Move to Seattle For Job in South Lake Union?
March 16, 2020 11:49 AM   Subscribe

I currently live in a small city, have previously lived in large cities, and have found a great opportunity in South Lake Union, Seattle. This job was previously posted last year and I passed it over after watching youtube videos about living in Seattle. Have I got it wrong? If I got this job tomorrow and had to move there, what living/ commuting/ lifestyle challenges should I expect?

(I like living in small cities, but I'm at a cross-roads where the lack of options are in competition with the benefits - i.e. easy commuting/ traffic isn't a major problem, rent is low, crime is low, etc..)
posted by my log does not judge to Work & Money (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The big challenge is effectively "Where will your pay let you live?", there. SLU is Bellevue-lite, so if you're paid the Amazon premium you can live in the heart of it all. If you aren't, though, you're still in a position to benefit from the transit upgrades (though you'd be commuting with everybody else into there, of course)

There's a lot I could probably get into about the backstory in "watching youtube videos about living in Seattle", but which would be a bit extraneous to here. Suffice to say, there's a lot of money involved in various external portrayals of Seattle of varying levels of accuracy to how things are on the ground.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:57 AM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Everything in Seattle is shut down until at least mid-April. If it is a tech job, will they let you work from home for a couple of months after you start? If it is a restaurant or service job, is the company still open? The economy was impossible here for anyone who didn’t have a tech job, and right now it’s impossible to know what the economy is going to look like in a few months. Now is not the time to uproot your life.
posted by matildaben at 12:03 PM on March 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

I don't think any of us can guess what any place in the US, and especially Seattle, will look like tomorrow, never mind a few months from now.
posted by bluedaisy at 12:17 PM on March 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

Rent is not low in Seattle, I can tell you that for damn sure. A huge amount hinges on what you'd be paid and where you could afford to live. And, yeah -- we have no idea what this city will look like in a month, let alone longer. Transit commuting is okay here, but I prefer to ride my bike, as I find it more reliable. Depends on the type of transit, though, really -- light rail vs bus, and if you have to go through downtown or not.

I've lived in (smallish) cities and moved to Seattle about two years ago. I love aspects of it and don't love other aspects, like any other city. Feel free to MeMail me if you have specific questions.
posted by kalimac at 12:21 PM on March 16, 2020

there's a lot of money involved in various external portrayals of Seattle of varying levels of accuracy to how things are on the ground

yup, monied interests really want us to look like a socialist failed state right now because our city council had the nerve to try to tax employers for homeless benefits.

Seattle is BOOMING. Real estate is super expensive and there are very few renter-friendly laws here; vulture capital is free to charge whatever rent they think market will bear. Commutes are getting worse and worse and there are regular tax revolts against any collective solutions to the problem -- collective solutions to any problem, really.

If you can handle crowded and expensive big-city living or are willing to trade a lengthy commute for a cheaper rent/mortgage then c'mon out.
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:26 PM on March 16, 2020

> If I got this job tomorrow and had to move there, what living/ commuting/ lifestyle challenges should I expect?

It's difficult to say since I don't know you, where you currently live, or what you find challenging. The main issues in Seattle that people rightfully complain about are the cost of housing, and the traffic. Schools in our state are terribly underfunded, if that's relevant.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:36 PM on March 16, 2020

Thanks everyone. I understand the current situation with the economy. I guess I was more looking for, hey: you can't live here, here or here because it's nuts expensive, but you could live here or here but the total commute time will be Y, or if you lived there or there it'd be much cheaper but you'll need big locks on your door and secure parking, or you'd be crazy to commute by car from there but public transport is totally do-able. Something like that? Forgive me if I didn't word the initial question well.
posted by my log does not judge at 12:47 PM on March 16, 2020

This does not seem specific enough for Ask MeFi. Could you try to narrow down your question and provide more information about what you’re looking for?
posted by ripley_ at 1:24 PM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

No one can really give you any advice without knowing what the salary is and what sort of overhead you carry.

I can tell you I find the Puget Sound area a fantastic place to live.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:25 PM on March 16, 2020

If it's a tech job with Amazon, you won't have a problem. Non-tech, more of a problem.

$100k/year and below, you'll never buy real estate. Above that, eventually to quickly depending on how much more you're making.

If you want to buy a home, expect a condo in the 500 sqft range if you want to live in the city for $300-$600k if you want parking. Detached houses are in the million dollar range usually. As you move out to the burbs, prices decrease, but walkability and access to public transit decrease as well. South Lake Union is right in the heart of the city, so it's well served by transit. It's also hell for car commutes during rush hour. Buying property there is probably a bad idea.

People complain about traffic, but I live in the middle of the city, and it's not that bad if your expectations are normal big city traffic. SLU causes a bit of a spike.


Big picture, Seattle is a small, provincial city experiencing growing pains as it turns into a large city. Rents and real estate are expensive, but not to the extremes of San Francisco or NYC. Traffic is bad, but again, not to the extremes of actual cities. Likewise crime, homelessness, etc. If you move here, keep in mind that most people here don't necessarily have the experience of what other cities are like, and are comparing what Seattle is now to what it was life 15-20 years ago, so take all those YouTube videos with a grain of salt.
posted by fnerg at 1:31 PM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I live right nearby SLU. You wouldn't want to live down there, since it's basically an Amazon corporate campus. But it's very central in Seattle and easily walkable or bikeable from several neighborhoods in the area (Capitol Hill, where I live, is great; Lower Queen Anne is nearby to the north; Belltown is adjacent on the downtown side).

SLU is not on the very convenient — for some — light rail line, but there are easy buses and shuttles and the SLUT (South Lake Union Trolley, not officially called that any more but it's what people say) to get you in there.

Affordable housing is much easier to find south of the ID, in Beacon Hill (there's a rail stop there), White Center, and other areas down there.

I would not plan on regularly driving to SLU from anywhere, it's an absolute nightmare to get in and out of via I-5 and surface streets, at rush hour and pretty much every other time. Traffic in Seattle is generally very bad and driving is not something you want to do regularly. Parking is expensive and difficult to find as well.

Living in South Seattle and taking the light rail downtown, then walking or biking into SLU is totally an option. Since I already live on Capitol Hill I could walk right down but it's getting pretty expensive here and as others noted you are not going to be able to buy anything but a shoebox around here and that at a premium.

I love it here, by the way, in case it sounds like I'm bitter :)
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:51 PM on March 16, 2020

Everyone else will talk about cost of housing, stories about the commute, etc. So I will speak of something different.

I had to take my elderly mom to the ophthalmologist in January. She told me she had moved to Seattle in September from Florida. Her friends had done a pretty good job of warning her about living in the Seattle area, including the rain that isn't really rain, the summers that don't start until after Independence Day, etc. She said the one thing they didn't warn her about was the gloom. The long darkness of the winter, when you go to work in the dark and go home in the dark, when the sun peeks out for less than nine hours of the 24, where SAD lamps are as hard to find as toilet paper during a coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the gloom, she said she loves it here.
posted by lhauser at 6:35 PM on March 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

The winter darkness just gives you more time for stargazing. :) (When it's not cloudy.) Also, the flip side of winter gloom is that summer days are super long.
posted by floomp at 6:52 PM on March 17, 2020

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