Washington, nicknamed The Evergreen State, is known for its tech-savvy residents and scenic beauty. If you are new to Washington State, you will be left speechless when taking in the size and diversity of this beautiful state. You will experience everything from a lush coastal rain forest, to stunning island retreats, rugged snow capped mountains and culturally diverse urban areas. Very few places in the world offer the diversity found in Washington State.
Here are a few things you should know before moving to Washington:
- Move any time. Prices are not likely to drop in the fall, or any other specific time of year. Renting a moving truck will cost you about the same during all year round.
- Likewise, don’t worry about which day of the week you choose to get started, as the moving truck rental rates run the same whether they are picked up on a Monday or Friday.
- It rains a lot. Be prepared for the rain and/or snow if you plan to move to Washington in the fall or winter. Though parts of Washington may not get as much rain as New York City, November through January is the wettest time of the year.
- Traffic in Seattle can be pretty bad. The I-90/I-5 interchange is one of the worst in the nation. Also keep in mind that traffic is at an all-time high during sporting events due to the close proximity of the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners stadiums to downtown.
- No air conditioner in most western Washington homes/apartments. Though the weather here is mostly temperate, there are some days in July when the weather can get extremely hot and humid. Eastern Washington does not experience nearly the same amount of rain as western Washington.
Change your address online. To make your move from California to Washington easier, consider changing your address online. It is easy to do, cost efficient, and will ensure that your mail arrives to your new home with you.
Cities and Metro Areas
Washington is a state in which each city differs greatly, and there is a definite split on either side of the Cascades. A little more than half of the state’s population lives in Seattle, but there are smaller cities and towns as well that should not be overlooked.
The state capital, Olympia offers boating and fishing opportunities in the Puget Sound, fresh seafood restaurants along the waterfront, and a growing arts community. Those who want to live close to Seattle but don’t want to pay its expensive cost of living prices often chose Bothell as a more affordable alternative. If you’re looking for a career in the tech field, Redmond is the home headquarters to Microsoft and Nintendo of America.
Cost of Living
According to data collected in September 2022, the median Washington house prices stand at $590,300, representing a 6% increase compared to a year earlier. However, the aggressive interest rate hike policy initiated by the Federal Reserve Bank in March 2022 to fight back against the forty-year high inflation is showing its effects on the housing market. Since peaking at $654,100 in May 2022, median sale prices have slowly been declining, although they remain higher than a year prior.
Washington has many cities to choose from and you may find the one that cuts your cost in utilities. Housing costs in Washington run higher than the national average in some areas, the amount you spend on a house will depend entirely on the area in which you live. Also, as with most states, expenses like groceries, utilities, transportation, and healthcare will cost you more in big cities like Seattle than in the smaller towns.
Washington boasts an array of climates. The western half of the state enjoys an oceanic climate and Seattle has, on average, 294 cloudy or partly cloudy days and an average of 71 days of sun each year. The winters are cloudy and the average high/low temperatures on one day vary little. The summers are relatively dry with an average 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures can, however reach into the 80s and 90s during July and August.
The eastern part of Washington enjoys a humid continental climate. Spokane typically experiences warm, dry summers and an average of 260 days of sunshine a year. The winters are wet, cold and snowy. Eastern Washington is protected from the weather extremes by the Cascade and Rocky mountains.
Current school rankings (elementary, middle and high schools), campus and district zoning/location maps, information and reviews are available online for parents moving to Washington state.
Washington is home to many public and private universities, including University of Washington, Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, Evergreen State College and more. Many of these universities offer scholarships and affordable tuition for Washington residents.
Washington Government Resources
- For an Washington government overview and information on moving to Washington, legal requirements and helpful links, visit Access Washington.
- Register to vote at your County Recorder’s Office or register to vote online.
- Find your local United States Post Office online.
- Register your vehicle and obtain a new driver’s license at the Washington DMV.
- For tax information visit IRS.gov.