Not all the schools are bad in San Francisco- we have plenty of good ones, but it is either hard to get in or they cost a substantial amount of cash.
However, the price point of 600k for a 3-4 bedroom house is probably the most difficult to achieve in SF Bay Area.
I agree with my colleagues that Contra Costa or Alameda Counties ( East Bay) are your best bet, but the cites with the best school system are more into the 800k price range than 600k. A BART/ MUNI combination will take you from there to Potrero Hill. The is no BART station in Potrero, but we have a CalTrain Station. The same goes for cities such as Mill Valley, San Anselmo, Corte Madera or San Rafael (Marin County), well known for their good schools. You will have to commute by car though, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.
FInally, in the Penninsula, cities such as San Mateo, Belmont, Palo Alto, Lost Altos have good public school systems. But they come with a steep price. Possibly BART commute from some of them and definitely car.
The reality is that you have to go further than that for a 600k priced bigger house.
These are the places where you may find a 600k home: Pleasant Hill, Concord, Antioch, Livermore, Lafayette(East Bay), Vallejo, Cotati, Fairfax, possibly San Anselmo (North Bay), Daly City, South San Francisco, San Bruno, parts of San Mateo( Peninsula)- these are the closest to SF, making your commute shorter, but you will need to find solutions for schools.
Another option will be renting into a good school system area.
I suggest that you look into all options.
Alina Aeby-Broker Associate
Pacific Union International
In SF, schools are done by lottery or you pay a fortune for private schools.
Since our median price is over $700,0000 and average houses have 2 bedrooms and one bath, sadly you are priced out of San Francisco unless you are OK with some of the townhouses in Visitacion Valley. They might have a magnet school nearby but not sure.
I love living in San Francisco but many families with children move out when children become school age. We have more dogs than children!
I am not sure if you are looking for a single family home, condo or town home. You have some options as far as single family houses go. You may want to consider places in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, such as Alameda(15 miles), Oakland (only 12 miles and BART stations), Danville(30 miles), San Ramon(35 miles away), Dublin (34 miles). Dublin does have a BART station. Of course, commute time will depend on traffic conditions during rush hour. What should take only 30 minutes to get in/out of San Francisco, may easily turn into an hour if not more. If you are willing to consider 3 bedroom houses, you may be able to find a home in Moraga or Orinda. There is a BART stop in Orinda as well.
Marin county is also worth considering, for example Novato or San Rafael.
San Francisco will have some choices for you as well. Your options would increase, if you were willing to consider 3 bedroom houses.
And then there is San Mateo county...
Since schools are important to you, you should do some research about that. That will help you make your decision. And of course, once you start getting a feel for different areas, that will help as well.
Best of luck with your search! If there is anything I can do to help, please, let me know.
Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie
Potrero Hill is a fantastic neighborhood with some of the best weather in the City. As a result of this and many other positives, not many people move! The last two houses with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths that sold were 2005 19th Street , closed 3/31/11, at $2,150,000 and 265 Arkansas, closed 12/07/11 at $1,550,000.
There are other more affordable neighborhoods that would be more in line with your price range and not that far away. SF is 49 square miles, so it does not take long to get anywhere. And that is only one of the terrific points about living here!
Contact me at any time for more information. Good luck with the new position!
James Romeo Holloway
Please feel free to reach out and contact me.
And, remember if you work with the buyer's agent in San Francisco you will pay the agent nothing to us directly. as Our commissions come only from closed escrows and only from the seller.