Home Buying in 94501>Question Details

Mom, Home Buyer in 94501

My husband, myself, and 3 sons (12, 10, & 7) may be relocating to the SF area. My husband would be working in the Richmond/ El Sobrante area.

Asked by Mom, 94501 Sat Oct 31, 2009

Price and excellent schools are our most important considerations. What areas would you recommend? We will be in the area tomorrow afternoon and would like to find an efficient way to look around. Thanks for any help you might offer.

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Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s answer
For your dollar, Alameda, Albany, Berkeley and Lamorinda (Lafayette/Orinda/Moraga) have the best public schools, all the way from K-12, within a reasonable commute from your husband's office. I also have clients who live and send their kids to certain El Cerrito schools, and are very happy with them. A couple of Oakland neighborhoods have decent K-6 schools, but they are pricier neighborhoods, and most homeowners prefer to go private by the time their kids get to high school. Similarly, Kensington has fabulous schools, but is higher priced, generally speaking.

If you're willing to shell out for private schools, though, the East Bay is your oyster. I live in Oakland and have sent my kids to several private and charter schools, and feel that there are some fabulous options here for private education.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 5, 2010
I know you want good schools and a safe area for your children and yourselves. There are some lovely homes in the area above highway 80 in the El Sobrante/Richmond area. I you can find the time to look in that area and see the schools and talk with the residents and teachers and even the shop owners, it will greatly affirm that it would be a good place to settle. If you want to know anymore please don't hesitate to ask. I would be glad to help. Jo Anne
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 12, 2009
Mom; in my opinion it would be best for you to determine what method of transportation your husband will be using to commute to work. Our highways can be stressful. Since the Bay Area is a great place to live I'm sure he would like to spend time quality time with his family instead of on our freeways. There are good schools in Oakland as well as Alameda, but you need to do your homework to determine which schools work best for you children. Check out Charter schools as well. If your husband can use the Bart system, lots of areas open up for you. Oakland offers wonderful Districts as well as Alameda and Berkeley. You should connect with a real estate agent that is willing to spend some time with you and keep you on track to achieve your family's needs.

I can help.

Peggy Kidd
Serving Oakland, Alameda and surrounding Bay Area neighborhoods
Web Reference: http://www.peggykidd.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 2, 2009
Alameda is a great town I have lived here for 13 years. It is centrally located and has many amenities as well as great schools. If you are new to the Bay area I think it can be a good idea to rent for a while so you can get a feel for the various towns and how your husbands commute to work would be. Here is a nice website that has a lot of information about cities in the bay area http://citylab.news21.com/ I would also recommend taking the time to spend some weekends going to open houses in the cities/towns you might be interested in. The bay area is a great place to live.

Good luck

Web Reference: http://www.troystaten.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 31, 2009

Since you have children and since you specified your most important considerations as being price and excellent schools, then you should take a look at the academic performance indeces for both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

Here's Alameda: http://api.cde.ca.gov/AcntRpt2009/2009GrthAPICo.aspx?cSelect=01…

Here's Contra Costa County http://api.cde.ca.gov/AcntRpt2009/2009GrthAPICo.aspx?cSelect=07…

Be realistic, however. The cities with the best schools (based on the index) may not be the most affordable (based on your income)


Once you've decided which school districts appeal the most to you, then take a look at the cities and their proximity to your husband's work. Factor in what you like to do and factor that also among your considerations. For example, if you think you'd like to go to San Francisco frequently, then consider the commute (driving? BART?).


Since there are so many cities to consider, and if you're not familiar with where you want to go, or what kinds of homes are offered in your budget range, perhaps you should engage a REALTOR who can give you relevant information that will help you make a decision on where you should focus your search.

Driving around, as you may already know, is not the most efficient way to look around. Set your criteria for your search, and focus on that. Having a target to aim for will help you get there.

Since you also pinpointed 94501 in Alameda, presumably, you've found this island town to your liking.Good for you! If your husband is commuting to Richmond and El Sobrante, be prepared for a bottleneck (in terms of commuting) in the Berkeley/Albany part of 880. After that, it's a reverse commute.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 31, 2009
For the money, your best bet for excellent schools is in Alameda or Albany. Good schools can also be found in certain Oakland and Berkeley neighborhoods, but quality varies to an extreme degree in some cases.

Please feel free to contact me via email with a desired price range; I would be happy to facilitate your preliminary search.

Best regards,
Cameron Platt, JD, CRS
Platt Inc. Real Estate
(510) 708-4137
Web Reference: http://www.plattinc.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 31, 2009
Dear Mom,

It appears that you have done your homework and know that Alameda has excellent schools and good real estate values . Alameda is approximately 15 miles away from Richmond, however morning and afternoon commuter traffic on 80/880 can make the distance seem longer.

If you are interested in previewing some Open Homes while in Alameda, you should pick up a copy of Friday's Alameda Journal. In the back pages of the Real Estate section, you will see a list of homes that will be Open. Typical Open Home hours are Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00.

Our Real Estate brokerage provides free maps of our island city. Feel free to stop by 885 Island Drive, Suite 200 for a copy to help you get around. If you would like additional information, you may also Email me at Dania@HBRInfo.com.

Happy house-hunting,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 31, 2009
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