Home Buying in Berkeley>Question Details

dustrat, Home Buyer in Berkeley, CA

Looking for fairly safe neighborhoods within 1 mi of a BART station on the Fremont line, to buy 2 or 3 br home. Contradiction in terms?

Asked by dustrat, Berkeley, CA Wed Oct 31, 2012

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Thanks for all the info! I should mention that right now we're just researching, not yet ready to buy. Qualifying will not be an issue, as there is a very well funded trust involved. But we have to keep the price fairly low because our son will have to pay rent to the trust from his SSI. He can share with others on SSI (otherwise the thing would be impossible!) but we still have to be careful. Therefore we're looking a bit further down the line. We'll check out the San Leandro possibilities and try the 1-mile searches, and make use of the crime-searching links kindly provided. Once my son has a job placement we'll be more able to hone in.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 1, 2012
Re: http://www.crimereports.com
Once you enter an address and your screen map comes up go to the "Incident Layers" tab to select what type of information is important to you. Next, choose the duration of time you want to look at. They used to allow comparing year-over-year; however, now I believe they limit to looking back six months (see the "Date Range" tab).
Flag Thu Nov 1, 2012
The Fremont line gives you a whole lot of choices of neighborhoods, as it goes all the way from Fremont to Richmond. What price range are you looking in? That will pretty miuch determine what neighborhoods you can buy in.
For a modest range, San Leandro has some very nice 3 bedroom homes on tree lines streets in safer neighborhoods.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 1, 2012
Hi dustrat,

"Looking for fairly safe neighborhoods"

Realtors® typically do not comment on "crime & safety" due to Federal/State anti-steering law exposure. An individual who "directs a particular race to a certain neighborhood and away from others" may be accused of "steering".

Apart from the "Anti-Steering" issue the following are other reasons Realtors® typically do not comment on "crime & safety":

1) One does not know the threshold of a Client's comfort level. A property crime may or may not have the same weight as a more serious event -- in a Client's mind.

2) As Citizens, we typically hear very little of what actually goes on in a City every day. I went through the Citizens’ Police Academy in my local area a few years back and I can absolutely tell you the typical city resident only hears about 2% of what actually happens on a daily basis.

3) A “nice” area can convert to a “bad” area in the blink of eye subject to sensitivity of the individual processing the information concerning a particular event.

4) I also recommend you take a friend and checkout the Neighborhood in the morning, afternoon and evening!

As far as researching an area I recommend:

"within 1 mi of a BART station on the Fremont line"

There are 18 stations along the Fremont-Richmond line and it would be quite simple to have your Realtor® set up a 1-mile radius search that automatically provides listings.

"Contradiction in terms?"

Buying a home, whether a first time home buyer or seller looking to move, one should investigate qualifying for a new purchase. In order of priority, here's what I would suggest you do:

1) Find a professional Realtor® to work with to protect you interests.
Simply put, your Realtor® will be able to answer initial key questions and guide you through the process. One of the key advantages of involving your Realtor® is access to seasoned Mortgage Broker/Bankers with a track record of getting the job done. You can check to make sure an Agent is a Realtor® by going here: http://www.realtor.org/rofindrealtor.nsf/pages/FS_FREALTOR?O…

2) Obtain a "True Pre-Approval" (your most important step in my opinion).
You MAY need to improve your credit score, increase cash reserves, etc. before buying; however, at least you will have a roadmap to eventually purchasing if this is the case. Furthermore, this step can save you from wasting money on a purchase that does not close escrow!

3) Make sure you obtain access to your local AND regional Realtor® MLS data via an automated search your Realtor® should most certainly create for you; here's why:
MLS Data Accuracy – Where to search if you’re “without Realtor®”

4) Avoid Dual Agency!
There are specific duties an Agent must provide. When one individual represents both Buyer and Seller conflict between two of the most important duties occur.

Best of luck with your home search!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 1, 2012
Fairly safe is a relative term, in truth, and I find that it really depends on the buyer's perception. That said, we live in an urban area, so all areas are affected by some crime...and all neighborhoods have some pockets that are better than others. You want to find an agent who will commit to work with you within your budget and help you be successful at offering on a home that will work for you.

I worked recently with two clients simultaneously who were shopping in a similar price point. One loved NOBE (north oakland, berkeley, emeryville) and saw great value there. They felt it was the right place to buy now for their age and objectives. As they looked around they saw houses everywhere that were being fixed up and improved. The other absolutely hated NOBE and could only see the houses that remained to be improved. A good agent will help you see the good and the less good, and figure out the right scenario for you. Because it is ultimately about what you feel is a good fit.

With your agent, you can identify the right pockets that fit your budget and needs within the neighborhood. Too many questions need to be discussed to make a solid recommendation, but feel free to call me for further discussion. I won't assume if you call that we will work together....my clients and I mutually choose one another, but a phone call is a great first interview, and I can help set you on the path to finding the right agent and the right 'hood.

Good luck with your search.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 31, 2012

There are the north Berkeley station and two stations in El Cerrito. What city were you thinking of? I think most people would consider these areas "fairly safe."

You can obtain crime statistics for a neighborhood from the local police dept, often from their website. People are frequently surprised when they check their own neighborhood, so compare any stats with the stats around your current home.


Better Homes & Gardens Mason McDuffie
(510) 504-1522
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 31, 2012
If you haven't done so yet....

And if you are not paying cash...

Get preapproved for a loan so that you know what your target budget range is before you look for a home

And get yourself a realtor who can help you find a suitable home meeting your basic requirements within your budget range.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 31, 2012
North Berkeley Station, El Cerrit0 Plaza Station, El Cerrito Del Norte, MacArthur Station at the edge of Temescal and the growing NOBE neighborhood...all great areas. It depends on your budget and what you are looking for.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 31, 2012
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