People have been moving to Tacoma for a long time, but in recent years a lot of new folks are attracted to Tacoma. Whether you’ve been lured by housing prices that seem lower than what you knew in your homeland, are inspired by the gorgeous views of the Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier, or are being relocated here for work, we have some advice for making the experience as pleasant as possible:
Don’t buy in the wrong neighborhood
What we really mean here is don’t limit yourself based on bad or outdated neighborhood stereotypes. There’s a lot of very questionable information (often sourced from people who don’t live in Tacoma and random clickbait websites) with a lot of inaccurate and outdated information about Tacoma neighborhoods. The best advice we have about finding the right Tacoma neighborhood for you is to actually visit them in person. Start with our clickable neighborhood map and reading our neighbor sourced neighborhood guides and then go for a drive. Grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant, go for a walk and actually talk to some neighbors! Tacoma is a city of amazing neighborhoods that ALL have strengths and weaknesses, make your own call.
Don’t ignore your impact on the community
Be conscious about gentrification and displacement. It’s possible you’re moving to Tacoma because you’re being displaced yourself, but as you search and find your place in the city of destiny be intentional about doing your part to advocate for policies that promote sustainability and affordability for future generations of Tacomans. Want to learn more about this? Check out Adult Civics Happy Hour, including these conversations about housing affordability and gentrification and displacement in Tacoma:
Build Housing Not Walls: Nate Bowling hosts a panel of two City of Tacoma employees, a developer, and a Metro Parks commissioner to dive deep into rising housing costs in Tacoma. We look at the causes of the rent and property value increases as well as the consequences.
The Rent is Too Damn High: Tacoma’s rents are some of the fastest rising in the country. Nate Bowling will moderate a panel of experts and dive into what is driving the shortage of homes for rent and for purchase. We’ll learn about different approaches to increasing abundant housing and housing affordability. Program starts at 12:00 minutes in!
Don’t think you already know Tacoma by reputation
If you’re from Seattle, please be humble and educate yourself. For some reason Seattleites in particular often have a lot of unlearning to do before they can really see Tacoma as it is. Tacoma isn’t just a place that’s awesome to move to because it’s cheaper. Tacoma is an amazing place to live in it’s own right. It makes sense if your whole life in Seattle all you’ve known is stories about how bad the traffic is after the Britney Spears concert at the Tacoma Dome, slowdowns on the Fife curve, and your grumpy grandad’s snickering about the Aroma of Tacoma, but it’s no excuse for ongoing ignorance. Some great ways to learn about Tacoma today are:
Listen to podcasts on Channel 253: Whether it’s local politics on Citizen Tacoma, sports and social issues on Nerd Farmer, the Tacoma arts scene on We Art Tacoma, or anything else. There’s a show covering what you’re looking for.
Know Your History: Check out local historian Michael Sullivan’s site TacomaHistory.live and separate fact from fiction and fill in the gaps in your Tacoma history. We interviewed him on the MoveToTacoma podcast, the first episode is here!
Don’t use a Seattle real estate agent to buy your house in Tacoma
If you’re buying a house, use a Tacoma real estate agent. Your real estate agent should be an expert in the neighborhood you’re buying in and should be working for YOU. There are tons of great Seattle agents, but the Tacoma and Seattle markets are completely different, and you don’t want them giving you advice that makes sense in Seattle that doesn’t apply here. I’ve seen Seattle agents advise their clients to offer too high of a price or make concessions in their offers that are unnecessary to winning the property here in Tacoma because they’re used to a different market. I’ve seen an agent from Bellevue not understand how LIDs on condos in Tacoma work give his client bad advice that cost him thousands of dollars. Use Seattle agents to sell your house in Seattle, but get a buyers agent that specializes in your neighborhood in Tacoma when you buy here. You deserve it and it will save you money.
Don’t be afraid to get involved
One of the best parts about Tacoma is that everyone who wants to can engage and make a difference, whatever that looks like for you. Here are some ideas for getting involved in Tacoma:
Volunteer: Whether you’re wanting to volunteer in an office, at an event, or contribute by being on a board or committee- Tacoma’s nonprofit community is ready to put you to work. Check out this comprehensive list of Tacoma nonprofits from the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation.
Get involved in the arts: We wrote this post a while back about how to get involved in Tacoma’s writing communitythat is one of our most popular posts. Check it out!
Run for Office: check out this episode of Nerd Farmer podcast where they talk about how to run for office in Tacoma!