Home Buying in San Francisco>Question Details

Scott Brown, Real Estate Pro in Vallejo, CA

If you were going to buy a house in California in the San Francisco Bay Area right now, what city would it be in, at what price range, and why?

Asked by Scott Brown, Vallejo, CA Thu Apr 10, 2014

I see a lot of activity in the market, and some cities I show up to have multiple people looking at the properties at the same time I'm there, and the agents tell me they are receiving multiple offers. I believe there are still pockets where great buys can be found, but it is hard to know exactly where those are, unless you do a lot of research. Well, let's find out together what cities look good.

I am interested in Vallejo personally and would like to buy a home there, but it seems that there is a lot of people who tell me they would not want to live there. I think it would be great to see a lot of people buying and moving in, and causing the home owner occupied ratio to increase. I've seen some homes there on sale for about $170,000 which have previously sold for about $400,000. What do you think?

Help the community by answering this question:


As noted below you're going to get a lot of different answers. Some of that comes from personal preference and some comes from isolated market knowledge.

Personally I would never want to live in Vallejo, but I'm not the one who's looking to live there.In the end, it comes down to striking a balance between what you can afford and what kind of lifestyle you want. Some put more emphasis on the house, some more on lifestyle.

What I would suggest you do is figure out how much you can spend, what communities you can afford within striking distance of where you want to be or your work, spend some time in those areas, maybe even rent in the area you like (Vallejo for example), and then find a local pro in that area and start looking

Best Regards,

Lance R. King – Broker/CEO
King Realty Group

BRE # 01384425
415.722.5549 - Cell

1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 11, 2014
Hi Scott-

Yes, you certainly will get a variety of answers since it's all so very personal. I would suggest, depending on your individual situation, to perhaps spend some time near the areas where you think you can afford, assuming that it fits with your overall needs, and then get to know the local markets. Renting would probably be a better solution while you get to know the areas. Some people dive right in. As is the case for most people, they end up buying what they can afford and location usually dictates that (proximity to family, work, etc.).

I know of someone who bought a house in Stockton during the downturn. He lived in it for a number of years and then sold it recently for some profit. He told me more than once how he didn't like living in Stockton but there were other factors that had dictated that move.

Get a feel for the areas you may end up in and then keep you eyes on the market until you feel comfortable.

Rich Bennett, Realtor
Zephyr Real Estate
San Francisco
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 20, 2014
Good advice!
Flag Tue Apr 22, 2014
That really depends on what you're looking for in a city and how much you can afford. San Francisco is awesome, but it's not for everybody as far as living there. Some people love it, some people just love to visit. San Francisco is also extremely expensive. Vallejo is a completely different town with a completely different price range. You should definitely drive through the towns to get a feel for them. I'm not sure where your job is or would be, but you definitely want to take the bay area traffic into consideration.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 12, 2014
I live next door in the west end of Fairfield (Green Valley/Cordelia). Vallejo is like any town, it has older, rough neighborhoods and a few newer subdivisions that are holding their value. The city itself has had a lot of financial problems, making local government services sometimes questionable. I think the improvements and price appreciations you mention will take a generation to implement and require a general economic turnaround.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 11, 2014
I lived in Fairfield for quite a while, and also Vallejo, Petaluma, Novato, Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Rohnert Park, and Sonoma. I think Vallejo may be just about the lowest priced of those, as well as Fairfield, so I suspect if someone is on limited funds they could get something there whereas the others are not so easy to get into.

It would be nice to see a huge push for Vallejo to pick back up, since it is a wonderful place really. It is centrally located, and within 30 minutes to San Francisco, has a ferry straight there if you don't want to drive, is not far from Sonoma, Sacramento, Marin, Oakland or many other places, with a variety of freeways connecting it (80/780/680/37/12/etc) in it or very near it. The economic challenges could probably be helped if the city got more and more home owners and saw less crime and more home appreciation, in turn generating more tourism, business and property taxes.

Personally, I think I would prefer to live in Sonoma. Sonoma is a lovely city!
Flag Fri Apr 11, 2014
Everyone's answer to your question will be different because we are all unique and like different things about different areas and can afford different lifestyles. However, getting into the meat of your question... given the low inventory in the market right now it's hard to find a "deal". If you're interested in Vallejo I personally would pick up the phone and call a Realtor who is a Vallejo local or sells a lot of homes in the area. He/she would be better able to help you look past the price tag and see whether or not a property is a "deal" or not.

Hope this helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 11, 2014
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