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Old 02-08-2011, 01:10 PM   #1
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1965 26' Overlander
Scottsdale , Southwest
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Looking for land to spend Summers in Seattle or Portland NW area

Hey Washington/ Oregon folks, wife and I are looking to head to the NW to spend 3-6 mo out of the year away from the 150+ degree Summers of the Phoenix desert. We'd like to ideally be close (30 min) to a major city i.e. Seattle or Portland yet far enough that we can have our Airstream parked and eventually build a modest prefab dwelling on. Need an area that we wouldn't be harassed by neighbors because of "that shiny trailer is blinding me"!

Wifey had her eye on Gig Harbor but I've never been. Only visited Seattle a few days back in 02'.

Any ideas for us? We're both self employed and do not need to daily commute to town. No kids yet either just dogs. Both in our early-mid thirties. Ideally a place that has a small town feel, maybe a coffee shop or two, big trees, maybe water nearby to kayak in, and lots of trails for hiking/ biking.

Price range: Affordable parcel ideally an acre of buildable land.

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Old 02-08-2011, 02:39 PM   #2
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2012 27' FB International
Bellevue , Washington
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Oh boy, I am excited to post this. We live in Bellevue, which is about 10 minutes from downtown Seattle. Land is hard to find here HOWEVER, I strongly suggest Duvall or even Carnation. That is about 30 give or take a few minutes (on good traffic day) from downtown Seattle. I have a couple of friends that live there and their lives are "country." They have horses, chickens, etc. Also land is less expensive there compared to close-in Seattle. Believe me, if I could convince hubby to move, I would be there in a heart beat but he is a Realtor and needs to be close to freeways for easy access to everywhere. Where else can you live in such a "remote feeling" place and still be 30 minutes away from a major city? It's awesome!

Feel free to message me with any questions. I have lived here for over 15 years and hubby was born and raised.

This is the PERFECT climate to come and escape the heat. I moved here from Ohio 15 years ago and have fallen in love with the mild summers.

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Old 02-08-2011, 07:26 PM   #3
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1965 26' Overlander
Scottsdale , Southwest
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Thanks Mammab! Thoughts on Black diamond, enumclaw, and snoqualmie? I will look into Duvall and carnation. Sounds like our kind of place but we really want some tall trees or something wooded? The aerial of those areas look very much like farmland. True? Had another suggestion for Northbend off I-90. Thoughts about that area? Ideally spending around 50k for a lot would be ideal.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:48 PM   #4
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1971 25' Tradewind
1965 26' Overlander
Ferndale , Washington
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 356
Hi NicheVintage:
I'm late to this thread but I've just bought land 0.8ac with a 30x40 pole barn (four trees) that the previous owner re-built (1960's era) and installed new well/filter system, Septic field and electric. Then I take delivery of a Safari as soon as the mechanics finish a check up.
This just out side of Ferndale (Bellingham about 15min away, Canadian border about 15min also...2 hrs to Seattle or Vancouver BC and 45min to the Mt. Baker ski area, 5 min. to the beach)
Been in this neck of the woods for about 15years and I would say that a)you'll be a couple degrees colder north of Mt. Vernon but B-ham is a good size place with a hippy type feel due to the university....but (b) also a serious refinery and an Alcan plant....they're about to start shipping a gazillion tonnes of coal to China through the port.
Just so you know 50K for an acre though not impossible will be a challenge unless you go remote, people up here think trees are worth more than they are until you miss the sun (when it's out). We live in Timber country obviously and there is moss on the South side of the trees!!
The utilities are expensive to install and permit.
A couple things I would recommend. Don't get too far from the sea or you've lost 50% of the reason for living here (fresh sea-food) and good kayaking/beach combing.
Problem is the closer to the sea the more expensive the property.
try forsalebyownerbellingham or get a little more up near Mt. Baker for trees.
Maybe a little E. of Linden would be a good fit for you.
Good luck
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:06 PM   #5
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Auburn , Washington
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South King County


I grew up in Bellingham, Whatcom County. Just north of Mt. Vernon, which was mentioned in this thread. Too far to drive to a major city. Don't bother if you want to do stuff in Seattle, to buy anything more than 30 minutes out of Seattle. Going to Vancouver, B.C. is not a viable option because of the variability of the traffic time at the border. Way better to look in King, Pierce or south Snohomish counties. And real estate prices in Bellingham are among the most overpriced in the entire United States (they rank #39 on the top 100 most overpriced real estate markets).

Carnation and Duvall will have land, but it will really cost you because it is in East King County. Everything over there is more expensive than in South King County, a large part of which is "farmland, USA". So is Duvall and Carnation, but it will cost you more to buy there, as I said. Problem is the Microsoft people and others with money drive the price of land up over there. For example, you can't even buy a starter home in Bellevue any more, nor can you in Issaquah. If you push farther north into Snohomish County, you can find less expensive land, such as in Snohomish.

Northbend is farther east, past Snohomish, on I-90, probably another 15 min farther east on the freeway. Yes there are plenty of trees there, but there are in most of these areas if that is what you are looking for. Just remember that trees on your property means crap on your roof and risk of them falling if they are Firs.

However, you may have luck on the East Side with Snoqualamie. But it is out a ways and you can have to deal with more extreme weather out there sometimes. There is land out there. I still think it will cost you more than farther south and west. You also have to go over a bridge to get into Seattle. If there is an accident or Lake Washington is rough and washing over the floating portion, some or all lanes can close.

We live in Auburn. You can find land here. You can also find it in Covington and Maple Valley. We don't have the traffic issues here to get to Seattle, and there are many, many routes to get into Seattle if one is slowed by traffic.

The problem with Black Diamond is that a big bad devloper from the East Side (Kirkland) bought a HUGE parcel of land from King County out there, and will be putting in several thousand homes on it, without buidling infrastructure in the town to handle the traffic. You live out there, you're gonna be in a world of hurt after that project gets completed. It will take you an hour just to get to a major highway on a bad day.

We live in SE Auburn, on land. We have a custom built home and we are 12 minutes from I-5, and 40 minutes from Seattle, to a parking lot or garage in Seattle, on a good day. Sometimes we can get to the James St. Exit in Seattle in 35 min. There are parcels around here that are bigger, and if you go east on SR-18 toward Covington and Hobart, you can find larger parcels if you want them. Longer drive to Seattle, though.

Enumclaw is a good option if you don't mind the extra time to get somewhere. Generally it will take you 25-45 min to get to Auburn, which is farther north and west, then another 30-45 min to Seattle depending on traffic.

I suggest you take your time and look in Auburn, Kent, Maple Valley and even Federal Way (they have land there but you have to look in the unincorporated county areas mainly to find it). Or look in Pierce County, the next county south, in Edgewood or Milton. Relatively close to I-5 and a shorter drive by a longshot than Enumclaw, but not as good as Auburn.

Lastly: if you live in Auburn, Kent, Maple Valley or Federal Way or the areas around these cities, you can get public transportation into Seattle such as the Light Rail or the Sounder Train. The Sounder Train has stations in Auburn and Kent. Light Rail starts in Tukwila but you can drive to it from Auburn, Kent, etc. in a fairly short time or take a bus to there. Cheap, low stress. You can't do that if you live in Bellingham, Mt. Baker, Lynden, Mt. Vernon, Enumclaw, Duvall, Carnation. My wife works in downtown Seattle and takes the Sounder Train every day.
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:12 PM   #6
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1979 25' Tradewind
Seattle , Washington
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Try Vashon Island. It definitely has the small town feel you are looking for: around 10,00 inhabitants spread out over 37 sq. miles. However, it is only a 20 minute ferry ride from Seattle!

The main town, Vashon, has one nice supermarket, a bank, and about two blocks of independant shops: a bookstore, a coffee shop, an indian restaurant, etc. Most of the island is forested or farmed. There are a couple beaches and some wonderful parks.

We live on a 10 acre parcel, completely forested except for a little clearing in the middle where we live. It is the most beautiful place I have ever lived--and I spent several years in Costa Rica!
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Old 07-15-2011, 07:39 PM   #7
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1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
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Have you checked out the airstream park, Land Yact Harbor, in Olympia. Very nice place. Well located for a urban area. Well kept.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:33 AM   #8
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2011 34' Classic
Vancouver , Washington
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Another vote for the Airstream park in terms of convenience.

If you are looking for a more rustic area there is the Black Diamond community near Sawyer Lake,,,about 1/2 hour from Seattle and from Tacoma.

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