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Old 10-21-2009, 02:06 PM
 
291 posts, read 885,324 times
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Hi!

We are considering a move to the bay area and would like more information to figure out where to begin our search. Here are a few questions:

1) Looking for a family oriented area (we have 2 pre-schoolers) with parks, trails, sidewalks and shops nearby. Looking for an area with some walkability. It doesn't have to be in any downtown area but at the same time we don't want to have to drive everywhere.

2) Looking for an affordable area where we could possibly get a small 4 bedroom house for less than $600k preferably less than $500k. Good public schools are not a must since we are considering private schools. But if good public schools are available it's definetely a bonus

3) Commuting & traffic patterns - what surrounding areas are best to commute to/from San Jose? We hate spending too much time in the car but at the same time we understand the traffic situation in the bay area. I guess we just want to find a good balance between home prices & commuting times.

Any ideas?
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:00 PM
 
Location: Newark, CA
2,310 posts, read 5,243,321 times
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Well unfortunately, to be realistic, you may not be able to buy something that you're looking for in that price range, even in today's market. I'd probably recommend renting for now, since you can definitely rent a house in a nice neighborhood that'd be affordable.

As far as family-oriented goes, many areas of San Jose are. Most of San Jose is suburban housing, so it really comes down to what kind of families you want to be around. I'd say some of the best locations to raise kids in SJ would be Willow Glen (zip code 95125), Almaden Valley (95120), Rose Garden (95126), Cambrian Park (95118/95124) and Blossom Valley (95123/95136). These areas range from $ middle class to $$ upper-middle class to $$$ upper class. I really think renting would be best though so you could get a feel for the area before you really decide to settle down.

There is public transportation throughout the area, but it tends to be inefficient and slow. The entire SJ area really is a car-centric place. You will need a car. If you chose to live downtown, you could probably get along with no car some of the time, but I wouldn't consider it a family-oriented part of town. Of the above mentioned locations, Willow Glen would probably be the best family-oriented neighborhood to survive as car-less as possible, since it's a pretty tight-knit community with its own little downtown area.

As far as schools go, the areas with the best public schools in SJ are pretty much in Almaden Valley and West SJ (areas that are part of Cupertino school district). Good schools around here equals expensive. Since you're already considering sending your kids to private schools, this may or may not be an issue for you.

As far as commuting goes, this is a bit harder to answer. There are numerous different traffic patterns throughout the valley that you'll only figure out by actually living here. San Jose is pretty easily accessible from most cities in the valley and the majority of the other cities border SJ at some point. SJ is very spread out so some outlying cities are closer to some SJ neighborhoods than some SJ neighborhoods are to each other.

Hopefully this helps out a little. It really just barely scratches the surface though of what to expect living here. You really have to visit for yourself and explore the whole area to get a feel for what you're looking for. Good luck!
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:24 PM
 
291 posts, read 885,324 times
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Thank you MSTNGHU2! Yes, we are planning to rent for at least 1 year. We are not planning to buy immediatly. But at the same time, we want to do our research ahead of time so we can narrow things down a bit and hopefully don't have to move schools once the kids start kindergarden next year.

How's the commute from Gilroy, Morgan Hills and Los Gatos in/out of San Jose? Any other less expensive areas we should be looking at outside San Jose? (not that Los Gatos is inexpensive but we do like it) How's Milpitas?
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Old 10-22-2009, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Newark, CA
2,310 posts, read 5,243,321 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeSunset View Post
Thank you MSTNGHU2! Yes, we are planning to rent for at least 1 year. We are not planning to buy immediatly. But at the same time, we want to do our research ahead of time so we can narrow things down a bit and hopefully don't have to move schools once the kids start kindergarden next year.

How's the commute from Gilroy, Morgan Hills and Los Gatos in/out of San Jose? Any other less expensive areas we should be looking at outside San Jose? (not that Los Gatos is inexpensive but we do like it) How's Milpitas?

You're welcome! I personally wouldn't want to do the commute from Gilroy, but lots of people do. Gilroy is probably a town I'd avoid though. I wouldn't consider it unsafe, but it has more gang activity than you'd expect for a city of its size. There are elements of Gilroy that make it very undesirable to me, but to each their own. You'd have to check it out for yourself. I do like Morgan Hill though. It has a very country-ish atmosphere and has very strict growth guidelines which help slow down development. Most people tend to be middle class to upper middle class, are educated and are family-oriented. One of my best friends has lived in MH for years and loves it. Milpitas is a very clean, quiet, well-maintained city. I lived there for over twenty years and my parents still do. Some neighborhoods near Dixon Landing Rd. occasionally pick up the smell from the nearby dumps, but most Milpitas neighborhoods are not affected by this. Milpitas used to be very racially diverse when I grew up there, but is now predominantly Asian. Los Gatos is a very nice town, but as you already know it's very expensive.

San Jose itself is big and diverse enough that you can pretty much find any type of neighborhood to suit your needs. Outside the city limits, I'd say your best choices for a combination of affordability/family-oriented living would probably be Morgan Hill, Campbell, Santa Clara and Milpitas.
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:30 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
7,688 posts, read 26,942,843 times
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That's actually not unrealistic in San Jose proper. Since you're thinking of private schools, you can check out the area around the 85/87 junction. That way you get access to light rail and you're close to Blossom Hill Rd. shopping.
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:06 PM
 
12,824 posts, read 21,617,230 times
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Expand your horizons to the entire Southern Bay Area (e.g. the 650, 408, 510 and 925) and perhaps the hinterlands beyond. Accept the fact you are in for a horrible commute, based on your criteria.

I base this on co workers with your scenario. That's how they live, in reality.
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:38 AM
 
28,847 posts, read 31,531,627 times
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I know some people will flame me for saying this, but that's spelled "adviCe" with a "C".

"Advise" with an "s" is a verb. With a "c" it's a noun. 90% of the time people mean to write the noun form of the word.

Rampant misspelling of this word really peeves me. Now I feel better :-)
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:03 PM
 
12,824 posts, read 21,617,230 times
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Also, in these parts, there is no such thing as a "small 4 BR house."

Here, a typical "small" house is a 3/2, 3/1, 2/2 or 2/1. And a "small" 3/2 here is more like an apartment, in other parts of the country, in size (900 - 1500 SF).
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:14 PM
 
Location: yeah
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3/2 is beyond small by my personal standards.
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:57 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
7,688 posts, read 26,942,843 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayAreaHillbilly View Post
Also, in these parts, there is no such thing as a "small 4 BR house."
Yes, there is. There are plenty of houses in San Jose with 4 bedrooms in 1200-1300 sf.
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