Step by Step Guide to Relocating to Seattle

Thinking about, or planning a move to Seattle? Then this is for you! 

Whether you join us here in Seattle for work reasons, or to be closer to family, relocating to a new city can be an overwhelming task. My hope is that this list will help you consider a few things before taking the plunge.

Step 1: Research Seattle Neighborhoods

If work is the reason you are moving, this step should be a little easier. You know where you will need to commute to and from, so you can start your search around that point. Traffic has gotten difficult for a few hours surrounding morning and evening “rush hour,” so the least distance you need to commute, the better.

If you’re moving to Seattle without a job, or can work from home, or just have the flexibility to choose exactly where you want to live, that can be a monumental task as the Seattle area is big. The good news? Seattle and the surrounding cities are very different in terms of topography, amenities, look and feel. Usually people are drawn to one area over the others, so it makes the choice easy.

seattle map

Some suggestions to research:

·       Check maps to get familiar with your commute, and what surrounds you

·       Research schools in the area, each neighborhood in Seattle city limits has different options for schools. SEATTLE SCHOOLS

·       Check crime statistics online

Step 2: Contact an Seattle Real Estate Broker

A Seattle real estate agent/broker who is knowledgeable about the real estate market, neighborhoods and relocation process can save you a lot of time right off the bat. I work with people who are several months away from their move and help them narrow down their search criteria so they don’t spend weeks they don’t have focusing on places they aren’t going to like when they see it in person. If you give me an idea of what you’re looking for (price range, type/size of house, company/industry you work in that helps me narrow down geography, where you’re coming from, and any other pertinent info), I can recommend areas you can start your search.

Remember, working with a real estate broker when you are a buyer doesn’t cost anything additional! The fee is already calculated in the commission the seller’s agent and the seller agree on. So, make use of this already paid for, and extremely helpful tool, and reach out early! Scared of getting pressured or hundreds of emails asking you when you’re ready to buy? You don’t have to worry about that with me. We’ll move as fast or as slow as you want to move and act as a resource, not a nuisance.

Step 3: Get Pre-Approved by a Good Mortgage Broker

This is the step most people miss. If you need to get a loan to purchase a home, you should talk to a mortgage broker early in the process. One of the big myths we hear is getting pre-approved too early will hurt your credit. That’s not true, it really only affects the score mildly. The credit monitoring bureaus understand finding a house can take months. A good mortgage broker can help you determine the best loan program for your situation and help you determine how best to approach the home buying process during your move (there are certain rules you need to follow, or your loan will be denied). They can also explain any costs that may seem confusing early on in the process.

We have a few excellent mortgage brokers we can refer you to. Email me at or call/text at 425.231.4376 and I can get you their contact info.

Step 4: Prioritize Your Housing Wants and Needs

Once you know exactly how much you can afford, it’s time to prioritize what’s important to you in terms of the house you want to buy. Are schools important? Is commute time a factor? Can you afford homes you like where you are looking? Are you taking your long term needs into consideration? Do you want to be in an urban or suburban area? Do you need to be able to walk to shops and restaurants?

These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself to help you determine what is most important in your house hunt. Sometimes these answers can help further narrow down areas of focus and will help you make the best home buying decision.

Need help determining your priorities? I’m always happy to help you think through the process.

Step 5: Narrow Down Neighborhoods and Areas

At this point, it is time to start narrowing down areas. This is a key step to get straight before you take a trip to Seattle so you don’t waste time on areas that just won’t work for you. Make a list of the neighborhoods from favorite to least favorite. Our recommendation would be to start exploring the neighborhoods you like most first. Then when you can’t find something you like there, keep going down your list until you do. Even though the Seattle real estate market is booming, you can usually still find homes in your choice neighborhood, so why settle before you have to?

Step 6 Get Set Up on an Email Home Search

Once you’ve come up with your top neighborhoods list, ask your Broker to set you up on an email home search so you don’t have to waste time searching every single day.

Ready for an email search? Let me know at

Step 7: Schedule a Neighborhood Scouting Trip to Seattle

At this point, you probably have a good handle on which areas might work for you. Now, it’s time to check them out in person. The goal of this first trip is simply to rule in or rule out neighborhoods, not to necessarily find a home. Driving through each neighborhood and looking at a few houses in your price range will give you a good indication whether or not you want to keep this neighborhood on the list, or if you want to rule it out completely.

This neighborhood scouting trip is a crucial part of the process and one that shouldn’t be ignored. Investing a little time and money at this point in the process could mean the difference in liking or not liking the place you live.

Contact me to let me know when you’re planning your trip. We can look at houses around the area and help you narrow down your favorite neighborhoods.

Step 8: Don’t Forget to Make Time for Exploring Seattle

Seattle is full of fun things to explore! Go downtown to visit Pike Place Market, or skip across the water on a ferry boat, relax and enjoy all of the amazing food we have to offer, or one of several excellent breweries. Get a feel for the city you will soon call home!

Step 9: Finalize Your List of Favorite Neighborhoods

When you see the neighborhoods in person, you’ll be surprised how easy this step becomes. Make notes while you are looking so you remember what is what. After looking at 20 homes in the entire area, they start to run together, especially when you aren’t familiar with the area.

Then, make a list of your favorites and have your Broker adjust your home searches. With a picture of what each neighborhood looks like, you’ll be able to focus on finding the home you like.

Step 10: Plan a Buyers Strategy Session, Find a House, Get an Accepted Offer, and Move

Sounds easy, right? Though it’s not “easy” (especially not the actual moving part), we can help make the  process as easy as it can be. This market is challenging, most houses in Seattle have multiple offers, and a lot of what we will be talking about is strategic tools for making your offer the most appealing it can be. 

If you are considering a move to Seattle, planning a meeting to strategize actually getting your offer accepted is monumental, email me at or call/text at 425.231.4376, no matter how early in the process you are.


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