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!
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.
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.
RealtorÂ® - ABR, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SRES
Specializing in "GETTING YOU WHERE YOU NEED TO BE"
(925) 407-7987 cell
Empire Realty Associates, 380 Diablo Rd, Danville, CA 94526
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.
President Realtors Marketing Association 2009
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, Realtor, e-PRO Certified Internet Specialist
J. Rockcliff Realtors, 15 Railroad Avenue, Danville, CA 94526
Phone (925) 997-1585
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