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Old 11-18-2008, 10:20 AM
 
Location: university city
337 posts, read 487,734 times
Reputation: 94

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i'm coming from philly, so if you have some philly area comparisons, that would be great. we're a early 30's couple. we'd prefer to not spend more than 400k on a home if thats possible. wed prefer that things nearby stay open later, but not a must. preferably within 1/2 hours drive of downtown SF. artsy with alot going on would be ideal. not particular on if its really urban or suburban, as long as its not a ghetto

thanks so much
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Bay Area, California
52 posts, read 117,973 times
Reputation: 29
First, you won't really get anything in San Francisco for $400k in an area that's artsy and not to ghetto. Not trying to burst your bubble, but just being honest.

Second, everything closes by 2 a.m. pretty much and outside the city things close earlier, and that is most likely where you would want to buy, so that you can get the most for your money.

You can get something outside of the city, but most likely it will be further than an 1/2 hour drive from downtown... and I'm assuming you mean during noncommute hours since a drive into the city during commute hours can be much longer than it is other times of the day.

Also, most people don't drive into work everyday (assuming you work here) opting instead to take BART or CalTrains. So, moving outside the city is totally feasible. Seems like 60% or more of my coworkers live outside of the city.

Please keep in mind the cost of living here is astronomical. People pay tons for rent and even though people keep saying it's a buyers market, things are still very expensive here relative to other places in the country. You are going to have to compromise for sure, but hopefull you will be able to find something that works for you and your family.

Good luck!
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Old 11-18-2008, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Reno, NV
1,140 posts, read 3,187,345 times
Reputation: 439
I think east bay would be the best for your money. I really think Alameda would be the best option. 400k won't get you much, but you could get a small starter home on the north side of the island.

Alameda has great schools, beautiful architecture, a nice beach, very walkable, it is a great place to raise kids, although you won't get much of a house. Here is a photo thread:

Alameda, CA a tiny quaint Island in the San Francisco Bay Area - SkyscraperPage Forum


Unfortunately 400k will not go very far in the bay area, you would probably have to look in the far east bay or even stockton to get a decent house.

Last edited by bigdave01; 11-18-2008 at 11:16 AM..
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Old 11-18-2008, 12:09 PM
 
Location: university city
337 posts, read 487,734 times
Reputation: 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by CAMademoiselle View Post
First, you won't really get anything in San Francisco for $400k in an area that's artsy and not to ghetto. Not trying to burst your bubble, but just being honest.

Second, everything closes by 2 a.m. pretty much and outside the city things close earlier, and that is most likely where you would want to buy, so that you can get the most for your money.

You can get something outside of the city, but most likely it will be further than an 1/2 hour drive from downtown... and I'm assuming you mean during noncommute hours since a drive into the city during commute hours can be much longer than it is other times of the day.

Also, most people don't drive into work everyday (assuming you work here) opting instead to take BART or CalTrains. So, moving outside the city is totally feasible. Seems like 60% or more of my coworkers live outside of the city.

Please keep in mind the cost of living here is astronomical. People pay tons for rent and even though people keep saying it's a buyers market, things are still very expensive here relative to other places in the country. You are going to have to compromise for sure, but hopefull you will be able to find something that works for you and your family.

Good luck!

fair nuff
i revise...instead of 30mins drive, as far out as BART/ public transportation goes

i knew i was not going to get all of those thing together
but i was hoping someone could show me different options of places that favor couplets of qualities i mentioned
thanks

Last edited by serpent_of_old; 11-18-2008 at 12:24 PM..
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Old 11-18-2008, 12:30 PM
 
456 posts, read 1,122,416 times
Reputation: 202
You might check out Oakland, which has a lot going for it these days. A couple of years ago, $400K wouldn't have gotten you much, but today there seem to be things in that price range in the decent neighborhoods (particularly if you don't need schools---if you do, the houses gets smaller at that price range in the good school zones, and are nonexistent for that price in the excellent school zones). My picks for artsy, not ghetto, and good SF commute areas would be near Lake Merritt (neighborhoods are Westlake, Adams Point, Haddon Hill, Ivy Hill, China Hill, Grand Lake) or potentially Uptown, which is an up-and-coming neighborhood that is fast becoming the home of Oakland's art and restaurant scene. (Uptown is almost all condos and townhouses, though---no single family homes there.) You might also get lucky in the Temescal neighborhood in that price range, though it might be a fixer-upper or smaller place. A little further out, there's the Dimond and Laurel Districts, which have homes in that price range plus better schools, if that matters. Both are up-and-coming residential bungalow neighborhoods with a less urban feel that seem to attract artsy types looking to settle down. Oakland has several BART stations and a number of Transbay buses that take you to downtown SF.
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Old 11-18-2008, 12:53 PM
 
Location: university city
337 posts, read 487,734 times
Reputation: 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by artemis78 View Post
You might check out Oakland, which has a lot going for it these days. A couple of years ago, $400K wouldn't have gotten you much, but today there seem to be things in that price range in the decent neighborhoods (particularly if you don't need schools---if you do, the houses gets smaller at that price range in the good school zones, and are nonexistent for that price in the excellent school zones). My picks for artsy, not ghetto, and good SF commute areas would be near Lake Merritt (neighborhoods are Westlake, Adams Point, Haddon Hill, Ivy Hill, China Hill, Grand Lake) or potentially Uptown, which is an up-and-coming neighborhood that is fast becoming the home of Oakland's art and restaurant scene. (Uptown is almost all condos and townhouses, though---no single family homes there.) You might also get lucky in the Temescal neighborhood in that price range, though it might be a fixer-upper or smaller place. A little further out, there's the Dimond and Laurel Districts, which have homes in that price range plus better schools, if that matters. Both are up-and-coming residential bungalow neighborhoods with a less urban feel that seem to attract artsy types looking to settle down. Oakland has several BART stations and a number of Transbay buses that take you to downtown SF.
wow
thanks for such a thorough breakdown!
i can take my hope off of life support now, really

Last edited by serpent_of_old; 11-18-2008 at 01:10 PM..
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Old 11-18-2008, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Reno, NV
1,140 posts, read 3,187,345 times
Reputation: 439
Oakland would definitely be great in your price range. There are some awesome neighborhoods, the main problem would be schools. I think there are some good elementary and middle schools but once you get to high school I believe it gets a lot worse.

But the Rockridge, Temescal, Piedmont, and Lake Merritt Neighborhoods of Oakland are beautiful and very inexpensive compared to a lot of the bay area.
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Old 11-18-2008, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, California
52 posts, read 117,973 times
Reputation: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by serpent_of_old View Post
fair nuff
i revise...instead of 30mins drive, as far out as BART/ public transportation goes

i knew i was not going to get all of those thing together
but i was hoping someone could show me different options of places that favor couplets of qualities i mentioned
thanks
Sorry, I was of little help. I live in San Francisco and my family all does as well.

East Bay is a good place to look. Vallejo and around there might work for you, although the commute is longer, but you can commute by ferry if you want! My cousin's had a very nice home in Pinole in a gated community and not far from the city.

You can also try the South Bay (Burlingame, South San Francisco, Redwood City, Daly City) for a cheaper place to buy.
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Old 11-18-2008, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
24,832 posts, read 28,857,456 times
Reputation: 11746
My mother is originally from Philadelphia, my dad's from Brooklyn, and all the kids were born in Maryland... we settled in San Mateo Park, which is a really nice place to raise a family. Not sure if $400K would get you anything there, but maybe in San Mateo Hills, San Carlos, Belmont or Millbrae you could find something decent. The north/mid-Peninsula (where all of these towns are located) has a lot to offer, including fabulous mild weather, outdoor activities, and some semblance of a "night life." Schools are also quite good, especially in the San Mateo and Burlingame school districts... if you did settle in SM, I'd try to live where they would attend Carey Elementary & Aragon or Hillsdale High. As for transportation into the city, you can either take CalTrain the whole way or transfer/drive to the BART station in Millbrae. Good luck!
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Northern California
3,480 posts, read 9,201,692 times
Reputation: 1475
Quote:
Originally Posted by serpent_of_old View Post
we'd prefer to not spend more than 400k on a home if thats possible.
$400K will get you a condo in most places but not a house within 30 minutes of San Francisco. You could probably get a house for that price about 30 - 40 miles east of the SF Bay Area.
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