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Old 02-08-2011, 06:00 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: United States
Default Buying a House in Seattle

So with the latest interest rate decrease, the house we want is in purchasing range due to the fact that we can also talk them down to about $300,000 on a brand new townhouse that is about 1300 sq/ft and in north Seattle.

Our mortgage guy said our new payments would be about 1600 with out fees. What is your guestimate what we will be paying per month with fees? Consider that we have a year of them fixing everything that is wrong (construction warranty), no yard (don't like yards! they are stupid!)

Anyway... guestimates are appreciated and advice on if we should wait it out even longer, etc.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:00 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2008

What do your HOA dues look like? How much of a down payment do you have?

We're paying $220/month in Escrow for taxes on a similar sized townhouse in Shoreline (I suspect Seattle proper has slightly higher taxes). It's 20 years old and is probably worth around $225k. HOA dues can vary wildly- ours are around $300/month- I've seen lower and higher when we were looking for houses a few years back.

I don't think the Seattle market is going to collapse anytime soon. That said, the condo conversion and new construction rates are slowing. I would anticipate spending $2100-$2300/month, unless your mortgage guy was including Escrow in his estimate, in which case it'd probably be around $1800-$2000.

Here are a couple of things I wish we'd thought more about before buying:

How livable is the house? We have 1300 sq feet over three and a half floors, very vertical. Needless to say, the top floor barely sees any use, and I think we'd feel like we had more space in a smaller condo that had a better floor plan.

How close is it to everything you do? I commute via bike to the U-district, because it's quicker than the bus. Even so, it's seven miles each way and eats up a lot of time. North Seattle has some spots that are great for commuting, but it really wouldn't be fun to try and go from there to anywhere south of the ship canal except for downtown. The potential for the northern link of light rail going in could really open it up, though.

What's the neighborhood like? One of my friends lives near 125th and 35th, and says the crime rate is actually worse than when he was living in Lynnwood.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:01 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2007

That looks pretty nice, if I found the right listing (I pulled the MLS on Windermere- . I don't know if it's really worth 300k, though, but my reference point is from four years ago. If you're going to resell eventually, the pedestal sink in the half-bath looks cheap, and either the staging/photography is pretty bad or the second bedroom/office is tiny.

I haven't heard of bamboo floors, but looking them up they seem pretty soft, so dents could be an issue. Some people have also reported fading. Make sure you have good windows, it makes a big difference in the heat bill.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:01 PM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2011

A couple other things to think about. That location is only a few blocks from Aurora, and that stretch of the road is fairly high crime. Even if you don't mind it, it could be a problem when trying to sell. The ad also says that the heat is "radiant, wall." Does this mean electric baseboard heaters? This is not the most efficient method of heating, and utility bills could be high in the winter as a result. Also bear in mind that living it a townhouse means that although you own your part of the building, you have other people living right on the other side of the wall. There is something to be said for having some additional separation from the neighbors. You say there are no dues, but is there an HOA for the block? Does it include other blocks in the area?
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:01 PM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Gibraltar

You may also want to talk to your insurer about the cost- I know it's different for 'zero lot line' and the other type, and since you don't have a HOA it'll probably be more expensive than your renter's insurance.

If you don't have 60k to put down on a 300k place, you're going to have to have PMI, which is an additional cost that might not be in place.

You may want to get some sort of power of attorney/living trust and wills set up in case something happens to one of you, so the other one can sell the property without going through the courts. Make sure that you trust each other completely in a financial sense, because if you are co-owners of a place either of your creditors can seize it if either one of you goes into major debt.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:01 PM   #6
Join Date: Feb 2011

There is no HOA period and we also already live near aurora and tbh this far north there really isn't much crime. Seattle doesn't have much crime period compared to where I grew up though. The only thing I worry about here are the crazies.

We will have the PMI because we will be doing 0 down.

The nice thing about these townhouses is that they are doubles instead of triples so we have a lower chance of retards living next to us I guess.

Another thing I was glad to see is that there were no flooding issues this week. We drove by and the place was perfectly unscathed.
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