Author Topic: San Francisco Living Situation  (Read 6061 times)

wealthviahealth

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San Francisco Living Situation
« on: June 15, 2015, 12:37:20 PM »
I have received an enormous amount of advice and help from the SF folks on here and will now officially be moving to
SF to start my new job come July/August.

I have become well aware of the outrageous cost of living out here and am navigating craiglist and other circles to try and find
the right living situation. It sounds like the best way to do this is to stay with family or friends in the area while you are searching but unfortunately I can't go this route since I don't have a network out here yet. 

Do you guys have any thoughts/suggestions for a temporary living space ( 2 weeks- 2 months?) that wont require forking over $100 + a night to stay in an airbnb while searching? I posted a while back about the thought of staying with an older couple who might need help around the house/ groceries but don't really know how to find such a situation. Open to any creative ideas that might help keep the costs down.

Any thoughts/ tips would be greatly appreciated, cant wait to start my new journey in San Francisco.

NorCal

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2015, 01:22:25 PM »
A friend of mine stayed in the hostel at Ft. Mason for a few months while he got settled.  It might still be around.

bryan995

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2015, 01:32:20 PM »
Curious to hear how you end up handling this.
I may be in the same situation in a few months :)

What do you expect for pay for rent?
Can you head out now and spend a weekend trying to arrange housing to start Aug 1?

I am starting new travel CCs now, so that I can fly back and forth and stay in hotels for up to 14 nights for free to act as a housing buffer :)
Southwest, Jet Blue, Marriot, AA, HHonors etc.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 02:18:15 PM by bryan995 »

cats

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2015, 04:54:56 PM »
We actually just moved from South Bay to East Bay.  We don't have a car which made getting between the two to look at new places while also working full-time really difficult.  We gave up our place in the south bay and found a centrally located sublet in the east bay for a month, rent was the same as on our south bay apartment.  We actually wound up being able to line things up really well and only had a couple of days overlap in rent.  We did have to rent a uhaul twice but given that our commute costs for the sublet month dropped by about $250 it was worth it (we don't have a lot of stuff so were able to move possessions into the sublet rather than a storage unit...I am so SO grateful to our friends who helped us with the uhaul loading/unloading...worst part of moving and makes me want to get rid of even more stuff). 

Anyway, if you have a specific area within the bay area you are looking to live in (city, peninsula, east bay, etc.), I would strongly recommend the route we went, of subletting in the area rather than trying to find somewhere from afar.  Rentals on CL move really fast and many landlords/agencies want you to see the place before they will accept an application.  Because we were living nearby, we were able to really jump on things as soon as they came up.  The place we eventually wound up with we would not even have been able to consider if we had not been nearby, b/c we really would not have been able to see it until the weekend, and the landlady was only available to show it on Wednesday evening.  Also, knowing that we had the ability to act fast on the good postings kept us a little more sane and better able to walk away from options that were okay-but-not-really.

I would be a little careful of finding a work-for-cheap living situation if you are also going to be working full-time.  Looking for a place to live seriously can be a part-time job in and of itself.  If you are thinking you want to find a rental that you can be happy in for several years, it is probably worth paying a bit more in rent for 1-2 months to be able to find it.

electriceagle

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2015, 07:03:16 PM »
Finding housing in the SF area from afar is very difficult. Because the housing market is so tight, and there are so many scams around, few landlords/roommates will entertain applications from people who don't show up in person to look at the place.

The folks who will accept you sight-unseen are probably burdened with something specific that prevents them from getting a "regular" tenant. Do you really want to find out what that is?

Its also difficult to find a place on weekend trips as you'll need time to go through the stages of the SF housing process (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) and understand how things work before you find succcess.

Like the others, I recommend that you find a hostel or coder dorm to crash in until you find something long-term.

LeRainDrop

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2015, 02:27:53 AM »
My brother just moved out to SF, too, and for the next couple months is subletting from a friend, with plans for him and his girlfriend to find their own place to rent over the next couple months.  The way he found this deal was to reach out to all his networks -- people he went to high school/college/grad school with and people he worked with after college.  Check your facebook friends to see if any live in SF that you may have forgotten about; also check your college/school online alumni directories for the same purpose.  Good luck!

wealthviahealth

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2015, 11:09:57 AM »
Great suggestions so far, thanks!

This will definitely be the hardest part of the whole journey.

hexdexorex

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2015, 11:23:52 AM »
I stayed at extended stay america while moving here a few years ago. Company was able to reimburse me as part of my moving package for it. The route I would have taken if I was to not be reimbursed would have been just subletting from someone on craigslist.

The first time I moved out here (2008) I stayed on a couch for 500 a month.

wealthviahealth

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2015, 07:40:39 AM »
The first time I moved out here (2008) I stayed on a couch for 500 a month.

I would definitely jump on an opportunity like that right now if I saw one.
Seems couch surfing is quite a bit pricier now in 2015.

Sent out all sorts of emails on craigslist past few days so hopefully I hear something. Does any one know if there is a service for this where I can just send someone all my info and requirements in a place and they find something for me?

cats

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2015, 08:30:36 AM »
The first time I moved out here (2008) I stayed on a couch for 500 a month.

I would definitely jump on an opportunity like that right now if I saw one.
Seems couch surfing is quite a bit pricier now in 2015.

Sent out all sorts of emails on craigslist past few days so hopefully I hear something. Does any one know if there is a service for this where I can just send someone all my info and requirements in a place and they find something for me?


I wish!  My advice on the emails is simply to have a standard format that you have saved and can tweak to suit each posting, rather than writing each email from scratch.  Makes it a lot easier to fire off responses to postings.

I believe you can also set up an alert where you get emailed anytime a craigslist posting that meets your rent/area/etc. criteria comes up (you can probably tell I don't use craigslist to buy/find things that often...this was a total revelation to me).  Alerts can save you some time trolling through postings.  Not sure of the specifics on setup as my husband was the one receiving the alerts in our recent housing search while I handled the correspondence with landlords, but it seems like something google should be able to help out with.

CanuckExpat

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2015, 02:02:52 PM »
Sent out all sorts of emails on craigslist past few days so hopefully I hear something. Does any one know if there is a service for this where I can just send someone all my info and requirements in a place and they find something for me?

I've never done it, but you can use a real estate agent, or rental broker to help you find a place.

In a lot of places, they list their services as "free"; the apartment building compensates them (usually one months rent) for finding a tenant. In that sense, their motives in terms of price can be opposed to yours: if they talk you into getting a more expensive place, they get paid more.

In NYC, brokers are almost always used, and the tenant pays them I think, in other cities I've heard of, the landlord pays them. Apparently it is also a thing in SF: http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/16/too_fancy_to_search_craigslist_try_a_broker.php

TJ79

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2015, 04:12:48 PM »
One tip: if you're planning to live in SF for more than a few years, find a rent controlled apartment (anything built before 1980). Newer buildings will offer what seem to be great deals to get you in the door ("first two months free in this amazing $3000 studio!") but then significantly increase your rent at the end of the year (and every year after that). You probably won't get roped into that given where you're asking the question, but thought it was worth mentioning anyway.


wealthviahealth

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2015, 12:23:43 PM »
*Update- Finally found/ secured a place!
Only down side- well, pretty considerable downside.. paying around $1800 a month for a small room in a shared house and wont even be moving in for the first month I am paying. Thinking about changing the title of this tread to- San Francisco/ Depressed. lol

On the bright side, this is a month to month agreement to it will give me time to find a cheaper place if I can will still having a roof over my head in the meantime.

Thanks all for the continued support!


mxt0133

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2015, 12:35:38 PM »
paying around $1800 a month for a small room in a shared house and wont even be moving in for the first month I am paying.

That's just FUCKING crazy!  I live in SF and I love it here but there is no way that these prices are sustainable.  I just don't see how people can afford those prices.  Eventually everyone will have to move out, well those in non-rent controlled buildings.

wealthviahealth

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2015, 12:53:10 PM »
paying around $1800 a month for a small room in a shared house and wont even be moving in for the first month I am paying.

That's just FUCKING crazy!  I live in SF and I love it here but there is no way that these prices are sustainable.  I just don't see how people can afford those prices.  Eventually everyone will have to move out, well those in non-rent controlled buildings.

Do you think I should start looking for something cheaper asap or is this on par with what you are seeing/ hearing about?
I am also unsure of how I can afford this in the long run..

mxt0133

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2015, 01:24:01 PM »
Just browsing craiglist for shared rooms and I see a lot around $1000 all over the city.  I don't know where you are but i'm sure you can handle a 20 minute commute to work.

I personally would look for something better, like others have posted look for rent controlled places, the tenant cannot charge you more than the share of space you will be occupying.  They do go quick so you have to scan multiple times a day and be ready to commit.

Good luck!

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/sfc/roo?

NorCal

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2015, 01:37:26 PM »
Congrats and welcome to the area!

I'm on the peninsula, so I don't know SF that well, but what you found doesn't sound that out-of-market given your situation.

Pricing is 95%+ geography.  5% is individual "good" vs. "bad" deals.  If you want to be central, you pay for it.

The way to save money is to move further out.

cats

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2015, 08:52:16 AM »
Are you set on living in SF proper or would you be amenable to moving a bit out of the city?  There is a HUGE premium for living in the city and the cost of commuting from a bit further out generally compares favorably with the decrease in cost.  For example, we live in Berkeley, my commute cost is ~$160/mo and we would pay much more than $200/mo over our current rent for even a small studio in the city.  For all that people moan about the east bay being so far out there, SF is really pretty accessible from places like downtown Oakland.

electriceagle

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2015, 04:20:09 PM »
Are you set on living in SF proper or would you be amenable to moving a bit out of the city?  There is a HUGE premium for living in the city and the cost of commuting from a bit further out generally compares favorably with the decrease in cost.  For example, we live in Berkeley, my commute cost is ~$160/mo and we would pay much more than $200/mo over our current rent for even a small studio in the city.  For all that people moan about the east bay being so far out there, SF is really pretty accessible from places like downtown Oakland.

Assuming a 30 min commute each way for 2 people, and 22 workdays/mo, you're valuing your time at 91 cents per hour.

Right now, there is no "right answer" on housing in SF. The best the poster can aim for is a room in a house for $1000.

cats

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2015, 09:17:09 PM »
Are you set on living in SF proper or would you be amenable to moving a bit out of the city?  There is a HUGE premium for living in the city and the cost of commuting from a bit further out generally compares favorably with the decrease in cost.  For example, we live in Berkeley, my commute cost is ~$160/mo and we would pay much more than $200/mo over our current rent for even a small studio in the city.  For all that people moan about the east bay being so far out there, SF is really pretty accessible from places like downtown Oakland.

Assuming a 30 min commute each way for 2 people, and 22 workdays/mo, you're valuing your time at 91 cents per hour.

Right now, there is no "right answer" on housing in SF. The best the poster can aim for is a room in a house for $1000.

Well, thanks for your assumptions :)  First, the $200/month was simply to make the point that unlike in many other places where the monetary cost of a longer commute often balances out the savings in housing without even taking time into the equation, this is absolutely not the case for SF. It was not a specific statement "I could likely find a place in the city for $200 more than I pay now".  In fact, 1-br apartments down the street from my office (so, commute time = <5 minutes) are going for $1500 more than my current rent...and they aren't rent controlled (while our current place is).  More reasonable prices can be found in less central parts of the city, but then the difference in commute time between those areas and the east bay starts to get smaller and smaller.  Many of my co-workers who live in the city spend 20-30 minutes getting to work, and our office is very central, accessible to lots of public transit, etc.

In my case my partner also happens to work in the east bay (and can currently bike to work) so we'd be stuck with one set of commute costs no matter which side we chose.  It doesn't sound like this is an issue for the OP at the moment though.

It's true that there is no "right" answer with SF housing but unless there's a compelling reason to live in the city itself, I'd argue that it makes sense to at least consider other areas and scrutinize just how much of a premium you're placing on living in SF itself.  Also, I have no idea what the OP values in a living space, but if things like quiet, sunshine or even a small postage stamp of a "yard" impact your happiness, you may have better luck finding those things outside of the city.  Personally, I enjoy working in SF and having access to it for occasional activities, but I don't think I would actually find it very restful to live there. 
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 09:24:13 PM by cats »

Dicey

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Re: San Francisco Living Situation
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2015, 01:45:38 AM »
I'd enjoy living in The City for a couple of months and then look for something a little further out if you want to lower your costs. Continue to network and surf CL and the like while you are getting your bearings. Also consider living near a BART Station and commuting in to SF. Or move to Alameda and take the ferry to work.