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Old 09-10-2012, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale/NE Phoenix
6 posts, read 8,660 times
Reputation: 11

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I'm in the middle of negotiating a potential job offer to move to the Bay Area but I'm not really sure the move is the right time for me. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE the bay area but I can't imagine raising a teenager there as a single parent so I'm looking around at some of the suburbs and have a few questions.

1. Cost of Living - I'm making $120k per year in Scottsdale - how much do I need to make in the bay area to have the same quality of life?
2. Schools - my teenager is pretty adventurous but Junior year is a tough time to move somewhere. What are the best resources to find a good school district?
3. Pets - I can't imagine having the teenager part with them for the move and we have a large dog and 2 cats. Am I better off looking in the burbs for a house? It seems none of the condo rentals in the city are accepting of anything but small dogs.
4. Where to start looking? My company will be located in San Mateo area which seems pretty accessible from SF as well as Oakland. But looking online seems overwhelming. I'm looking to rent the first couple years so I'm flexible...I'll take any 2 Bed + Den/3 Bed that gives me access to safe areas, good schools, etc but I don't want to commute an hour each way to work every day.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Northern California
3,700 posts, read 13,688,562 times
Reputation: 1893
With a job in San Mateo, Burlingame, San Mateo, Belmont or San Carlos would be a good fit. It's all nice, safe suburbia and the schools in the area are good. At $120K, you should live quite comfortably. Commute time would under 30 minutes.

Having a large dog and cat however may be an issue when renting an apartment.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:01 AM
 
1,626 posts, read 6,348,898 times
Reputation: 672
I think that the peninsula communities suggested by humboldtrat are good ones to focus on, particularly given your desire for a reasonable commute. I've always been kinda fond of Foster City and San Bruno also, but I don't know anything about schools there. Depending on where your office is, Caltrain might enable you to look a little further south, like Mountain View. I know that a lot of people live in the Fremont area and take the Dumbarton Bridge to work, also.

$120k definitely won't go as far in the Bay Area as it does in Scottsdale. Take calculators like this one (you could plug in San Jose for your purposes) with a big grain of salt, but it does highlight the fact that housing is the big cost difference between the two areas:

Cost of Living Calculator: Compare prices in two cities - CNNMoney

Partially offsetting the high housing costs are the other "quality of life" advantages of the Bay Area, including better year-round weather and access to a wider range of recreational and cultural activities. But I don't think I would move without a 20% increase in pay.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
27 posts, read 43,326 times
Reputation: 36
With 120k you will fit right in to Millbrae, Burlingame, San Mateo, Foster City, Belmont, San Carlos. I believe because you have a teenager, a pet, a job in San Mateo, and want safety/good schools there is no reason for you to live in the City, or across the bay. The San Mateo Union School District is excellent. And you can easily afford a small place on 120k. 2/bd 3ba might price you out of the nicer areas, but even if you live in the worst areas of these towns, they are extremely safe. Burlingame might be pushing it depending on how much you wanna spend on rent, but it would be my personal choice. I should add, I am biased b/c this is the town I live in.
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale/NE Phoenix
6 posts, read 8,660 times
Reputation: 11
Thank you for the feedback. I'm making $120K now but expect more if I take the job. In the early stages of negotiation they offered in the neighborhood of $145 IF I stayed in AZ and worked remote but they promised more plus some help with moving expenses if I'm willing to relocate to the Bay area.

I'll rent for the first couple years and I'd LOVE to not be so dependent on a vehicle for once (you simply can't live any quality of life in Phx without a vehicle - almost no pedestrian lifestyle except for a few central areas) and I'm hoping that would offset some costs as well. I have a feeling I'll have to offer a hefty deposit for the pets and be flexible on location. My main concern for the first two years though would be a high quality district for the teen to finish up high school at. Then in two years, I could consider the next chapter and I'll know the bay area more to help with that decision.

Any suggestions on websites to start the school district search?
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