I listen to the radio every morning starting about 5:30 am (old habits die hard, I had to depend on traffic condition reports for about 20 years of my life). The commute that you are planning is grueling. CA 4 seems always to be in trouble. Once you get past that, you have to contend with the the 680 merge and then with the Coldecott tunnel (CA 24). The Coldecott is a tunnell that on high traffic times switches lanes -- 4 bores vs 2.bores. Having said that, it does not seem to improve the traffic flow during peak times. Without minor accidents that route is awful both coming and going. (I seem to go back and forth from Concord and Alameda at non-peak times and it still backs up.)
By the way, Mapquest says that from Brentwood to Alameda its 53 miles and apprx 59 minutes communte time. Oh, How i Wish I Could Believe This. Perhaps in an alternate universe.
What are your circumstances? is there any way that you can live in a more modest home for a couple of years and still get the advantage of good schools, and save yourself from hours and hours of being on the road home -- or being stressed because you are caught in traffic and are late for work?
Have you looked at communities closer to Alameda? Do you need any assistance in checking out other communities?
Having had looong commutes in my previous life, I fervently hope to dissuade others from spending so much time in a car, getting intimate with all the ruts and bumps on the road, and "tricking myself into thinking that i could leave home at 5:30 in the morning, get home at 8:30 at night so that I could avoid the peak traffic times". Yes, I avoided a lot of the traffic, but I also lost out on a lot of family time.
Would you mind sharing your reasons why you want to live 46-50 miles from where you work? Your daily commute may take a terrible toll on you, especially if you're not ride-sharing.
I had two sets of clients who liked having big, new homes at less than what it cost to buy a home in Alameda. So they bought in Concord and Pittsburg. But in time, their daily commute became so much of a hassle that they ended up renting small apartments in Oakland where they stayed during the week, and only went home on weekends. Eventually, both of them sold their houses and moved back to Alameda. They were lucky they were able to sell their homes BEFORE the market prices tumbled to less than half of what they paid.
But these cases came to mind when your question came up.
That said, Brentwood seems to have the same kind of appeal as some small communities. Here's the link you may want to check out if you haven't already http://www.ci.brentwood.ca.us/
Other links you should check out:
Schools academic performance index in Brentwood http://ayp.cde.ca.gov/reports/APR/2005APR_Sch_API_Chart.asp?
If you're interested in nearby homes at less cost, there are some really nice homes for sale in Castro Valley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and Hayward --- all of which are still a heck of a lot closer to Alameda than Brentwood. And of course, don't forget some parts of Oakland, too. Berkeley is like Alameda in terms of home prices.
I live in Alameda and my son-in-law is a city planner in Brentwood. I watch my grandson a couple of times a week and when my son-in-law either drops him off or picks him up from my house from work it takes him more than an hour and a half get to my house from Brentwood or vice versa. The commute is very long. During non commute it takes at least 50 to 60 minutes. I know of a few people who regretted moving so far out of the Bay Area to buy a large home. You need to weight the pros and cons before making such a big decision. I know prices are a lot cheaper in areas such as Brentwood and Tracy but you need to decide if it is worth it. It may be the right move for you. This is why Alameda and cities close by are more expensive. Close to everything and the weather is right. Much happiness to you no matter what decision you make. I do know of some great Realtors in Brentwood. Let me know if I can help.