Eric, I would recommend working with a local buyer's agent here in Boston to help you locate properties that fit your needs. If you are in San Fran, these days it is easy to work remotely with agents via the internet and video conferencing. I would recommend taking a trip out once your agent has found several homes that you like on "paper." Also, this site has a quick and easy distressed property search for Boston. Let me know if you would like a recommendation for a reputable local buyer agent.