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Old 12-19-2013, 02:01 PM
 
Location: San Francisco, CA
1,386 posts, read 1,510,658 times
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I don't think your situation is as dire as the above posts suggest. However, you absolutely must negotiate a higher salary. It is simply not practical to live on under $80K with a family, even in the East Bay. A salary of $65K is likely to force you to live in unpleasant, far-flung towns like Tracy or Los Banos, which would degrade your quality of life to the point of making moving to California one of the worst decisions of your life...

Anyway, if you can get a salary increase, you might have some luck in the East Bay suburbs closest to the San Mateo Bridge. Consider Castro Valley, San Leandro, and Hayward. There are some nice and not-so-nice parts of San Leandro and Hayward especially, so definitely ask around for advice on specific locations. Same applies to Union City.

If you can tolerate slightly longer commutes: You might be able to find something affordable in Alameda, but I wouldn't count on it. The Oakland neighborhoods east of 580 (Laurel, Dimond, etc.) tend to be nice enough. However, you'll have to do some research on school options in the area, as Oakland is really hit or miss, and I don't see you saving any money compared to just moving to a good part of San Leandro.
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Old 12-20-2013, 02:33 AM
 
6,438 posts, read 6,947,815 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
That DC life on $65k with two kids needs more like $120k here in the Bay Area. And I might be underestimating the code of renting in a good school district. And you'll definitely have an hour commute, or more. I work in San Mateo, live in Oakland, my commute is about 45-50 minutes each way.

You could try Alameda, schools are good. And perhaps your son can go to Oakland School of the Arts, which is an easy bus ride or drive through the tunnel from Alameda. You'll have about a 45 minutes commute. That is your best bet. A two bedroom apartment is around $2000.
Why are you estimating such a large COL difference? A two-bedroom apartment in NW DC or nearby suburbs is also about $2,000. And I wouldn't have said $65,000 provides a comfy life in DC. I would have said you can get by, especially if you have no dependents.

I tend to be in the "everything costs more than you think, especially with kids" school of thought, so I would have said you need $100K in DC and $120K in SF to raise a 1-adult, 2-kid family in middle-class circumstances.

I agree with the East Bay recommendation. It's beautiful and, in relative terms, a bargain.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA USA
337 posts, read 735,007 times
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I agree with the above posters. Your income would make things extremely tight to say the least. However, if you absolutely had to relocate I would look at the East Bay (cities like San Leandro, San Lorenzo and maybe Union City). I would skip Hayward because the schools are poor and neighborhoods are hit or miss - usually miss. The three cities I referenced have better schools but still not great. Castro Valley would easily be my first choice but it might be too expensive for you.

Additionally San Leandro (especially the Washington Manor neighborhood), San Lorenzo and Union City have good access to the San Mateo Bridge.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,226 posts, read 36,982,969 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Siegel View Post
Why are you estimating such a large COL difference? A two-bedroom apartment in NW DC or nearby suburbs is also about $2,000. And I wouldn't have said $65,000 provides a comfy life in DC. I would have said you can get by, especially if you have no dependents.

I tend to be in the "everything costs more than you think, especially with kids" school of thought, so I would have said you need $100K in DC and $120K in SF to raise a 1-adult, 2-kid family in middle-class circumstances.

I agree with the East Bay recommendation. It's beautiful and, in relative terms, a bargain.

I think the difference between the Bay and most other metros, is that although the core is really pricy, there are places just outside the core that offer you the middle-class/family values/american experience you are looking for with good schools, nice homes, lots of space etc. That radius is still about a 45 minute commute to the job centers.

Here in the Bay, that radius is more like 90 minutes, and it isn't all that great comparatively. I'd much rather live on $65k with kids in DC than here. The schools outside of CA, almost anywhere in the US are much much better, compared to the COL and the average incomes for the areas. I.E. the median income school district in CA is really crappy compared to the one in VA or MD.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:54 PM
 
13,711 posts, read 9,266,513 times
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OP, I'm assuming you'll want a 3 bedroom apartment, just to give you an idea a 3-bed unit in a good neighborhood in the Penninsula starts around $2,500 (and easily go into $3,000 territory) and in the East Bay starts around $1,900 (and easily goes into mid-$2,000).

I'll let you figure out how much you can afford but I always thought that Castro Valley is a very good bargain with good schools. You can also look into Union City, Newark, Milpitas, and Fremont (the flat is cheaper, the hills very expensive); but I don't know too much about their schools though the area is nice and very family oriented.

On the Peninsula side, Brisbane, South San Francisco, Daly City and Colma are quiet and safe towns that are more affordable, but I think their schools are just so-so.

Also, you may want to check out the safer parts of Oakland. Oakland schools are generally not good though.

That should give you some idea where to start. This area is expensive but plenty of families make it with your salary. Good luck and welcome to the Bay!
.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:53 PM
 
Location: Formerly Pleasanton Ca, now in Marietta Ga
10,400 posts, read 8,636,021 times
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Hopefullly your 65K includes benefits. if you have to pay for health care it's going to be really tough.
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Alameda, CA
578 posts, read 1,297,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
You could try Alameda, schools are good. And perhaps your son can go to Oakland School of the Arts, which is an easy bus ride or drive through the tunnel from Alameda. You'll have about a 45 minutes commute. That is your best bet. A two bedroom apartment is around $2000.
Alameda is great for family, but I'm wondering on a $65k salary and two kids? For a 3 bed, it's over $2300 (not at Summer House) and extremely hard to find 3 bed places.

I would say Hayward would be much easier for a San Mateo commute (also at $1800 for a 3bed and allows one pet), but that's just me.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,226 posts, read 36,982,969 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felinius View Post
Alameda is great for family, but I'm wondering on a $65k salary and two kids? For a 3 bed, it's over $2300 (not at Summer House) and extremely hard to find 3 bed places.

I would say Hayward would be much easier for a San Mateo commute (also at $1800 for a 3bed and allows one pet), but that's just me.

Hayward schools are mediocre. Personally is rather sacrifice with a 2 bedroom place in a nicer town. Considering the Hayward is the bottleneck, alameda would only add 10 minutes or so to the commute.
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Alameda, CA
578 posts, read 1,297,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Hayward schools are mediocre. Personally is rather sacrifice with a 2 bedroom place in a nicer town. Considering the Hayward is the bottleneck, alameda would only add 10 minutes or so to the commute.
That will really depend on where you live in Alameda, and how early you leave in the morning. It usually takes me about 30 minutes to get from Alameda to the San Mateo bridge due to the merge in traffic from 238... leaving at 6:30AM.
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Old 12-23-2013, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
28,226 posts, read 36,982,969 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felinius View Post
That will really depend on where you live in Alameda, and how early you leave in the morning. It usually takes me about 30 minutes to get from Alameda to the San Mateo bridge due to the merge in traffic from 238... leaving at 6:30AM.
I leave around 815, and some days it takes me 20-30 minutes from about A street to the SM bridge, most of the time there is no back up on 238. Pretty lame. Getting through Oakland doesn't seem to take long most days.

I also used to work on 92 in Hayward, and some coworkers who lived in Castro Valley and South Hayward. It still took them 20 minutes as well (vs 30ish for me from Oakland). Most of the backup is in Hayward!
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