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Old 10-23-2008, 11:06 AM
3 posts, read 9,737 times
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I'm considering a job in Redwood City, quality of life and housing prices are a big factor in my decision. We are a family of 4 (2 kids 4 and 6) and will look for a suburban single family home in a safe area with good schools. what areas to look? how long commute to Redwood City? Looking around a 500K budget.
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:16 AM
Location: San Jose, CA
7,688 posts, read 27,999,083 times
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It'll be in your best interest to rent. Redwood City has some decent elementary schools in the hills, but the high school, Sequoia Union, is not good. A 4-bedroom in an area with good schools such as San Carlos or Belmont, or even as far out as Mission San Jose in Fremont, will run you an absolute minimum of $900K. But you will be able to afford the rent. To get into the price range you want for a purchase, you'll have to put up with a crushing commute which will more than kill whatever you might save on the price of the property.
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:22 AM
Location: Northern California
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Redwood City (west of El Camino Real, hwy 82) is a nice suburban area along with Belmont, San Carlos, San Mateo, however you won't be able to find a decent house for $500K. You might be able to find a small 2bd house starting around 750K (Welcome to California ). Houses might be a little cheaper across the bay in Fremont, Union City or Newark - but not by much.
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:46 PM
Location: Mokelumne Hill, CA & El Pescadero, BCS MX.
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My son lives in Redwood City and goes to Woodside High. I'm not sure where the dividing line is between Sequoia and Woodside. There are a few nice neighborhoods South of Woodside Rd. and West of Middlefield, but I have no idea about prices in that area.

Find a local real estate professional to help you with your questions.

Good Luck.
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Old 10-23-2008, 02:28 PM
Location: California
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Woodside is better than Sequoia, but if I were you, I'd petition to go to MA (Menlo-Atherton) if you're closer to Atherton/Menlo Park.

But then, that's high school and you've got some time
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Old 10-23-2008, 03:20 PM
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RC is a suburban slum....though awfully close to Atherton....

Would rent in PaloAlto....rents aren't particularly costly for suburban tenement houses....public schools are some of best in CA (or anywhere)....intellectual/economic ethos in PA is some of best anywhere for raising kids....diverse....have various tech billionaires who choose to live in PA (in fairly laughable old houses near crime); many poor Stanford grad students/faculty....and have many nearby criminals from slums along 101 corridor to provide an "urban/diverse" feel....
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:16 PM
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I check the API scores for both Woodside and Sequoia High. Woodside is better, but it does not look like it can score at the top 30% of California high schools, or a rank of 7 out of 10, with API 740 out of 1000. I am not say that it can't, because at this tipping point, many other factors strongly come into play. However, your children are years apart from grades 9-12, and by that time, the school's score can have increased, or fallen, dramatically. There is always Summit Preparatory Charter High, which scores very well, but as with all highly ranked public charter schools, there is high demand and an interview process as it is usually among the few in the city.

To play it safe, you can choose a community with stable demographics that have a constant student generation rates and involved households that put an emphasis on their childrens educations.

Or, with the wave of foreclosures, you may be able to buy into a desirable neighborhood where similar market rate homes would be outreach.

Or, you can consider private school. The good thing about this option is that quality education is available regardless of neighborhood. With the money you save from buying a less expensive home in a safe neighborhood with poor public schools, you could send your children to any school that you see fit.

Or, you can live in Fremont. There are many good high schools other than Mission San Jose. You can take a commuter bus across the Dumbarton to get to your place of employment.

Last edited by tennis368fan; 10-24-2008 at 10:27 PM..
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Old 10-25-2008, 01:29 AM
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Thanks for all the comments.
For what I see maybe SF area is not what I'm looking for.
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Old 10-25-2008, 05:25 PM
226 posts, read 1,095,461 times
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Looking on the MLS, I found a few homes in San Mateo near San Mateo High School, which has a higher API than Woodside High, in the mid 500K. The homes are 3+ Bedroom and range from 1500 square feet. There is one fixer upper in the low 500,000 range.

There is also a land parcel zoned to Carlmont approved for a 2000 square foot home, claiming that the cost of both the land and structure will be around 500-600K. The parcel itself costs somewhere around 350K.

Here is a list of San Mateo schools and their latest API scores. County List of Schools

For me, the general rule of thumb is that elementary schools should score well above the prociency mark of API 800, middle schools should score at least an API of 800, and a high school is good so as long as it is in the mid 700's or higher. The California Board of Education will release a list of school scores according to a score out of 10. The criteria above for API scores will usually result in scores 8 and higher, but not lower than seven. Therefore, high schools and some middle schools do not have to reach the proficiency mark of API 800 to score a 7 of 10, denoting the fact the school is within the top 30% of all public schools statewide within the same category.

I expect that within the coming month, there will be a more inventory and lower prices, so moving to the Bay Area would not be so bad.

If all else fails, the American High School attendance zone in Fremont is only a half hour away on the other side of the Dumbarton Bridge. Homes there cost about the same, but can be larger or have more rooms. There is a six bedroom home, 2200 square feet, that claims not to be a short sale or REO for 490K. Realistically, I would expect homes to cost in the mid 500K to broaden inventory. In the coming months, the price will drop some more, and larger homes can be had for 500K, even less.

According to Google Maps, the ride takes approximately 20 minutes from Ardenwood in Fremont and a full half-hour from other parts of the city. I don't know what traffic would do to the drive, but I have heard that the bridge has lighter traffic when juxtaposed with the Bay Bridge or the San Mateo Bridge.

There is also a commuter rail planned to cross the Dumbarton using the existing rail bridge and network going from Union City BART to Millbrae BART. A measure was passed serveral years ago to rehabilitate the rail bridge. I don't know how that is progressing right now.

Last edited by tennis368fan; 10-25-2008 at 06:27 PM..
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