Jess, Home Buyer in Seattle, WA

moving with gf to SF. She works in the city, I am working in San Rafael. Where should we live?

Asked by Jess, Seattle, WA Mon Mar 10, 2008

We would just like to minimize the commute for both of us. Although she is used to commuting a bit more than me and is willing to do so.

Help the community by answering this question:


Sausalito is best: 7 miles to downtown; 14 miles opposite traffic flow to San Rafael. Life is great in Sausalito, I live there too. Call me for info 415-302-2138. or search homes in Marin or San Francisco at
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 16, 2008
Congratulations, Jess, what a great opportunity!

I think we need to take a step back and see the kind of budget you have to see the price range you will be looking comfortably with the combined income from you and your girl friend. As mentioned below, Sourthern Marin or the upscale area in the city can be pricy, but everything is relative. One person’s high-end could be other’s low-end (check out those young Microsoft millionaires).

It also depends on the lifestyle you prefer. Do you prefer the hussell bussell of the city or do you enjoy the open space, the nature, the gorgeous weather, parks and recs, boutique shops, biking, hiking, slower path, etc, what Marin can offer? We have the national seashore, national forest, not to mention all the open spaces, sunny/mild weather, tennis, golf, horseback riding, farmers market etc, all easily accessible within the county,

Will your girl friend be commuting during rush hours or does she have flexible schedule – commuting to the city during off hour can be accomplished in half an hour, but could double during rush hour from northern Marin. Will the jobs be long term or just a stepping stone to move to the Bay Area? The commute is also by season in Marin. Spring and fall are heavier than summer and winter. There are also various means to do so – drive, bus, ferry. All these need to be taken into consideration.

In addition, the widening of southbound 101 between 580 overpass and Lincoln Avenue is scheduled to finish in April, 08 and the whole project will be done by end of 2008. So, you will be looking at better commute within a year.

Not to write a book about the benefit of living in Marin, but you can see that there is a lot of choice here. Still, back to my first question to start looking.

Let me know if you need further information.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 16, 2008
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Novato, CA
Commuting from SF is a reverse commute. I live in the Mt Davidson area and commuted to San Rafael in 35 minutes. I sometimes allow as much time to commute within the city depending on traffic, parking and walking to the final destination.
If you want to look at renting in the Presideo here is a link

Southern Marin is pretty expensive because the traffic builds up at the 101/880 interchange in San Rafael. It builds up to the north nin the morning and to the south in the afternoon. So try to stay away from going nort of San Rafael if you want to keep the commute to SF down. I'd really look at a reverse commute from SF to San Rafael. Remember if you want you can take a ferry to Larkspur and depending on where in San Rafael your working, ride a bike from the ferry.
Life style aside, I live in SF and wouldn't like to live in the East Bay but Albany to Berkeley she could BART into SF and you could reverse commute to San Rafael across the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge pretty easily and enjoy lower housing costs.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 11, 2008
Jed Lane; Fog…, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
Look in Mill Valley and Sausalito. The commute to downtown SF is an easy ferry ride from Sausalito, which is also kind of fun and a good time to catch up on the newspaper, a book, etc. before and after work. Mill Valley is one of the great town in America, filled with trees and cafes. It might be less of a culture shock than many areas of San Francisco. Also, unless you live near the Golden Gate Bridge your commute could take a really long time every morning to get to San Rafael. We know a great agent in Mill Valley if you need help in Marin. Good luck with your move!
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2008
It depends on what you guys like. If you want City living, the Presidio, Marina, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights, inner Richmond and a few other areas nearby may work. Your girlfriend would be close to transportation if she works downtown and you have a quick drive to the Golden Gate Bridge with a reverse commute. If you guys like hiking and suburb living, then Southern Marin could work for you. Mill Valley is about a 5 minute drive to Golden Gate Bridge, Larkspur/Greenbrae/Corte Madera are close and there is a ferry to the City. Feel free to contact me if you want more details.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2008
both SF and San Rafael are pricey even for rentals. The City offers the exciting urban life within a block or two from most neighborhoods. San Rafael is an entry point to some of the most beautiful out doors locales - from ocean to bays to wooded walks, much more for the Outdoorspeople. Come to visit us in Berkeley. We have both those amenities and a world class University. Housing is also more reasonably priced and available. It would be a commute for both of you, but not a difficult one, particularly if you like public transportation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2008
Dear Jess,

Mike and LeAnn Fleming have a great answer. I would see if you could get a short term lease or month-to-month. You can go to my website and check out the different areas for other ideas on where to rent.

If you prefer not to rent, you need to have a price point. Depending on what it is, you could live in the Marina, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and The Richmond. How do you feel about fog? That's another consideration. If you want more sunshine think about Sausalito or Belvedere on the other side of the Bridge. I am told the commute is a quick 20 minutes to San Francisco at slightly "off" times. Commuting downtown from certain areas of San Francisco can take just as long as commuting from Marin.

If you let us know your price point, as I mentioned, we can email you what is available in various areas near the Golden Gate Bridge. Or go to and check it out that way.

Warm regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2008
Are you thinking of buying soon? or you just want to rent? Are you driving to work or your girl friend does? Working in SF the best choice is to ride Bart. We have Bart stations available only in this side of the Bay which are Oakland, Fremont, Union City, Hayward whereas the rent is affordable than across the Bay.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2008
You might consider renting in the Presidio until you get to know the areas you like in SF. It's close to city transportation and near the Golden Gate Bridge. Our son has recently done a lot of research. Let me know if I can help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2008
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