For a modest range, San Leandro has some very nice 3 bedroom homes on tree lines streets in safer neighborhoods.
"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!
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.
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
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.
CHF Access half percent down flyer, pdf
Sheryl Arndt, standard needs list checked, pdf
CHF Access income limits http://tinyurl.com/8lzf8he
Sheryl Arndt, Broker – Sr. Loan Officer