Moving to SF in early July from NY area, please give me advice (San Jose: real estate, apartments)
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Moving to SF in early July from NY area, please give me advice
Hello, everybody. I'm moving to San Francisco (got a job in the Bay Area) when I graduate this May. My budget for an apartment is $900-$1100, give or take a little bit in either direction (and cheaper is better). I'm fine with living in a studio apartment, as long as it's not minuscule (i.e. I can fit a double bed and have space for a small couch/tv set-up) and has a full working kitchen. I've had bad experiences with roommates, so I'm pretty committed to getting my own place.
I've been scouring around for info on how to find a place (Craigslist seems to be the way) and what neighborhoods are best, but I wanted to ask real people directly.
My ideal situation would be to find a place in a moderately quiet area (so not in the middle of whatever SF's big shopping/touristy districts are). I'm really into food, so somewhere with lots of restaurants would be awesome. And somewhere that's safe to walk around at night, with good public transportation links since I don't have a car. I also like old buildings with lots of character, which I know San Francisco has a lot of. I also don't really know anyone in the Bay Area, so a neighborhood with a younger crowd would be nice. Forgive me if all or most of my requirements are obvious or ubiquitous in SF. I really know nothing about the city.
I'm much more familiar with NYC, and in that city I'd be happy to live in Brooklyn, the neighborhoods closer to the city (Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights), or in Jersey City/Hoboken. I'm not sure if there are equivalents in SF, but basically I don't mind being a bit out of the major action, as long as I live in a neighborhood with its own central commercial area that has mostly everything I need -- and fairly quick access to whatever the equivalent of Manhattan is in San Francisco (if there is one?).
So, if you could suggest neighborhoods to definitely consider and neighborhoods to definitely avoid (in my price range), I'd be very grateful.
Also, for a move-in date in the beginning of July, when should I fly out to start looking at places?
Any other tips or bits of advice for a first-time apartment hunter are welcome. Thank you!
Where will you be working? Are you planning to use public transportation to get to & from work? (A job in bay area is a large geographic area :-) ) It would help with recommendations.
It's a great foodie town, I am sure you will love it here no matter where you end up living.
Google -- they have a shuttle service with stops basically all over the city, mostly clustered in the central area (from the edge of Golden Gate park to the Embarcadero down to the Mission/Noe Valley), with a couple more up by Marina/North Beach. There are also stops by Inner Richmond and Inner Sunset, and Glen Park.
If you are working in MTV, some routes to the East Bay run as often (and take as long) as some routes to SF. There are also routes to south bay, peninsula cities. So it gives you some more neighborhood options. Route frequency depends on the demand for a particular neighborhood. So while there are plenty of stops, some are on routes that only have 2 departures/returns a day..spaced 2 hrs apart. Keep that in mind in on your search. Some job functions have more time flexibility and/or time demand then others.
See if your HR rep is willing to give you a copy of the schedule.
I think you will notice certain areas that have frequent routes...also have higher rent. Some apt ads even boast about being near stops.
You should probably fly out in early June to find a place for early July.
You're working at Google but you can only afford 900-1100 in rent? Ok...Well you're not going to find many studios in good parts of SF for less than $1000, most are 1000 to 1200. You will see many for 800-950 in the Tenderloin but you should avoid that area unless you like junkies, gang shootings and masses of homeless people sleeping on your building's doorstep. You will sometimes see studios for less than 1000 in nice parts of SF but they're really rare and hard to get because every young person in SF will be trying to snap it up at the apartment viewing. You will not realistically see any 1br's within SF for less than $1350-1400. Sometimes you see some for less but pretty rarely and they'll get snapped up fast, most will be 1400 or more.
I'm assuming you're working in Mountain View, if you were working in SF I'd recommend the East Bay, like Oakland where you can get a studio for $700 to $850 or less or a 1br for $800 to $1100--prices are all over the map in
In any case I would look at places that would be near the shuttle stops...Noe Valley and the Mission would be great to live in without a car. Be sure to stay west of Mission Street to avoid grime and crime.
Also be prepared for a possibly tough apartment search but if you're used to looking for places in the NYC area you should do ok, just be assertive if you see a place you like, real estate is always in demand and nice places can get snapped up fast if you don't act. But try and get a feel for the market and see how desperate you have to be--the recession is still bad here so it might be easy, but it might also be hard, I've heard differing things from people looking for low-rent places in SF recently, some say it's easier, some say it's just as hard as ever.
To the OP, I highly suggest you do not tell people where you will be working in public internet forums. If you said mountain view & shuttles from SF, most people can guess anyways. People tend to make assumptions, like what you can afford etc. There are other reasons too.
In the safe areas near the shuttle stops, you are looking at $1500 minimum (and very rare) for a 1 bedroom. Studios don't come up often in those areas. Most people in your age group, who lives in the city and take the shuttles have roommates or SO.
East Bay is still doable...as I said before, some of the shuttles take the same amount of time as from northern parts of SF.
Avoid citiapartments/Greg's apartment/first apartment or whatever their name is this week. Just search for it and you will see why.
San Jose itself doesn't seem as expensive as some parts of Silicon Valley like Palo Alto and Cupertino, but it's still pretty expensive and not much less than San Francisco. You would want a car in SJ. It's basically a giant suburban blob along with the rest of the South Bay. Some parts like downtown SJ would be walkable but to get out of those areas you'd want a car. You'd probably find it hard to get out of wherever you'd end up and not get out much, it's just boring suburban sprawl with not a lot going on. Oakland kind of sucks for local public transit but BART is pretty handy and reliable and it's easy to get around on a bike because everything is fairly dense and while it's a little sprawly the most interesting and useful part of the Bay Area (Berkeley to Oakland to Alameda, I'd say) is pretty small and accesible by bike, and if you need to go further out you can take your bike on BART.
Studios in Oakland vary in price, seems like they'd start around $750 somewhere cheap and nice like Adam's Point, and around $850 in Rockridge. A 1 bedroom would start at $850 in Adam's Point and be more like $1100 and up in Rockridge. Other nice parts of Oakland would vary between those price points. Start with those areas and see what is convenient to the shuttles.
Thank you so much for the detailed info. I'm so glad to have an idea of where to start looking in Oakland--that might be the right solution for me.
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