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Old 03-04-2014, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Playa Vista
327 posts, read 701,859 times
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Hey guys. I may be going to Sunnyvale for a government job and the salary is $85k starting. Is this enough to survive there? I've read the horror stories of how terrible the COL is there, but I'd like to get it from you guys' perspective. I've been looking at the living spaces there, which are laughable at best with prices at around $3000 for a measly 700 sq. ft. unit, but what areas would you guys recommend? What are the bad areas, if any, of Silicon Valley? I wouldn't mind getting something cheap if I had to, so as long as it isn't in a bad area. Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:54 AM
 
1,696 posts, read 2,486,636 times
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Yes you will survive. As long as you budget correctly. You can also look at other cities around Sunnyvale, such as Santa Clara, San Jose, and Milpitas for housing.

Try to live around public transportation if you can.
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:25 AM
 
158 posts, read 326,305 times
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$3k for 700 sqft? That's outrageous. When I moved out of my Sunnyvale apartment in 2010, I was paying $1200 for 1000sqft. It was a single. When I moved into that apartment in 2006, the rent was $1000. My salary then was about 60k/yr. At 85k, you should be fine... are you single? Make sure you shop around for apartments. See like 4 of them at least. You'll notice a big difference in quality and price, and you'll find one that stands out to you and your budget.

Sunnyvale is a good, safe town. No bad areas at all really.
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:37 AM
 
28,804 posts, read 31,477,847 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jink View Post
Hey guys. I may be going to Sunnyvale for a government job and the salary is $85k starting. Is this enough to survive there? I've read the horror stories of how terrible the COL is there, but I'd like to get it from you guys' perspective. I've been looking at the living spaces there, which are laughable at best with prices at around $3000 for a measly 700 sq. ft. unit, but what areas would you guys recommend? What are the bad areas, if any, of Silicon Valley? I wouldn't mind getting something cheap if I had to, so as long as it isn't in a bad area. Thanks in advance.
I think the word "survive" is a bit melodramatic. Yes, the rents here are a rip off. That might mean you get a smaller apartment, maybe a studio instead of a 1BR. Americans outside the expensive coastal metro areas have unrealistic expectations in terms of housing, because real estate in America is cheap compared to most other parts of the developed world. You'll "survive" just fine in a smaller apartment.

The best place to live is the one that's closest to work. If you can walk, bike, or take a short light rail/bus commute to work, you're golden. I'd err on the side of a small place close to work than a bigger place further away, but that's just me. Most other people give similar advice on this board.

In general, Santa Clara and San Jose are a bit cheaper than Sunnyvale. Mountain View and Palo Alto are more expensive. There really are no truly bad areas of Sunnyvale that I know, although there are some kind of blah/dumpy parts. Avoid anywhere in East San Jose (zip codes 95116, 95121, 95122, 95127, 95148). It's a bad area and the commute would be too far, anyway.

A single person earning 85K, assuming no huge debts (big car or student loan payments) should do fine here. You should be able to easily sock away at least 10% away in your 403b/457 (I make less than that and I still manage to save more than 10% for retirement) and live a decent lifestyle. But, yes, you will have to watch your spending. The real challenge of this area is for people who want kids. Two people making 85K probably can only afford a condo or townhouse here, unless they've saved their butts off for a big down payment on a house.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
13,240 posts, read 8,221,905 times
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Yes - as a single person, you can live OK in Sunnyvale, though not lavishly. As others have mentioned, the town is pretty safe, it's generally fairly well-run as a municipality.

Better to take a smaller place near your work. S'vale is pretty centrally located in the heart of Silicon Valley, so it's very convenient for shopping, recreation, etc.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:10 PM
 
1,696 posts, read 2,486,636 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post

The best place to live is the one that's closest to work. If you can walk, bike, or take a short light rail/bus commute to work, you're golden. I'd err on the side of a small place close to work than a bigger place further away, but that's just me. Most other people give similar advice on this board.
I second this. You only need a place to rest and store your stuffs Rest of the time you should be working and hanging out and exploring.

Quote:
Avoid anywhere in East San Jose (zip codes 95116, 95121, 95122, 95127, 95148). It's a bad area and the commute would be too far, anyway.
95148 has no business being on that list. The majority of 95148 is Evergreen, which we can all agree is one of the nicest/most expensive regions of San Jose. Commute is horrific due to not enough public transit and entrance into freeways are located farther away.

The eastern half of 95121 borders 95148, making it just as great a place to live.

I agree with the other three zip codes. They're the quintessential East Side San Jose neighborhoods

And I agree that OP really have no business living in these areas due to horrible commute anyway, regardless if they're nice or bad.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:20 PM
 
28,804 posts, read 31,477,847 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby_guz_man View Post
95148 has no business being on that list. The majority of 95148 is Evergreen, which we can all agree is one of the nicest/most expensive regions of San Jose. Commute is horrific due to not enough public transit and entrance into freeways are located farther away.

The eastern half of 95121 borders 95148, making it just as great a place to live.

I agree with the other three zip codes. They're the quintessential East Side San Jose neighborhoods

And I agree that OP really have no business living in these areas due to horrible commute anyway, regardless if they're nice or bad.

Ok, I stand corrected on 95148. Sorry about that . But we do agree none of those areas would be good to live in for a single guy who has to commute to S'vale.
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Old 03-04-2014, 02:25 PM
 
1,696 posts, read 2,486,636 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post
But we do agree none of those areas would be good to live in for a single guy who has to commute to S'vale.
No doubt about this at all.

Which brings me to something else: the crazy traffic issue that we have. Traffic generally goes one way, flowing south from the East Bay to North San Jose to up the Peninsula. Wouldn't it be better to alleviate traffic by building office/jobs in the East Bay and South San Jose instead of concentrating all the high-paying jobs into the cities of Sunnyvale, PA, Mountain View, and Santa Clara?

All we need to do is spread the jobs around, and the traffic will ease immediately. It'll get crazy again but at least we should have reprieve for about a decade or two.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:23 PM
 
28,804 posts, read 31,477,847 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby_guz_man View Post
No doubt about this at all.

Which brings me to something else: the crazy traffic issue that we have. Traffic generally goes one way, flowing south from the East Bay to North San Jose to up the Peninsula. Wouldn't it be better to alleviate traffic by building office/jobs in the East Bay and South San Jose instead of concentrating all the high-paying jobs into the cities of Sunnyvale, PA, Mountain View, and Santa Clara?

All we need to do is spread the jobs around, and the traffic will ease immediately. It'll get crazy again but at least we should have reprieve for about a decade or two.
Well you know how that goes....This area was planned as suburban sprawl and once you have that type of setup it's tough to fix afterwards. What would be really nice is for us to have an underground subway, I know, I know.....keep dreaming.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:21 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, California
16,678 posts, read 17,567,884 times
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You could definitely "survive" on that amount. You would have to make some tradeoffs, such as limiting indulgences, etc.
You should be fine.
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