Welcome to the Bay Area. You will find that there are many fine neighborhoods that fit your needs. My suggestion would be to find the right job first and rent for awhile, so you have a chance to get acquainted with the area. Knowing where you will be working will help you focus on convenient and desirable neighborhoods to live nearby. Iâ€™m not exactly sure what your job prospects are, but I believe it would be easier to find a home near work, rather than find work near home. With gas at around $4 /gal., and traffic congestion extending commute times, most people would agree that a short commute is best.
I agree with John that Santa Cruz Co. is a very desirable place to live. However, I think it only makes sense if you work there. I would not recommend the long commute to Silicon Valley over congested and dangerous Highway 17. Check out IT opportunities in Santa Cruz if you want.
Also be prepared for the fact that $800k will probably get you only half the house you could get in Atlanta for the same price.
Finally, try to get some advice from friends and co-workers. Of course, once you are ready to purchase a home, if you want to settle in Santa Clara County, let me know if you need my help to find the right home for your needs and desires.