On Saturday morning Girl Ninja and I spent a couple of hours gallivanting around northern Seattle with our Realtor. We weren’t shopping for houses, as much as we were being educated on Seattle real estate. It was time for us to learn what $400,000 buys in Seattle. We walked through 5 homes that day.
I’d like to take you on a tour of a few of the homes we looked at, but before I do that I feel like I need to clarify something.
Seattle real estate is expensive. It’s not San Fran or NYC, but it aint cheap here. There’s a lot of big business (Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, etc). High paying jobs typically mean higher housing prices. I get that you might live in the middle of nowhere Kansas and be able to buy a McMansion for $150,000. You can’t do that here. Seattle is not Topeka so please don’t compare the two.
We didn’t move to Seattle to move away from it. Some people on here seem to think we should just pack up our bags and move to a state with a lower cost of living. These people must not be aware we already did that when we left San Diego last year. We moved to Seattle to put down roots and live close to family.
I’ll make ya a deal. If you go to move to the Philippines for a lower cost of living, I’ll move to Texas for a lower cost of living. I get moving for a job, for a new adventure, for school, etc. But I’m not moving just so I can save a couple hundred bucks a month on a house payment.
Okay now that that is out of the way, let’s get on with the houses shall we?
First let me start by showing you this map that shows the areas we want to live….
Our goal is to live as close to Green Lake as possible (hence the reason for all the yellow in one spot). It’s a-freaking -dorable there. The lake has a three-mile joggers loop around it with a ton of local restaurants, parks, and coffee shops nearby. It’s basically the happening spot for twenty and thirty somethings. It’s also close enough to the University of Washington (about 3 miles) that one could easily rent out their home to a couple of college students if desired.
Alright, enough about geography, let’s see the houses…
House 1: 2 bed, 2 bath, 1,040sqft, $385,000
The house was charming from the outside. Heck, it was even cute inside. That said, there was some serious concerns. First, the two bedrooms were both located in the basement. Natural light is a “must have” for Girl Ninja and a basement master bedroom is far from ideal. The street also didn’t have sidewalks, which made the whole neighborhood just appear sloppy since cars were parked all over the place. The kitchen, although nice, had a really weird zig-zagged layout. There were some fun features like a bonus room loft space and a sweet one car garage with rooftop patio. You can see more about the house here.
House 2: 4 bed, 1 bath, 1,190sqft, $379,922.
This was the house I showed you pictures of yesterday. It was only 1,190 square feet, but they packed 4 bedrooms in to that space. Needless to say the rooms were very tiny. Although it was located in a desirable neighborhood, the house was anything but. It was built-in the 1950′s and lacks the charm Girl Ninja and I are looking for (we want something built before 1940).
The kitchen was hiddeous and tiny. So tiny the refrigerator is not even located in the kitchen, it’s in the adjacent laundry room. It was our realtors favorite house of the bunch (because of the location and potential) and our least favorite because it was just plain ugly. Haha. Wanna hear something crazy. It went pending yesterday. It’s been on the market for 17 days and got four offers. Our realtor guesses it will sell for $375,000. You can see more here.
House 3: 3 bed, 1 bath, 1,100sqft, $399,950
This was our favorite house that we walked through. It was recently renovated. Had a ton of curb appeal. And the kitchen was pretty great for Seattle standards. Of course there were also some major drawbacks. The living room was only big enough for a two seat couch and there was no space for a TV. The living room was actually smaller than the dining room…who does that? Also, if you look in the top left picture, you’ll notice a monstrous modern home was built next door. It was an eyesore as it contrasted too much with this tiny 1914 home. Lastly, two of the bedrooms were right off the living room, the third was off the kitchen. While it shows great in pictures, the flow of the house was not ideal for entertaining. You can see more here.
As you can see, we will be paying at least $350,000 for about 1,110sqft of living space if we stick to our target area. It was great to finally get out there and walk through some places. We got to learn a lot about older homes and the pros/cons that come with them. Hopefully over the next few months we’ll find the right place for us
p.s. Please let me know if you loved (or hated) this post. We’ll be looking at dozens of houses, and if you want to see more posts like this please tell me. Likewise, if you think this stuff is boring be sure to let me know so I don’t waste your time in the future.