Things All Homebuyers Should Consider Before Moving to Seattle

By VDB Compass

If you’re going to move to the Emerald City, it pays to know what makes it shine.

“I knew it the first time I saw her. It was like coming home, only to no home I’d ever known.” Sure, Sam Baldwin (played by Tom Hanks) was talking more specifically about Meg Ryan’s character in Sleepless in Seattle, but the analogous comparison of his instinctual feelings for her to that enchanting feeling of coming home is something a majority of Seattle luxury home owners can relate to about the city itself. 

The Emerald City of the Pacific Northwest is alluring. It’s a beautiful alchemy of hip, young contemporary culture and laid-back, old-world charm. It’s a city both vibrant in its diverse communities and development of urban activity, while at the same time still anchored in its maritime roots. Seattle is routinely ranked as one of the best places to live in America, and the ingredients that make it so popular have brought a boom to the city’s real estate market in recent years. Buying a new home can feel like a daunting endeavor, and moving to a new city can have its challenges, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. With a little guidance and some key things to consider in preparation for the journey, moving to Seattle can be as easy as falling in love at first sight.


Housing trends vary from neighborhood to neighborhood in the Emerald City, as the city itself is large and diverse. While neighborhoods like Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square call to those who seek luxury condos in the heart of a bustling downtown Seattle, others may find the serenity of the Greenlake suburbs or the exclusivity of the waterfront Leschi along Lake Washington more appealing. Knowing the characteristics of your ideal Seattle neighborhood is important and can help you decide where to invest. Queen Anne, for example, is an affluent, architecturally historic, and relatively quiet neighborhood, with numerous parks and family-friendly activities. The district also serves as a magnet for Seattle’s performing arts scene. Capitol Hill, in slight contrast, is an architectural mix of old and new. It’s where modern, eco-friendly townhouses share neighborhood space with elegant Craftsman-inspired homes. The district is hip, quirky and diverse, catering to a younger generation and serving as the epicenter of coffee culture, music, and the LGBTQ+ community. If you plan to invest in a Seattle luxury home, it helps real estate industry experts like Mark von der Berg to better guide you if you have an ideal neighborhood and community in mind early on in the home buying process. 


A common misconception for many prospective new home buyers to the Seattle luxury real estate market is that older homes equate to lower quality. However, Seattle is a city that places immeasurable value on its historical homes. Over the years, the city and its luxury home owners have invested painstaking care in preserving the timeless aesthetic, Victorian beauty, and unparalleled elegance of homes built in the early 1900s. From a marketplace perspective, the majority of historical homes in Seattle are valued on par with (and at times higher than) their more modern high-end counterparts. For some Seattle residents, the standard of luxury living in the Emerald City is defined by a newly built home’s ability to stay current, if not ahead of, modern trends. For others, luxury living is defined by a home’s exceptional ability to gracefully stand the test of time. Historic Seattle, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the architectural legacy of the city, is a great resource for discovering the value of the city’s architectural heritage. When considering a move to Seattle, you may find it worthwhile to research homes with an older build date along with your perusal of newer properties.


Seasons change, and most housing markets shift with them. Seattle is no exception to the rule. When searching for your ideal piece of Seattle luxury real estate, the time of year in which you plan your search can have a significant impact on your final results. Summer is one of the most popular times for new homeowners to move, and a gorgeous summer in Seattle is like no other. This means that starting your market search sometime in the mid to late spring months will likely yield a much larger inventory of luxury homes to choose from than searching in the fall. Average daily temperatures in Seattle during the spring months also range between 50 to 60 degrees, making it an ideally pleasant climate in which to view your potential new home. Does it rain a bit in Seattle? Sure. Does it rain in Seattle all the time? Not nearly as much as you’d think when you don’t actually live in the city. But when the clouds break (as they most often do), will you experience a kind of wondrous, natural beauty found only in Seattle’s forests, parks, and tree-lined pockets of urban sprawl? Absolutely. You may quite possibly even find this kind of beauty in the backyard of that home you’re considering. Thus, it’s worth it to think about timing your home buying journey in conjunction with the seasons of Seattle that yield the best options.


Seattle is a city as rich in culture as it is in nature, as abundant in the arts as it is industry. And while there are other major cities in the world that can boast similar qualities, make no mistake—choosing to move to Seattle is worth it above all others. However, the cost to ship containers of your worldly belongings to the Emerald City from your previous home may not be. The average shipping cost from New York to Seattle ranges between $600 to $700 per container, while moving from a town like London can cost you around $2,000 per container. Regardless of where you pull your roots up from, if you’re considering planting new ones down in a Seattle home, it’s worth it to consider investing your money on fresh interior design as an alternative to shipping over your previous home’s items. In 2019, Camelion Design and Room & Board were selected as Seattle Magazine’s best in interior design and home furnishing, respectively. However, the Emerald City holds a veritable treasure trove of world-class designers and high-end home furnishing stores to select from, no matter the type of aesthetic style you prefer for your new Pacific Northwest paradise’s interiors.


Home buyers with children who are considering a move to Seattle would be wise to know that Seattle is ranked one of the most dynamic, student-friendly locations in the country for higher education and career development. The University of Washington alone boasts 10 academic schools and five colleges in total, with a focus on the liberal arts, research, and pre-professional programs. Their school of aquatic and fishery sciences is one of the oldest departments of its kind, and the industry itself remains one of the longest-standing traditional industries in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle University, located in the Capitol Hill region of the city, is also known for its liberal arts and pre-professional studies, as well as for its theology, law, and humanities departments. Though Seattle is the birthplace of grunge music and coffee culture, it’s also the city where numerous worldwide corporations were born. Tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, as well as consumer product pioneers like Starbucks and Eddie Bauer, got their start in Seattle. And most corporate headquarters in Seattle look to the city’s universities when recruiting recent graduates as future employees.

To say that considering a move to Seattle is to consider moving to one of the most stunning, diverse, cultured, and industrious cities in the country is an understatement. The luxury of living in this city is simply unlike any other. It sits between Puget Sound and the beautiful shores of Lake Washington, as well as the Cascade and majestic ranges of Olympic Mountain, making it an evergreen splendor of lush nature. The Emerald City gave the world urban culture cornerstones like Starbucks and Cinnabon, Kindle and Sur La Table, Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. It’s a city that seamlessly blends together pride in its history with its commitment to progressive forward-thinking and education. To move to this city is to feel like you’ve come home the instant you first see it.

For more than 28 years, Mark von der Berg has cultivated an elite collection of properties amidst the most aspirational neighborhoods of Seattle. Whatever your needs may be in finding the keys to your luxury dream home, Mark von der Berg should be your first call. To set an appointment with the leading name in premier Northwest luxury real estate, don’t hesitate to contact Mark today.

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