In the world of real estate, the saying goes: “location-location-location.” So for those of us who live in Federal Way, we know our location, we know why we are here and what we have. But do we know if Federal Way is the best value?
When buying a house or renting, the price is market driven. Do we understand the total landscape of the market? Warren Buffet, as one of this country’s premier investors, has said: “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
What creates value? For most of us, choosing where to live is a major decision. The cost of housing is generally our largest expense. Renting is one option but if you invest at the ownership level, what are you buying? How would you evaluate its value?
Is Federal Way the best choice of where to pitch your tent to pursue careers, maximize recreational activities, raise and educate a family, be spiritual, build and maintain relationships, make a difference and retire? It may be your only community or you may get to experience many communities in your journey.
If your mail is delivered to an address in Federal Way, you have invested in this community. Your community home comes with its own culture, economic strata, cultural diversity, neighbors, taxes, local and regional access, employers, business climate, schools, parks, entertainment, restaurants, shopping, healthcare, support services, crime, public safety and local vibe. Some elements you can control, but most aspects of your location and its potential value are in the hands of others.
Value is intertwined with the local economy, access to jobs, school district quality, housing stock, community aesthetics, cultural opportunities, governmental infrastructure and investment, affordability, education level and likability of your neighbors and more can be added. For Federal Way’s value to grow and be a positive attractor, there are changes in attitude and understanding that need to occur within Federal Way’s public and private leadership structure as well as the community.
We can make choices to build value but we must understand our challenges. As residents, we may not be paying attention to the details but developers, business investors, bankers and retailers understand us as a target market.
They know Federal Way’s statistics. They know we have 15 percent of our population living at or below the federal poverty level, a per capita income of $26,700 and that 25 percent of our population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.
As a point of reference, consider Bellevue’s numbers. Seven percent of their population lives at or below the Federal poverty level, the per capita income is $48,700 and 62 percent of their population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.
A comparison of school district ratings by Greatschools.com shows that Federal Way Public Schools rate a four on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being high and Bellevue has a rating of nine. Top quality school districts are important to assuring that a community maintains or increases its value.
These comparisons show a different level of attractiveness. Companies and organizations that desire synergies of college-trained intellect may find Bellevue more attractive.
Attractability is important to creating a positive economic climate. As a community, we have a hill to climb. If we continue on our current path we will not attract the type of jobs or residents that sustain economic growth and create broad based community wealth.
We need to look within ourselves and accept responsibility for growing community value. We can’t expect others to do our job for us. As resident investors, we have to be engaged at all levels to improve our investment. Warren Buffet buys quality at a fair price and works to grow its value. As a community, so should we.
Federal Way resident Keith Livingston: firstname.lastname@example.org