Foreclosure in Cow Hollow>Question Details

Clara, Home Buyer in Syracuse, NY

we are moving from upstate NY to Norther california. Husband will be working in foster city. We want to know

Asked by Clara, Syracuse, NY Mon Oct 15, 2007

we want to know about nice towns to love with children, nor far from foster city. School district is very important. Any advise?

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Dan Robinson’s answer
Clara, here are the elementary school ratings for Foster City and the surrounding areas. The State Rank is determined by a school's API Score in comparison to all other schools in California. (1 is the worst, 10 is the best). An equal number of schools occupy each rank.

San Carlos Elementary School Ratings
* Arundel Elementary rank: 10
* Brittan Acres Elementary rank: 9
* Central Middle rank: 9
* Charter Learning Center rank: 10
* Heather Elementary rank: 8
* Tierra Linda Middle rank: 10
* White Oaks Elementary rank: 10

# Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary Ratings

* Central Elementary rank: 10
* Cipriani Elementary rank: 9
* Fox Elementary rank: 10
* Nesbit Elementary rank: 8
* Ralston Intermediate rank: 10
* Sandpiper Elementary rank: 10

Redwood City Elementary Ratings

* Adelante Spanish Immersion rank: 7
* Clifford Elementary rank: 8
* Roy Cloud Elementary rank: 9
* Fair Oaks Elementary rank: 1
* Henry Ford Elementary rank: 4
* John Gill Elementary rank: 6
* Hawes Elementary rank: 3
* Hoover Elementary rank: 3
* John F. Kennedy Middle rank: 5
* McKinley Institute of Technology rank: 3
* Newcomer Academy rank: 1
* North Star Academy rank: 10
* Orion Alternative rank: 7
* Roosevelt Elementary rank: 2
* Taft Elementary rank: 2

San Mateo-Foster City Elementary Ratings

* Abbott Middle rank: 7
* Bayside Middle rank: 4
* Baywood Elementary rank: 10
* Beresford Elementary rank: 6
* Borel Middle rank: 7
* Fiesta Gardens International Elementary rank: 5
* George Hall Elementary rank: 5
* Highlands Elementary rank: 10
* Albion H. Horrall Elementary rank: 2
* Laurel Elementary rank: 8
* Meadow Heights Elementary rank: 6
* North Shoreview Elementary rank: 6
* Park Elementary rank: 7
* Parkside Elementary rank: 5
* San Mateo-Foster City Community Day rank: none
* Sunnybrae Elementary rank: 7
* Turnbull Learning Academy rank: 2

You can get further details on the specific schools here:

Dan Robinson
RE/MAX Today
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 16, 2007
Clara, There are many cities with good elementary schools - Foster City, San Mateo, Burlingame, Belmont , Millbrae to mention a few. The problem is the housing cost. You can buy a condominium in one of these cities below $600 k, but a townhouse might be difficult. One way to look for something is to rent first and watch foreclosures. Good luck.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2007
Artur Urbans…, Real Estate Pro in Burlingame, CA
There are many towns to consider. Price range and type of home is definitely a factor. Also, the ages of your children impact this decision as some neighborhoods have very strong elementary schools and maybe not as strong high school. I love Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Moutain View and Los Altos to the south. To the north you can consider Foster City itself and the western sides of the Peninsula in cities like Belmont, San Carlos and Burlingame. What is your price range and what are your requirements in a home?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2007
Mario Pinedo,…, Real Estate Pro in Cupertino, CA
Clara, you can definitely get into the area in that price range, but you will have some tough decisions to make. The closest cities to Foster City are San Mateo, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood Shores and Redwood City. Each would provide your husband a commute of 5-8 miles. Redwood Shores and Foster City are very similar in that they are fairly new cities that were planned well and have good schools. Each was build on landfill right on the SF Bay and are made up of a lot of cookie cutter homes. Redwood City and San Mateo are the larger cities in the area with populations around 100,000. Each has nice and not so nice areas and larger downtown areas. The schools are average at best, with a few good school sprinkled in. Belmont and San Carlos are smaller towns, each of around 28,000 people. Both cities have excellent schools, but you pay for that in higher rents and home prices. San Carlos is a bit more expensive than Belmont mostly because of it's thriving downtown area with great restaurants and shops.

One thing you should know about the sf peninsula, especially San Carlos and Belmont is you really are not seeing the housing issues that you are reading about in the rest of the country. While the volume of houses currently on the market is down, the prices remain steady and even increasing in some places.

I would not say we are in a buyers or sellers market right now. It may favor the buyers a bit as there are not a lot of multiple offer scenario's that we have seen in the past, but all in all it is a healthy market.

If you really want to buy, your most secure investments will be in San Carlos and Belmont. Unfortunately, you will need to increase your budget a bit to get in. In September, I was able to get some first time home buyers into a 3 bedroom/2 bath in San Carlos for a price around $4500/mo including taxes and insurance on a $750,000 home. This comes out to around $3300/mo after tax savings so well within your monthly budget. The loan was fixed for 5 years and then adjustable after that. The good thing about the peninsula is that the risk of a housing price decline is less than about everywhere else in the country, so these loans are still very popular and feasible in this area.

I would suggest that you talk to a local SF Peninsula mortgage broker to talk over your options and see what exactly you can afford. You might be surprised by what you find out. Please let me know if you would like me to supply you with a couple names and phone numbers.

If you want to rent, you can get more for your money in San Mateo and Redwood City, but you will not get the top notch schools.

Also, you can get info and pictures on any house for sale/rent in the area on my website at I also have a writeup on all the cities in the area that should give you a flavor of each town to help you identify the right place for you and your family.

Dan Robinson
RE/MAX Today
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 16, 2007
Both buying and renting at those prices are definitely possible. It will then be a question of how long of a commute do you want to consider for the offset in housing style and size. The Peninsula will afford you condos in the purchase price range you mentioned with strong schools. Renting will actually get you more for your dollar - of course you lose out on the appreciation over time. I moved back to the market in 2003 and was very happy with my decision to buy instead of renting - in what was a strong seller's market at the time - prices kept going up.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2007
Mario Pinedo,…, Real Estate Pro in Cupertino, CA
Thank you for your answer. My children are in elementary school. Where are the best elementary schools? Can I find something decent to live below $600s or to rent below $4000. We need at least 3brd/2.5 bath house/condo.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2007
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