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Old 11-08-2015, 06:26 PM   #1  
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Default Seattle Domicile pros/cons

Recent AF retiree trying to decide where to plant roots for the family. The benefits of living in domicile are numerous, so putting out a feeler for a location I know little about...Seattle and surrounding areas.

I would appreciate information from anyone currently living there, or those who have recently departed that area. Whatever info you feel relevant is appreciated. Questions on my mind are:
- cost of living
- tax burden
- I understand Seattle is very liberal politically. How onerous are government regulations and influence, and how badly does it impact the pocketbook?
- are there any "bubble" communities similar to Peachtree City (another location we are considering)
- what are the pros/cons of this domicile

Feel free to PM me if you don't want to post here-- your call. And a sincere thanks for your time and intel. Cheers!
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:34 PM   #2  
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Hey good question. You'll get a lot of negativity from people that aren't from around here unfortunately. Born and raised in the area, traveled a lot and moved away for a lot of my time building. Back now and happy to be here. Yes there are political issues but nothing near as bad as California. Cost of living too close to downtown or SEA is awful. However once you get out away (45 minute drive or more) it is much better. A big "pilot community" similar to peach tree city is "Gig Harbor." It's a nice area because the housing is much more affordable and it's quiet but not too far away from work. Good school and such as well. I fly with guys that live out east in like the Maple Valley area but it's still more expensive there. I suppose it all depends on your preferred lifestyle. Our country is changing and I'm not happy with our local politics but it has yet to directly affect me too much. And the farther you get from downtown Seattle the better it gets. If you like outdoors (kayaking, boating, skiing, fishing, hiking, etc), this is a wonderful place to live with all of those things within a reasonable distance. If you don't care about those and living next to the water and mountains I would probably look elsewhere. If you have any more specific questions feel free to PM me and I'd be happy to answer anything I can for you on specific areas or anything like that. I hope you decide to at least look into the area more, it's a great place. Again, don't listen to the negative nellies.
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Old 11-08-2015, 08:52 PM   #3  
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Originally Posted by SVA402 View Post
Hey good question. You'll get a lot of negativity from people that aren't from around here unfortunately. Born and raised in the area, traveled a lot and moved away for a lot of my time building. Back now and happy to be here. Yes there are political issues but nothing near as bad as California. Cost of living too close to downtown or SEA is awful. However once you get out away (45 minute drive or more) it is much better. A big "pilot community" similar to peach tree city is "Gig Harbor." It's a nice area because the housing is much more affordable and it's quiet but not too far away from work. Good school and such as well. I fly with guys that live out east in like the Maple Valley area but it's still more expensive there. I suppose it all depends on your preferred lifestyle. Our country is changing and I'm not happy with our local politics but it has yet to directly affect me too much. And the farther you get from downtown Seattle the better it gets. If you like outdoors (kayaking, boating, skiing, fishing, hiking, etc), this is a wonderful place to live with all of those things within a reasonable distance. If you don't care about those and living next to the water and mountains I would probably look elsewhere. If you have any more specific questions feel free to PM me and I'd be happy to answer anything I can for you on specific areas or anything like that. I hope you decide to at least look into the area more, it's a great place. Again, don't listen to the negative nellies.
Having been born and raised here myself and also use to live in Peachtree city I will agree with the above. There are really no bubble communities here like peachtree city. There really is no "bad" part of town like Atlanta has. Maybe White Center or Rainier Beach but even Rainier Beach is going up in value. I even keep my boat moored there. I live out in the Issaquah Highlands area.
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Old 11-08-2015, 11:41 PM   #4  
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I've lived in the Seattle area most of my life...

Pros:
- Great climate. Sure, it rains... but it's a nice temperate climate on average.
- Many opportunities for activities. If you and your family like doing anything outside, there are awesome spots around to do just about anything you like.
- Economic strength. If anyone else in your family needs a job, they'll likely be able to find something good. My wife started looking for a job recently, and she quickly had more interview offers than she had time to attend.
- Good fresh seafood. I lived in Arizona for a bit, and I missed this quite badly.
- Awesome scenery.
- Beer! Breweries! Great beer!
- Music from here is better than music from the rest of the country. So there.

Cons:
- Cost of living is above average.
- Traffic.
- If you want a decent deal on a house that isn't in a crowded urban setting, you'll have to go a ways out of town. Which means you'll have to endure...
- Traffic. It's really quite atrocious.
- Do hipsters bug you? Would living on a liberal arts college campus and driving a Volvo while listening to NPR bother you?
- At some point a giant earthquake/volcano will put this region back into the Stone Age.
- Traffic. Seriously.

The sports teams will either continuously lose or lose and then leave town.

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Old 11-09-2015, 12:15 AM   #5  
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Grew up outside Portland, went to UW, lived in Tacoma for years. Thought about it when we retired, ended up in Peachtree.

I'd take the wife, visit both, go with a gut feel. If you're trying for something semi-scientific, compare some houses on Zillow. The kind of house/schools we wanted were significantly more expensive everywhere we looked in Pac NW.

Biggest factors for me, housing cost, traffic, fact that Atlanta "can't" close. Also, wife said she wanted PTC.

Good news is you can't go wrong with either.
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Old 11-09-2015, 03:19 AM   #6  
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I was in what sounds like a similar situation to you, I never lived in Seattle or the area but the outdoor activities had a very strong allure and I absolutely wanted to live in base. Here's (quite) a few things I considered:

School quality was pretty hit or miss. My only source of school quality was the Great Schools web site, and if I wanted a consistent 9 or 10 on the middle and high school, I was going to pay $200/sf or buy something in need of a lot of work. Not sure if you had a better handle on things than me, but every time we PCS'd we bought more crap and got a slightly bigger house. I effectively priced myself out of the market by "needing" such a big house. I had a buddy move to Gig Harbor and he bought a 100 year old 1500 SF house. It can be done, just not by me .

I hate traffic and being late for anything. This is a serious character flaw on my part, but I absolutely lose it in bumper to bumper traffic. I want to shoot every @ss in the face who thinks he's so important that he should cut me off to move up all of 10 feet. I couldn't do that every day (or even 8 times a month, assuming round trip driving for 4 trips).

The constant overcast 10 months of the year wouldn't bother me, but I'm gone 50% of the time. My wife did not like the quantity of overcast while we were at Spangdahlem and Seattle is worse.

If Delta makes a business decision to leave Seattle you are now commuting or you have to uproot and move your family again. Base closures are a fairly common thing, and Seattle isn't even a domicile (I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, but I think it is technically a pilot base). I don't know if the company will even pay for a move if you live in a pilot base and it closes. Moving ain't cheap if you've allowed yourself to accumulate anything near your O-5 moving allowance of 17.5k lbs.

If you still want to move up there, from my research the two seemingly best places to move were Olympia and Gig Harbor. They had the best combination of schools, commute times, and affordability. I ended up moving to ATL, but there's a small part of me that still wonders what if... Good luck!
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Old 11-09-2015, 03:34 AM   #7  
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If you hate liberals and aren't averse to a short commute look into Spokane. I'm assuming you're thinking of bidding the DAL base in SEA.
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:18 AM   #8  
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No state income tax. N'uf said.
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Old 11-09-2015, 09:01 AM   #9  
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No state income tax. N'uf said.
No state income tax, *yet*...
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Old 11-09-2015, 09:22 AM   #10  
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True, but how much does it cost to put tags on your car? The state has to get their money somewhere!
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