Most transportation to soma, i.e. muni, bikes, walking, driving, is convenient, even during rush hour, in the Dogpatch, Mish, Haight, Hayes Valley, Civic Center, Mission Bay...there are a lot of choices for areas.
But for low HOA's, focus on small buildings under 4 units. Those building with self-managed hoa's will have lower fees. Most professionally managed third-party hoa companies only manage larger buildings. There are companies that manage small buildings as well, but many simply self-manage under their own CC&R's, which will save you money.
Sounds like you're relocating to San Francisco, congrats! Are you thinking about renting or buying? Most people choose to rent for at least 3-6 months before they buy in SF, so they can learn the neighborhoods and determine which will be the best fit for their personality, lifestyle, commute, etc. Each neighborhood in SF is vastly different, and some vary block by block!
To answer your question SOMA is very accessible from most places in the city either by BART (underground) or Muni (bus/streetcar), and the BART tends to be much more reliable. Direct access to SOMA will include areas like Mission Bay, South Beach, Civic Center/Van Ness, Yerba Buena, and the Mission areas. However, via public transportation, the Sunset (more affordable), Glen Park, and Bernal Heights, and the Haight are all places to consider, but will add some commute time. HOA's will vary by building, so it is difficult to answer that question, but look for a home to avoid HOA's all together, or buildings with few amenities (pool, gym, security guard, etc) to keep HOA's low.
I hope this answer helps! If you, or anyone else in San Francisco, have any additional questions regarding real estate please donâ€™t hesitate to reach out. Iâ€™m always happy to be a trusted resource for all things real estate in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
All the best and good luck with your search!
Realtor, Vanguard Properties
We don't handle rentals but if you are looking to buy contact info is below:
Lance R. King - Founder/Managing Broker
King Realty Group
DRE # 01384425
415.722.5549 - Cell
Let me know if you need a purchase loan for the property or want to get pre-approved (this will increase the chances of your loan being accepted) because I can certainly help you out there. You can call me at 408-352-5147 or email me at AGreer@themortgageoutlet.com. You can check us out at http://www.TheMortgageOutlet.com. I will look at your situation and present you with some options.
Looking at 2br units that have sold so far this year, those with HOAs below $400/mo (mostly in the mid $300/mo but some in the $250/mo range) seem to be concentrated in the west side of SOMA, northeastern Mission and the north part of Potrero Hill.
Be glad to give you specific examples including listing/sales prices. Just e-mail me.
Prudential California Realty
1715 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109