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Old 06-02-2009, 02:27 PM
 
4 posts, read 41,065 times
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Hello
I am currently a renter in Berkeley and love it here, however, I am looking to buy a home and Berkeley/Albany is just too expensive. The thing that is most important to me is safety. Nightlife/excitement is not really a priority. I am currently looking in the Pinole/Hercules area so far like the feel of the area and the house prices are reasonable. What are your thoughts on this area? Any other suggestions of where may be an affordable place to live in the Easy Bay? thanks!
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:35 PM
 
Location: san francisco bay area
300 posts, read 1,849,497 times
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I live in this area. Both communities are fine although Hercules seems to have a bit more community type activities and events. There are also a lot of foreclosures in Hercules at the moment, the result of a seriously over inflated housing market. So, if you want to purchase a house, you should be able to get a good deal on one.

Last edited by nooneknowsmyname; 06-02-2009 at 02:37 PM.. Reason: missing word
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:04 PM
 
Location: ABQ
3,771 posts, read 7,093,442 times
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I just went to Hercules and Pinole and spent the day at both because I, too, am looking to buy.

Hercules:
What we found in Hercules were really cute homes nearing the water front, and within 5 years they hope to be entirely completed with their new waterfront downtown. It would seem to me that when that's done, the area will look better and be a more valuable asset. City of Hercules : New Town Center It's already really cute down there, but I think it could get a whole lot better. I like the townhouses just outside of this area - visible from 80 also. We also went to a farmers market that they have at Home Depot on Saturdays and everyone was really friendly. We didn't go in, but the public library looks pretty cool (my fiancee didn't like it, but I thought it looked neat anyway). Anyway, in my visit, I thought Hercules was the better choice. As far as con's go, I didn't really see any - we went touring through alot of neighborhoods and didn't see any that looked seedy and a lady at the farmers market told us it was a really lovely place to live.

Pinole:
Pinole has a cute downtown look on San Pablo Rd that we thought was neat and at first glance, thought it might have more promise than Hercules, but honestly, in driving through, we didn't love a whole lot else. Turning right off of San Pablo put us in a very old, somewhat-runned down looking neighborhood and continuing down San Pablo looked more gritty than anything in Hercules. We decided it was just too close to Richmond and San Pablo for our liking. I'm sure there are really cute neighborhoods here, but we were far more into Hercules to care. As another poster said, there are also alot more available homes in Hercules due to the foreclosures, so I think prices are a little bit nicer, not to mention it's slightly further from SF (but we like that).

Hope that helps a bit.

Other suggestions for affordable housing in the East Bay: Someone might flame me for even mentioning it, but I'm also looking at Vallejo and Fairfield for good buys, but I preface this in saying that you better know where to look and where NOT to look. If you can take a weekend to visit and look around, you'll get a pretty good idea for which neighborhoods and blocks you'll be completely comfortable with, but it's really necessary that you do so. The other affordable place I'm into is Vacaville because my fiancee works at Davis, so we don't mind also being out in the extreme, extreme corners of the East Bay. That may be way too far out for anyone else, but there are alot of nice, pretty cheap homes there. Also, if you're into condo living, Richmond's Marina Bay is pretty affordable, though I'd stop my search there. San Pablo also has a brand new townhouse development beginning in the high 200's. We toured it, thought they were nice, but passed due to the seedy neighborhood. They're gated, but we want a place we can be more comfortable in. Good luck to you.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:27 PM
 
3,735 posts, read 8,067,624 times
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Pinole is an older city and has more of a community presence. Around Christmas time you really get a sense of the community and the tree lighting is just a great time. You'll find older people in the neighborhood. Pinole has a better rec center than Hercules.

Hercules, is newer for bay area standards. Younger families and larger lots. Nice parks. If you like "newer" then Hercules is the place for your.

If you have children the schools are not excellent in either area and you will have to put them in private school. Kids get bussed in from Richmond, not a big deal to me but it seems that this has caused a lack of parental involvement.

The commute is HORRIBLE!!!! There is always traffic on 80. The Hercules carpool is not very good. If you are commuting to SF then I recommend you taking the Richmond Pkwy carpool.

Both areas lack any sort of nightlife, shopping, or really good restaurants. You will have to go to surrounding cities for that and everything closes VERY EARLY!

In both areas you will find that you will know your neighbors. People are really friendly and there isn't a big crime problem.

It really depends on what you are looking for and what your interests are. Give more detail so that others can give more feedback.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:55 PM
 
Location: bay area
242 posts, read 788,852 times
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Hercules is nice. The library is new and has won awards for its architecture. I have several friends that live in hercules and they love it. My bestfriend just closed on a condo in hercules and she only paid $175,000 for it. My co-worker rented form that same complex and the owners said they had paid $400,000 for it. So there are some good deals in Hercules.
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:44 PM
 
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Thank you to everyone who sent in responses, i like hercules better as well. does anyone have any advice on the different neighborhoods? I am looking in the Glenwood/devonwood condo complex area, the olympian hills area, and the country run townhouse complex area. any thoughts?
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Los Altos Hills, CA
36,657 posts, read 67,519,268 times
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Pros:
Bigger home lots than Berkeley/Albany.
Very Racially and Ethnically Diverse.
Hercules is upscale.
Crime is less than Berkeley.

Cons:
Suburban life might too boring for more urban-oriented folks.
The drive into SF/Oakland is horrendous during commute times. 80 is the most congested freeway in Northern California.
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Old 06-04-2009, 11:09 PM
 
Location: bay area
242 posts, read 788,852 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireamoeba View Post
Thank you to everyone who sent in responses, i like hercules better as well. does anyone have any advice on the different neighborhoods? I am looking in the Glenwood/devonwood condo complex area, the olympian hills area, and the country run townhouse complex area. any thoughts?
Devonwood is where my friend bought a condo. Its a nice neighborhood, nice and quiet and they keep it clean, they also have a strict HOA though.
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Living rent free in your head
42,850 posts, read 26,268,189 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puddy4LyF View Post
Other suggestions for affordable housing in the East Bay: Someone might flame me for even mentioning it, but I'm also looking at Vallejo and Fairfield for good buys, but I preface this in saying that you better know where to look and where NOT to look. The other affordable place I'm into is Vacaville because my fiancee works at Davis, so we don't mind also being out in the extreme, extreme corners of the East Bay.
I lived and worked in Solano County for a couple of decades. The only town in the county that I would even consider recommending is Benicia. Vallejo is in the middle of a bankruptcy filing and has gone from 155 cops to 116, the town is a disaster- it's full of drug users and the crime rate has always been high. Fairfield/Suisun have nothing really going for them, there is no sense of community and when I lived there I quit replacing car stereos and just left my car unlocked to avoid having windows broken. Vacaville is somewhat better, but I just don't like it- it's dreadfully hot in the summer and basically full of people who commute to some other place. Also, the commute on 80 from anywhere in Solano County has become quite dreadful

If you can't afford Davis, why not look at Winters? It's a nice little town.

Sorry if I disillusioned you about Solano County but to me it's the armpit of northern california. I spent 2 decades in law enforcement in that county and can't really think of too many redeeming qualities that would make anyone want to live there
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:05 PM
 
Location: ABQ
3,771 posts, read 7,093,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sleepy View Post
I lived and worked in Solano County for a couple of decades. The only town in the county that I would even consider recommending is Benicia. Vallejo is in the middle of a bankruptcy filing and has gone from 155 cops to 116, the town is a disaster- it's full of drug users and the crime rate has always been high. Fairfield/Suisun have nothing really going for them, there is no sense of community and when I lived there I quit replacing car stereos and just left my car unlocked to avoid having windows broken. Vacaville is somewhat better, but I just don't like it- it's dreadfully hot in the summer and basically full of people who commute to some other place. Also, the commute on 80 from anywhere in Solano County has become quite dreadful

If you can't afford Davis, why not look at Winters? It's a nice little town.

Sorry if I disillusioned you about Solano County but to me it's the armpit of northern california. I spent 2 decades in law enforcement in that county and can't really think of too many redeeming qualities that would make anyone want to live there
Proof that two people can go to two different places and get two totally different feelings.

1) Winters completely sucks for someone like me. I don't know if you thought downtown was cute, but it wasn't nearly as cute as Benicia or Vacaville. The rest of the town looked run-down and there was absolutely nothing to do there.

For such a small town, I also noticed a large amount of grafiti and young people driving tricked out cars. Just looked like a place I wouldn't be able to spend anything more than an afternoon, let alone actually live there.

2) Vacaville. The reason I gave this town was the fact that it's affordable - far more affordable than Benicia. But yeah, Benicia is my favorite town here, but Vacaville honestly isn't too far behind. The housing market is so vast and affordable and the more time I spend here, the nicer I think it is! What can't you get? People may commute for work, but unlike Winters, they aren't also commuting for shopping needs or entertainment. The only thing Vacaville doesn't have is a Trader Joe's, really.

3) I prefaced Fairfield and Vallejo myself. You better know where to look and where not to look when contemplating these two cities. But, if someone is interested in saving 100k on a house, they're obviously places to look.
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