Neighborhood Tour: Ballard

Neighborhood Tour: Ballard

Hi, my name is Alex Keyes, artist and realtor. This is A Home in Seattle, and this is Ballard. 

I have a long list of things to do and I’m set up at Ballard Coffee Works trying to get them done: Post to instagram, write an offer for a client, work on my book, and research homes for another client. 

But I need to take a break, so let’s go have a look around Ballard!

While Ballard was annexed into Seattle back in 1906 (I remember it like it was yesterday), it still feels independent of the looming skyscrapers of Downtown. Everywhere you look, you see reminders of Ballard’s Scandanavian heritage from the recently renovated Nordic Museum to Bergen Place park at the heart of community. 

On Sundays, the Ballard Farmers Market floods the streets with fresh produce, delicious food stands and some pretty fantastic street artists. After you get your fill of artisan goodies and...well..people, hope on a bike or stroll down to the Ballard Locks or Golden Gardens Park to chill by the water.

I love hitting up a stand like Un Bien for a sandwich and a view of the Ballard Marina.

Ballard is also home to some of the city’s best breweries and has a good mix of unpretentious eateries and high-end restaurants. Trust me, they’re worth saving your pennies for. 

Parking can at times be challenging but it’s still pretty easy to get to by bus for the most part. That said, you can get to downtown fairly easily which is perfect for commuters. And for all of you cyclists out there, the Burke Gilman Trail can you can get to U Dub in about 30 minutes. 

If you’re thinking about moving here, you need to know a few things about the homes. There are a lot of condos near the town center if you want a really walkable life, and the older, smaller homes are a few blocks away. But this neighborhood has seen a ton of the 20’s and 40’s buildings get torn down and replaced with tightly packed, tall townhouses. Let’s go have a look at all these options really quick. 

This is an interesting one. It’s a 55+ building, meaning you have to be over 55 years old to live here. But they’re allowing 20% of the units to be occupied by people younger than that. This makes it a good value at only $380 for a 2 bedroom less than 4 blocks from the main drag. Move in with a roommate, a small family, or just keep a whole room for your dog. Wait, are pets allowed? Yes they are!

I’m such a fan of older homes that have been added to, remodeled, and lived in, because there’s so much history and little quirks to be discovered while living there. And this place is no different. Just around the corner from my lunch spot, it was built in 1944, and there’s so much to try and figure out. An addition here, a remodel there, amazing orange countertops preserved in the kitchen. Sure, you could fix it up and modernize it, or you could move in and be perfectly happy as is. With the average price of a 3 bed 2 bath in Ballard being $775, this place is a good buy at $625. 

Okay, you just got your dream job and you want a home that’s a bit nicer, a bit newer and completely modernized. Well, you have to look at these townhouses that are going up all over Ballard. These places are perfect for people who don’t want to take care of a yard, yet still want a bit of the feel of a single family home. Of course this pushes you up to $775 for 2 bedrooms. But you have a private garage, your own rooftop deck, and walkable access to all Ballard has to offer. 

Before you buy in Ballard, here are a few things to think about:

One of them is cost. Ballard is amazing, full of beautiful homes and condos, but they’re not cheap. But, with its overall high walkability score and classic neighborhood feel, you might think it’s worth paying a little more. 

The other thing to consider is that it is an older neighborhood with older homes. While some of us like a good fixer upper, make sure you’re prepared for any extra costs. Remember, a little sweat equity and training via YouTube can go a long way. 

Finally, there’s always the option to rent. Ballard has plenty of new apartments available that can be steep but may include the amenities you’re looking for. 

Remember, it’s all a compromise. 

Make sure you subscribe below and stay tuned for more home buying tips and neighborhood tours from A Home in Seattle. And if you’re interested in buying a house, send me a message and let’s chat on how to get started. Bye!

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