Home Buying in San Leandro>Question Details

Erica Ng Hov…, Home Buyer in Pleasanton, CA

Comparing San Leandro, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Union City, Hayward, etc.

Asked by Erica Ng Hoversten, Pleasanton, CA Sun Aug 26, 2012

We're about to move back to the Bay Area after living in Connecticut for the past 8 years. We used to live in Redwood City (Emerald Hills area) and we know that we don't want to pay about $1M for a 1500 square foot house! So we're considering the East Bay hoping to get more house for the money. Unfortunately, we don't know the East Bay as well as the Peninsula so we could use some help with the pros and cons of these towns. My husband will be commuting to lower Fremont, so we hope the drive won't be more than 30-40 minutes each way.

We're hoping for a newer house in a good neighborhood with 4 bdrm, 2 baths, 2000 sq ft. But if an older house has those criteria with inherent value, AND A VIEW :-), we don't mind doing the upgrades.

Thanks!

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Answers

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Hi Erica,

In order keep your husbands S. Fremont commute reasonable, you may want to initially focus on the nearby communities of Fremont, Newark, Union City, Milpitas and San Jose to see what is available. The quality of the schools varies greatly, if that is a consideration. South Fremont/Warm Springs has some excellent schools, but the most of the housing stock is somewhat older (mid-20th century) than other parts of Fremont. Properties in the hills can have lovely views, but are more costly, of course.

I would be happy discuss more options with you at your convenience.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 27, 2012
As you can see by both answers below, you’ve asked a question that’s going to be very hard for us to answer without having an in-depth conversation with you. It’s almost like trying to answer the question, “Which is better … a dog, cat, turtle or iguana?”

As John suggested, I’d recommend you interview a few East Bay agents (all three of us here certainly qualify) and then, once you’ve made your choice, go over everything with them by phone, email and in person. We frequently pick up out-of-area clients and drive them around various areas so they can get a feel for which city and neighborhood best fits their needs.

As an example, you mentioned views: San Leandro, Castro Valley and Hayward have the best chance of finding a home with views, but the commute to South Fremont can be absolutely awful. San Leandro/Castro Valley to South Fremont is easily 30 minutes in good traffic … in rush hour, it could double in a heartbeat. If you want a home in Fremont with a view, you are more than likely going to be out of your price range. Union City has some homes with views. You may like Hayward’s view homes but not feel comfortable with Hayward’s schools ... without an in-depth conversation, it’s going to be hard to really know what you want.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 27, 2012
Erica,

You must remember that the various Peninsula cities are all different…Redwood City, San Carlos, Atherton, Menlo Park, San Bruno, South San Francisco…to name a few. Similarly, the cities that you have mentioned are different from each other. Within each city you will find older and newer homes. Some will be closer to your husband’s job and others are more distant. Your husband will be working in Fremont but you did not even include that city…the fourth largest in the Bay Area…which offers lots of options for home buying. Milpitas is another city which may offer a convenient commute for your husband.

My suggestion is that you interview two or three Realtors who can help you to decide where you focus needs to be. Pick the Realtor that suits your personality.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 26, 2012
Welcome back.

Besides price/square foot and commute as your criteria, what are your other criteria?

Do you have school-age children in which case school districts may play a role?
Since you prefer newer homes but would consider older homes, how old? Are you open to renovated Victorians?
Do you prefer living in the city, versus the suburbs?
What amenities are important to you?
Do you prefer detached single family homes, or would you consider duets, townhouses?

This question was posted in San Leandro --- so if you would like to have a view, then presumably you're open to living in the hills?

Similarly, Fremont also has several newer development....so you may consider living there to make your husband's commute easier. Or do you prefer NOT to be in the same city?

If you'll itemize the various criteria that are important to you, then we can narrow your search to cities that will offer the most based on your requrements. Let me know how I may help.

If you're looking in San Ramon --- there are several new communities, but many are farther away and as such driving to the interstate (for commuters) there would be added minutes to the commute.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 26, 2012
Pacita, I didn't include Fremont because I remember it being a very dense area. If we look for houses up in the hill, it maybe beyond our price range.
I welcome to being on the Listing Book, but perhaps wait for another month before we start getting that.
Flag Mon Aug 27, 2012
Erica

What we can do for you, based on your criteria

1. I can send you some prospects one city at a time
2. You can give me some feedback on what may or may not work -- the more information you provide the more focused the search can be

But I am curious as to why you didn't include Fremont in the search --- or did you just forget to add that?

Give me your email/phone number and I'll be glad to check out a few for you. Then I can also set it up on Listing Book so that you are automatically notified each time a property that meets your criteria becomes available. On Listing Book, you can also change the criteria at any time. Will this work?

Will be happy to help
Pacita
510 205 2992
Flag Sun Aug 26, 2012
Hi Pacita, thanks for your reply and many good questions. So I'll try to list out all our wish list:
- price: around $650k - $800k
- size : at least 2000 sq ft (we live in a 4700+ sq ft home now. So we'll have to downsize quite a bit).
- we want a quiet neighborhood with convenience to grocery and a few good places to eat. Perhaps suburb will fit the bill.
- we don't have children but desire a good school district for resale value.
- we prefer a single family house with open floor plan so Victorians might not do or will be a bigger renovation project than I'd want to take on.
- Amenities we desire: open floor plan, lots of natural light with views of hills, open space, or bay.
As I mentioned, we are open to suggestions on which town/city we should focus for our search. We'll definitely consider the Peninsula as well. But I know that might be a bit of tough find based on our list of "wants."
Flag Sun Aug 26, 2012
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