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Old 08-24-2008, 12:08 PM
 
20 posts, read 79,048 times
Reputation: 19

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Hi there,

My family and I are possibly moving to the Bay Area in the next few months - I have a job offer in Walnut Creek. We're going out there next week for 3 days to drive around the nearby towns/cities where we'd likely be living to get a feel for the area and reinforce the idea that we're making the right decision. We've spent a day in Walnut Creek before and loved it! I don't think we can afford to live there though

I'm hoping someone on the forums can advise us as to what cities we should be checking out on our 3-day trip. First some information on us:

I'd be making ~96k and the wife would probably not be working (we have a 3-month old son). If things are tight, she could probably get a weekend job to pay for groceries. Right now, we have a 1300 sq ft $325k house here in Santa Fe and would be looking for a similar-sized house in CA with a yard for our Siberian Husky to destroy :-) We have two cars both fully paid for. No credit card debt, but the wife has some student loans to pay.

In the short term (0-9 months) I think we'd be looking to rent a place close to Walnut Creek that will allow pets (2 indoors cats and 1 outdoor dog). That'll be tough to find, but I'm hopeful we'll find something. Other that homes that may be for rent, does anyone have any suggestions - pet friendly apartments, etc?

In the long-term we'd like to buy a house in a nice neighborhood, with good schools. Proximity to BART, public transportation would be nice, but not a necessity. According to California School Ratings - Contra Costa County the best school districts are in Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Orinda, Moraga, and Lafayette. Coincidentally, those places look to have the most expensive houses Commute time isn't really a major concern - I'm used to being on the road 2.5 hours a day. Ideally, I'd like to cut that in half, but it won't be a major obstacle. I think we'd be looking to spend no more that $450k on a house.

We arrive in Walnut Creek on Saturday afternoon. I'd like to drive to places like Concord, Pleasant Hill, etc. The housing market may dictate that we don't buy for a while, but given our circumstances, needs and budget, what towns/cities should we explore while we're out there. Recommendations for good restaurants/cafes to give us a feel for the local "vibe" also welcomed!

Thanks in advance for any replies!
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:38 PM
 
Location: California, USA
21 posts, read 89,833 times
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Housing prices have fallen quite a bit and you might be surprised by what you can buy right now in your price range. There are many good areas within a close distance to Walnut Creek, and Concord would be a good city to look into.
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:52 PM
 
2,652 posts, read 8,583,766 times
Reputation: 1915
Yeah in those towns you won't find much for $450K. In a year you probably will be able to. Prices are falling in the east bay. I ran a quick search on mlslistings.com, and found some great houses in Livermore/Pleasanton areas.

You could also check out Castro Valley and Union City. There are some great areas of those two cities. Concord is ok also. Fremont came up with some great results too, but that's 35 miles from Walnut Creek, if that's an option for you. Out of all I listed, I would chose Livermore and Fremont as the best options.
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:56 PM
 
1,632 posts, read 6,845,107 times
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Not to overwhelm you with cities, but Clayton and Martinez might also be worthy of a look, at least in terms of cost of housing. I don't know about the school situations, though.
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Old 08-24-2008, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
331 posts, read 1,311,548 times
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Check out Pleasant Hill and Martinez. I used to work in Walnut Creek and lived in Pleasant Hill and the commute was a dream! The schools are good too. Prices have dropped considerably on homes in that area as well. Good luck!
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:03 PM
 
31 posts, read 122,829 times
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You might be able to find a townhouse for 325k in Walnut Creek now. The prices have really come down. You would definitely find a small house for 325k in Pleasant Hill or Concord, but I wouldnt buy in Concord...most of that area is ghetto.
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Old 08-26-2008, 02:31 AM
 
Location: Formerly Pleasanton Ca, now in Marietta Ga
10,351 posts, read 8,574,670 times
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I don't thinkany of the areas that are nice w/ good school districts will come down to the $400's. Concord is doable, but area is just so so to not so hot and the schools are not as good as the areas you mentioned.
There are some pet friendly areas, but usually not in the best of areas. I know as a landlord I have to be carefull of renting to people with dogs due to insurance. Also every person I've rented to with a dog who swore the dog would do no damage has cost me money in damages. I think a lot of landlords are concerned with this too. But if you are persistent you will find a place to live.
A friend just short sold a 3-1 rental house in concord for 270K, but area was pretty crappy.
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Old 08-26-2008, 02:35 AM
 
Location: Formerly Pleasanton Ca, now in Marietta Ga
10,351 posts, read 8,574,670 times
Reputation: 16698
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori1961 View Post
Check out Pleasant Hill and Martinez. I used to work in Walnut Creek and lived in Pleasant Hill and the commute was a dream! The schools are good too. Prices have dropped considerably on homes in that area as well. Good luck!
Hi Lori, I see you are from raleigh. I am visiting there next month to scope out a possible move. Do you like it there? I've lived in the bay area all my life and in Pleasanton for the last 10. Even though the houses have come down, you still need mid 600 for an ok older tract home. I can afford it, but don't know if I want to. Raleigh looks pretty good and very pretty. How are the people and the weather there?
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
331 posts, read 1,311,548 times
Reputation: 129
Aslowdodge, I will PM you....
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:42 AM
 
82 posts, read 238,180 times
Reputation: 67
Since you are looking to rent initially, why not just rent in Walnut Creek for now and spend a year getting to know the area. Since your child isn't in school yet, you have some time to learn about the schools and decide where you want to live long term.

Don't make the mistake I did and assume that you can book appointments to see houses listed on Craigslist on your own. I was in Walnut Creek over July 4th weekend to find a home and found it frustrating to book those appts. Some of the listers never replied, and some of the places we looked at only to find there were already applications submitted. I ultimately worked with a property manager who was wonderful and explained the area to us. We found a great house in Lafayette that we are settling into. Let me know if you'd like his name and I'll pass it onto you privately. He'll book all your appointments, find the properties that will allow pets and he'll make his commission from the listing agent, not you

I've only been here for a week and a half (from NH) and love it so far! Good luck.
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