is a realestate agent who got us into our neighborhood at quite a bit under market our house appraised 5% over what we paid which is always nice. Anyway if you are interested, I can hook you up with her she works for a smaller company and often is willing to rebate her commission some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So this really is going to be quite a change for us. The commute does concern me. I LOVE Seattle proper, but I think my husband would flip having to sit in traffic. He's a little on the impatient side. I think he'd be very willing to use public transport though, so that might be something to consider.. thanks for the recommendation.<br><br>
Comparatively, a 3/2 with 1800sqft on a full acre here in Raleigh is 175,000. We're ten minutes from everything, and my husbands commute is about the same. I just cannot imagine spending 600,000 on a house. And most that I've looked at (photos.. thanks for the links) are in need of repair even at that price. <sigh><br><br>
And thank you so much for the detailed explanations about the school districting. Raleigh has one of the craziest of the country.. so I'm all ears for information about that.<br><br>
I guess we need to just get out there... have a look at our options.. and go from there.<br><br>
Thanks again everyone.. I'll be in touch again when we get a little more into this move. Its a challenge I look forward to.
 

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Hi!<br><br>
We just relocated here from Colorado and I spent a decade in Chicago. The weather here is an improvement over Chicago but can be depressing when you compare it to Colorado's 320 sunny days/year and warmer, dry temps. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> But, attitude is everything, so you just have to make up your mind to embrace it all.<br><br>
Sounds like you are coming from a lower valued real estate market than here. We went through the same thing and I really sympathize with you. I am appalled at what they want for a run-down house here. It was a buyer's market in Colorado and here it is a seller's market. We left a beautiful house that was new construction and now we will have to buy a resale that will probably need work (and we're not handy!). It is a huge paradigm shift for us. The majority of the homes in Redmond were built in the 60's and I absolutely hate that look. Plus with an older home you need to be concerned about lead paint, asbestos, energy efficiency, etc.<br><br>
We are renting a house in Redmond and DH is just a few miles from work. We are paying in rent what we were paying for our mortgage and we're in 1/3 the space. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> But it was a better deal for us than the apartments. We are planning to buy a house in the spring and want to keep the commute short. The lure of buying further out and getting more of a house for less money isn't worth the long commute for my DH. You will have to decide what is most important to you. Redmond Ridge is a newer development, but they have virtually no backyard and they're an isolated community (IMNSHO). so, if you want a decent backyard where your child can play while you are cooking dinner, some space for a garden, and you don't have $800, 000 <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: you'll need to buy a resale.<br><br>
My recommendation is to rent for about 6 mos and get to know the area before you commit to a purchase. I know it makes the transition that much more work, but we feel it is worth it to make the right decision for our family. Some will say you are throwing your money away on rent, but we feel it is an investment in making a very expensive decision. And, I don't feel that a few days can give someone all the info they need to make an informed decision on a house purchase. I don't feel that realtors will necessarily give you the best info, they often have their own agenda and some can't really be trusted. We've learned a whole lot as we've talked w/people, done some reading and as we've driven through the communities. But, that's all just my personal opinion. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
The real estate prices here are a hard pill to swallow, especially if you didn't make a ton of $$ on the house you left behind. And, I know that some people have said that new Microsoft employees have driven costs up. Certainly, having a lot of people flock to the area in need of housing can drive prices up b/c of the law of supply and demand. But I recall someone saying that the prices of houses are high because of "the over-paid Microsoft employees". I was a little hurt by that b/c we gave up so much for my DH to have his dream job. He is working on a project that is exactly what he loves to do. He's making the same salary he was making in Colorado and everything is so much more expensive here. In essence we took a 40% decrease in income.<br><br>
From what I've read, the prices have mostly been driven up by people who have had windfalls from the sale of their home in another state and had a lot of $$ to put down on a house here. California is one example...but please don't think I'm picking on Californians. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> Also, well-paid 2 income families. It's hard being a one income family in this region. What helped us is that we arrived here with no debt, a decent profit from the sale of our house (read the book "Dress Your House for Success") plus savings--years of hard work and managing our finances well and frugally. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
Sorry I got long-winded. Feel free to pm me. All the best to you in your new life here! And, hey-- check out Trader Joe's grocery store. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> What a neat place!<br><br>
cindi
 
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