I don't know about the schools. If you need help, please e-mail me.
Alameda is a fine place, but $450,000 won't get you much.
Concord/Pleasant Hill and Martinez would be another option.
Wherever you choose to buy ask about mello roos. Those are not property taxes as such but act like them. They can be horridly expensive and make a house unaffordable by their extra cost.
Windermere Rowland Realty
Your price point is going to be challenging for a house for 5 with all the other requirements you listed. The town I live in "Castro Valley" would be your best choice. Or you are have to move out to a city like Brentwood. The heat is not stifling but it is warm.
I hope this helps!
Before you decide on a particular area, I would suggest you find a very good real estate agent who really knows the larger area in which you are looking and who can guide you to the areas where you will get what you want for the money you can spend. referrals from people you know who live in the area can help. A tactic that worked for me when I needed to refer a client was to read a lot of the Trulia answers to see which people seemed the most knowledgeable and concerned about the needs of their clients. If these ideas do not work, you can check with a local (Colorado) agent who can make a few calls and do some research for you. If you do not know a Colorado agent willing to help you, you can call me at 303.473.1926.
I am a Realtor in the East Bay and would recommend Alameda, Castro Valley, and some neighborhoods in Oakland, such as, Redwood Heights as good places to start your search.
As for gymnastics, my children attend the program at the University of Berkeley. They really enjoy it.
With a budget of $450,000 for a family of five, you more than likely will not end up in Piedmont. Itâ€™s a great area with good schools, but, as already mentioned, itâ€™s a very pricey area.
Iâ€™d recommend you locate a good Realtor from the East Bay, then work with them to narrow down your search. Your price range is more than likely going to locate you somewhere in the 880 corridor or San Jose. Since the Bay Area is such a large place, it would be helpful to know where you plan on working, hours of work, thoughts about commuting and so on.
There are many good school districts here and lots of options for extra-curricular activities. As an example, there is a great gym in Fremont and BART may be an option for your commute. You can also pretty much guarantee that the better the schools, the safer the neighborhoods. The East Bay is also cooler than the outlying valleys.
Let me know if youâ€™d like any additional information.
- good school district
- not in the middle of nowhere (so you'd like to have access to amenities
- not too hot
Factor in affordability, commute, access to public transportation
Since you identify yourself as a Piedmont buyer, then you already know that Piedmont has one of the best school districts around, and also have higher-priced homes than the surrounding areas. There are certainly some alternatives to Piedmont.
Let's start with checking ot the academic performance index in Alameda County: http://api.cde.ca.gov/AcntRpt2009/2009GrthAPICo.aspx?cSelect
Because you mentioned not wanting to be in the middle of nowhere, presumably you'd want to be able to avail of certain amenities that specific locations like San Francisco offers. So proximty to the City may be a consderation.
And since you don't want to endure stifling summer heat, that's another.
Budget....you already know that Piedmont is higher priced than some locations, but there are others worth looking into.
Gee...that sounds like you'd want to be as close to the Bay as possible.
Hence...check out Alameda!
Other parts of Oakland, like Rockridge, is also a good option.
Berkeley is teeming with amenities
So many choices.
Any one of us realtors should be able to help you. Interview a few, check out the services we provide, the qualify of our work. You'll be glad you did.