I often hear from young San Francisco families that they want to move to the East Bay. Heck, my family even took the plunge and moved to the East Bay. I often have the following conversation with mommies at playdates about my thoughts of living in the East Bay. So here are some of my observations on paper, so to speak.
When people think of moving to the East Bay, they often think that moving there will be more affordable since the cost of living is perceived to be less expensive. Although that may be true depending on the suburb you chose, here are some ancilary costs that really surprised us:
- The cost of commuting including gas, bridge toll, extra accidents incurred because of excessive time on the road and time lost due to accidents. Â (My husband had 2 accidents and neither were his fault.) All of these costs can range between several hundred to several thousand dollars when considering the lost time in work, recovery, etc..
- Watering the lawn. On its face it doesn't seem like much. However a couple hundred dollars of extra water each month adds up to nearly $2,400 each year or more.
- Air conditioning. Ever spend a summer in the heat? Walking into the East Bay during the late spring, summer and early fall can feel like walking into an oven. Having your AC run for 6 months a year can easily cost you an extra $1,200 a year.
- Schools. Although there are some GREAT schools in the suburbs, such as the LaMorinda Triangle, most all the schools in the East Bay have been hit hard by the downturn in the home values. So, even though you might be saving money on a mortgage, you may be making up for it by also paying for private school tuition. Â The counter argument to this is that families don't want to be subjected to the lottery system in SF. Well, I keep my ear to the ground and heard from a teacher that the lottery system in SF is going away in the next 2-3 years. Horray! Hopefully this will help the "family flight" out of San Francisco.
These are just some of the observations my family and I encountered during our tour of the East Bay. If you were wondering, we are back in San Francisco. Although we don't see the sun as often as we'd like, we sure do love the culture the city provides.
Happy house hunting! My best to you and yours! :)
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