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Old 09-07-2012, 08:43 PM
1 posts, read 17,592 times
Reputation: 11


I know this is an oft repeated topic but I still haven't found something that matches my needs...

My Husband and I would like to buy a home in Northern California/Bay Area. We have a modest budget of about $300,000 approx. We have a combined annual income of about $160,000 so we can go slightly higher I suppose (first time home buyers).
Things we're looking for:
- 3BR/2BA (It should be fairly spacious, we always have our family visiting us)
- proximity to SF (within 1hr drive or BART, close enough to explore SF and work but avoid the foggy weather and congested city life)
- good schools (for when have kids)
- quiet and safe neighborhood with good shopping options (premium outlets, TJ Max, Food Max, etc.)
- good weather (we love solano county weather - fairfield, napa, vacaville)
We are currently staying in Fairfield so are very inclined towards it but the crime reports are quite bad and I'm not sure if it'll be safe unless we buy a home in a gated community.
How is Dublin?

We haven't seen much of California and don't want to miss out on a great place just because we haven't seen it yet.
All suggestions are welcome

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Old 09-07-2012, 10:58 PM
Location: California
36,028 posts, read 39,730,664 times
Reputation: 33529
Vacaville is nice. You already know you like the weather and you can get around from there. You won't find anything much for that price in the Tri-Valley area.

Don't worry too much about crime stats since you can see for yourself how living in Fairfield is and what things are like. The only thing you might do is look at the school reports but those stats may be moot by the time you have to worry about it since you don't even have kids yet. You don't say how long you've been here but maybe you don't want to buy yet, maybe you want to check out other areas, rent there, before comitting.

You don't mention work...can I assume you are both work from home so commute doesn't matter? I never actually met people like that in real life but apparently every person moving to CA is doing it!
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:05 PM
Location: Sacramento
14,004 posts, read 25,998,884 times
Reputation: 7088
If you are OK with a 1,200-1,500 sq ft home you can consider Concord in the Contra Costa County area.

Fairfield isn't that bad, but in that vicinity I'd go with Vacaville to better meet your needs. You'll get a lot more home than you would in Concord.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:06 AM
Location: Piedmont, CA
35,989 posts, read 63,770,105 times
Reputation: 20095
I think you should dump the $300,000 budget and look at Walnut Creek or Pleasant Hill, or maybe Dublin since you mentioned it.

Your income is sufficient to afford the payment on a modest home in Walnut Creek and your sure to see appreciation since the market is rebounding so quickly.

Plus in Walnut Creek you have superb shopping, dining, entertainment, direct BART access, relative proximity to the urban Bay Area but enough distance to feel removed, good schools and safer neighborhoods.

If on the other hand you wish to remain faithful to your original budget plan then I would actually suggest looking at Hercules cause I think its the best deal in the price range in the entire Bay Area---the town is quiet, has amenities and is middle to upper middle class and yet prices are quite reasonable. Plus you wont have to cross more than 1 bridge to get to SF.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:48 AM
Location: Mountains of Oregon
17,349 posts, read 21,251,090 times
Reputation: 13846
My beloved aunt & uncle have loved living in Sonoma the last 50 years. Perhaps y'all should go visit & look around... https://www.google.com/#hl=en&sugexp...w=1600&bih=719

Best of luck finding your place...
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:02 PM
264 posts, read 807,450 times
Reputation: 182
If you keep your 300k budget and need <1 hr commute into SF you will need to either buy a small 1 or 2 bedroom condo in a community with great schools (and that is if you are lucky to find a 300k condo and great schools) or scrap the idea of living in an area with good schools and put your kids through the private school system in whatever area you settle into. If you can up your budget to 500k you will have more options in good communities with good schools with the 3/2 house or townhouse.

Petaluma and walnut creek are worth looking into if you can increase your budget. If you buy in Hercules, Pinole, el sobrante, etc...you will be looking at going the private school route.
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:04 PM
Location: Bay Area
3,982 posts, read 8,634,397 times
Reputation: 4723
Have you been out to Green Valley yet? It's near Fairfield (near the community college) very safe, kinda rural, very affordable compared to the immediate Bay Area and the schools out there are far better than Fairfield proper. There's also a Costco, TJmaxx, Safeway etc out there. Vacaville would also be an option. You didn't mention where your jobs are, but this obviously would seem to dictate more than anything where you decide to buy a house.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:49 AM
Location: Vacaville, CA
3 posts, read 19,680 times
Reputation: 11
I don't know if you have moved yet, but just in case you're still looking...if you are on a tight budget, or a penny-pincher, avoid Vacaville. It's a nice city, don't get me wrong, but water bill is just exurbetant, in my opinion. We are a family of 3 and hubby and I are making combined earning on the high $100Ks. Our daughter is a full time student at UC Davis.

[SIZE=3]My family moved to Vacaville, CA in early July 2012. We bought one of those new homes built by Seeno close to Kaiser Permanente and Genentech. We paid for our new home for $330K, including some upgrades. We moved here because my daughter and only child wanted to attend college at UC Davis, which was roughly 18 minutes from our new home. We're still here as of this writing. For the most part, we are enjoying the town; however, the cost of living is pretty high. I got a sticker shock when I received our first water bill. Imagine paying $92 basic sewer fee each month. This price is just the basic sewer fee…there is a second sewer charge called Variable Rate you need to pay on top of that. Then, the water service is also divided into two-- Basic 1”, which is approximately $50 each month, and the Consumption Fee (your actual water usage), which is also variable depending on the amount of water used. Our monthly water bill averages between $185 and $225…so far. The lower one accounts for our average winter usage when we turn off the drip irrigation and lawn sprinklers installed in the front and back gardens. However, when the climate becomes warmer, believe me it gets REALLY HOT here in the summer, our water usage can go up so high it’s like paying for another car. No matter what, we are liable to pay the fixed combined water and sewer fees totaling approximately $150 each month. We moved from Oakley, CA, which is roughly 40-45 minutes away. There, we own a bigger house on a bigger land, but our water bill averages only between $22 and $35 each month. Our current home in Vacaville measures approximately 2,300 sq ft (4 BR, 2 and ½ baths), the land is about 4,000 sq ft. The Oakley house from same builder is 4,200 sq ft (5BR, 4 and ½ baths), the land is about 10,000 sq ft. Oakley even has a new water facility, but they manage to keep the cost down. We still own our property there…we’re renting it out. Perhaps we’ll go back someday and sell our Vacaville home after my daughter finishes school. At first we thought we would stay and make Vacaville our retirement place, but we would not be able to afford our water bill once we retire. Although, I read on the City of Vacaville’s website that they offer senior discounts…but not sure if that’s enough. By the way, the water facility is controlled by the city. So, they do not make any profit. The fees go to maintaining the sewers. We’ve lived in different parts of the Bay Area. South San Francisco, which is closer to more jobs (airport and downtown SF to name a few) is cheaper than Vacaville when it comes to water. Prices of commodities and gasoline in Vacaville are pretty much the same as the nearby cities. Is there anything cheaper in Vacaville? Well, yes…the sales tax is about 1% cheaper compared to many cities in Northern CA. But, we do not shop often…so that does not do us much. So…if you plan to move to Vacaville, do your research first. We’ve only researched the neighborhoods and commute to Davis, but did not research the water fees. That’s a lesson learned on our part…a very expensive one. Next time, if we will move to another city, we will definitely check into the utilities as well. On the plus side…Vacaville is still safer and quieter than nearby Fairfield and Vallejo. Crime rate is lower. Jobs are starting to boom again…so I heard. Prices of houses are still affordable compared to Davis and San Francisco. The new Kaiser Permanente hospital, Premium outlets and the prison facility are the main employers. There is Genentech, but not sure if it will stay (there are some rumors that it’s closing). And then, there’s this nearby Davis and Sacramento that are also sources of employments. Davis is a collegetown—UC Davis is one of the biggest colleges in the Bay Area and Sacramento is where the Capitol is located. For more information on the sewer rates please go to [/SIZE][SIZE=3]http://www.cityofvacaville.com/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=1856[/SIZE][SIZE=3] . The basic sewer rate, as of this writing, is scheduled to go up in March 2013 ($105 for single family homes), and finally, March 2014 ($114 for single family homes). Hope this info helps. Stay in Fairfield in a safer location. You can still probably get a nice home for $300K if it is not on regular sale-- you know like shortsale or foreclosure. Dublin is much higher...maybe at your price range you can find a decent condo. Concord and Pleasant Hill are great, but nearer Benicia would do as well. I guess it depends where you work and how far a commute you'd be willing to take. Best of luck![/SIZE]
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:47 PM
Location: Studio City, CA 91604
3,049 posts, read 4,162,315 times
Reputation: 5914
Livermore, CA.

Look into it. Nice place! Near Pleasanton/Dublin, good schools, good shopping, neat downtown area!
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:55 AM
1 posts, read 884 times
Reputation: 10
I will be working in the Sunnyvale, CALIFORNIA. Moving from back east. Any recommendations for communities /towns in the area you could recommend. Looking for a reasonably priced house. Just two of us. Not afraid of a reasonable commute . Thanks for your help
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