My husband and I dealt with this for a couple of years before we both worked in the city; he worked in downtown SF, and I was in Palo Alto.
We compromised and lived in Upper Noe Valley so he could take the J to work, and I had a 2 minute drive to the 280 freeway. I found that if I left early (like, before 7 or 7:30), the drive really wasn't bad at all - unless it rained, then all bets are off. But I could normally get door-to-door in about 45 minutes. If you do SF, would highly recommend sticking south of Market.
If you both work close to a connection with Caltrain, it can be really great - especially if you can take the baby bullets. Before we were in Noe Valley, I lived in Burlingame and took the train regularly to work and to SF. I loved living there...it's more quiet, but still some great restaurants and things to do. San Mateo might be a great spot, too. Caltrain station, and a good location with lots to do on the Peninsula.
Depending on your fico scores and how much you want to invest into the down payment and closing costs will determine which loan program that will benefit you the best financially. Minimum 660 fico may qualify for conventional 5% down, minimum 700 fico may qualify for 3% down conventional. Fico scores under 660 conventional require 20% down to qualify. You may qualify FHA CHF Access half percent down with minimum 600 fico up to $729,750.
FHA requires minimum 580 to qualify for 3.5% down or half percent down. There are some examples of loan programs, closing costs and minimum fico score requirements in the conventional link. Here are some links to study.
Sheryl Arndt, Real Estate Broker â€“ Sr. Loan Officer CA only
REO & Short Sale Specialist
Credit Repair At No Cost
20+ Years Experience
I used to live in the suburbs and moved BACK to SF because of the quality of living here offers so many more things that our family enjoys. We actually found it cheaper to live in SF as well....
Happy home hunting!
That being said, the weather is nicer in the Peninsula and South Bay, more sun. And the reason I moved to Sunnyvale & San Mateo back when I lived in the Bay Area, was because I didn't want to commute. For me it was a trade-off where getting 2-3 hours of my life back by not having to commute, was worth putting up with the drabness of the suburbs.
I grew up in SF and I know commute can be a real pain and you easily get home feeling really worn down.
Best of luck,
Susie Kay, RealtorÂ®
GRI, CHMS, SFR
United Real Estate
III Lincoln Centre, 5430 LBJ Freeway #280
Dallas, TX 78240
Servicing your real estate need is my priority!
San Francisco is a world class city, named time and again as one of the ten top destinations in the world.
What a lucky couple you are, having the chance to live here!
415 860 0765
San Francisco has lots of transit options, but it can still take much longer than you might think to get between work and the Caltrain station.
If both of you have relatively convenient ways of getting from train stations to your destinations, you might add Millbrae to your list. It has access to both BART and Caltrain (in the same station, no less). BART gives you better access to downtown SF than Caltrain does, but of course it depends on where exactly you will work.
For six months or so I commuted from San Francisco to Santa Clara. I lived in the Inner Richmond district at the time, and it took me 50-70 minutes to drive to Santa Clara leaving home at about 9am. A good 20-30 minutes of that was just getting to the freeway, though; it would be a much shorter commute from south of Golden Gate Park, or someplace close to a freeway (preferably 280).
If driving, the commutes will be bad either way. I'd say the worse traffic is from SF to South Bay though, especially in the morning. Is your boyfriend's work easily accessible by caltrain? You will be able to catch a bus to get to work in the city from caltrain, but buses aren't as easily accessible in the south bay, which might make it so he will have a hard time getting to work once he gets off the caltrain.
Because commutes will be hard either way, I would really consider where you want to live. Where do you want to be on the weekends? I am happy to help further, please feel free to contact me.