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Well coming from Washington (I live across the street from a couple Microsoft Buildings in Redmond), your plan seems sound.

$150K/year is more than enough to live in the area, but it is easy to overextend yourself here (just as anywhere I suppose).

Although home valuations seem to be skyrocketing to me, $500K is plenty to find a good sized house with a decent lot, depending on where you are looking of course. If you want to be in an expensive area of Seattle, you will pay through the nose. You also need to avoid some of the newer housing in the area. There are HUGE houses being built on tiny lots that allow for ecentially no yards. If you are willing to go further outside Seattle, the value increases.

In Washington you do have to be aware of the sales tax which is getting to be ~9% in some areas of King County. This makes it a great place to live, but not buy. I really enjoy using online vendors, since I can avoid our sales tax. Property taxes can be steep as well.

[This is for Western Washington - Eastern Washington is completely different] Another issue you will need to decide on is the weather. Although the quantity of rain we get is pretty small (less than Atlanta I am told), it drizzles frequently. From Mid-October through early-July, the sky is frequently overcast with some small amount of precipitation. In the Winter we can get snow, but not every year. When it does snow it lasts only a few days or a week at most, and everything crashes to a halt -- most people in the area just can't drive in snow.

To many people our weather can be depressing. With limited sunlight and less defined seasons (compared to other areas), it is not suprising that some get depressed. Personally I love the weather, but then I was born and raised here.

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