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Old 09-04-2013, 03:33 PM
 
Location: oakland / berkeley
507 posts, read 810,022 times
Reputation: 403

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Hey everyone. My wife and I have been lurking/posting here for a while, and finally putting the gears into motion to relocate. I've accepted a position in Berkeley, and we'll be moving in a few months.

Most of our research to date had been on SF city proper neighborhoods, as I hadn't really considered the East Bay until I applied for this position. We've been to Berkeley twice together, and my wife and I loved it, but I want to keep an open mind about Oakland as well. We'll be coming out to look for a rental before the big move. Here are the parameters, and I'm looking for feedback and other options to consider.

We're 30, no kids (yet), professional couple. My wife is looking for positions in the East Bay (mostly seem to be in Oakland, Emeryville, Walnut Creek, San Ramon) and possibly downtown SF. Ideally, I'd like to ride my bike to my new job, even though it's on a fairly steep hill -- alternatively, I can take a shuttle bus from Downtown Berkeley or Rockridge BART (w or w/o bike as well). I would love something walkable and safe, easy access to SF via either BART or AC Transit -- both to enjoy the city, and also that my next job will likely be in SF (Mission Bay or SoMa). Looking for a well maintained 2 bedroom, budget is ~3k. Architecturally, we're both fans of "hard loft" converted-warehouse type spaces. This is basically our dream house although I'm wary of the neighborhood's reputation We also like craftsman and MCM-style houses. Eventually (soon) we'd like to buy a place, but could be difficult given the intense multiple-offer competition I see on redfin (apparently only all cash offers have any shot at being accepted??). We currently own our house in Houston, and enjoy DIY projects.

The neighborhoods we're currently considering, in rough order:

* Elmwood / Rockridge (probably too $ and limited availability)
* Ashby BART area
* North Berkeley BART area
* Southwest Berkeley (lofts <3 and Berkeley Bowl <3 )
* Berkeley Hills

In Oakland:

* Piedmont Ave.
* Jack London Square (nice symmetric commute to Berkeley and SF on BART is a big plus)
* Temescal? Uptown?
* Emeryville?

Thanks for reading. Can't wait to be in the Bay Area. My secret obsession: TRAINS.

Last edited by wooliemonster; 09-04-2013 at 04:40 PM..
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:07 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
86,124 posts, read 79,331,188 times
Reputation: 88532
Quote:
Originally Posted by wooliemonster View Post
Hey everyone. My wife and I have been lurking/posting here for a while, and finally putting the gears into motion to relocate. I've accepted a position in Berkeley, and we'll be moving in a few months.

Most of our research to date had been on SF city proper neighborhoods, as I hadn't really considered the East Bay until I applied for this position. We've been to Berkeley twice together, and my wife and I loved it, but I want to keep an open mind about Oakland as well. We'll be coming out to look for a rental before the big move. Here are the parameters, and I'm looking for feedback and other options to consider.

We're 30, no kids (yet), professional couple. My wife is looking for positions in the East Bay (mostly seem to be in Oakland, Emeryville, Walnut Creek, San Ramon) and possibly downtown SF. Ideally, I'd like to ride my bike to my new job, even though it's on a fairly steep hill -- alternatively, I can take a shuttle bus from Downtown Berkeley or Rockridge BART (w or w/o bike as well). I would love something walkable and safe, easy access to SF via either BART or AC Transit -- both to enjoy the city, and also that my next job will likely be in SF (Mission Bay or SoMa). Looking for a well maintained 2 bedroom, budget is ~3k. Architecturally, we're both fans of "hard loft" converted-warehouse type spaces. This is basically our dream house although I'm wary of the neighborhood's reputation We also like craftsman and MCM-style houses. Eventually (soon) we'd like to buy a place, but could be difficult given the intense multiple-offer competition I see on redfin (apparently only all cash offers have any shot at being accepted??). We currently own our house in Houston, and enjoy DIY projects.

The neighborhoods we're currently considering, in rough order:

* Elmwood / Rockridge (probably too $ and limited availability)
* Ashby BART area
* North Berkeley BART area
* Southwest Berkeley (lofts <3 and Berkeley Bowl <3 )
* Berkeley Hills

In Oakland:

* Piedmont Ave.
* Jack London Square (nice symmetric commute to Berkeley and SF on BART is a big plus)
* Temescal? Uptown?
* Emeryville?

Thanks for reading. Can't wait to be in the Bay Area. My secret obsession: TRAINS.
Nix to the Ashby BART area--high crime. Same with SW Berkeley. North Berkeley BART area is best east of Shattuck Ave. Better still is El Cerrito BART, which serves the northernmost part of Berkeley, which is beautiful, walkable, lots of shops and restaurants on Solano Avenue. AC Transit serves that BART station, and also goes to downtown Berkeley. Look in the neighborhoods around the eastern half of Solano.

Rockridge is Oakland, btw. There are gorgeous 2-br. craftsman 4-unit condos in Elmwood, very spacious, that might fit your budget. In the Berkeley hills you can sometimes find a nice house to rent within your budget. You have a good budget that will give you some great options. Start checking craigslist to get an idea of what your money will buy. Bear in mind that school just started at UC Berkeley, so there won't be as much availability, but in your price range, there should definitely be something. By the time you're ready to move, there will be more. I'm excited for you! Wish I had your budget to work with, for Berkeley rentals!
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:46 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,093 posts, read 31,831,658 times
Reputation: 28150
Well your ideal space is a little at the edge of walkable. I'd call that area transitional. Not terrible. Not great. I wouldn't want to walk around there on my own at night.

Grand Lake is out for you, since it doesn't have the housing type you like. But it is a great neighborhood other than the housing type. You should definitely poke around there.

In terms of the loft type spaces, most of them are not in walkable areas besides Jack London Square.

If you can give up a little bit on walkbaility, you might like this area: Oakland, South Kennedy Tract real estate overview - Trulia.com
I have a friend renting a loft over here. Good for biking/driving but not super walkable.

You might get lucky and find a spot here:
3900 Cerrito Ave, Oakland CA - Loft/Condo Directory - Caldecott Properties
Sign up for redfin and put it on your watch list, I see them on sale once in a while. There is also another building at the foot of Broadway/Piedmont Ave.

Also, you might find something in Pill Hill. Which is reasonably safe (a few dark streets here and there, but otherwise I feel fine walking around). Pill Hill Real Estate & Pill Hill Oakland Homes For Sale - Zillow
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:12 PM
 
Location: oakland / berkeley
507 posts, read 810,022 times
Reputation: 403
Ruth, thanks for the tip about Ashby BART area. While I'm very used to a neighborhood with a few rough edges, I'll take a close look at crime stats and walk around the area at night.

Jade, I'd seen a few interesting properties in the South Kennedy Tract area (new/renovated lofts), but was under the impression anything East of Lake Merritt became sketchy quickly. I'll make sure to put it on my tour, though.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:37 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
86,124 posts, read 79,331,188 times
Reputation: 88532
Quote:
Originally Posted by wooliemonster View Post
Ruth, thanks for the tip about Ashby BART area. While I'm very used to a neighborhood with a few rough edges, I'll take a close look at crime stats and walk around the area at night.
I've spoken to people who live in the area, and they say, "don't do it". The area around Alcatraz and Adeleine has some huge craftsman-style apartments at great prices, but again--crime. Break-ins are common. Remember, it's not just you that's moving into the area, your wife will be there, too, and you don't want her having any unpleasant surprises when she's walking home from BART at night, or when she's home alone.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:30 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,093 posts, read 31,831,658 times
Reputation: 28150
Quote:
Originally Posted by wooliemonster View Post
Ruth, thanks for the tip about Ashby BART area. While I'm very used to a neighborhood with a few rough edges, I'll take a close look at crime stats and walk around the area at night.

Jade, I'd seen a few interesting properties in the South Kennedy Tract area (new/renovated lofts), but was under the impression anything East of Lake Merritt became sketchy quickly. I'll make sure to put it on my tour, though.
That area is transitional. And more sketchy because it is surrounded by industrial in various states of current use vs sketchy because there is lots of crime. I have a few friends who live there happily. As for east of the lake? There are plenty of nice areas. Not as many walkable ones. Mostly single family homes over there.

That is likely the next up and coming area. Jingletown is the new domain for arty types.
http://jingletown.org/



On an autocorrecting iDevice.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:38 AM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 11,904,583 times
Reputation: 2947
Lots of craftsman homes in Rockridge. Before the current tech boom you could probably get a 2br for around 550,000 and up. Dunno what they're going for now.

Elmwood is horribly expensive considering it's not really any different from Rockridge.

NW Berkeley has a lot of loft stuff around 4th street.

Obviously lofts tend to be built in former factory/warehouse spaces, and those neighborhoods tend to be either remote or borderline crappy. The ones that are in neighborhoods that are now established and fairly safe, like SOMA in SF, are really expensive due to demand. The trick is to buy one in a crappy neighborhood and hope it turns out well in 20 years, but that's a tough gamble.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:43 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
86,124 posts, read 79,331,188 times
Reputation: 88532
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayorhaggar View Post
Lots of craftsman homes in Rockridge. Before the current tech boom you could probably get a 2br for around 550,000 and up. Dunno what they're going for now.

Elmwood is horribly expensive considering it's not really any different from Rockridge.
They're renting, not buying. You can get a good 2-br. in Rockridge for $1500, but for more money, you can get a nicer one in Elmwood. OP has a good budget to work with, he'll have plenty of choice in terms of space, style, location.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:59 PM
 
Location: Liminal Space
1,023 posts, read 1,326,756 times
Reputation: 1303
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
They're renting, not buying. You can get a good 2-br. in Rockridge for $1500, but for more money, you can get a nicer one in Elmwood. OP has a good budget to work with, he'll have plenty of choice in terms of space, style, location.
You can't get a 2-br in Rockridge for $1500. More like $2000 and up.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:14 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 11,904,583 times
Reputation: 2947
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
They're renting, not buying. You can get a good 2-br. in Rockridge for $1500, but for more money, you can get a nicer one in Elmwood. OP has a good budget to work with, he'll have plenty of choice in terms of space, style, location.
mod cut OP mentioned he/she'd like to buy one day, I was just giving an idea of what prices were fairly recently, though I'm sure they've gone up a bit--he/she can check. I'm not familiar with the current RR rental market and (ahem) didn't want to give outdated rental prices.

Last edited by Sam I Am; 09-06-2013 at 03:22 AM..
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