Author Topic: Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs  (Read 21971 times)

msnln7

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Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs
« on: May 09, 2014, 10:38:15 AM »
I am currently in talks with a company based in San Francisco and will likely be moving there during the summer.  I have looked at the rent prices and they are really high.  Someone told me to look in the East Bay area but it is pretty large area with a lot of towns.  My main criteria for ideal location (other than low/reasonable rents) would be good schools for my two middle school age kids and not too far away from SF.  I would also like diverse student body.  From the internet search, I think San Ramon, Walnut Creek or Dublin might be right for me.  Any other towns I should look into that might fit my needs?  I would like to keep rent below $3000/month for a three bedroom house/apartment, if possible. 

Also, I heard SF is very car-centric.  Walk friendly towns would definitely be a big plus.

Thank you.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 10:40:23 AM by msnln7 »

vespito

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Re: Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2014, 11:50:43 AM »
Hi,
I'm not too well versed in east bay prices but be sure to look at the commuting cost if you are planning on taking public transportation (BART, AC Transit, etc.).  Also, where in SF will your company be located?  If it's downtown, public transportation is fairly easy.  If you are in the Presidio or elsewhere, you are looking at a longer public transportation commute, or having to drive into SF everyday.

Edit - do you know if your employer will cover any public transit costs, or will you be able to use pre-tax money to purchase transit passes?  We were thinking of moving to Oakland, but with one of our jobs in the Presidio we decided the commute time/cost was too much.  That's just us  - we're lazy.

Also, while not cheap, in SF the outer Richmond / Sunset neighborhoods may offer more space for your money.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 11:53:33 AM by vespito »

Badass by 41

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Re: Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2014, 12:03:38 PM »
Welcome to the San Francisco Bay Area!

Here's a breakdown of the area.
Note: All times are ideal commute times.  These will very -5-10% to + 5-20% depending on commute time and traffic.  My personal recommendations are in bold

EAST BAY (closest to farthest from SF)
- Alameda (it's an island)
    Good schools, small downtown, walkable/bike-able.
    40min drive (one tunnel or bridge, one $6 bridge toll)
    30min BART (+walk or 5min drive or 15min bike)
    30min ferry (+walk or 5min drive or 10min bike)
- Orinda
    Good schools, small downtown, walkable/bike-able.
    40min drive (one tunnel, one $6 bridge toll)
    30min BART (+walk or 5min drive or 15min bike)
- Lafayette
    Good schools, spread out, bike-able
    45-50min drive (one tunnel, one $6 bridge toll)
    35min BART (+walk or 5min drive or 10min bike)
- Walnut Creek
    Good schools, large downtown, very spread out, walkable/bike-able depending on where you live
    50-60min drive  (one tunnel, one $6 bridge toll)
    45min BART (+walk or 10min drive or 15min bike)
- San Ramon
    Ok schools, small downtown, very spread out, bike-able depending on where you live
    60min drive  (one tunnel, one $6 bridge toll)
    50min BART (+walk or 10min drive or 20min bike)
- Dublin
    Ok schools, spread out
    60min drive (one $6 bridge toll)
    60min BART (+walk or 5min drive or 15min bike)
- Pleasanton
    Ok schools, nice downtown, spread out, bike-able
    60min drive (one $6 bridge toll)
    60min BART (+walk or 5min drive or 15min bike)

PENINSULA (closest to farthest from SF)
- Daily City
    Ok/meh schools, no real downtown, spread out, bike-able
    15min drive
    15min BART (+walk or 10min bike)
    30min Bike
- Burlingame
    Ok schools, nice downtown, walkable/bike-able
    20min drive
    25min BART (+walk or 5min drive or 10min bike)
    60min bike

NORTH BAY (closest to farthest from SF)
- San Anselmo/Larkspur
    Ok schools, nice downtowns, walkable/bike-able
    30min drive (one $6 bridge)
    30min bus (+walk or 10min bike)
    30min ferry (+walk or 5min drive or 10min bike)
    45min bike
- Fairfax
    Ok schools, nice downtowns, walkable/bike-able
    40min drive (one $6 bridge)
    50min bus (+walk)
    30min ferry (+10min drive or 15min bike)
    60min bike
- San Rafael
    Good schools, nice downtown, walkable/bike-able
    40min drive (one $6 bridge)
    50min bus (+walk)
    30min ferry (+10min drive or 15min bike)
    60min bike

The Bay area is infinitely bike-able which I highly recommend.  PM me if you have specific questions.

DOPOLI

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Re: Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2014, 12:12:36 PM »
Where are you moving from? I used to live in Bay Area and it is shockingly expensive compared to over parts of country. I left in mid-2012. Getting a rental is like fighting a pack of rapid dogs, and I've heard it's gotten worse since I left. (e.g. rent says $3000/mo on craigslist, but you're competing with 50 other people to get the place.) In addition to rent, state taxes are quite high compared to some other states.

Just a word of caution about moving there- it could be a shock and possibly not worth it from a purely financial perspective. Otherwise, the Bay Area is totally awesome:)


Tyler

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Re: Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2014, 12:18:42 PM »
I lived in Redwood City for several years and really enjoyed it.  It's central to the entire Bay Area, the downtown area is really nice and walkable, and the Caltrain makes it convenient to get up and down the peninsula with no car.  There are also some nice neighborhoods, although prices are rapidly rising (just like every other place in the area). 

Eric

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Re: Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2014, 05:55:42 PM »
Just a further clarification from Badass by 41's post.  He mentions one bridge toll of $6.  This is only a one way toll, into the city.  On the way out, it's free.  Before living out here, I was always under the impression that tolls happened for both directions of traffic, as that's how they work everywhere else I'd ever been.  But in this case, it really is only one toll charge for a round trip.  Sorry, I don't have any housing recommendations to add, as I'm down next to San Jose and don't know other areas well enough.  Good luck!

ManyMountains

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Re: Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2014, 06:31:44 PM »
San Francisco is the LEAST car-centric city in the Bay Area. They are incredibly progressive when it comes to bike infrastructure, mostly walkable, and has fairly good public transport. Most people I know sell their car when they move to the City.

If you live south of SF, make sure you're next to a BART station (Millbrea is the most southern station on the peninsula) or CalTrains (all the way to San Jose, but more expensive and fewer stops than BART). The Peninsula is the most expensive place to live, as you have all the big companies between SF and Mountain View, so lots of people with lots of money. That has definitely spilled over into other parts of the bay too.

In the East Bay, Berkeley / Oakland / Emeryville / El Cerrito can be great places to live depending on the neighborhood. Also getting much more bike friendly, has AC Transit (buses) and BART.

In the East East Bay you have Walnut Creek / Pleasant Hill / Concord. I wouldn't go any further east than that for a number of reasons. Concord has some nice areas on the south side. Walnut Creek, where I live, is VERY expensive. Pleasant Hill is a great mix of the two (quality of schools and access to parks is great, plus there is a BART station). The BART from P.Hill to SF downtown is less than 40 minutes.

I would avoid the Tri-Valley area (Dublin, San Ramon Livermore, Pleasanton) because you are working in the City, the commute would be crazy long and the BART route would be very long too.

LifestyleDeflation

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Re: Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2014, 09:05:48 PM »
You may also want to take Casual Carpool locations into consideration, as hopping in someone else's car can dramatically reduce your commuting costs- http://www.ridenow.org/carpool/

electriceagle

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Re: Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2014, 07:53:49 AM »
You don't need to leave San Francisco to live economically.

Which part of SF makes the most sense depends on where in the city you'll be working. If your job is on the east (south) side of the ctiy - downtown, SOMA, Potrero, mission, etc, then you can live cheap in southeast (short travel time) or Vis Valley (longer travel time). If your work is on the other side of the city, you can live cheap in the Sunset.

Both southeast and the Sunset have lots of single family houses that are held by a group of roommates (3 br house w/ 3 people, etc). There are also lots of houses where the owners have created in-law apartments which they rent out for income. Some of these are basically 2-br flats and go for under $2k.

Or, if there are enough people in your family to make it worthwhile, you can rent an entire single family house ~just for yourselves~ in southeast for ~$2500.

If you need to commute to SF, be careful about the east bay. BART doesn't sell monthly passes. Walnut Creek to downtown SF will cost you $10/person/day (round trip). That adds up quickly.

Edit: I saw your note about SF being car-centric. I find the opposite to be true; SF is a horrible place to have a car. Traffic and parking conspire to punish you daily. Throw the thing in the bay once you've arrived and get a bunch of bikes.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2016, 06:24:03 AM by electriceagle »

Joel

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Re: Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2014, 08:38:10 AM »
I can't provide much insight into where you actually should live, but I wanted to point out that SF is actually the least car centric city in California. Depending upon your work location and the requirement to travel for work, you actually could be much better off not having a car in SF. Most of the people I know do not have cars, and rely on public transportation. I am in Sacramento though which is much more spread out and requires a car.

dragoncar

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Re: Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2014, 11:21:16 AM »
good breakdown, badass.  I'll add that most of the inner east bay cities have express bus lines to SF, for example the O and OX on AC transit from Alameda.  Takes about 30-40 min.

I'd lean towards an apartment near downtown Walnut Creek for decent schools, walkability, and easy BART into SF.

msnln7

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Re: Help me find a town to move to in San Francisco suburbs
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2014, 07:34:52 PM »
Wow.  Thanks everyone for the input.  I was away for the weekend and did not have access to the internet. I really appreciate all your feedback.  I am moving from NYC and I heard that the rents and other costs are pretty comparable so I don't think I will be in for much shock. ie, I am currently paying about $350/month for commuter train/subway a month. If I drive, bridges in NYC area are $5.33 each way with EZPass tags, or $7.50 cash. Then you have to deal with the parking fee of $20-$30/day, so I never drive in unless I absolutely must.

SF looks to be bit less walk friendly but a lot more bike friendly, and I am looking forward to making more use of my bicycle.  I currently bike two miles each day to commuter rail station each day (one mile each way).  I will be commuting into Montgomery Street.  I will look for areas to rent around BART stations - until now, I did not even know about BART, I was under the impression driving was the only option. 

I am going to do more in depth research into all the areas mentioned and revert back with more specific questions.  Thanks again everyone - you guys rock!