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Moving to Seattle

DE?ADDE?AD Registered User regular
edited February 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Well, after twenty-two years of living on Kauai, I've finally had my fill of this rural, backwater rock. Dear lord this place is horrendous, but that's not really the point of this thread.

I've decided to move to Seattle, because it seems like a nice city, it's almost the polar opposite of Kauai in terms of climate and culture, and, at least from what I can tell, seems to have a rather high nerd quotient - which after living on an island with, literally, three nerds, is a rather large selling point.

Now, as someone who's never actually been to Seattle, I was looking for any general advice/information about the city - good neighborhoods, places to avoid, etc. (Keep in mind that, as someone who's lived on island with one major road and an actual law that buildings cannot be taller than palm trees for the entire span of their life, I have no idea what to expect from living in an actual city.) I'm on a rather tight budget, so information on good, cheap neighborhoods would also be helpful.

So.. any advice?

DE?AD on

Posts

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2008
    You can find cheap rent in most neighborhoods in seattle (except belltown, good luck with that.) I live on Beacon Hill and I like it a lot. It's just a few miles south of the sub-40-cultural center of Seattle: Capitol Hill. There is affordable rent to be found there, as well, but you have to look and you'll be making compromises in terms of the living space you will get. Ballard is also awesome, but it is getting more expensive in terms of rent. Freemont is okay, as is the university district. Avoid Rainier Vally and the Central District (although some areas of the CD are okay). Those are high crime areas, although it's not like there are a lot of muggings or random violence: it's mostly property crime.

    Seattle is a great city.

    edit: helpful info
    http://wikitravel.org/en/Seattle

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Doc forgot to mention Green Lake, which is awesome.

    I would highly advise having at least a few thousand dollars saved up before moving here, though.

  • DE?ADDE?AD Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Thanks, that's exactly the kind of info I was looking for.

    Unfortunately, there's not much chance I'll be able to save up much before moving - I've got to be out of my current place by the end of April, and the cost of housing around here is absurd.

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2008
    What do you expect to pay for rent per month in Seattle?

  • DE?ADDE?AD Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    About six to seven hundred, hopefully, though I could probably go up to nine (assuming utilities included ) if I really skimped. I looked around on line and saw at least a few places that looked decent (though I can't recall what neighborhoods they were in). Luckily, living space isn't really a problem for me - I'd b perfectly happy with a studio apartment at this point.

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2008
    You'll be fine.

  • DE?ADDE?AD Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Good to hear. I swear, you cannot find an apartment (which Kauai doesn't technically have - we have budget condos) on this island for under a thousand, and that's if you're lucky.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    600-700 is good. You won't be living downtown, but you can get a good place in Seattle proper for that.

    You'll get a nicer, cheaper place if you get a roommate, though. Also, it's worth noting that the rental market here is pretty cutthroat; it was a miracle that my roommate and I found a place in a weekend. Places will go on Craigslist and then have a deposit down half an hour later (I had two places I called that this happened with). You shouldn't rent just anything, but if you find a place you like, assume that if you're not writing them a check right there, it's going to be gone when you try to later.

  • DE?ADDE?AD Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Hmmm. A roommate's not out of the question, but I would like to see if I can't just get my own place first.

    What I'm trying to do (as the only people I know in mainland America are some relatives in California,) is get an apartment in Seattle before I leave Kauai, so I'll have somewhere to land. Granted, that's wishful thinking, and I have no idea if it's actually going to be possible, but it would save me a lot of money on an interim hotel room.

    Thanks again for the information, it's all very helpful.

  • bigpandabigpanda Registered User
    edited February 2008
    Ok, I'm posting, but I haven't exactly been a fan of Seattle, you can do a search on my previous posts to get a gist of my earlier opinion of the city. I'm not going to re-hash any of that now as I managed to sour relations with most of the locals within a month of moving here.

    As for rent, it's cheaper than most of the larger Californian and East Coast cities (i.e LA, San Fran, NY, Boston, etc.). I'd put it on par with Chicago. What Thanatos said about the rental market being cutthroat, it definitely is. I've been looking to move for the last few months and I've learned that craigslist postings get swamped. If you're replying to a posting, so are probably a thousand other people. It can get snapped up right away, and most do. Some people will look and flake out on the place so it might be "reserved" for a while so be prepared to drop a deposit when you find something you like right away and it might not be a bad idea to check back if you saw a place but they're holding it for a previous applicant. Bring your checkbook, license, some proof of income and possibly a credit report so you can finalize something you like as soon as possible.

    I live in Ballard and like it although there's about 4 condos going up in a square mile of Market Street and rental prices are going up. It will be tough to find a one bedroom for the range you're looking for over here (maybe a studio) but if you're willing to find a roommate it's do-able. I passed on a two bedroom for about $900 about a year ago and wished I would have gone that route rather than taking on all the expenses of living alone. You might be able to find something in the north or south suburbs for that price, but the commute to the city will be a pain in the ass. The city's growing at a high rate and the infrastructure is unable to keep up right now. It sounds like you're probably not used to a level of street crime like that found in LA, NY, Chicago, or Detroit so Rainier Valley might be worse than what you're used to, but Columbia City is gentrifying quickly and reasonable rent can be found there. I'd still keep my wits about me down there and mind flashing cash in public or walking down dark alleys by yourself (which I still find unbelievable that you're able to do that in a lot of the downtown area). If you're looking to live in a more urban environment, you might want to look at Capitol Hill or the International District as they're both close to downtown (you might want to look at Interbay too, it's between Queen Anne and Magnolia and used to be a warehouse district but it's all changing quickly).

    From what I've seen a lot of the city is changing rapidly, so areas that were once unique like Ballard and Fremont are quickly filling with yuppies and places to buy your lap-dog a diamond studded collar or crystal dog dish.

    Green Lake is nice and Thanatos can expound on that more than I could. Haven't spent much time in Beacon Hill.

    West Seattle is nice too and it doesn't seem like it's been flooded by yuppies just yet, although I hear they have a bunch of condos zoned down there now too. Getting downtown from there takes a little effort though.

    I'm actually going to be moving out of my apartment at the end of May if you're interested in Ballard and that time period works for you. I'm right off of the main drag here in Ballard and have a bar right behind my building. Arcane Comics is also about two blocks away if you're into that stuff too. Oh, check out http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation.aspx for bus routes and such.

    BP

    P.S. Ballard has tons of conveniences here, pretty close to anything you'd need within a mile of the 15th St/Market St junction.

    P.P.S. If you plan on drinking coffee or spending any time in a coffee shop out here, brush up on your coffee knowledge. The baristas here expect you to know it and can be a little soup nazi-ish. I learned the hard way.

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2008
    bigpanda wrote: »
    P.P.S. If you plan on drinking coffee or spending any time in a coffee shop out here, brush up on your coffee knowledge. The baristas here expect you to know it and can be a little soup nazi-ish. I learned the hard way.

    When they are busy, yeah. It's pretty amazing to see someone order a latte really fast, like "I'llhaveatripleventicarmelwhitechocolatemacchiatowithsoymilklightfoamandadashofnutmeg" and the barista will make it without having them repeat any of it, and just write like two scribbles on the cup for a reminder.

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