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MissLemon

Possible Job Relocation to a Place We Don't Like -Advice please

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11 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Almost half my husband’s pay is restricted stock units so our AGI looks decent but the take home pay is not much. People tend to change companies every two to four years when they have vested all their RSUs.  

Yep, this is exactly what is being offered: Lots of RSUs, average base pay, hefty sign on/retention bonus paid out over 2 years. There's also talk of an extra bonus for maintaining Top Secret security clearance, but doing some digging on reddit and blind, that "bonus" may just be in the form of more RSUs that need time to vest and not actual cash in the paycheck. Neat trick. 

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5 hours ago, MissLemon said:

  The process for the security clearance takes 18 months to complete, so DH would be working on commercial projects until the clearance comes through.  The friends I know who have been through the clearance process all describe it as "invasive".  Great!  A demanding employer in a HCOL area AND the federal government picking through the last 10 years of our lives, plus interviewing our friends, relatives, and ex-spouses.  Sounds terrific! 😕 

The whole situation just feels like a LOT. How do people afford these houses? Who are these people that are moving into $750,000 houses like it's no big deal? 

for a clearance - they're also talking to previous employers.  dd worked on gov't projects when she was at MS. she was the only one of her "group" who obtained the clearance (hers took about six months?.)  however, while going through the process - one of her previous employers lied.  nearly cost her the clearance (and her job), but the FBI agent doing the work went out of his way to find out what was going on because the answer was so out of sorts with everything else coming back.    We have a family friend who is an employment lawyer - and we basically had him on standby.   

tech is driving prices here, think of us as "bay area north".  it's much more complex than that though.  some of it is caused by local gov't land use mandates.

amazon has changed plans from dt-seattle to Bellevue. (south lake union/seattle campus isn't going anywhere.)  they're actually subleasing-out a building under construction dt-seattle for which they only recently signed a very long lease, since they no longer want move into it.  (thank kshama sawant.)  They're now building in multiple locations in downtown Bellevue.   

then the factoid of - when newspapers/agencies do these "this is how much it costs" spreads . . . they are generous with how much their hypothetical person spends on things - and how many things they buy.  think about all the articles about "this is how much it costs to have kids."

 

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6 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Thank you, everyone, for your replies.  

We would not be able to rent out our current home because we bought it with a VA loan.  The terms of the loan state the home must be used as our primary residence.  I would have to refinance to be able to rent it out and my current mortgage rate is very low.  We'd have to refinance to a higher rate to rent it, which seems like madness. 

The company is Amazon and yes, one of the locations they offered us was Seattle.  We were also offered a position near Arlington, VA.  Arlington is a great place, but Amazon has stipulations on how far away we would be allowed to live from Arlington or Seattle, which still means expensive housing in either location.  The position is for a government contract that requires a high level security clearance.  If something goes wrong at 2 am, you have to be able to get to the office very quickly.  There is no remote work option for that position at all because of security issues, and all work is to be done in Amazon's secure facility.  All of that just adds to the stress of working for an already high-stress company.  The process for the security clearance takes 18 months to complete, so DH would be working on commercial projects until the clearance comes through.  The friends I know who have been through the clearance process all describe it as "invasive".  Great!  A demanding employer in a HCOL area AND the federal government picking through the last 10 years of our lives, plus interviewing our friends, relatives, and ex-spouses.  Sounds terrific! 😕 

The whole situation just feels like a LOT. How do people afford these houses? Who are these people that are moving into $750,000 houses like it's no big deal? 

The people DH knows who work there are almost always single and young and willing to live in a tiny tiny apartment or rent a room in a house in order to have the job experience. When they are ready to settle down and get married or have kids they quit and work/live somewhere else. 

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7 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Thank you, everyone, for your replies.  

We would not be able to rent out our current home because we bought it with a VA loan.  The terms of the loan state the home must be used as our primary residence.  I would have to refinance to be able to rent it out and my current mortgage rate is very low.  We'd have to refinance to a higher rate to rent it, which seems like madness. 

The company is Amazon and yes, one of the locations they offered us was Seattle.  We were also offered a position near Arlington, VA.  Arlington is a great place, but Amazon has stipulations on how far away we would be allowed to live from Arlington or Seattle, which still means expensive housing in either location.  The position is for a government contract that requires a high level security clearance.  If something goes wrong at 2 am, you have to be able to get to the office very quickly.  There is no remote work option for that position at all because of security issues, and all work is to be done in Amazon's secure facility.  All of that just adds to the stress of working for an already high-stress company.  The process for the security clearance takes 18 months to complete, so DH would be working on commercial projects until the clearance comes through.  The friends I know who have been through the clearance process all describe it as "invasive".  Great!  A demanding employer in a HCOL area AND the federal government picking through the last 10 years of our lives, plus interviewing our friends, relatives, and ex-spouses.  Sounds terrific! 😕 

The whole situation just feels like a LOT. How do people afford these houses? Who are these people that are moving into $750,000 houses like it's no big deal? 

We've lived a lot of places, so have moved lots of times. I'm not crazy about where we are now, but it's not too bad, and we were not really settled in where we moved from--though we wanted to settle there, just no job. Generally, I'm pretty up for adventure. But reading the above does not sound appealing to me. Maybe it's just my personality where I prefer a more laid-back lifestyle. My dh enjoys being busy and is a very hard worker, but neither of us would enjoy the kinds of pressure this sounds like. Maybe I'm too ignorant about what is available in high-paying tech fields, but we don't want to be "owned" by a company. It also sounds like the financial benefits might not actually end up being near as much as they seem, once everything is figured in. I'm pretty sure we'd keep looking, and hopefully find something in the area where we already loved living. There's a lot of value in what you have mentioned you have there. I don't want to be a downer; I'm just looking at it through our personalities and preferences.

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7 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Yep, this is exactly what is being offered: Lots of RSUs, average base pay, hefty sign on/retention bonus paid out over 2 years. 


The vested RSUs do count into the AGI and they are a pain during income tax filing because we end up owing some federal tax each year. People do sell their RSUs to use as downpayment for houses. Many of my friends with spouse working for Google sold their RSUs and use it on paying down their mortgage.

What you would need to consider is if the base pay is enough for your family’s financial needs after all the RSU has vested or would your husband need to find another job. The base pay is enough for us for food and shelter, but not enough for us to go from a one bedroom condo to a two bedroom condo because the mortgage would still be painful even if we sell this one to downpay mortgage on a bigger condo. My teens are high schoolers so we are also calculating future college cost in on whether mortgage payments would be doable or a stretch.

7 hours ago, MissLemon said:

. How do people afford these houses? Who are these people that are moving into $750,000 houses like it's no big deal? 


SF Bay Area relocating from here to Bellevue doesn’t feel that much more of a financial strain since they are used to high rents and mortgages. A couple we know rented near downtown Seattle, double income no kids. 

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8 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Thank you, everyone, for your replies.  

We would not be able to rent out our current home because we bought it with a VA loan.  The terms of the loan state the home must be used as our primary residence.  I would have to refinance to be able to rent it out and my current mortgage rate is very low.  We'd have to refinance to a higher rate to rent it, which seems like madness. 

 

That's weird -- we bought our first home with a VA loan and rented it out after we left. We eventually refinanced, bought the house we are currently living in with a VA loan, and will be renting it out when we leave.  And most military that I know do so.

I think the terms are that you can't BUY the house with the primary motive of renting it out -- so while we have bought an investment home that we never lived it, we could not have done it with the VA loan. But there is nothing stopping us from renting it out after having lived in it.  

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8 hours ago, MissLemon said:

The whole situation just feels like a LOT. How do people afford these houses? Who are these people that are moving into $750,000 houses like it's no big deal? 

 

Disclaimer: I *really* like money/numbers.  I should've gone into finance, because it is so interesting to me.  So, if this is annoying, just ignore my post.  🤪

We're actually looking to buy a bigger house right now (there are 7 of us, but - it's a long story - there may be 8-9 of us in the next couple of years).  When we were going over the mortgage calculator (and talking to the sales rep - we're thinking about a new build), it says for a gross income of $100,000 a year (in our area - with our property taxes), you can only  afford a house that is between $250,000-$300,000 (considering a normal down payment - not some huge windfall).  My husband got excited about a $360,000 house and after running it through the calculator, there was no way we could make that payment every month. 

To afford a $750,000 house, you would need to make an enormous amount of money - like over $200,000 a year.  We don't want a mortgage to exceed a quarter of our take-home pay.  So, I have no idea how people afford houses like that, either.  I can't even figure out how they get approved for the mortgage on it.  You would need an enormous down payment, too.  20% is $150,000.  *laughing hysterically like I got THAT laying around*

I have a $165,000 house.  I'm guessing the insurance payment + taxes every month on a $750,000 is close to my entire mortgage payment.  In other words, no, we can't afford that, either, but it's interesting trying to figure out the math!  lol  

I'm expecting mortgages to lengthen from 30 years at some point - like car loans did.  You used to not be able to find a car loan for more than 4 years.  Now, they have car loans for 6, 7 years.  I think housing prices have exceeded everyone's income and the same thing will happen to mortgages - they'll eventually lengthen.  (which is not a good sign). Just a theory of mine.

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4 minutes ago, Evanthe said:

 

Disclaimer: I *really* like money/numbers.  I should've gone into finance, because it is so interesting to me.  So, if this is annoying, just ignore my post.  🤪

We're actually looking to buy a bigger house right now (there are 7 of us, but - it's a long story - there may be 8-9 of us in the next couple of years).  When we were going over the mortgage calculator (and talking to the sales rep - we're thinking about a new build), it says for a gross income of $100,000 a year (in our area - with our property taxes), you can only  afford a house that is between $250,000-$300,000 (considering a normal down payment - not some huge windfall).  My husband got excited about a $360,000 house and after running it through the calculator, there was no way we could make that payment every month. 

To afford a $750,000 house, you would need to make an enormous amount of money - like over $200,000 a year.  We don't want a mortgage to exceed a quarter of our take-home pay.  So, I have no idea how people afford houses like that, either.  I can't even figure out how they get approved for the mortgage on it.  You would need an enormous down payment, too.  20% is $150,000.  *laughing hysterically like I got THAT laying around*

I have a $165,000 house.  I'm guessing the insurance payment + taxes every month on a $750,000 is close to my entire mortgage payment.  In other words, no, we can't afford that, either, but it's interesting trying to figure out the math!  lol  

I'm expecting mortgages to lengthen from 30 years at some point - like car loans did.  You used to not be able to find a car loan for more than 4 years.  Now, they have car loans for 6, 7 years.  I think housing prices have exceeded everyone's income and the same thing will happen to mortgages - they'll eventually lengthen.  (which is not a good sign). Just a theory of mine.


Many of those who actually own, not rent, have lived there for decades, long before the tech boom.

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Maybe he should start an intense job search locally. If this whole thing has crystallized that he’s unhappy, but you are firmly in place in your town, then a yet to be explored solution would be a different job in the same location. 

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11 minutes ago, Evanthe said:

To afford a $750,000 house, you would need to make an enormous amount of money - like over $200,000 a year.  We don't want a mortgage to exceed a quarter of our take-home pay.  So, I have no idea how people afford houses like that, either.  I can't even figure out how they get approved for the mortgage on it.  You would need an enormous down payment, too.  20% is $150,000.  *laughing hysterically like I got THAT laying around*


The 20% amount is typical of RSU’s given over two to four years to tech company employees (HR staff get RSUs too). Also many banks offer home loans for 5% down, 15% HELOC or home equity loan, and 80% mortgage. The jumbo loan limit is higher in high cost of living areas than the Federal limit. 

My neighbor sold their one bedroom 865sqft condo for $787,000 in May to a single lady working in tech. When we ask for a loan preapproval from a big 5 bank, we were approved for $850k for a 30 year loan (Fixed rate, 5/1 ARM, no need to sell or rent out  current home to buy) even though our family income is less than $200k. The cheapest house we found on Zillow was $1.1M and that’s 17 miles drive in crazy work commute. Our current 7 mile drive to my husband’s workplace is already a sit in traffic jam commute unless he leaves home by 7:30am (he usually leaves after 8am so he gets stuck in the jam)

We wanted to pay down our mortgage earlier so we did put alternate paycheck into mortgage, so 13 paychecks went into mortgage payments every year. Paying off mortgage as fast as we can was something we agreed on before marriage as having a paid off home regardless how small a home is important to us. 
Property tax (Including measures and bonds) is higher than where we were from and is about 1.5% of buy price with yearly increases. That is something we factor in because paying that amount when my husband retires or if he gets unemployed is going to be painful. 

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There are already 40 year term rates and jumbo loan options in HCOL areas.

Fwiw, the houses we looked at in 2015 in Seattle metro etc. that were $550k then are now over $850k. So, trying to buy in now is crazier than just three years ago. People that are buying now are either part of the California exodus/coming from a similarly high priced market or are dual tech income families. 

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1 hour ago, Evanthe said:

 

Disclaimer: I *really* like money/numbers.  I should've gone into finance, because it is so interesting to me.  So, if this is annoying, just ignore my post.  🤪

We're actually looking to buy a bigger house right now (there are 7 of us, but - it's a long story - there may be 8-9 of us in the next couple of years).  When we were going over the mortgage calculator (and talking to the sales rep - we're thinking about a new build), it says for a gross income of $100,000 a year (in our area - with our property taxes), you can only  afford a house that is between $250,000-$300,000 (considering a normal down payment - not some huge windfall).  My husband got excited about a $360,000 house and after running it through the calculator, there was no way we could make that payment every month. 

To afford a $750,000 house, you would need to make an enormous amount of money - like over $200,000 a year.  We don't want a mortgage to exceed a quarter of our take-home pay.  So, I have no idea how people afford houses like that, either.  I can't even figure out how they get approved for the mortgage on it.  You would need an enormous down payment, too.  20% is $150,000.  *laughing hysterically like I got THAT laying around*

I have a $165,000 house.  I'm guessing the insurance payment + taxes every month on a $750,000 is close to my entire mortgage payment.  In other words, no, we can't afford that, either, but it's interesting trying to figure out the math!  lol  

I'm expecting mortgages to lengthen from 30 years at some point - like car loans did.  You used to not be able to find a car loan for more than 4 years.  Now, they have car loans for 6, 7 years.  I think housing prices have exceeded everyone's income and the same thing will happen to mortgages - they'll eventually lengthen.  (which is not a good sign). Just a theory of mine.


Dual income households.  Lots and lots of couples make $200,000+ in Seattle.  Two tech salaries or one lawyer, one tech...  Given the costs of housing (and daycare!) it doesn’t feel like an enormous amount of money.  (A very nice solid amount, but not enormous.)

But I know plenty of single income families too.  Live a bit farther out, or buy a condo, or rent.  And you don’t have to go that far out.  South King County, like Burien, Federal Way, or Renton, has listings for small houses under $400,000.  You can get a two bedroom condo in East Bellevue for under $400,000.  I know $400,000 is still a big number, but doable with a $100,000 tech salary.  
 

Edited to add:  I don’t want this to sound like a “Let them eat cake” in South King County thing.  I have friends, family and coworkers who live in these cities.  Was just in Burien for a kids birthday party last weekend.   

Edited by Lawyer&Mom
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I can say we have a house in the middle of a metro that's kind of mid range expensive.  It's not NYC or Seattle.  But it's not rural Alabama either.  We have a modest antique 3 bedroom house worth about 500K we've been in for 16 years.  Both DH and I had houses before we married and sold them for significantly more than we paid.  For tax reasons we basically had to put that money right back into a down payment.  Our house has only come up in value since we bought it.  We actually took a pretty modest mortgage for our income level at the time (we were both working tech).

So yes, some people are buying expensive houses.  But some people stumble into them by being in the same area for many years.  The tax and insurance on our home now are absolutely ridiculous.  But we have to live somewhere.  And it's really nice having a very managable commute.  I know people on the road for a good 2 hours a day and I know in some metros those numbers are even higher.  

Mortgages over 30 years are a crazy idea.  I think a lot of lending practices are predatory.  I know my brother and his wife have a mortgage at the absolute top of what they can actually afford.  My parents have bailed them out financially a few times.  Which is absolutely nuts when you consider their standard of living.  But that's another story.

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5 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

Mortgages over 30 years are a crazy idea.  I think a lot of lending practices are predatory.  

 

I completely agree with you.  And speaking from experience, a low 5% down payment can come back to haunt you and trash your finances later (*insert scary music*) when the market suddenly doesn't do well.  I know there are special circumstances where you can get a mortgage for more than 30 years, but I think it will someday be more common on average-priced houses, too.  

I wonder if anyone knows anything about this...an older person told me (and I think it might've been my grandfather) that a long time ago, there were no 30 year mortgages.  There were only 15 or 20 year mortgages.  Then, when they introduced 30 year mortgages, everyone was shocked.    

Just out of curiosity, I googled median household income for Texas (that's where we live) and it's $59,000.  If you follow the "your mortgage should be no more than 2-3x your annual salary" rule, that puts you in a house for $120,000-$180,000.

And people mentioned dual-income households in Seattle where both spouses are lawyers, etc and make $200,000 a year.  Yeah, that's great, but there are only so many of those.  Where do us Average Joe people live??  Like teachers, cops, the dude that works at Costco, dental hygienists, receptionists at the doctor's office, day care workers... ?? 

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37 minutes ago, Evanthe said:

And people mentioned dual-income households in Seattle where both spouses are lawyers, etc and make $200,000 a year.  Yeah, that's great, but there are only so many of those.  Where do us Average Joe people live??  Like teachers, cops, the dude that works at Costco, dental hygienists, receptionists at the doctor's office, day care workers... ?? 


I was trying to answer “The Who Can Afford a $750,000 House” question, and also the “Could We Live in Seattle On One Tech Salary” question.

The “How Does Everyone Else Afford It” question is completely different.  Seattle has a $15 minimum wage, which helps, but only so much.  I know daycare workers who had 2 hour commutes on public transit from Tacoma or Gig Harbor.  Or lived with their parents in a house the family bought 40 years ago.  Or tiny rent-subsidized apartments and zero savings.  It’s brutal.

 

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16 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Thank you, everyone, for your replies.  

We would not be able to rent out our current home because we bought it with a VA loan.  The terms of the loan state the home must be used as our primary residence.  I would have to refinance to be able to rent it out and my current mortgage rate is very low.  We'd have to refinance to a higher rate to rent it, which seems like madness. 

The company is Amazon and yes, one of the locations they offered us was Seattle.  We were also offered a position near Arlington, VA.  Arlington is a great place, but Amazon has stipulations on how far away we would be allowed to live from Arlington or Seattle, which still means expensive housing in either location.  The position is for a government contract that requires a high level security clearance.  If something goes wrong at 2 am, you have to be able to get to the office very quickly.  There is no remote work option for that position at all because of security issues, and all work is to be done in Amazon's secure facility.  All of that just adds to the stress of working for an already high-stress company.  The process for the security clearance takes 18 months to complete, so DH would be working on commercial projects until the clearance comes through.  The friends I know who have been through the clearance process all describe it as "invasive".  Great!  A demanding employer in a HCOL area AND the federal government picking through the last 10 years of our lives, plus interviewing our friends, relatives, and ex-spouses.  Sounds terrific! 😕 

The whole situation just feels like a LOT. How do people afford these houses? Who are these people that are moving into $750,000 houses like it's no big deal? 

 

Uuuuuggggggghhhhhh.....Amazon. I'd *really* be careful.

I was interning in Seattle when Amazon first began (dating myself here). From the start, it was a brutal place to work. It's a great resume builder. Most people resign themselves to working there because of the skills they gain and the long-term pay incentives are a worthwhile trade-off. Shut-off-the-brain and just get-on-the-treadmill for a long-term reward type thing. I'm sure there are people who like, and perhaps even love, their jobs there - a gazillion people work at Amazon, there have to be *some*. But the corporate culture has always been harsh and demanding. If they are putting stipulations on how far away you can live, I'd bet a big pot of money that at-home call-ins will be a feature, not a bug, of that position. And your hubby will still (most likely) be expected to be in the office at 9 a.m. (at the latest) the next day for a full day of work. Maybe I'm wrong. But I'd encourage your hubby to not be dazzled by 'bright lights, big city' and to probe what the day-to-day expectations are. It is not a worker- or family- friendly employer.

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There are other locations and I am eyeing this one (Palo Alto downtown in front of Caltrain station and bus transit center ) if and when I go job hunting because it’s a short walk to my healthcare center and I can take public transport home.

On the other hand I can understand your reluctance to uproot yet again, especially to a higher cost of living area.

One of the Amazon office buildings is just opposite IKEA East Palo Alto and very near to Target, Nordstrom Rack, Home Depot and OfficeMax. Housing is slightly cheaper in East Palo Alto.

Having been a 24/7 standby computer engineer before for military contracts, I would say that (1) thankfully I could take cabs to and from office/military camps (2) that I didn’t have kids yet. It was a grueling lifestyle though the performance bonuses were good. If your husband would have to drive himself to office at 1am if needed after a whole day in office, I would not want that job. 

6115FCC9-1042-421C-B132-1514315C6DC9.jpeg

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9 hours ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

That's weird -- we bought our first home with a VA loan and rented it out after we left. We eventually refinanced, bought the house we are currently living in with a VA loan, and will be renting it out when we leave.  And most military that I know do so.

I think the terms are that you can't BUY the house with the primary motive of renting it out -- so while we have bought an investment home that we never lived it, we could not have done it with the VA loan. But there is nothing stopping us from renting it out after having lived in it.  

Correct.  This is what we did as well.  It was our primary for 3 years and then we rented it out when we pcs’d.  It does tie up your va loan in that if you want to buy another place, you would need a different type of loan.  Only 1 va mortgage at a time.

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I just wanted to throw out after what you wrote- if you do entertain an offer from this company, I would definitely employ an attorney to review the contract BEFORE he accepts the job if that's not something you do as matter of course anyway. You definitely want a person with your interests at heart reviewing it to make sure there is not some crazy non-compete or other insane clause in there. Even though dh and I both have a lot of experience with contracts, we always have an attorney review his contracts for work. It's well worth it for knowing what you can and can't do when it comes to leaving (who you can take, where you can go, what you can/can't lose/say). 

 

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On 10/23/2019 at 1:42 AM, MissLemon said:

I I have no idea why I don't want to go other than I just don't. I like where I am living. I don't want to sell my house and give up my chickens.  I like that when I go to the post office, they know my name.  I run into people I know in town all the time.  I know the manager at the grocery store, (his name is Juan and he's the nicest guy!)  I have friends here.  Kiddo seems content here.  We like our dentist and doctors.  Those seem like flimsy reasons to decline a lucrative job.  The only reason I have is "I'm happy where I am".  But I could possibly be happy somewhere else?  The place where Big Tech Firm is located is a desirable area.  Lots of people love living there. Maybe if I go, I'd learn to love it, too?  

We're currently in the process of moving from Minneapolis to Seattle. We previously lived in Seattle during DW's residency from 2003-2008. Here in Minneapolis in an urban neighborhood we have neighbors with chickens. Likewise, in similar urban neighborhoods in Seattle in 2008 and today you see folks with chickens, Maybe not your current flock, but chickens could be in your future.

DW is out in Seattle looking for a place to rent today through Saturday. She was eating lunch at "our" thai restaurant and the waitress said "Long time no see", DW said "Yeah its been a while", the waitress gave her the side eye and said "its been years, where are the boys...". This is the restaurant  where the staff would whisk away then d3 and ds1 into the kitchen to be spoiled and they'd come back with weird Asian candies. The coffee shop folks we knew have probably turned over. The librarians may or may not still be around. The head minister at our church hasn't changed. The vendor at the farmer's market who gave us a framed picture of they DS3 holding a bunch or broccoli like a bouquet and eating it is still around.

We had and have fewer contacts in Seattle than in Minneapolis but I have no doubt that in time we will have similar numbers of contacts through trail running and Scouting and neighbors and school. Perhaps not similar to a small town, bur sufficient for us.  

22 hours ago, MissLemon said:

The company is Amazon and yes, one of the locations they offered us was Seattle.  We were also offered a position near Arlington, VA.  Arlington is a great place, but Amazon has stipulations on how far away we would be allowed to live from Arlington or Seattle, which still means expensive housing in either location.  The position is for a government contract that requires a high level security clearance.  If something goes wrong at 2 am, you have to be able to get to the office very quickly.  There is no remote work option for that position at all because of security issues, and all work is to be done in Amazon's secure facility.  All of that just adds to the stress of working for an already high-stress company.  The process for the security clearance takes 18 months to complete, so DH would be working on commercial projects until the clearance comes through.  The friends I know who have been through the clearance process all describe it as "invasive".  Great!  A demanding employer in a HCOL area AND the federal government picking through the last 10 years of our lives, plus interviewing our friends, relatives, and ex-spouses.  Sounds terrific! 😕 

The whole situation just feels like a LOT. How do people afford these houses? Who are these people that are moving into $750,000 houses like it's no big deal? 

Housing for us will cost roughly 4x what we currently pay... maybe 3x current rates. How will we afford this? DW is a academic medicine sub specialist.... so her salary is high but mostly fixed. Our current mortgage is around 1k. Renting/buying in Seattle is more like 3.5-4.5K. By living modestly for ~10yrs we have a large nest egg.(that 2.5K/mnth+differential) Moving to Seattle is financial sacrifice but doable. We will be relatively house poor but in a manageable way.

I've lived in Northern Virginia during the 1st dotcom boom, say 1994-2001 and Seattle from 2003=2008. Seattle feels more urban than any where in NoVa.... with all the homeless issues etc. However if you want to factor in the benefits of being by DC, DC feels like it has just way too many freaking people in the same way Chicago does.

You should consider your priorities.For us we had explicit priorities of 1) Open and affirming culture; 2)Good job;  3) Bike able  commute; 4) Urban amenities(parks, libraries,schools ,restaurants) .... so for us place like Seattle or Toronto were good fits.. while LA or Dallas were bad fits. Without a more specific list of priorities  it is hard to be specific. A southern Tech corridor like RTP seems lie a potential fix based n the larger number of urban/suburban/exurban/rural lifestyles on offer.,

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14 hours ago, Lawyer&Mom said:


Dual income households.  Lots and lots of couples make $200,000+ in Seattle.  Two tech salaries or one lawyer, one tech...  Given the costs of housing (and daycare!) it doesn’t feel like an enormous amount of money.  (A very nice solid amount, but not enormous.)

But I know plenty of single income families too.  Live a bit farther out, or buy a condo, or rent.  And you don’t have to go that far out.  South King County, like Burien, Federal Way, or Renton, has listings for small houses under $400,000.  You can get a two bedroom condo in East Bellevue for under $400,000.  I know $400,000 is still a big number, but doable with a $100,000 tech salary.  
 

Edited to add:  I don’t want this to sound like a “Let them eat cake” in South King County thing.  I have friends, family and coworkers who live in these cities.  Was just in Burien for a kids birthday party last weekend.   

See and this sounds like hellscape zero quality of life to me.  Dual high powered jobs?!  How does one manage to homeschool or even afford their family when they’re working long, hard hours and their substantial paychecks are going toward massive student loans, massive rent or mortgages, high food and commute costs, etc etc?

My brother and I both just moved from high cost of living areas to much lower ones, but ones that have strong economies and local infrastructure.  Both of us are so pleased with the quality of life balance for the salaries.  These areas not only have decent salaries but the cost of living index is good compared to those salaries, so the money goes fairly far.  Add to that reasonably short commutes, low food and transportation costs, and low rent/mortgage for the tradeoff of slightly more boring topography?  Amen and sign me up.

My husband could make a good salary in his career in Manhattan or Seattle.  But it wouldn’t be enough to pay for the massive tradeoffs in other areas of our lives we value.  And friends and family and a nice area the kids like goes a long way to way making us happy, especially with an employer we generally like and a team that is awesome.  In your shoes, @MissLemon, I would absolutely not take the job.  It doesn’t look like a sensible choice given what you’d gain over what you’d give up, especially if neither of you are pumped about the area.  

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17 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

for a clearance - they're also talking to previous employers.  dd worked on gov't projects when she was at MS. she was the only one of her "group" who obtained the clearance (hers took about six months?.)  however, while going through the process - one of her previous employers lied.  nearly cost her the clearance (and her job), but the FBI agent doing the work went out of his way to find out what was going on because the answer was so out of sorts with everything else coming back.    We have a family friend who is an employment lawyer - and we basically had him on standby.   

 

I had a clearance when I was in the USAF, but it was lower than the one DH would need.  I asked friends who'd been through the process for a higher level clearance, and they said how much the Feds dig into our lives depends on the project.  We don't know the specific project yet, but suspect it's a rumored project for the CIA, based on the limited info the recruiter could give and some googling.  (I realize that a few people are probably rolling their eyes and doubting the truthfulness of the story at this point, lol.  I keep scratching my head and wondering how I landed in the middle of this wanna-be Tom Clancy novel, too, lol).  

I'm not worried about past employers lying.  We have worked for good people and DH has an excellent reputation in his field.  I'm more concerned about what relatives would say. We...uh...are related to some characters. 

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6 hours ago, matrips said:

Correct.  This is what we did as well.  It was our primary for 3 years and then we rented it out when we pcs’d.  It does tie up your va loan in that if you want to buy another place, you would need a different type of loan.  Only 1 va mortgage at a time.

This is good to know.  I must have misunderstood this aspect of the loan.  

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6 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Having been a 24/7 standby computer engineer before for military contracts, I would say that (1) thankfully I could take cabs to and from office/military camps (2) that I didn’t have kids yet. It was a grueling lifestyle though the performance bonuses were good. If your husband would have to drive himself to office at 1am if needed after a whole day in office, I would not want that job. 

 

You've given a lot of insight into this, thank you. I had not considered the tax implications of the RSUs. 

DH and I talked more, crunched more numbers, talked more, took a break, and then talked again.  He's going to tell Amazon no thanks and look into other opportunities.  I couldn't see an obvious path to improving our lot in life by pursuing this further.  It would be a lot of work and a lot of upheaval to be only a tiny bit better off financially, maybe. 

And I am SO relieved.  

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7 hours ago, MissLemon said:

 

I had a clearance when I was in the USAF, but it was lower than the one DH would need.  I asked friends who'd been through the process for a higher level clearance, and they said how much the Feds dig into our lives depends on the project.  We don't know the specific project yet, but suspect it's a rumored project for the CIA, based on the limited info the recruiter could give and some googling.  (I realize that a few people are probably rolling their eyes and doubting the truthfulness of the story at this point, lol.  I keep scratching my head and wondering how I landed in the middle of this wanna-be Tom Clancy novel, too, lol).  

I'm not worried about past employers lying.  We have worked for good people and DH has an excellent reputation in his field.  I'm more concerned about what relatives would say. We...uh...are related to some characters. 

no eye rolling.  my friend's son works for the CIA.  (I've known him since he was a very challenging three year old . . . . ).  Annnnd, my dd's in tech and worked on servers hosting gov't agency data.

yeah - even family . . .  I was thinking about that recently in regards to a certain family member being interviewed (for another reason), and thinking the pushback I would give was "you are talking to someone who thinks CERN scientists are being chased by men in black helicopters because they opened a conduit into another dimension" . . . . are  you sure you want to consider this person credible????

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20 minutes ago, sassenach said:

Am I the only one wondering why Amazon needs any employees with high national security clearance? 

 

JEDI contract finalists with Microsoft. So not surprised, especially with where the Amazon second headquarters is located.

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On 10/24/2019 at 7:05 AM, Arcadia said:


SF Bay Area relocating from here to Bellevue doesn’t feel that much more of a financial strain since they are used to high rents and mortgages. A couple we know rented near downtown Seattle, double income no kids. 

shouldn't be much of a strain considering there are many places in the bay area that still cost more than here.

 

23 hours ago, Sneezyone said:


Many of those who actually own, not rent, have lived there for decades, long before the tech boom.

I know people who've bought in the last few years.  I know some who are wiling to buy a fixer, for less, then work on it.  I've also known those who want all the bells and whistles so they have to buy further out.

my sister has a 1905 house, that they simply haven't had the money to seriously upgrade, but the location is good.  they get people coming to their door wanting to buy it.

22 hours ago, Lawyer&Mom said:


Dual income households.  Lots and lots of couples make $200,000+ in Seattle.  Two tech salaries or one lawyer, one tech...  Given the costs of housing (and daycare!) it doesn’t feel like an enormous amount of money.  (A very nice solid amount, but not enormous.)

But I know plenty of single income families too.  Live a bit farther out, or buy a condo, or rent.  And you don’t have to go that far out.  South King County, like Burien, Federal Way, or Renton, has listings for small houses under $400,000.  You can get a two bedroom condo in East Bellevue for under $400,000.  I know $400,000 is still a big number, but doable with a $100,000 tech salary.  
 

Edited to add:  I don’t want this to sound like a “Let them eat cake” in South King County thing.  I have friends, family and coworkers who live in these cities.  Was just in Burien for a kids birthday party last weekend.   

I know plenty of single income families, or families with one high income, and one low income, who have managed to buy a decent house while making under $200K.  there is something about lifestyle. e.g. going out to eat, and how often, affects your discretionary income bottom line. 

 you should look up "almost live! south king county" on youtube.  there are at least 13 different skits.  that was such a great show.

21 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

  For tax reasons we basically had to put that money right back into a down payment.   

 it's really nice having a very managable commute.  I know people on the road for a good 2 hours a day and I know in some metros those numbers are even higher.  

 

that's one of the driving forces in home prices here - people coming from areas where they have put it into another house to avoid those taxes.

I know people who've chosen to live far out because they want the rural, as well as those who feel it's the only way they can afford the house they want.

I expect 2ds is going to be living here for quite awhile longer. . . . his commute is two miles, he's underpaid - but it's good experience and a good place to work.   I'm hoping he'll start pursing his cpa soon - though I would expect that to not happen until after april.

16 hours ago, Evanthe said:

 

And people mentioned dual-income households in Seattle where both spouses are lawyers, etc and make $200,000 a year.  Yeah, that's great, but there are only so many of those.  Where do us Average Joe people live??  Like teachers, cops, the dude that works at Costco, dental hygienists, receptionists at the doctor's office, day care workers... ?? 

some live farther out, some manage to make it work closer in.  dd just had four guys buy a house and move in together next door to her.  she's complaining how every weekend it reminds her of a frat party.  (she lived in a former greek house on frat row for two years in college.)

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24 minutes ago, sassenach said:

Am I the only one wondering why Amazon needs any employees with high national security clearance? 

cloud hosting.  by whatever name.

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1 hour ago, sassenach said:

Am I the only one wondering why Amazon needs any employees with high national security clearance? 

Amazon has a huge side business in cloud storage called AWS. Microsoft has a similar business called Azure. Together those two companies do most of the cloud storage for large corporations. AWS has been a contractor for the US government for quite some time. As part of those contracts, certain information can be only on certain servers with the individuals working at those facilities holding sufficient clearance.

Amazon is SO much more than the website you buy stuff or rent movies from.

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1 hour ago, sassenach said:

Am I the only one wondering why Amazon needs any employees with high national security clearance? 

If Amazon wanted to I think they could single handedly bring the world to its knees they have control over so much data among other things. Same for Microsoft. 

That's part of why everyone is freaking out about how closely they are tied with other governments. Like Google with China. 

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2 hours ago, sassenach said:

Am I the only one wondering why Amazon needs any employees with high national security clearance? 

As someone else said - cloud hosting. 

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15 hours ago, sassenach said:

Am I the only one wondering why Amazon needs any employees with high national security clearance? 

 

As others said, it's cloud hosting for government contracts.  CIA Cloud Contract with Amazon

Civilian government contractors with high level national security clearances are nothing new.  I worked along side contractors 25 years ago and it wasn't anything new then, either.  

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16 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

no eye rolling.  my friend's son works for the CIA.  (I've known him since he was a very challenging three year old . . . . ).  Annnnd, my dd's in tech and worked on servers hosting gov't agency data.

yeah - even family . . .  I was thinking about that recently in regards to a certain family member being interviewed (for another reason), and thinking the pushback I would give was "you are talking to someone who thinks CERN scientists are being chased by men in black helicopters because they opened a conduit into another dimension" . . . . are  you sure you want to consider this person credible????

 

Apparently, my dad has been telling his girlfriend that my step-uncle used to be a spy for the US Army and that back in the 1980s, our house phone was "bugged" because of the work that Uncle Jack was doing. Dad also insists that Jack told him a bunch of "spy stuff", but Dad can't disclose it because it's "top secret". Dad's completely lucid, just utterly full of doodoo and thinks it's fine to "embroider upon the truth" if it makes a story more exciting.  Jack was not a spy.  He was in the Army and worked out of the Pentagon, yes, but that doesn't mean he was a spy! And if he *was* a spy, he wouldn't freaking tell you! There's no loophole in the "spy code" that says "Keep it under your hat, unless it's your brother in law, and then it's totes ok to spill the beans". 

So, yeah. When husband first told me about the clearance requirement, I thought "My dad is going to be interviewed by the FBI and tell them 'No worries! My brother in law is a spy and I know all sorts of spy stuff! I won't tell!'.  I'm going to have to account for this nonsense to not only my husband's employer but the federal government, and I have no explanation other than he's full of doodoo".  

Edited by MissLemon
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On 10/24/2019 at 6:23 AM, Jaybee said:

We've lived a lot of places, so have moved lots of times. I'm not crazy about where we are now, but it's not too bad, and we were not really settled in where we moved from--though we wanted to settle there, just no job. Generally, I'm pretty up for adventure. But reading the above does not sound appealing to me. Maybe it's just my personality where I prefer a more laid-back lifestyle. My dh enjoys being busy and is a very hard worker, but neither of us would enjoy the kinds of pressure this sounds like. Maybe I'm too ignorant about what is available in high-paying tech fields, but we don't want to be "owned" by a company. It also sounds like the financial benefits might not actually end up being near as much as they seem, once everything is figured in. I'm pretty sure we'd keep looking, and hopefully find something in the area where we already loved living. There's a lot of value in what you have mentioned you have there. I don't want to be a downer; I'm just looking at it through our personalities and preferences.

The laid back lifestyle is so much us. My husband is the hardest working person I’ve ever known, but both of us would hate working for a company like Amazon, and we love the PNW. Also, the traffic and housing costs would be a no go for me, unless somehow you could afford to live where you could walk most places and your husband’s commute was short. It honestly sounds like more of a good opportunity for a young single or young couple. I know just such a young couple doing the hi tech thing in Seattle right now. But they most definitely will not be staying there long term. The plan is to build up resumes and gain experience and then move back to OR when they are ready to start a family. Over the years, I’ve worked with several people who did the same thing with the DC area. They worked there for the federal government when they were young, and then moved to OR and state government when they wanted to have kids, in order to avoid long commutes, afford a house, be near family, and have a more laid back lifestyle.

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This article about Amazon location in Geekwire came across my feed, and I thought it might be useful for someone.

here's a very relevant quote for anyone moving here for amazon.

In April, Amazon said it planned to relocate its entire Seattle-based worldwide operations team to Bellevue by 2023.

currently, amazon has 

325,000 feet of space. 

it has leased/not yet occupied across three buildings 

1,485,000 feet of space

it has purchased/in-planning/under construction across two buildings (incl. a large site next to the Bellevue transit center)

1,075,000 feet of space

total 2,885,000 feet of space - by 2023.

there's speculation for another three buildings with another 1,912,000 sq feet of space.

just about all of this in downtown Bellevue.  (some might be in the new "spring" district south of SR 520. It  used to be light industrial - now the dirt is just too expensive and it's being redeveloped into business and condos - light rail, currently under construction, will run through it.)

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DH saw an article about Amazon losing a big cloud contract to Microsoft. So maybe I was wrong about it being CIA and the position would have been for the JEDI project. I'll never know for certain, but I guess I'm doubly glad now that we decided to pass on it.  We could have gotten far along in the relocation process only to hear "Sorry, we lost the contract. No job for you".  😮

AND! DH has a job interview with a local company next week, plus he's looking into stepping into a new role in his current job.  Both positions would mean pay raises equal to what Amazon was offering, but in our low-cost area it would be a BIG bump in pay.  So, we'll see.  Maybe one of those will develop into something.  

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