Home Buying in Berkeley>Question Details

Andrew, Home Buyer in Massachusetts

Living in Berkeley?

Asked by Andrew, Massachusetts Sun Apr 6, 2008

How are things in Berkeley? Is it a safe place for a family with 3 young teens. How is Berkeley High School? Where is a good place to live for a budget of $700K? Thanks....

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Hi Andrew,

I'm originally from Massachusetts and can say that Berkeley is very similar to Cambridge. It's a college town yet has a great deal of diversity, culture, and close knit neighborhoods.

The high school is centrally located, well respected, and has a terrific theatre/arts program.

With a budget of $700K, you should be able to find a nice home in a decent neighborhood.

Web Reference: http://www.apr.com/mburns
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 6, 2008
You can buy a 3 bedroom 2 bath home in Berkeley in a fine neighborhood. Safety also depends on your comfort zone. Berkeley is a diverse international city. The popular "walk to coffee" neighborhoods are about 25% higher. Berkeley is great for teens because we care about them. Berkeley High School is terrific. Both my kids went through Berkeley schools. Any more specific questions will be gladly answered. All the Best, Liz
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 25, 2008
Some parts of Berkeley are safe, others are not. The safer neighborhoods are North of Ashby, or even University, and East of Sacramento. Generally, North Berkeley is nicer and safer, and you can find a very good home in the $700,000 price range in that area. If you'd like more information, or to see those areas when you are visiting, just give me a call. I'd be happy to take you around.

Tomaj Trenda, 415-505-3536
Web Reference: http://www.DyAssociates.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 23, 2008
One info that you may be very happy to know should your teens be admitted by UC Berkeley.

For us in NJ, we have to pay about $20,000 extra no residence fee each year, and of course need to pay another $10,000 to $15,000 for living at campus, so, if you moved to Berkeley, you will be able to save $100,000 for each of your kid, that's, $300,000 for all 4 years.

So, for us, just that $80,000 no residence fee for 4 year is better invested to buy a $400k house there with this as 20% down, and use the room and board cost to pay monthly fee.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 13, 2008
Dear Andrew,

My kid just got admitted by UC Berkeley, and I am planning to buy a home at Berkeley as well. I have done lots of search and analysis and documented them in a blog as you are welcome to share http://berkeleyhousing.blogspot.com/

We went to Berkeley Alumni lunch for newly amitted and their parents for Greater New York City area, and they found that just click around on this blog will get lots of feeling about Berkeley Housing.

You can also find some nice hotels at great price. Ideally, if you visit Berkeley, you can book airticket to SFO Airport, cheaper tickets and more flys and it has new BART terminal to take BART to Berkeley with one easy on station transfer in many stations. And you can get off Downtown Berkeley.

I know many top students come to Berkeley High School trying to get into UC Berkeley from Taiwan and China, and if you prefer more rural, two stops north, El Cerrito is also very good. I know many students from that high schools also got admitted by UC Berkeley.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 13, 2008
I don't live or work in Berkeley. Honest huh! So there will be no comments on the market or housing.
I can tell you that raising kids in a place like Berkeley will give your kids advantages and sophistication that they won't get being raised in other suburbs.
I am a father of two girls raised in SF. They have had less peer pressure put on them because there are so many different people making different life choices there is a greater acceptance of difference than other teens I know that grew up in Marin, Contra Costa or San Mateo.
Web Reference: http://www.jedlane.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 6, 2008
Jed Lane, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
Hello Andrew, I live in Berkeley and sell in Berkeley. As you know, every town has a variety of neighborhoods that offer a different flavor. The safety in Berkeley neighborhoods is similar to small towns, and the schools, particularly Berkeley High School offers some of the most unique offerings to students. First of all, the parent participation in Berkeley schools, particularly Berkeley High School is high and it shows. Berkeley High School has a renowned Jazz component that actually starts in the elementary magnet schools. The arts are strongly supported as are academics. Both my children went through the Berkeley School system and I was happy both with what was expected and what my children received. I think a visit here will help you investigate better than any online school scores will. This is a diverse, culturally sophisticated, and forward thinking city. The University of California has a huge impact on education and cultural offerings to our citizens. Our weather and architecture are great. 700K will put you in a decent walk to coffee neighborhood. Come on out! I am glad to counsel you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 6, 2008
Berkeley is a great place to live. With the university, there are a lot of options for cultural events, there is a thriving arts community with galleries and theater. You are in close proximity to about 50 movie screens. There is Tilden Park with its miles of trails. Berkeley has a lot going for it.
There is only 1 high school is Berkeley, so all the kids go there. While it is possible to get an excellent education at BHS, because it is the one school for all the kids, BHS does not score well on rankings of Bay Area High Schools. BHS is forced to be all things for all the types of Students who go there, both college bound and challenged kids.
Berkeley also has some of the highest property taxes in the area, so that is deffinately something to consider.
You might have to squeeze your family a little to find a house in Berkeley for 2 parents and 3 kids, but it is possible. The only way you will find out is by looking.
I am headquartered in Berkeley. Drop me a line if you want to see what you can get.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 6, 2008
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