General Area in 94901>Question Details

blueskies1096, Home Buyer in Maryland

Neighborhoods in San Anselmo, San Rafael

Asked by blueskies1096, Maryland Sun Sep 16, 2012

A job relocation will bring us to San Francisco. We need advice on the best family-friendly (sense of community, great schools, kids, safe) neighborhoods within San Anselmo and San Rafael areas. Budget: max $1.3M 4bd/2 bath.

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Kathleen Diringer’s answer
how big of a home do you need? You can purchase a larger home in San Rafael. San Anselmo base prices are higher due to a number of different factors. Great question, many factors - suggest you look at both areas.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 29, 2012
Hi Blue Skies,
Welcome to Marin! The advice given below is quite good, so I will add to it. The Dixie School District in San Rafael takes you through 8th grade. Then your choices are Terra Linda High or San Rafael High. The Sun Valley district takes you through 5th grade and then you go to Davidson Middle. You can look at the school scores on In San Anselmo your high school is Drake, in Kentfield, Greenbrae, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Tiburon-Belvedere your high school is Redwood, and in Mill Valley and Sausalito the high school is Tam.

Many things go into deciding upon a school and neighborhood, like weather, commute distance, being close to town, etc. and I would be happy to give you a tour and discuss our different communities and options.
Thank you,
Carol Dean
Frank Howard Allen Realtors
Greenbrae, Ca. 94904
415-250-4187 cell,
License # 00649148
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 17, 2012
San Anselmo has very good schools and the community is very supportive of the schools. If you are going to be commuting to san Francisco, there are some areas of San Anselmo that would be more convenient/commute friendly than others. San Rafael is closer to the freeway, but you may want to review test scores for various areas. The far west side of San Rafael has Sun Valley Elementary School, which tends to consistently have good test scores, and the far East side of San Rafael has Glenwood Elementary School also with consistently good test scores. Northern San Rafael is proud to have the Dixie School District, which consistently has good test scores as well. Have you considered the Redwood High School district?? That would be Greebrae, Kentfield, Corte Madera and Larkspur. The schools are good and the commute location is good as well.

what type of square footage do you need?? What are the ages of your children?? Most areas of Marin are quite safe. There are some areas and neighborhoods that have more of a sense of community than others. In general, school test scores in most areas are good, but as a parent, I've found that being involved with the teachers and the school is also imperative to your child's education and going on test scores alone doesn't quite tell the whole story.

Kathy and I have both raised children in Marin and would be happy to share our experiences with you. We would try to find the best fit for you as far as neighborhoods.

Please let us know if you have any further questions!!!

Mary Kay & Kathy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 17, 2012
Hi Blueskies!

The award winning Dixie School District is the best in the San Rafael area which is in the Marinwood, Lucas Valley, and Mont Marin neighborhoods of San Rafael which is north of downtown San Rafael. These homes were mostly built in the 60s and many buyers have remodeled them now. Also, Glenwood is a good school in central San Rafael with good ratings. Both areas have a good sense of community, close to schools and shopping and safe.

Some of San Anselmo homes were built in the 30s and more custom built homes have been built today. There is a good sense of community there as well and good schools.

This is really a personal choice when you come here and see what fits your needs better. If you want a tour when you come here just call me and I will show you around as I have been born and raised here and a 4th generation native.

Thanks for inquiring and look forward to meeting with you.
Michelle McCarthy
Call (415)279-5329
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 17, 2012
Although we are based in the city we have many clients with children looking in these areas. San Rafael is usually a better commute because you don't have to deal with Sir Francis Drake Blvd. The San Anselmo commute becomes even longer if you are past Red Hill/SFD intersection.

One area of San Rafael that I really like is around Dominican. Really nice houses, close to the freeway, and not as expensive as San Anselmo. However, keep in mind that while the San Rafael school system is theoretically open to go where you want, they are becoming more and more overloaded and that may not be the case once your kids are ready to go to school, and there is a big difference between the high schools.

The Sleepy Hollow area of San Anselmo has some nice houses in the price range but is farther out. You may also want to try Kentfield which is closer in and has very nice homes.

Prices are pretty high right now so you may want to rent first to get a handle on where you really want to live, especially since in addition to the school/commute issue there are a lot of micro-climates (as pointed out below), and a short distance can have a big impact in that regard.

We work with a lot o relo, out of area, and international clients - happy to help you get a handle on all this as there is a lot to digest.

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 17, 2012
Congratulations on your relo to the Bay Area.

There are many things to consider when choosing where to build your nest. Things such as weather, commute times and lifestyle choices... and Marin offers a variety of them. My advice would be to schedule a time to tour San Rafael and San Anselmo with a realtor. This will provide you with a realistic and visual experience that you can then interrupt for yourselves.

If time allows I would recommend scheduling a visit to some of the schools in the communities you want to live, meet the principals and sit in on a class or two. Further providing you the opportunity to experience the sense of community and where your family will be most comfortable settling.

As the mother of two teenage children born and raised in Marin, I have a good handle on the variety of school choices available in our communities both in the public and private school sector. I would be delighted to meet with you and your family to discuss your options and provide you with a tour and information on how to schedule a tour with the schools. Feel free to call, text or email me anytime.

Missy Crowe
Alain Pinel Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 16, 2012
Hi, and congrats on your job relo! Not sure if you are already here in the bay area, but I hold a monthly Marin Seminar, that would help you figure out exactly what you are looking for:

In it I go over Marin neighborhoods, commute times, weather patters (YES it does matter where you live if you want summer sun). Some parts of SR (even though they are further North) might be a quicker commute than San Anselmo. It all depends where you are commuting to, and what time of the day. I'd be more than happy to talk to you on the phone or Skype if you aren't yet here and I can give you a good overview of towns, prices and such.

So many neighborhoods offer exactly what you are looking for (community, great schools, and more). On my street we just had our annual block party this weekend, and it just reinforces to me how much I love our sense of community and friendships with my neighbors.

You may also want to get set up on a home search alert using, which is tied directly into our MLS system. Here is the link to set up your search (you have to know an agent in order to get access to CleanOffer):…

I have young children myself, so have a good pulse into Marin Schools.

Feel free to call/email/text any time!
Liz McCarthy
#1 Agent McGuire Marin County
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 16, 2012
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