The advice below looks ~50/50 Buy vs. Rent.
Normally, I would throw my thumb up for the rental in order to acclimate oneself in a chosen area; nonetheless, my hesitation in recommending such a move is what faces Buyers (increasing interest rates) and Sellers (reduced demand due to the aforementioned) in 2014. For more background on this please see:
"The Top 4 Challenges Buyers & Sellers will face in 2014!â€ http://tinyurl.com/lg2n2v5
â€œ1. would you recommend the area, considering where we work? (commute wise, safety etc) â€œ
Menlo Park is a great City sans the cost as John has pointed out. From a commute perspective to SF it can be quite a challenge.
You may want to use Googleâ€™s â€œstatistical commute toolâ€. Hereâ€™s an example:
If you click on the link located below it will take you to a real-time â€œFremont to Menlo Parkâ€ Google map that estimates this commute with current traffic: http://goo.gl/maps/u4wN1 Now, assuming you have a specific day/time in mind you can also obtain a historical estimate of commute time; hereâ€™s how:
1) In the upper right hand corner of the map Click "Traffic".
2) In the bottom left hand corner click the "change" link right next to where it says "Live Traffic".
3) Next Click the "Traffic at day and time" button and set the day & time you want to check for your likely commute time. For the most part, you will probably like what you see.
You should test your reaction to what you find for the Northbound commute to SF as well.
Now for your wife: assuming you are leaving from Fremont (or other potential East Bay City) BART is the way to go. http://www.bart.gov/stations/index.aspx
a) You can also research ALL public commute options using the "Public Transit Trip Planner" at http://www.511.org
b) Carpooling has its advantages and disadvantages; however, if interested, you can check out the Carpool matching service under the â€œGo Greenâ€ link at http://511.org/go-green.asp and http://rideshare.511.org shows Park-n-Ride lots and two-person express lanes.
â€œ2. how have home prices been lately?â€
â€œ3. what are the good neighborhoods in San Mateo?â€
Iâ€™ll defer to the responses of my Colleagues in San Mateo!
â€œ4. If we decide to rent, can we find something in the $2500 range for 2Br/2 bath? â€œ
Here a few sites for rentals:
Here are some additional sites you may be interested in:
Crime & Safety: http://www.crimereports.com
Once you enter a property address go to the "Advanced Search" tab to select what type of information is important to you. Next, choose the duration of time you want to look at under "Date Range" (now limited to a 6-month view).
You can also try these alternate crime reporting sites: http://tinyurl.com/a34pmyc
Based on property address, this site provides attendance area schools (Public, Private and Daycares) along with useful statistics and other information you should appreciate. They also have a cellphone mobile application, which is quite handy when you are viewing homes! Just access the website on your mobile phone to download the app. NOTE: Before making an offer on a property call the School District to CONFIRM the schools the property will feed to!
Welcome to the Bay Area. I'm sure you will love it here. San Mateo is a great city to live in, I have lived in San Mateo for the last 7 years. As your looking for potential homes I would recommend meeting with a Realtor so they can give you a general overview of areas and pricing. It would be a good Idea to visit Open Homes and drive around the different areas so you can get a feel for what you like.
To answer your questions:
1. How far are you willing to drive? Will you both be working near the 101 or 280? Are both your jobs accessible through public transportation?
2. Home prices have been going up, but it seems some areas are starting to level off. It really depends which city you ultimately want to end up in.
3. There are several nice areas in San Mateo, in order to find something that would fit your needs we would need to know what your price range is. That way we can deterimine which areas work best within your range.
4. You should be able to find a place to rent for $2500.
If you have more questions or want to go into more detail feel free to contact me at 650 438-1562.
Locally, estimates are that interest rates would have to rise to over 5.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying a home. A key assumption is that you will not be selling the home for roughly six years.
Traffic is quite congested on US 101 at every bridge coming from the east bay. There is fairly good commute transportation to SF via CalTrain from most peninsula cities including Menlo Park.
Home prices do not vary with season but the number of homes to choose from drops dramatically during late fall early winter.
San Mateo home values can be viewed at
Menlo Park home values can be viewed at
Top 2 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty, the nations largest
Over 20 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County
The area is fantastic. I have lived in San Mateo for 20 years. Lots of great neighborhoods, parks, shopping, etc. The commute for you and your wife will depend on traffic/time of day, but figure on 30-45 minutes into SF and 15-30 minutes to Menlo Park.
San Mateo prices for single family homes have risen substantially over the last year, roughly 16%. Generally, the areas in San Mateo east of highway 101 will be the most affordable, in the Shoreview and Parkside neighborhoods. West of 101 you will find great, family neighborhoods in San Mateo Village, Sunnybrae, Fiesta Gardens. When you get west of El Camino Real, the prices tend to get higher, so it will all depend on your budget.
When you are new to an area, I feel it is a good idea to rent in the beginning to get a real feel for the neighborhoods, commute, shopping, etc. There are some great rent vs. buy calculators to help you make the decision from a financial standpoint as well.
Congratulations and good luck with your move.
8z Real Estate
You will get:
1. Zero down, much less move in costs
2. Usually a lower payment than rent
For more information as to which homes in your area are eligible call me at :
you may want to rent before you buy so you can get familiar with the area...meanwhile get prepared for buying, learn about writing the winning home purchase offer, getting loan preapproved, and more here
see market trends here
$$$ BUYER CASH REBATE 50%-60% / SELLER DISCOUNT 50% $$$
See "ACTIVE" listings for sale in real-time from San Francisco to San Jose
Flavio Tejada, Owner/Broker, Realtor, MBA-Finance
You may qualify to buy FHA from a minimum 580 fico score and 3.5% down or even as low as .5% half percent down payment program. You may qualify to buy with minimum out of pocket expenses and pay less than rent. Here is a Trulia blog to study and consider.
Sheryl Arndt, Real Estate Broker - Sr. Loan Officer CA only
REO & Short Sale Specialist
Credit Repair At No Cost
ALL Loan Programs Available
20+ Years Experience
9am till 7pm Monday thru Saturday, Sundays by appt.
If my response was helpful, consider clicking thumbs up or Best Answer!
Start living your lives...see where you are friends are...whether the jobs are working out....and then, with some time and knowledge under your belt, consider your purchase.
I spent 13 wonderful years in the bay area...it's an exciting place to live.
Best of luck.
I think it's a good idea to rent first until you get a good feel of the area. It sounds like to don't have children, but thinking of schools is very important , especially considering resale value.
My take on the market is that we peaked, that's not to say the values are going to come down anytime soon, but the urgency has cooled and that is in both the entry level homes and up to $2-3M.
Yes, I think you can find a good rental in the $2,500-$3,000 range. Are you both going to drive or take the public transit which is very good. You or your wife can take the train, or your wife can drive to Millbrae and take BART.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to write or call. You should probably contact a local agent to see if they can help with the rental or contact some property management companies and of course Craig's list, just be careful of any scams.
CAL BRE # 01240529
San Mateo is a good halfway point. There are more public transportation options to San Francisco; BART, the train.
"Good" is subjective. I'd suggest you do some driving around to figure out what neighborhoods you feel comfortable in.
You may have to pay a bit more for a 2 bedroom/ 2 bath. 27-2800 is more likely.
Do not restrict yourself to the Peninsula for your home. While San Mateo and the communities on the Peninsula are wonderful they are also expensive. You should look across the Bay at Fremont and the surrounding communities that are only a short drive away from Menlo Park and also close to BART (public transit) to San Francisco.
Contact me directly if you would like more details.