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So we have decided to move my 4 kids (ages 12 and under) and my wife/myself to Silicon Valley "area". I have a start-up business that is heating up and we have been mulling a move to the west coast for some time.
We are trying to figure out what area will suit us. Here are some specifics, really appreciate your feedback and help!
1.) I have another business that gives me sufficient income (about $175k/annually) which has allowed us to live comfortably in Northern Ohio, but I realize isnt going to get us very far in this area. Still, we hope our fortunes will improve, and the prospect of working remotely in a different time zone (2pm in cali will be 5pm, quitting time where my business is) will allow me some additional daylight to focus on my start-up.
2.) We would be removing regardless of the start-up, though that has helped us to decide on San Fran and the Valley rather than LA or San Diego.
3.) We will be renting, out here you get 4,000sf, a modern kitchen/bathroom and 4 or 5 bedrooms for $2500 to $3000. I realize that is double or triple in the bay area from looking online, so we are wondering what surrounding cities might give us all something closer to what we are used to.
4.) We are in the process of getting an "Au Pair" to live-in and help with the kids, our youngest goes to day care and I have been looking in to montessori schools for everyone, since public schools dont seem to be doing well anywhere I read online in this area.
5.) Originally I thought we would look in San Jose or Cupertino, so I am wondering (now that I see these arent the best area) what others would recommend. Where is the start-up scene and with traffic how far out is reasonable to commute there. I plan on getting on office and networking to find additional software/developer talent this fall as our initial product is ready for launch.
We all realize it is going to be a change, but we are oh so tired of the people and weather in Ohio. Lots of bad attitudes and there really just isnt anything to do out here except eat out.
3. 4000sqft is considered huge in this area, for that little budget I'm afraid you may have to go to Brentwood or Tracy.
5. The biggest start-up scene is in Palo Alto, downtown, followed by Mountain View, downtown, followed by San Francisco, SoMA near Market St or Mission St. Reasonable is a subjective word, when would you be traveling to the office. Note these are also very very expensive office markets.
Might want to check out the East Bay, especially Fremont, for locating your start up. Much lower office costs and decent commute for many who you may employ. I also see some start ups around Berkeley and Emeryville. Low costs there too however crime is a bit worse than Fremont.
Honestly my top priority is my family, not the start-up. I want to try to stay close to our comfort zone.
We could easily afford to spend a lot more on a home but I figure our first year in we should be conservative and get a feel for all the areas. We moved before to Florida and by the time we hit year two it was a different ballpark than the maps we spent months lookin at while home shopping.
Is it better to be out east of oak wood for family life or does anyone have any other suggestions? I really appreciate the input!
You present an interesting situation. First the good news - 175K is sufficient to live quite comfortably in the Bay Area. Now the bad news. Unless you go WAY out your $2500/mo isn't going to get you much.
You mention a start up. I'm not part of a start up myself, but from what I've seen, the reason people move to the Bay Area for their start-ups is because they realize a huge amount of building a tech start-up is networking of various types. With potential employees, with mentors, with potential investors. To do that networking, it helps to be in the "center of gravity" and Silicon Valley is that center of gravity. That means you are going to want to spend a lot of time in the Valley, and possibly ultimately get office space there.
Now then, my concern is, you are really not going to get the advantage of the "center of gravity" if you live somewhere like Brentwood. Realize that is something like a 2hr commute EACH WAY at peak times to Mountain View/Palo Alto. It's over an hour each way with no traffic. That's utterly horrible with a 9-5 job; I think it's borderline impossible with a startup lifestyle.
Bottom line, if you want to be in tech central and actually get the advantages of that, you're going to want to live closer, and that means upping your budget and lowering your expectations. Just as an example, my rent is 2500 for a modest 910sqft 2br apartment in Mountain View. There are certainly more expensive 2br apartments here, and a few that are a bit (not much) cheaper.
You might look in parts of San Jose - still part of "tech central" and you can probably find some better prices on single family homes and the like.
I know your family comes first, and I'm not trying to be a downer. But you clearly see some advantage to being in Silicon Valley for your business. I am just saying, if you live in Brentwood, you'll seldom actually be in Silicon Valley and will derive very little benefit from the venture. In that case, you may as well consider another city like LA with more reasonable cost of living.
On the other hand, if you don't buy into the "have to be in Silicon Valley" thing, there are plenty of other tech city options, including a small scene in LA, Austin, Boulder... I've always thought starting a business in the most expensive place in the country made little financial sense and have debated how valuable location really is - but a lot of very successful entrepreneurs and VCs definitely think there's a lot to it, and they probably know better than me!
I am basically thinking what you wrote, I want to get in to the scene, however we had planned to get a small apartment for me to commute and stay in several days of the week. I consider my startup and office space, etc to be separate issues. Right now is be flying and staying there vs having my family a little over an hour away.
There's always a chance too that I abandon this venture, so that's why I don't want to our my family in a home based in the startup, we have a nice revenue stream and I can work from home (still excited about working 6am to 2pm, some days I don't do much anyway but it'll be great for the noise of customers to drop off at 2pm lol.
So I would want to offer my real priorities, the the feedback on the tech scene is also highly valued...
1.) if there is such a thing as good schools, I'd make it a factor, but I'm resigned to doing Montessori school anyway for my kids, so ill be trying hard on that front. I'm of the opinion that all public and private schools are different flavored of the same dated guilded age education system we force upon our kids.
2.) I do have it made, $2500 rent, and we have debated budgeted $4k, $5k, even $8k for a nice place. We actually spend more on our two cars right now than rent, and we probably spend $4k just eating out here.
The advice that would help would be where I would want to have my family, and what would be worth it. Around here there really are no higher end options, but when we lived in Florida I would have paid 3 times as much in rent to live closer to the keys versus some of the inland developments, because you would have been isolated out there.
I doubt my family would get much out of living in the valley, I don't know much about the Bay Area other than Alamo Square (which I gleamed from watching years of full house, lol) so if there is a place that is just great to locate your family for whatever reason, and the cost is much higher, I could see that being worth it.
We are used to having a lot of "spending money" but we could adjust I'm sure. Your feedback is awesome, I am trying to provide as much info as I can so i can take advantage of everyone's input!
3.) I don't really know where people spend their days and time. If we lived in the Bay Area for example what kind of things would we be able to do versus living more inland in the lower rent cities? Out primary motivation for moving is to put our kids and ourselves in a better community. I don't want them growing up in Bible Belt Ohio where all their friends get married at 19 and have a baby, and go on to work in a factory. I'd like them to see a little more of the world so they can chart a better course for themselves.
When we moved to Florida we had the option of a world of functional cocain addicts on the east coast and it felt like a retirement home everywhere you went on the west coast, at least in the nicer neighborhoods.
Thanks guys, really appreciate your help!
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