I agree with another agent, if you can manage it, get into a month-to-month lease before buying here in Santa Clara County. We have so many neighborhoods! Evergreen has some good prices but when you go and look at the streets with the good prices, you want to make sure you want to live there. The higher and more elevated areas of Evergreen are closer to $800K to $1M and if you are going to go that level, you may want to look at Cupertino/Sunnyvale/Mountain View depending on where your new position is going to be located.
You may also want to consider Milpitas and North Valley, where you can break in around $425K right now. Sunnyvale (94085) and Santa Clara are all hovering around $500K break-in with $550K more likely on a basic three-bedroom, two-bath. Campbell is closer to $600K break-in pricing with $620K more likely unless you happen into a short sale, but those are risky if you actually need to move in with in a specific time frame.
There is a lot of competition and multiple offers on the homes in the lower price points, anything below $450K we are seeing many offers. So just because you see something on the market, doesn't mean you can get it! I am offering for one client right now and we have been up against 10 to 40 offers in every situation.
Another factor that may help you differentiate is the crime stats. To review the crime statistics (one way to compare neighborhoods you don't know) go to www.CrimeReports.com.
Google is pretty cool as far as you can type in an address and if there is a "street view" you can look at the whole street, the kinds of cars, the number of cars parked, the neatness of the lawns, etc. If you are trying to navigate the $300K price point, you want to be sure to find a nice street!
As for traffic, the 101 corridor is pretty brutal in the morning from Morgan Hill all the way to Palo Alto! However, my husband leaves at 7:15 a.m. and gets to work by 7:45 a.m. from North Valley (San Jose) to Mountain View. Santa Clara would be easier. The trick is to leave before 7:15 a.m. It takes him almost 1.5 hours some nights coming home, but sometimes it is closer to 40 minutes (on a good day).
Map out your commute and then if you can, visit our area on a weekday and stay in a hotel near where you want to live and "test drive" the commute.
Feel free to ask more questions! I've lived here 45 years!