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What are the Pros and Cons of living in Washington State?

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What are the Pros and Cons of living in Washington State?

Postby selwin95 » Tue May 22, 2012 3:59 pm

Now, I know this is a general question. My fiancee and I are looking to move, we wish to avoid Seattle and rather settle in a smaller suburb. Granted, we would like to find a location close enough to Seattle if needed, and the ocean as well. If you have any good towns in mind, please suggest them. Besides that, what do we need to know before this big jump? What is the weather like in the mid/mid-west of the state? Disaster risks? What is the cost of living in the suburbs? Taxes? We live in Missouri currently, so anything to help along with my research would be greatly appreciated!
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What are the Pros and Cons of living in Washington State?

Postby connlaoi55 » Tue May 22, 2012 4:00 pm

John and rissy have given you good answer so far. I'll add this:

All of the neighborhoods that rissy have suggested are in-city neighborhoods. If you are looking for a small town feel, you'll need to go further out. You've mentioned "close enough to Seattle and the Ocean as well". Seattle sits on Puget Sound (kind of like a large bay). It's not really possible to be near to Seattle and to the ocean, which is a several hour drive away. But you can be near Puget Sound....

Some options:
1. if you don't mind a ferry ride into Seattle you can be looking at the Olympic Peninsula. Smaller towns over there to consider include Port Orchard, Poulsbo, and Bremerton. Vashon island has almost a rural feel to it and has direct ferry service into Seattle also.

2. To the North, you'll find suburban development north until you get past Marysville, which is a solid 1 hour drive into the city. Towns to consider to the north include Snohomish, Woodinville, Edmonds. You'll find the prices get higher the closer to Seattle you get, and the closer to Puget Sound you get, so of these three, Edmonds will be the most expensive for similar homes.

3. If you need to be near the water, then I suggest not looking east of Lake Washington. There are lots of lovely towns there, but prices are high and that's putting you further away from Puget Sound or the ocean.

4. To the south you have suburban development through Tacoma unless you look east towards Mt. Rainier. Renton has some nice neighborhoods, and the towns along highway 167 have a smaller town feel to them (Puyallup, Black Diamond and the like).

The weather in the state is divided by the Cascade mountains. To the east of the mountains it is dry, hot in the summer and cold and snowy in the winter. To the west of the mountains (Seattle area) is wet with lots of grey, damp days. Temperatures are moderated by the ocean, and we have cool weather September-June with only occasional snow. Summers are warm during the day and usually cooling off at night. You can live in one of the mountain towns and you'll have much more snow, but that puts you further away from the ocean.

Disaster risks include earthquakes and volcanoes. If very close to the ocean tsunami are also a risk if there is an offshore earthquake. But none of these things happen very often. More likely disaster risks are flooding and downed trees from high winds in winter.

Cost of living here is similar to Chicago, and cost of living in the suburbs will be similar to living in the Chicago suburbs. We have no income tax. Sales tax varies from town to town but averages 8.5%. Gasoline tends to be priced at the high end of the national average here due to gasoline taxes. Property taxes here are moderate. My home is worth about $350,000 and my annual property taxes are about $4,000. Electricity here is cheaper than in other places because we have hydro power. Food costs tend to be higher here (no-one doubles coupons and costs are generally higher because most of it is trucked in for 10 months of the year).

Edited to add:

Small town near ocean leaves you in Aberdeen, Ocean Shores or Port Angeles area. None of these places is that convenient to Seattle, and none of these places have large industries to support jobs. So your ability to get a job will depend a lot on what kind of skills you have that would apply in small towns.

Of these three, Port Angeles is the least "beachy", but the most likely to have jobs. The town (and the neighboring town of Sequim) are on the water (but not on the ocean). Ocean beaches aren't too far away, and the state parks on the straits (such as Dungeness Spit) are lovely too. Crime rates are low here, and should not be a concern in any of the small towns on the Olympic Peninsula.

I suggest a visit. You may find that Puget Sound is "ocean" enough for you - it's a pretty big body of water and you get much of what people love about the "ocean". Bellingham WA is a good town to look at on the Sound - smaller in scope than the greater Seattle area but large enough to have jobs, and close to Canada.
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What are the Pros and Cons of living in Washington State?

Postby lind » Tue May 22, 2012 4:04 pm

Here in Washington the weather is pretty rainy and cool in the winter. It doesn't snow a lot but when it does the whole city of Seattle shuts down because it is to hilly( you have to live here to understand) in the summer it gets warm here. Also, new York gets more rain than us.
The only disaster risks is earthquakes because like California, we also live on a fault line. Also, mt Rainer and all of the mountains here are volcanos so they could erupt and have lahars. But I don't worry about disasters because they are so rare. I would say tornadoes in Missouri would be more dangerous than are stuff.
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What are the Pros and Cons of living in Washington State?

Postby sargent » Tue May 22, 2012 4:14 pm

I live near Concrete, in the North Cascades. Small town life in Skagit county is good and I rarely go to Seattle, or the suburbs. it is cheaper to live up here, anywhere north of Everett. Still, it is more expensive than Missouri, but this is the most beautiful place on earth, and I have plenty of friends to confirm that. If you like a small city, Everett and Bellingham are nice places, with waterfront. You need to come and visit. My family moved here from Michigan, and we are never moving back.
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What are the Pros and Cons of living in Washington State?

Postby calldwr » Tue May 22, 2012 4:16 pm

John is pretty on point. I'll address the other part of your question.
Seattle can be a pricy city, but when you live outside the city you can get easy access as well as a cheaper state of living. There are a lot of really nice and cheap places up north to live such as...

Lake City
Ballard (still a bit pricy here)
There many busses that run to down town or wherever you like from most of these neighborhoods.
I lived in these areas when I attended college and they were great places to live and within 10minutes of Downtown Seattle if that's where you work. I would stay away from the Eastside (Bellevue/Mercer Island area) due to the high volume in traffic.

Personally I believe the best places to live is South of Seattle.
Beacon hill/Columbia city is an great and up and coming neighborhood and is only 5-10min away from downtown Seattle.
The light rail runs from the Airport (tukwila: 20 min from Seattle) to down town Seattle. So the Tukwila/Southcenter area is my personal preference. It's right next to a great shopping area (so you always get great prices and stores) as well as super cheap places to live. I'm currently renting a 2 bedroom house for the same price I was renting a 1 bedroom apt in Seattle.

Public transportation has become increasingly better and is only getting better so as long as you're near a freeway entrance, transit center, bus line or the sounds transit you'll be OK.

THE BEST PART about living in this state is that if your an outdoorsy type of person, we are #1. The weather isn't always the best in the city, but once you go over the other side of the mountain it can be a drastic change. There are multiple activities within 1 hour-3 hours away. There's hiking, mountain biking, camping, fishing, the ocean, water rafting, skiing/boarding, beaches etc... You can find pretty much anything to do here.
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What are the Pros and Cons of living in Washington State?

Postby etienne » Tue May 22, 2012 4:30 pm

No such thing as a smaller suburb around Seattle. We are one giant city along Interstate 5, just with different names for the different areas. The Pacific Ocean is hours away, but Puget Sound is always near by. The mid-west of the state is on top of the Cascade mountains.

Western Washington is very expensive for housing because land is limited, and sellers (and those who rent their property) can also get higher prices because there are many highly paid professionals and technicians (Microsoft, Boeing engineers and line workers) that can afford the places; making housing out of reach for lower paid workers. Washington uses a land tax system to fund its schools, which also raises the price of housing. AND we have a sales tax of 9.5% - and it may go up soon.

Many people try moving here, few meet with success.
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