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Old 07-07-2011, 06:03 PM
 
18 posts, read 18,599 times
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After 12 years in Boston, my husband (orig., UK) and I (orig., Colorado) sold the house, packed up and moved to California. We're renting near friends in Rocklin (too bloomin' hot!) and thinking we might move to Santa Rosa. Our reasoning is we like being a reasonable distance from the airport and facilities of San Francisco, but we like a little space.

Therein lies the rub. We like space, and one of the reasons we left Boston is so we could spend more time outside. But when we went house-hunting this past weekend, we were shocked that the houses are all right on top of each other.

Does anyone know of neighborhoods with a half or even three-quarters of an acre? Actually, since we both work from home and value space, I wouldn't mind living a bit outside of town. We're in the $600-700k range.

Suggestions?
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Old 07-07-2011, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Northern California
61 posts, read 56,902 times
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You can find quite a few houses with that acreage in your price range in Santa Rosa's outskirts. Did a search on Trulia and found:

3857 Holland Drive
5468 Alta Monte
4021 Slate Court

The houses are all are well over 2000 sq ft. You can get acreage in Healdsburg, but I think the square footage will be less. Penngrove is another possibility, but it is a lot further out.

Hope that helps!
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Old 07-08-2011, 10:45 PM
 
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Default Good point!

Thanks for the feedback and for trolling through listings. Based on yards alone, those are gorgeous. But i'm glad you posted them, because it made me remember a critical factor: age. A couple of those were 50-year-old houses, which have issues. Anyone know of new-ish developments with yards?
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:07 AM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
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I don't think you'll find new developments that have big yards and are close in. Developers long ago decided that most people want more house instead of more land and build the largest homes on the smallest lots they can get away with.

One of the realaporn sites I like is Redfin which has a nice wide area map based search focused on the criteria of your choice. You can easily limit it to houses on a minimum of half an acre, under $700k, and built after, for example, 2000. That search by the way only turned up about 35 houses in the greater Bay Area. If you can drop the newness requirement you'll have a lot more options.
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:42 AM
 
Location: South Korea
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I've seen newish houses around Sebastopol that were on pretty big lots, but out there you're really living out in the sticks. Also in the hills around Santa Cruz there's a lot of big new houses out in the woods, like around Bonny Doon, dunno if that is too far south. It's all going to depend on your budget and how remote you want to be.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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Thanks, everyone, for the feedback. We're slowly getting used the the fact most new developments are squeezed in on each other, so we're relaxing our new-house requirement. Also relaxing our Santa Rosa requirement, which was a loose requirement at best. I've figured that if I'm going to sacrifice a backyard, I'll do it in Palo Alto or on the shore or somewhere really stunning.

I really don't mind being in the sticks (I kind of want to be in the sticks), so we've broadened our search to the outskirts of Sonoma, which is very pretty. Also checked out Petaluma and its nice downtown.

Not knowing the area, it's tough to know where to hunt in earnest, so I'm glad to know about the hills around Santa Cruz. It's not too far south; just farther south than I'd actually traveled. I'll check out Bonny Doon (sure sounds like Brigadoon).

FYI, our budget is $600-700k, I don't mind being remote as long as I have high-speed wireless and don't rely on a well.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImRandy View Post
One of the realaporn sites I like is Redfin which has a nice wide area map based search focused on the criteria of your choice.
I totally agree about Redfin!
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:05 PM
 
Location: South Korea
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Not to be snotty, but the Bay Area is one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country, with a lot of densely populated areas. Most suburban areas that have been built up in around the last 30 years are on a half acre of land, or whatever is common in the US now (a quarter acre? I can't remember), they aren't "right on top of one another." But if you go to SF then yes they are literally touching one another, and in Oakland they are on small lots too often with just a few feet in between houses. You will have to go out into the sticks to find bigger lots and the closer you are to SF or Silicon Valley, the more of a premium you'll pay.

South Marin will have houses on big lots on winding roads up in the hills but you'll easily pay a million bucks for that lifestyle. Northern Marin, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Co and Contra Costa County are probably the best bet. Really there are a lot of heavily wooded areas with houses spread out with large distances between one another all around the Bay Area, they're just tough to get to compared with living near downtown Walnut Creek or whatever.

I lived in Bonny Doon for a time, we had high speed internet and I'm pretty sure we didn't have well water, but it's definitely the sticks. From what I remember it was a mix of mansion-esque houses and ranch-style houses, generally on pretty big lots.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:59 AM
 
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Thanks for the info, mayorhaggar. That's a good overview and helps me focus my online searches. Luckily, the sticks is OK with me.

The Bay Area is definitely populous, as is Boston where we're coming from. We don't have so many new sub-developments in MA to compare with, but the new ones out West have a lot of houses on tiny lots, which I'm not used to seeing around Boston, unless you're right in the city where "lots" isn't even a term I'd use. "Balcony with plants" might be a fair substitution for the city, if you're lucky.

If only I had a couple more million to put into this hunt, I'd be in good shape. That really opens up your options, doesn't it?

Thanks, everyone!
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:00 PM
 
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If you haven't noticed already, you can sort by acreage on Redfin. There are 20 results in SR under $700,000 and 1/2 acre or greater. You should also be able to find something in the Russian River towns if you don't mind the boonies (Guerneville and environs). Here's an example:

14477 Southern Ave, Guerneville, CA 95446 | MLS# 21105868
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