Home Buying in Walnut Creek>Question Details

Nola Jones, Home Buyer in Danville, CA

South Walnut Creek v. Danville (new developments).

Asked by Nola Jones, Danville, CA Mon Dec 29, 2008

We are in the market for a nice house, not a starter home. The house where we are going to live for years to come.

We are looking at 2 choices in our price range:
1. South Walnut Creek. The location seems great, but the house will be older, smaller and will require funds to remodel. While I love the fact that South Walnut Creek is close to freeways and shopping, a lot of houses there actually look run down and rural. I don't see the point of paying a million plus for an old fixer just to have that address.

2. Danville, but very far from downtown where the builders are building new houses every day and you can have a brand new house with a small lot (and neighbors looking into your backyard) for under a million. The house would be beautiful. The schools are great. But you are far from everything and have to travel over 10 minutes on Camino Tassajara to get anywhere.

Which location would be a better investment long-term? Quality of life in your opinion?

Help the community by answering this question:


why not consider westside danville or the greenbrook area, with remodeled older homes on large lots and fabulous schools from elementary through high school? or san ramon and the Bridges, with larger lots great schools and newer homes?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 7, 2009

It looks like you have a lot of advice here already. I worked for several new home builders, so feel free to contact me for more details if you are still hungry for information after reading all of this and reading my profile.

Happy New Year!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 29, 2008
As far as we are concerned, the quality of schools is the same in Danville/Walnut Creek/Lamorinda. We look at factors other than just high test scores to determine whether a particular school district is great. Most of the time, the test scores reflect the socio-economic status of the parents.

The issue that I have with Walnut Creek location is the abundance of hills, lack of sidewalks, and houses with huge lots, which would make it difficult for small children to make friends in the area, ride a bike and such. But it is close to shopping (Neiman Marcus is coming!) and BART.

I do love the look of new houses and high ceilings. Danville has many such McMansions on the market. But it is really far...

Would love to hear from those who grew up in Danville or South Walnut Creek.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 29, 2008
Hello Nola,

I believe that the quality of the schools drives home values, especially on family-sized homes while walking proximity to shops and restaurants drives the value of smaller studio and 1-bedroom condos. San Ramon Unified School District is the highest ranked unified district in the state for it's size, and that includes elementary, middle and high schools. There are no bad schools in SRVUSD, so you don't really have to worry about whether or not a specific school district line moves.

However, this home decision will greatly influence your quality of life. The interior floor plan/layout as well as the neighborhood will affect your satisfaction. I suggest you discuss your lifestyle goals with your agent. If you are not working with someone, I would like for you to review my website at http://www.BestTriValleyHomes.com and give me a call at (925) 407-7987.

Kindest Regards,
Vickie Nagy
Realtor® - ABR, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SRES
(925) 407-7987 cell
Empire Realty Associates, 380 Diablo Rd, Danville, CA 94526
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 29, 2008
Nola - Both are great areas to purchase a home. It sounds like you have answered your own question about quality of life. Which is more important Being close to shopping and freeways or having a newer home?

As for investment long term. Walnut Creek is a well established City with very little room for the city to expand housing. In fact most of the building these days has been up (downtown condos).

Danville still has has a small town feel but has been rapidly growing.

Schools in both areas are great.

A fixer usually means a greater opportunity for return on investment. The older houses seem to have more character then the new Mega Track homes and usually come with larger lots.

Nate Ellis
President Realtors Marketing Association 2009


0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 29, 2008
New homes have historically tended to appreciate better than older ones bought at the same price/time but you have to be sure that you not over-paying for whatever you buy. There are some very good deals around at present but there are still plenty over-priced homes for sale, both new and old.

As far as quality of life is concerned, it really depends on individual lifestyle. Personally, I would find it very frustrating to live in a home beyond Blackhawk and have to travel all the way down Camino Tassajara before getting anywhere worthwhile (yes, I know there's Blackhawk, which is fine for everyday needs, but it is a little limiting compared to other areas.

Now if you lived in South Walnut Creek, you would have so much more within easy reach. But if you don't like the looks of the area you are considering, maybe you need to look in other locations.

Have you fully considered Alamo, Danville, Lafayette and other parts of Walnut Creek? Yes, you are still mostly looking at older homes but many are in areas where your neighbors will have just as much pride of ownership as you will.

The most important thing you can do at this stage is to make sure you have a Realtor who will make sure you are aware of all the various options together with the pros and cons of each area / location. You should also be signed up for a "Homes By Email" system so you know what is possible in your price range.

Please contact me if I can be of any help.

Bernard Gibbons

Bernard Gibbons, Realtor, e-PRO Certified Internet Specialist
J. Rockcliff Realtors, 15 Railroad Avenue, Danville, CA 94526
Phone (925) 997-1585
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 29, 2008
Hi Nola:
I am an agent in the Auburn area, but was born and raised in Orinda and Alamo so know the East Bay like the back of my hand:) Even when my clients are looking at a longterm investment, I always have them look at the resale of the property. While new homes are nice, there are always more of them on the market and they lack the character of the older homes (they all look the same!), not to mention the lot size! PLUS, as a long term investment, they, at sale time, will be 'older' too. With remodeling the older homes, you can keep the character and still have the opportunity to make it exactly what you want as well as have the privacy of not being on a postage stamp size lot. My personal opinion is to go for the older home on the larger lot in South Walnut Creek. The original cost, including remodeling, may be more, but I think the return in the long run, not to mention the quality of life of being closer to everything AND have the space of a larger lot, will be far better. Either way though....they are both wonderful areas! Kelli
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 29, 2008
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