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Old 07-14-2018, 09:04 PM
3 posts, read 3,377 times
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Hi Everyone,

I currently live abroad but seriously considering moving to the Bay Area. An acquaintance is thinking of putting her house on the market in fall and I am strongly considering buying it off her as I love the house (based on pictures I have seen) and think it could be (potentially) a great investment. I would obviously visit the house and the area several times before purchasing anything, and there would even be the possiility to rent the property out for a few months, but I had a few questions before that to know if it would be even worth considering.

The house is located in Mariposa Ave (Oakland), I have been to SF many times before but never Oakland, so know nothing about the area really. Obviously I know that Oakland doesn't have the best reputation though I am also very much aware that things have gotten better in recent years. Safety is important for me as I have spent some time in places like Johannesburg and Cape Town where walking in the street is an invitation to get mugged or shot (or both!) and the only way to feel "safe" is by locking yourself into an electric fenced house with bars on every window and prison door at the entrace. Being there felt like walking on eggshells at all time and I hated every second of it so wouldn't want to have this type of experience again.

For info I am a young mixed-race non-heterosexual woman so being in a diverse and open-minded city where I can be myself is important. So is Oakland the place for me? is the area around Mariposa Ave relatively safe? I currently live in Europe where public transportation is amazing and where I can safely walk to most places and I enjoy walking a lot so being able to walk in my neighbourhood is important for me, from what I read on here it seems like Oakland also have pretty good public transportation and is walkable (lived in a small town in Florida a few years back where public transportation wasn't a thing and sidewalks barely existed so I know how rare walkable cities are in the US hence me wanting to relocate near SF instead)

Overall the bay area seems like the perfect area to settle for a bit in terms of what I am looking for, just not sure about Oakland as I have never been so would love to hear from locals about life there (weather, night life, safety, gay scene etc...) as nothing beats a local point of view.

I know how overpriced the bay area is and I have (reluctantly) made peace with that so mostly looking forward to hear if Oakland would suit what I am looking for/my profile.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the massive essay, I just wanted to give as much details as possible as not to drip-feed.
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:50 PM
Location: State of Transition
80,940 posts, read 73,997,511 times
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The street is just outside of a wealthy enclave in Oakland, that's very safe. Just for your information, not all of Oakland has a bad reputation. There are some well-to-do neighborhoods there, as in any city.

Last edited by Ruth4Truth; 07-14-2018 at 10:00 PM..
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:59 PM
4,694 posts, read 2,064,127 times
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I live very close to this location. It is not an area where bars on the windows are necessary. Street robberies may happen but are rare. I wouldn't worry too much about that issue. It's a lovely area. I'm guessing this is a million dollar or close to it property unless it is a condo and that will be $450k+ then for a 1 bedroom.

The subway is about a mile away (MacArthur BART) but there are buses and carpools into San Francisco if you need that. Very walk-able area for basics like grocery. It's gay friendly here. Pretty much anywhere you go - it doesn't matter. This is a very diverse area where judgement is rare (unless you support the current President). Lots of different people from around the world and all orientations. It is very liberal and progressive here. The bad reputation is only true in some areas. Bottom line: it is a nice area but you will have to determine that on your own when you visit. Good luck
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Old 07-15-2018, 08:06 AM
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The Grand Lake area isn't perfect, but it sounds nothing like your description of Johannesburg. I'm not sure anything that bad even exists in the worst parts of Oakland, and there are some bad parts. Grand lake is pretty nice, very vibrant, diverse, and reasonably safe. Weather is wonderful compared to SF. Not much night life except for restaurants and bars, but there are other options in Uptown for that. Lots of gay people live in Oakland, but there isn't much of a gay scene per second; however, there are lots of ***** women to be found out you get involved in activities. Political activism tends to be a big thing in Oakland if you like that.

Here is an idea of the Grand Lake vibe:

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Old 07-15-2018, 09:11 AM
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Thanks everyone for the info and the pics, that's really helpful!

Sorry if my OP came across as painting Oakland like a potential ghetto, it wasn't my intention as I am of course very aware that all cities have their good and bad spots. I think my bad experience in SA has affected me and really made me realize how paramount safety and feeling safe where you live is for me, living in places similar to Johannesurg where walking is mostly a no-go and where every place has signs saying you enter at your own risk isn't the type of environment I want to live in and I am glad Oakland is apparently not like that at all and is just suffering a bad rep due to some bad areas.

The pics looks gorgeous really and I am very pleased to hear it's a very liberal city!

I know Oakland property prices are very similar to the one's of SF, but I was wondering about daily life expenses. Is it as expensive to eat out, go to the gym, hairdresser etc... and buy things in Oakland as it is in SF? Or are those expenses also slightly less expensive in Oakland than they are in SF ? Is there also some monthly/yearly transportation passes that gives you access to both Oakland transportation system and SF transportation system?

Just trying to figure out more or less how much of a monthly budget I would have to allocate to public transportations/phone/gym/outings and entertainment on top of my bills etc... to have a global picture of how much life in the bay area/oakland is as I know people earning circa 100 000 a year are almost considered "low earners" in the bay area.
So I am curious to hear how much people living in Oakland spend on those things monthly (considering I won't have to commute daily to SF)?

Thanks a lot for all the precious informations, they are really helping me out!
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Old 07-15-2018, 12:43 PM
Location: The High Seas
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If you have the wherewithal to even consider buying a house in the SF Bay Area, you won't need to worry about the prices of anything else.
Compared to certain cities in Europe (let's say Paris or London), you'll find things much cheaper in Oakland.
I found this website that does price comparisons: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living
Not sure about its accuracy though.
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Old 07-15-2018, 02:15 PM
24 posts, read 16,939 times
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Originally Posted by Melimelo123 View Post

I know Oakland property prices are very similar to the one's of SF, but I was wondering about daily life expenses. Is it as expensive to eat out, go to the gym, hairdresser etc... and buy things in Oakland as it is in SF? Or are those expenses also slightly less expensive in Oakland than they are in SF ? Is there also some monthly/yearly transportation passes that gives you access to both Oakland transportation system and SF transportation system?
In my experience its just as expensive to eat out, visit a hairdresser and go to the gym as SF. The nice parts of oakland have similar restaurants and coffee shops to the nice parts of SF. For instance, the coffee shop that I like is a local chain with lots of spots around the bay area. It sells a tiny coffee for around $4, pastry also costs around $4 and tip is also expected (so around $9 if you want coffee and a pastry). There is a food tent we like to frequent at the farmers market that charged $13 for a wrap. They just raised their prices to $15 because they said they wanted to provide good wages to their workers. My husband wanted to go to Crossfit nearby. Budget at least $200 for that (if that's your thing). I tried to get a monthly pass for a places that covers normal fitness classes as well as pilates reformer and that was $350 a month. I decided I'd rather just walk around for fitness and my husband bicycles and uses a free pull up bar in Chinatown rather than pay those prices.

With that being said, we are clearly going to places that are catering to a certain group of folks who are willing to pay high prices. We try not to do it excessively so we feel ok indulging once in awhile. We walked to Chinatown the other day and we found $1 or less for yummy pastries and the produce also looked really cheap. I'm sure you can find budget spots for many of your needs but you may have to look outside the obvious options and likely outside of that neighborhood. A friend of mine goes to Planet Fitness in East Oakland and she says its really cheap and she likes it (although to be honest I'm not sure how often she goes). She also found some boxing gym out there that she was going to for awhile for a personal trainer and I think it was much cheaper than you would find downtown. As a side note since you said you were worried about safety the places she is going are not unsafe they are just outside of the downtown/lake area and would require a car.

As for transit, Bart works in Sf and Oakland but you pay by the ride (not a monthly pass) There is a discount if you buy a large value ticket at one time. AC Transit runs a bus system in the East Bay (where Oakland is) and SF Muni is the transit system in SF. You can buy monthly passes for both and for AC transit I saw an option where you pay more to use the transbay busses (which go into SF and typically used for commuters). That being said, once you get into SF if you wanted to use Muni I'm thinking you would have to pay for that but other folks probably know more.

A Clipper card will allow you to pay for all these things but won't give you a discount. It just makes it easier so you don't always have to carry cash around. If you load a "cash" balance you can use it on all transit systems just like cash.
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Old 07-15-2018, 02:54 PM
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Gym membership monthly fee: SF Fitness $50, YMCA $79, 24 hour $40ish?, Planet Fitness $10, Active Sport $105. The small gyms like Crossfit as explained above are going to cost more.

Clipper Card - put cash on it and it works on ALL public transport in Bay Area (including ferry service). Can hold passes and gives discounts for some transport in order to encourage use.

Food- depends on if you cook most meals or go out and how much you eat. Cook at home obviously cheaper. Good deals at farmers markets which there is one somewhere every day. I know lunches cost about $15 for a sandwich. Beer is around $7, cocktail is $15. But, hole in the wall, old bars cheaper.

Electricity can be low. Don't need to use heater very often and no a/c. Not having a car will cut back on expenses. Take Uber or Lyft if you can't walk or bike.
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Old 07-15-2018, 07:23 PM
Location: Oakland, CA
27,330 posts, read 30,522,587 times
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I’d chime in that transit in Grand Lake isn’t great, but all of the important things are really walkable. You don’t get a lot of bus options, so you may walk a bit further or bike. But its pretty safe, and lots of people are out and about. You need basic urban common sense and serious crime is really rare.
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:58 PM
3 posts, read 3,377 times
Reputation: 20
Thanks so much for all the detailed information, so helpful!

Glad I bumped into this forum!

I think I'll take the leap and will rent out the property for a bit once the current tenants move out in the fall so I can check out the area before making any long-term plan/purchase but from what you have all said, I will love it there which is reassuring!
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