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Old 03-21-2011, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
24,582 posts, read 29,968,806 times
Reputation: 10350
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidyankee764 View Post
Cool, thanks. Will definitely look into those towns. Are they down to earth communities?
Actually you will find that people in the East Bay and across the Bay Area for the most part are not pretentious or showy with their affluence.

Danville might be a touch more so, but not really compared to say Beverly Hills or West Palm Beach. That's just not how its done in Northern California.

In fact, its pretty similar to Connecticut where Millionaires drive Volvos and Acuras just as much as they drive Mercedes' and BMWs.

This modesty generally translates to dress too. The Bay Area is not a place where you'll find Zsa Zsa Gabor type women--but there are some. LOL.

Quote:
What about earthquake insurance and property taxes on vehicles?
It all depends. I think the state has an online premium calculator for earthquake insurance.

Quote:
Edit: I see you also live in Alpine, so I'm guessing you're familiar with the Stamford, CT area. Do you have any comparisons you can make between greater NYC and CA? Likes, dislikes, prices, etc.
As far as prices, its unfortunate that the Bay Area's solid 'middle class' suburbs are still so over the top expensive compared to other places.

In Greater New York, its possible to spend $400,000 on a decent house in a nice, quiet area with low crime and great schools. In the Bay Area you have to look a little more.

Areas here that remind me of Fairfield County are the 680/24 corridor where u happen to be looking.
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Fairfield County, CT
11,622 posts, read 11,514,673 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18Montclair View Post
In Greater New York, its possible to spend $400,000 on a decent house in a nice, quiet area with low crime and great schools. In the Bay Area you have to look a little more.

Areas here that remind me of Fairfield County are the 680/24 corridor where u happen to be looking.
Thanks. Yes, Fairfield County is not as pretentious as SoCal or Palm Beach. It's mostly old/family money as opposed to new money/200k incomes. In other words, people here don't have anything to prove.

I'm not sure where in greater NYC you're finding decent houses for 400k in a nice area with good schools. You won't find much in Westchester or southern Connecticut - that's one of the reasons why we're probably looking to move. All of the towns around Stamford with good schools within decent commuting distance have average home prices of $1m and up, and we definitely can't afford that. That's why we live an hour east and battle 95 traffic heading toward the city everyday.

A friend suggested Broadmoor - what is that area like?
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:11 PM
 
270 posts, read 765,947 times
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We moved to Marin from CT two years ago. It is a very different culture out here. Not better or worse, just different. It is hard to put your finger on it unless you have lived it.

It is a whole different mindset regarding real estate. The rental market is tight, and it is difficult to find a good one. And if you do, there will likely be 10 applications the first Day on the market. Forget buying a home if you are not sure you will be here for the long haul. We know a lot of families who are seriously underwater on their homes, making it impossible for them to relocate. 500k will get you a 3 bedroom, 1.5 ba with no yard on a high traffic street. I have friends who live in million dollar homes that are less than 1800 sq ft, no yard, and no a/c (which if you commute into the city is fine, but if you work from home is a must, IMO).

Also, I would rate the expense of living in the whole bay area right up there with Manhattan, not the NYC metro area. Most people factor the increased cost of living when they decide to move, but make sure you also factor in income tax, sales tax
(9%)' the cost of children's activities, childcare, etc. It is so much more than we had anticipated and has definitely
impacted our lifestyle. If we want a night out, a babysitter ( who doesn't speak English or drive) costs $20/hour for 3 kids. Summer camp is just cost prohibitive - nearly $400 weekly in most cases.

"Good" schools in CT and "good" school in CA are two completely different things. CA schools are under severe budget constraints right now and even the "good" schools are hurting. When we lived in CT, we just took it for granted that things
like music and art were part of the curriculum. Here in CA it is considered extra and usually funded by parent-run organizations that bully parents into paying. This year, my daughter's public school requested each family contribute $1200
PER CHILD for the arts program, bur said considering these finical times they would "accept" $600 per child. We have one in parochial school, but will move both of our older kids there in the fall, as the schools here are just too shaky for me.

That said it is beautiful out here, and if money were no object we would consider staying. The ability to be outdoors almost
every day (except for rainy March) is great for kids. It is very health conscious environment, and our weekends are spent hiking, biking, swimming etc.

We landed in Marin because it was the only rental we could find and we were in a time crunch. In retrospect, I wish we had decided on the lamorinda area in the East Bay, specifically Lafayette. It has more of an East coast feel than Marin, with some nice family neighborhoods.

Good Luck with your decision! Let me know if you have any questions.

Last edited by kristin1; 03-22-2011 at 11:23 PM..
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:28 PM
 
Location: San Francisco, CA
7,414 posts, read 3,861,708 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidyankee764 View Post
Hi guys.

We are toying with the idea of moving to the Bay area if DW's job requires it. At this point, it's looking like we'll be packing up by summer.

We're moving from Connecticut (DW works in Stamford) and are looking to live in a suburb close to downtown SF (well, within 40ish minutes accounting for traffic). We have two little ones and would like good schools, and don't want to spend more than $550k.
Sorry, but what you're asking for exists only in your dreams.

There is no house for sale in nice suburbs with good schools close to San Francisco for $550K; they retail for over $1M (even in this economy). You might be able to get a small condo or a tiny, old house for around $700K.

If you want to stay in that price range, you'll have to move far from the city. If you're living out in Danville and you're having to regularly commute to San Francisco, expect multiple hours of commute a day - say 1.5 there and 1.5 back. You're not going to be making it in 40ish minutes each way in rush hour traffic.

This is a region where it makes sense for a lot of people, even those well off, to rent instead of buy.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:44 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
15,490 posts, read 9,575,003 times
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FYI: Danville is possibly one of the worst cities to commute from. Unless you work in the 680 cooridor in Walnut Creek/San Ramon/Dublin/Pleasanton or Concord.

It is in the middle of a corridor where if you need to head west you need to go about 8 miles in either direction to an east/west freeway. The northern one, Highway 24 is a huge bottleneck for commuters the whole way. The southern option, 580 is less congested until you get to the last 5 miles before the Bay Bridge, but you'll start 25 miles from the toll plaza. No matter which way you choose, on a no traffic day it will take you 45 minutes.

The other posters are correct. There are no nice suburbs in close commuting distance of SF. You can spend $800k+ for a better school district or pay $500K+ to live in a crappier school district that is closer to SF (i.e. the Dimond in Oakland, high schools need improvement in OUSD). A $500K house in the Bay Area isn't really that great in any neighborhood. Think 2 or 3 bedroom/1 bathroom fixer or something about 1200 square feet or a condo.

You can move about 35 miles out from SF and find cheaper options, but you'll pay for it in commute time.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:20 AM
 
Location: Fairfield County, CT
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Thanks guys. So I can see it's similar to the Stamford area where $500k will get you nothing.

What about a condo or townhome? We'd be fine with that.
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Fairfield County, CT
11,622 posts, read 11,514,673 times
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Update: Sounds like DW will only need to be in SF 2-3 times a month and can work from home. If you didn't want to spend more than $550k on a single family home, and be within 2-3 hours of the city, where should we look?
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:20 AM
 
Location: South Korea
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Fairfield? American Canyon? Generally if you go north that way or the further east you go from SF, the cheaper it gets.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Fairfield County, CT
11,622 posts, read 11,514,673 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayorhaggar View Post
Fairfield? American Canyon? Generally if you go north that way or the further east you go from SF, the cheaper it gets.
Awesome. Thanks. Does it get any cheaper South?
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
527 posts, read 807,149 times
Reputation: 313
I would also check out Pleasant Hill & Walnut Creek as being middle grounds in terms of accessibility to SF, affordability, and decent school districts. There are definitely homes available in that price range, and not just shacks or fixer-uppers.

Real Estate Search | Redfin

Real Estate Search | Redfin

Utility bills tend to be lower, as the climate is mild for a good part of the year. Cars don't have a property tax, but you are responsible for paying registration fees yearly.
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