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Old 07-25-2018, 01:00 PM
 
8 posts, read 11,715 times
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Hello Everyone, I remember making my first thread on here regarding moving to Napa. Now the time has come to move and I may have narrowed it down to Santa Rosa, CA or Richmond, CA. My base salary will be ~170k so after Uncle Sam takes his portion and pay student loans im looking at about 7-8k a month. Im torn between idealistic 'rural' living that Santa Rosa may offer but also tend to venture out to SF/Oakland a few times a month.

I know Richmond is not the best place in the Bay area (to say the least) but would a commute from Berkeley or Oakland be terrible? I also drove by El Sobrante and it does have a rural feel to it and housing prices do not seem too crazy (yet??). So it seems to me like spending my younger years in a big city then eventually buying property in El Sobrante to live my rural house dreams seems possible.

I've only been to Santa Rosa once and it just seemed like an average city (albeit with terrible traffic; did it grow to fast??). Pricing seems just as expensive or more than Richmond, CA. Enjoyed Napa County even though it was a bit sleepy.

Excuse my rambling but wondering about 1) Best place to live near Richmond, CA without a crazy commute for a 26 year old for a city feel (basically stuff to do if I want it) 2) General opinions on Santa Rosa, CA and Richmond, CA (COL, demographics, safety, ec; I did do a search but extra opinions are welcome)
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Old 07-25-2018, 02:31 PM
 
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commuting between oakland and richmond is easily doable.
commute wise the area designated NOBE (north oakland,berkeley ,emeryville) would allow you to skip the maze making your commute shorter by around 20 minutes vs grand lake, jack london square or rockridge
the maze is where 3 freeways converge on the bay bridge
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Old 07-25-2018, 03:13 PM
 
Location: California
1,223 posts, read 1,186,342 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssmaster View Post
commuting between oakland and richmond is easily doable.
commute wise the area designated NOBE (north oakland,berkeley ,emeryville) would allow you to skip the maze making your commute shorter by around 20 minutes vs grand lake, jack london square or rockridge
the maze is where 3 freeways converge on the bay bridge
This. You could even reverse commute with Bart, depending on where your job is.
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Old 07-25-2018, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Middle of the valley
37,460 posts, read 23,529,475 times
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I grew up in Santa Rosa, and go back and visit at least once a year.

It is "quasi" rural, lots of stuff to do, good restaurants, etc.

I have no idea about the commute, but what do you like to do in your free time.

I would rent until you figure out the ideal combo.
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Old 07-25-2018, 03:23 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
85,782 posts, read 79,070,115 times
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OP, if your job is in Richmond, IMO you should buy (not rent) in east Richmond, in the hills. You should grab a piece of RE NOW, because that market has begun to take off, as one of the last semi-affordable areas of the Inner East Bay. Act now, or you'll never get such an opportunity again. You'll be making enough, that you could afford it, IF you go for it ASAP. Even as we speak, some properties in the east Richmond area are being ridiculously overbid above listing price, as people scramble to get that precious toehold on E Bay property.

Also: are you aware that the Santa Rosa area just had a huge, devastating fire? Go for Richmond. SE Richmond, bordering El Cerrito, will be a little pricier than the rest of that area, but it will give you proximity to easy El Cerrito and Berkeley shopping districts, restaurants, and the Berkeley "scene". Check out RE listings, just to get an idea, and bear in mind that listing price =/= selling price. Look up some "sold" listings, too. You're very fortunate to have that salary. Make the most of the opportunity it offers.
https://www.trulia.com/p/ca/richmond...05--2356589283

Last edited by Ruth4Truth; 07-25-2018 at 03:39 PM..
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Old 07-25-2018, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Piedmont, CA/São Paulo, Brazil
33,657 posts, read 58,007,734 times
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From El Sobrante, take San Pablo Dam Rd to Orinda then take Hy 24 to Oakland/ Berkeley. There is a jam during normal commute times tho but still better than 80.

You can also take a windy shortcut over the hill into Berkeley...

El Sobrante is very middle class, rather quiet, interestingly has a seedy element at it's main retail strip but nothing too bad.

It's very scenic with views of the hills and bay/marin from some higher elevations, and its a gentle kiss warmer than coastal Richmond, San Pablo but very nice weather.

The population is extremely diverse racially and socioeconomically.

I have a horse property there that my parents have sort of claimed as our family homestead-theyre retired and I dont mind letting them play Little House on the Prarie lol
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Old 07-25-2018, 04:39 PM
 
Location: Richmond, CA
875 posts, read 701,769 times
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OP, would you still be commuting to Napa?

Santa Rosa is a pretty bland town, with the only really noteworthy neighborhood being north of downtown near the junior college. It suffered greatly from October's wildfire, so prices are high and housing stock (rental or otherwise) is extremely limited. There are a few fun restaurants, breweries, etc., but there's a lot of riff-raff passing through town on their way to the marijuana growing fields in Mendocino and Humboldt. Downtown is pretty dingy, to be perfectly honest. Pretty easy spot to get some meth, though.

Richmond is a working-class town with an underrated shoreline. There aren't really any noteworthy restaurants to be had, but there are a couple breweries and all the food and fun you could crave is a short trek away in Oakland or Berkeley. Downtown Richmond would never earn any awards, but it isn't nearly as disgusting as downtown Santa Rosa. It's mostly residential, really. You would want to reside in one of the nicer neighborhoods most likely, such as North and East. Easy freeway access to I-80, which would make the commute to Napa tolerable. There are still parts of Richmond that aren't particularly safe, but you probably wouldn't end up living in them anyway (North Richmond, Iron Triangle, etc.).

El Sobrante is a good option if you want to go straight to a more rural-style suburban community. It's pretty close to Oakland and Berkeley in a sense, but it feels far away because of the constant traffic congestion on I-80. If you end up making friends with folks who live in the SF/Oakland/Berkeley triangle, they'll never come to El Sobrante to visit. Even Richmond is pushing your luck.

If you want to consider another town in Sonoma County, I suggest looking into Petaluma. The west side of town has a lot of character, and there are restaurants, bars, etc. Much more of a cultural destination than Santa Rosa, one could argue. It's safe too, with none of that riff-raff I mentioned earlier.

Last edited by davdaven; 07-25-2018 at 04:48 PM..
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Old 07-25-2018, 05:29 PM
 
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you are 26 with a decent income. you don't want to be in the burbs with 30+ year old divorce person with 2 kids.
NOBE.
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Old 07-25-2018, 06:01 PM
 
8 posts, read 11,715 times
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Thanks everyone for the quick and thoughtful replies! I've never lived in a 'big city' hence the apprehension to moving to one although I have always enjoyed visiting and my brother who lives in San Francisco. I'm just paying so little for rent $1k that $2k rents seem like a lot even on my salary (I know Bay Area prices; I'll get used to them I'm told). I have caught some tidbits of information regarding buying property in Richmond or even Vallejo but I would have to do more research. I am completely aware of the fires in Santa Rosa since even Napa had them (I had to evacuate).

To answer some questions
1) Free time? I think typical mid 20's hobbies (drink, eat, music-have guitar, gym, volunteer) but also have a motorcycle and a truck for camping
2) I will not have to commute to Napa once I make my decision apart from picking up a few orders of wine
3) I actually checked out Petaluma a few days ago. I remember driving through it as a kid and totally thought it was just another cow-town (SF housing probably pushed people out there and thus now its a bit livelier). Thought it was 'quaint' and had a artsy feel to downtown. Also relatively 'close' to SF on a good day

I do agree with the last post regarding city living in my 20's rather than living in a more suburban-family oriented place. As of now I'm leaning towards the Richmond position. I appreciate the info regarding El Sobrante as perhaps in the waay future I can live out there away from the hustle and bustle. Ill have to hang out in the East Bay this weekend and visit Santa Rosa one more time to cement-in my decision.
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Old 07-25-2018, 11:37 PM
 
Location: Living rent free in your head
36,247 posts, read 16,866,273 times
Reputation: 26791
Check out Point Richmond if you get a chance.
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