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Old 08-05-2011, 08:06 PM
 
123 posts, read 288,558 times
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Hi, I am a single woman in her 30s planning to move to the Bay area next year. I've read several times on this forum that it is possible to find a studio in SF for $1000-$1200/month. But I've searched on Craigslist and elsewhere online and haven't found anything quite that affordable that is not in a less desirable neighborhood. As I'll be living alone, it is utterly important to find a place in a neighborhood that is as safe as possible. Is it really possible to find something less than $1200/month? I have to admit, I'm feeling a little discouraged. I've begun to consider living outside the city. But ideally I'd like to be in SF itself as, among other things, I want to experience the pedestrian lifestyle. Coming from Miami, that is a totally alien notion to me.

Thank you so much for your attention and for any information you may provide. Best to all...
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:28 PM
 
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I think your best choice would be to rent a nice room from a nice apartment with professional room mates. Since you have a tight budget, instead of living in crappy studio (which it will be for $1200 or less), rent a nice room from a nice apartment in a nice area. It's very doable with $1,200 and you actually could have multiple options for less.
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:19 PM
 
Location: South Korea
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They are out there, I just did a craigslist search and there are some under $1200, some around $800-900 that aren't in the Tenderloin or the Bayview area. Prices in SF have been going up lately so I don't really know what a studio or 1br goes for anymore. You can still get a room with roommates for around $600-900 a month. If you don't want roommates then look into getting a studio in Oakland, yes there are nice and very safe and walkable areas of Oakland like Rockridge or the Piedmont Ave area. You can get a 1br for around $1100-1200 in Rockridge and it's only 20 minutes from downtown SF on BART.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:41 PM
 
Location: San Francisco, CA
506 posts, read 1,152,151 times
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Oh sure, there are lots of studios at $1200/mo or less. Use padmapper.com and enter your criteria.

Not that I'm an obsessed freak or anything... but I do check padmapper every day. There was a pretty big price spike in July, and the listings were scanty and didn't last long. I'm just now starting to see a lot more listings, and some more reasonable prices. I'm guessing there was a supply issue as college students got settled. That's pretty common in big cities in the summer.
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:45 AM
 
123 posts, read 288,558 times
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Thank you for your replies! They have been very useful.

Roommates is not an option for me. And I am very conflicted about how important having space for guests is to me. So I'm considering Mayorhaggar's suggestion of moving to the Rockridge and Piedmont Ave. areas of Oakland. Would you suggest I keep my car if I were to choose to move to Oakland instead?

I hope this doesn't seem premature. I'm rather obsessed with my move so I get online every day trying to find all the information I can while I get all my ducks in a row. I will be hopping on padmapper.com shortly!

Thanks again!
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,226 posts, read 36,763,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redhotoliveoil View Post
Thank you for your replies! They have been very useful.

Roommates is not an option for me. And I am very conflicted about how important having space for guests is to me. So I'm considering Mayorhaggar's suggestion of moving to the Rockridge and Piedmont Ave. areas of Oakland. Would you suggest I keep my car if I were to choose to move to Oakland instead?
I live in Piedmont Ave area. I have a car, and my apartment includes a parking spot. My sister doesn't drive at all and lives in the area. I would ditch my car completely if I didn't need to travel to the Peninsula for work semi-regularly. You can always join car-sharing services if you need to drive sometimes (which is what I will be doing when my car dies).

These parts of Oakland are totally fine without a car. But some places include parking spots too so it isn't a pain either.
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:46 PM
 
310 posts, read 649,889 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redhotoliveoil View Post
...I'm considering Mayorhaggar's suggestion of moving to the Rockridge and Piedmont Ave. areas of Oakland. Would you suggest I keep my car if I were to choose to move to Oakland instead?
As someone who has went through a similar thought process as yourself (from living in SF to OAK), I can say that you may be pleasantly surprised to learn how many nice areas of Oakland are available to you for living roommate-free in your price range, while still being close to SF and all the City has to offer.

If you are open to living in the East Bay, then in addition to the Oakland areas mentioned above, you might alo consider investigating neighborhoods such as Adams Point (just N of Lake Merritt), Grand Lake / Lakeshore (E of Adams Point, across 580), Cleveland Heights (just E of Lake Merritt) Temescal (SW of Rockridge, NW of Piedmont Ave)...or even areas like the Glenview, Dimond or Laurel districts, which are further east than all of the above, but still nice, relatively safe areas. A Craigslist search on any the above will produce a lot of options in your price range. If searching by "titles only", the CL category for most of these areas is "Oakland Lake Merritt / Grand".

Rockridge may be a very nice area, but in my (recent) experience, there is not much available in your (and my) price range...it is mostly single family homes. Renting an "in-law quarters" in a home, with private entry, might be another option for you. Ah...but now I'm giving away my secrets.

I can also tell you from recent apartment searching in these areas, that having a car in Oakland does not seem to add a lot of expense (unlike it would in SF). Some complexes include a space with your rent, others charge a moderate extra montly fee ($50-$100), and in yet other areas, street parking seems manageable.

Good luck in your search, and keep us updated! Other potential transplants (like myself) are especially interested in the current rental market.

Last edited by OakAve2OakLand; 08-06-2011 at 01:05 PM..
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Old 08-06-2011, 02:00 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 13,047,407 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redhotoliveoil View Post

Roommates is not an option for me. And I am very conflicted about how important having space for guests is to me. So I'm considering Mayorhaggar's suggestion of moving to the Rockridge and Piedmont Ave. areas of Oakland. Would you suggest I keep my car if I were to choose to move to Oakland instead?
I live in Rockridge and I don't have a car. Rockridge is pretty walkable, there's a lot of shops and restaurants up and down College Ave, and four grocery stores. BART is a 15 minute walk for me then it's 20 minutes on the train to downtown SF. But Rockridge and similar parts of Oakland are definitely more spread out than most parts of SF so you do have to walk a bit more--but it's definitely way more walkable than anywhere in Florida. If you like biking, Oakland is perfectly set up for it, I can get to downtown Berkeley or downtown Oakland in about 20 minutes or less. The public transit isn't great though, BART is useful but only goes to certain places and outside of commute hours doesn't run that often. AC Transit buses are nicer than Muni buses but don't run frequently enough, I really prefer to ride my bike so I don't have to wait 20 minutes for a bus that may or may not show up.

Rockridge would be the best bet simply because it has a BART station in the middle of it but it's true that it's mostly houses and doesn't have many apartment buildings, but they are there so I would look, you should be able to get a 1br for around $1100-1300 and a studio for around $800-1000. The Piedmont Avenue area has a lot more apartment buildings and should be a bit cheaper. If you were near 40th Street you'd be about a 10-15 minute walk to Macarthur BART. If you were further north it could be a pretty long walk. Adam's Point or Cleveland Heights would be good and cheap but Jade has said in the past they aren't great for local public transit and depending on where you are could be a long walk to BART.

Also keep in mind that BART is expensive, riding it every day from Rockridge to downtown SF is $140 a month, which eats into your savings from not living in SF. You can do the casual carpool, which is either a dollar or free depending on whether the driver wants the dollar or not. I do it every morning then take BART back to Rockridge so my commute costs to and from SF are somewhere between $70 and $90 a month, probably about $80 on average.

As for keeping your car, it's up to you, but it's not a hassle to park in Oakland like it is in SF, there's always a lot of street spaces in my neighborhood. If you want to bike and save yourself monthly car insurance and car payment costs, feel free to get rid of the car. But if you don't want to bike and want to be able to drive to Target and load up the car or drive out to nature reserves out in the countryside, keep the car or look into Zipcar or other car sharing services.
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Old 08-06-2011, 05:10 PM
 
123 posts, read 288,558 times
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Thanks everyone. Your advice and suggestions have really helped steer me. And thanks so much for your specific neighborhood suggestions. Are there any neighborhoods that you'd suggest I stay the heck away from in SF (I already know about the TL and Bayview) and in Oakland?

I've come to realize that it will be very important to me to have space for my loved ones to visit. So now I'm leaning towards living in the East Bay or elsewhere that'll allow me to have at least a one bedroom. And as I look forward to exploring the surrounding areas on the weekends, I think it's best to keep my car. But the whole reason I decided to move is because I fell in love with SF itself. I'm afraid I won't be getting into the city and enjoying all it offers as much as I would if I were living in there. That is the conundrum! But I guess I won't know till I'm there...

Thanks all!
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Old 08-06-2011, 06:04 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 13,047,407 times
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Crappy parts of SF:

- 6th Street in SOMA
- the projects just north of Hayes Valley (Hayes Valley itself is fine)
- the projects in the southern part of Potrero Hill
- the Tenderloin
- the projects in the Western Addition, mainly around Fillmore south of Geary (the area around Yoshi's is ok but once you go further south it gets seedy)
- anywhere in the Mission that is east of Mission Street. Also I'd avoid anything east of Mission and south of Bernal Heights, pretty much the whole southeastern quarter of SF is crappy, some areas are better than others but the better areas are just kind of boring and slightly seedy.

Other than that I'd say anywhere else in SF is fine.

For Oakland I'd recommend Rockridge and the Temescal and Piedmont Ave if BART access is a priority. In North Oakland a general rule of thumb is that anything west of Telegraph is pretty crappy, though Telegraph itself south of around 45th is pretty seedy but not horrible. If BART's not such a big deal then check out the other areas OakAve mentioned.
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