Housing help from seattle-area residents?

HitokiridragonHitokiridragon Registered User
edited July 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
My fiancee and I are planning on moving to the Seattle area from Madison, WI next May, and we have absolutely no idea what to look for. I've been looking at a lot of apartments in Seattle and Redmond, and some look really great, though pretty small. We're used to ~1000+ square feet, and would like to stay in that range. Is $2k/month about the going rate for that size of an apartment? We're very interested specifically in living in Seattle if possible. We're very attracted to the big city.

A bit about our reasons for moving: I would like to attend digipen, but that won't be happening right off the bat when we move out there. I'm a PHP developer for the local newspaper in Madison, and would be looking for jobs in that field in Seattle. However, since the tech industry is so large on the West coast, I imagine that it won't necessarily be an easy task. If I do land a job in that field, I'm noticing average pay being ~$75k/year (please correct me if I'm wrong. I'd really like to know what to expect.)

So, I know my request for advice may be a bit broad, but keeping the income and apartment size variables in mind, what would you suggest? Also, if you work in web development in the area, what can I expect as far as job availability/job security/pay?

Thanks so much in advance. We plan on making a trip out there some time this year to visit some potential apartments, and the whole area is completely foreign to me (The furthest west I'd been until recently was Illinois, which isn't very west at all.)

Hitokiridragon on

Posts

  • CooterTKECooterTKE Registered User
    edited June 2008
    when i was looking to move up to the Seattle area it was really expensive to live in the city. It also sucks to drive in Seattle so make sure to locate yourself close to one place of employement if possible. As for pay it does seem to be higher for certain fields but as for specfics i cannot tell you.

    CooterTKE on
  • Aurora BorealisAurora Borealis Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I think I'd need more info to be any help. Where exactly are you looking for work? In Redmond/Bellevue etc, or Seattle proper? Are you prepared to have a long car commute, or do you want to live closer to your work? There ain't much in the way of public trans there, you gotta be pretty dedicated/specific about where you are going every day to make that work.
    I've never been to Madison so I don't have a good idea of what you are expecting. What is it that attracts you to want to live in 'the big city'? Is it closeness to things like bars and coffee shops? Do you prefer to walk or drive everywhere?
    Seattle proper is made up of lots of pretty individual neighborhoods, most of them bordered off from each other by things like giant hills and large bodies of water. So knowing where you are going to be working and what kind of commute you want is plenty important.

    Aurora Borealis on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Living downtown is hella expensive in Seattle. Living a few miles from downtown isn't, and the bus system is good enough near downtown that you don't really need to drive.

    For instance, I live in Green Lake, which is about 4 miles from downtown Seattle. There are five different buses within six blocks of my house that go downtown (not counting the commuter lines or the drunk bus (2:15am and 3:30am), which are much faster, but only run during limited hours). You can get a much nicer place for much cheaper with really very little separation from downtown, not to mention that most of the areas near downtown are pretty damn awesome on their own.

    Thanatos on
  • HitokiridragonHitokiridragon Registered User
    edited June 2008
    Well, we're not specifically looking for downtown. We're open to anything that works out best ultimately. I have no idea where I'm going to be working yet. I'm going to try to line up some interviews for when we go to visit this year.

    What draws us to an apartment closer to the city is the skyline, activities, etc.. We're not too concerned about public transportation, as we have two cars, though it would be nice to save the gas money and walk or bike. I'm thinking that we're looking for something that's $2k/month or lower.

    Hopefully that narrows things down a bit if anyone is familiar with any nice places around Seattle.

    Hitokiridragon on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Well, we're not specifically looking for downtown. We're open to anything that works out best ultimately. I have no idea where I'm going to be working yet. I'm going to try to line up some interviews for when we go to visit this year.

    What draws us to an apartment closer to the city is the skyline, activities, etc.. We're not too concerned about public transportation, as we have two cars, though it would be nice to save the gas money and walk or bike. I'm thinking that we're looking for something that's $2k/month or lower.

    Hopefully that narrows things down a bit if anyone is familiar with any nice places around Seattle.
    If you end up working in downtown or Belltown, the savings on parking alone from taking the bus will pay for your bus pass plus more.

    $100 a year is a pretty reasonable parking rate for a reserved spot. $700 gets you an unlimited commuter bus pass for a year.

    This is to say nothing of the traffic, which is pretty ridiculous.

    Thanatos on
  • HitokiridragonHitokiridragon Registered User
    edited June 2008
    Thanatos wrote: »
    If you end up working in downtown or Belltown, the savings on parking alone from taking the bus will pay for your bus pass plus more.

    $100 a year is a pretty reasonable parking rate for a reserved spot. $700 gets you an unlimited commuter bus pass for a year.

    This is to say nothing of the traffic, which is pretty ridiculous.

    $700/year sounds good. We were kind of expecting traffic to be pretty terrible. We don't have any big issue with that. If we need to travel through Seattle, we'll just opt for bus or bike. $100/year is great for parking, too. Comparatively to parking charges in downtown Madison where you pay $40-$60/month for parking.

    I'm thinking that the ideal situation would be very close to Seattle. I don't have an issue with paying for a reserved parking space, but would prefer to live in an apartment complex that has free parking (if that exists in the area).

    So, should I just be looking at Redmond since I'm going to be going to school there eventually anyway? What's the commute like between Redmond and Seattle typically? Also, are the major highways in the Seattle area toll roads?

    Thanks for your responses. :)

    Hitokiridragon on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Sorry, that was supposed to be $100/month for parking, not $100/year.

    I've seen it as low as $70-$80 a month, though.

    Thanatos on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    So, should I just be looking at Redmond since I'm going to be going to school there eventually anyway? What's the commute like between Redmond and Seattle typically? Also, are the major highways in the Seattle area toll roads?
    There are no toll roads in Seattle (outside of the bridges in the Bay Area, we really don't do that on the West Coast).

    If you're going to be going to school in Redmond, I'd recommend living there. It's a bit harder to get to Seattle from there by bus, but if you worked downtown, you'd be going against the bulk of the traffic (no real "reverse commute" in Seattle, but that's way lighter than the commute if you're living in Seattle and working/going to school in Redmond).

    Thanatos on
  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Can I piggieback on this thread and ask what areas of Seattle / surrounding areas have good bus service to the University of Washington and are inexpensive? I'm thinking of applying there next year, but I've heard apartments are expensive right around the university. I have pets so I think they won't allow me in the dorms.

    LadyM on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    LadyM wrote: »
    Can I piggieback on this thread and ask what areas of Seattle / surrounding areas have good bus service to the University of Washington and are inexpensive? I'm thinking of applying there next year, but I've heard apartments are expensive right around the university. I have pets so I think they won't allow me in the dorms.
    Roosevelt/Green Lake, Fremont, and Wallingford are some of your best bets. I'm in Green Lake, and a little less than two miles from the university, and there are three different buses that go there.

    One cat is pretty easy to deal with, more than one cat or a dog somewhat less so, and anything in a cage/terrarium probably won't cause you much trouble.

    Thanatos on
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Take Than's advice about cars. Driving in Seattle blows, parking in Seattle blows, you can bike / walk / bus almost anywhere, the only reason to have a car is commuting to suburbs.

    Cap Hill has pretty good access to the University of Washington as well, IIRC at least.

    PotatoNinja on
    Two goats enter, one car leaves
  • Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    It does. There are at least three different routes that run through Broadway (the main drag on Capitol Hill) that go straight to the U-District, two of which are major, all-day routes.

    One thing that you soon-to-be-newcomers might want to check out is Metro's trip planner. Punch in the address of your prospective residence and the address of your intended destination (i.e., Digipen or UW) and it'll give you an idea of how long the average commute will be. A word of advice: any route with more than one transfer is going to wear you down quickly.

    Seattle Thread on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    And can I just say that I'm advising you on this car stuff from the position of a lifelong driver (I grew up in rural Northern California, with a 15-minute drive to the nearest McDonalds, and would make frequent trips to San Francisco on weekends, which was 300 miles round-trip), and someone who really loves to drive. I am not someone who was just used to not having a vehicle; I am someone who used to drive every goddamn day. And I'm not saying you shouldn't have a car (because I absolutely still have mine), I'm just saying it should not be your primary mode of transportation.

    Thanatos on
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