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Old 04-21-2020, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Stapleton, CO, formerly Centennial
40 posts, read 32,363 times
Reputation: 47

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Hi-
I’d like to start by saying I’ve read just about every thread on this topic here and hoping to gain some confidence in my understanding of what we’re looking at.

Husband has been approached about a promotion to Martinez, where he currently travels frequently. We would be coming from Denver, a suburb within city limits with schools rates 8-10. 2 kids ages 6 and 10.

We’ve run the numbers and advised that we don’t plan on downsizing much again (4 years ago made the move from Atl to Den $$$).

Looking for great schools, at least 2500 sq ft (quickly outgrowing our 3300 in Denver), and don’t wish to pay much more than 1.2 M.

Where we currently live we can walk to 15+ restaurants, major grocery chain and multiple parks and trails, 3 of the restaurants ranking in the top 10 in Denver. We are looking for similar walkability, but it seems we are looking more at a suburban/driving situation. Thoughts:

Walnut Creek- most similar to what we’re used to, with great schools and recreation. Is it worth living close to the downtown, or just worth an Uber for a night out occasionally?

Pleasant Hill- seems to run 10% lower than Walnut Creek. Would their downtown/shops/restaurants suffice, and take away from the heavy suburban feel? Are there neighborhood pools to join? This isn’t clear to me from solo house hunting online thus far.

Martinez- although the prices and shoreline are nice, there is the refinery resale issue and lack of shops/restaurants, from what I read.

Our kids are used to living on a block and within a neighborhood filled with kids. Always someone to play with. I’m afraid this change back to suburbia like in Atl will leave them feel a little isolated. However prices and schools lead us to the above cities. 1st world problems, I know, however we want to make the most educated decision for our family considering we moved across country just 4 years ago.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-21-2020, 09:48 PM
 
Location: surrounded by reality
536 posts, read 1,056,645 times
Reputation: 660
You may want to re-evaluate your 2500 sq ft requirement or you may need to increase your budget. In terms of square footage, it is really different here in the Bay Area. When I moved from Portland about 10 years ago, we went from 2400 sq ft there into 1200 in San Mateo and then into 950 in San Francisco. Turns out, about 1200 sq ft is quite enough for a family of 3, provided you have more than one bathroom and sufficient storage. I would say that a walkable area with 3300+ sq ft single family homes is a pretty uncommon situation. There are places like that in San Francisco, but they are quite pricey.

I would say Walnut Creek is your primary target. If your husband doesn't mind longer commute, you may want to check out Berkeley (if you want less suburban feel) or Danville (if you want to go more suburban).
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Old 04-22-2020, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Stapleton, CO, formerly Centennial
40 posts, read 32,363 times
Reputation: 47
Thanks. We are looking forward to a yard again as we have one the size of a postage stamp here, so besides being out of our budget I don’t think Berkeley will work.

It does look to me that we are looking at 1.3-4 (sigh)

I do have an open mind about square footage, I would need to walk through a couple of the homes to know, I believe.
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Old 04-22-2020, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
5,250 posts, read 6,785,699 times
Reputation: 4863
Walnut Creek seems to be a much better match for you. PH is perfectly fine, but its 'downtown' is kind of a joke compared to downtown WC. In fact, even downtown Martinez feels much more 'lively', warts and all.
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Old 04-22-2020, 01:21 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
16,098 posts, read 26,913,466 times
Reputation: 9737
PH doesn't really have a traditional downtown, more of an inverted strip mall. WC's downtown is much better and more of a destination.

Living close to DT WC is a nice benefit but I wouldn't make it a deal breaker. Especially since your budget is a little limiting considering the size of home you want. Walnut Knolls and Parkmead are pretty nice neighborhoods close to downtown.

I grew up in WC, I'd live there if I could afford it. A fair amount of people I grew up with live in PH now. Either one is a great choice though WC is a better choice overall imo. Also in case you weren't already aware WC has three different school districts and some of the areas don't have good schools.
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Old 04-22-2020, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Sudden Valley, CA
63 posts, read 174,548 times
Reputation: 65
1.3-1.4 M seems pretty low for what you are looking for, although prices appear to be coming down so you might get something in that range.

You seem pretty content with your current situation in Denver, and you don't appear to want to compromise on lifestyle, so I'm not sure what is motivating this move. I have many colleagues who've moved to Denver area in search of bigger houses / better schools, etc. Is the promotion the main benefit, or is there another draw to the Bay Area over where you're you're at?
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Old 04-22-2020, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Martinez, CA
50 posts, read 34,127 times
Reputation: 66
Default Martinez

Martinez has neighborhoods that border Pleasant Hill and are pretty identical to PH. These neighborhoods also feed the same Pleasant Hill Schools. We live closer to downtown Martinez and love it here. Don't rule out Martinez until you've had a look.
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Old 04-23-2020, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Stapleton, CO, formerly Centennial
40 posts, read 32,363 times
Reputation: 47
Thanks for all the replies.

I will look closer at the school districts, I didn’t know there were 3 in WC.
The motivation would be the promotion and the area. We don’t love being in a landlocked state, and the schools here are not great, so I don’t mind leaving them. We enjoy California and make an annual trip out there to the coast each year. Also the climate will beat Denver!

We will trade a bit of sq footage for outdoor space, definitely.
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Old 04-23-2020, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Martinez, CA
50 posts, read 34,127 times
Reputation: 66
https://www.realtor.com/realestatean...-40948?view=qv
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Old 04-23-2020, 11:29 PM
 
Location: Richmond, CA
881 posts, read 703,423 times
Reputation: 1081
Outside of downtown Walnut Creek, I would argue that WC and PH are basically interchangeable. Even parts of Martinez blend right into PH. And it's all very suburban. Do not artificially limit yourself based on city name and instead look at schools, nearby shops, and house/price requirements. If you don't want an exceedingly suburban vibe, you'll either have to live right in downtown WC or extend your search to Oakland, Berkeley, and Albany.
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