I am considering moving to Bay Area from the midwest. Where's the best place to move in w/ a family and?

Asked by Dan, Minnesota Fri Feb 1, 2008

commute to Downtown SF while staying within a 3BR budget.

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20
L, , 94010
Mon Feb 4, 2008
The Bay Area real estate market is very pricey, but as a realtor with Prudential in SF/Peninsula, seeing more and more selling carrying finance. Your best bet is condo, since lower end of price scale. Please feel free to call or email me if you have any real estate questions. I can give you names of lenders, best to be PreApproved so that you know your "Buying Power" as this will help narrow your search.

Lisa Knudsen
Lisa + Associates
PRUDENTIAL CALIFORNIA REALTY
415-515-6132
http://www.agentlisa.net
email: agentlisa.knudsen@gmail.com
1 vote
Liz Stevens, , Berkeley, CA
Sat Feb 2, 2008
Look into El Cerrito. Close to the 80 freeway corridor, public transport into SF, decent house prices for 3 bedrooms plus, reasonably safe, and undervalued. BTW, Dan, did anyone tell you that you look like Brett Favre of the GreenBay Packers? All the Best. Liz Stevens
1 vote
Dan, Home Buyer, Minnesota
Fri Feb 1, 2008
400-700 range; is that feasible in this market?
1 vote
Tom9488290, Home Buyer, San Francisco, CA
Thu Oct 11, 2012
I'm in Mpls, from the Bay Area. (born in Oakland) Your living location will be influenced by your work location more than anything else. Commuting is expensive in $$ and lost time sitting in traffic, so you need to first determine whether you want the south bay (san Jose), East Bay, or SF area. Then you can start picking a town

Tom
0 votes
Rob, , SF Bay area
Fri Jun 20, 2008
Hi Dan, I'm not a realtor - I moved from the Midwest to SF Bay and chose to buy a home in Pacifica because we could get a nice back yard and be near the beach for less than a tiny condo in any decent part of SF. Schools here are nice, too. Only drawback is the summer temps are cooler than other parts of the bay because of the coastal fog. Not every day (today is 75 and sunny perfect) but up to half the days in July and August. Of course, we think it's great to never need air conditioning, and not sweat when you get in your car in the summer. I also like being able to take the train into downtown SF in 15-20 minutes, or drive there (not in rush hour) in about the same time. I agree with poster who recommended renting for a few months. Bay Area is sooooo different from all the 7 Midwest cities I lived in. So many micorcultures - both in weather, and people. Every few blocks in SF, and many parts of the Bay Area, can be completely diferent neighborhoods. Where you fit in will be an individual choice. Pacifica worked for me, and it's a place fewer people seem to mention, so maybe worth checking out for your family. Hope you love NoCal as much as the rest of us converts from the Midwest (we'll never go back!) -rob
0 votes
Colin Cote-w…, , 05401
Thu Feb 28, 2008
if you decide to relocate i can help i work for a great moving company and we do nation wide moving
our rates are comparable to other companies so please if you would like more information feel free to e-mail me at: crcwurzler@yahoo. com
Colin
0 votes
L, , 94010
Mon Feb 11, 2008
Dan, The real estate market since August 2007 has changed dramatically due to the subprime/lending turmoil. What this means to you is that there there are major values to be found, it is indeed a buyer's market. San Francisco (West Portal, Noe Valley, Parkside, Lakeside), the Peninsula (Burlingame, San Mateo, Foster City, San Carlos) and Marin (Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Sausalito, San Rafael) offer a lifestyle ideal to raising a family based on attractive real estate, good-to-excellent school systems, and relatively convenient commute and transportation.

I suggest exploring the area by coming to visit San Francisco. Most important, it would be wise to get Pre-Approved with a solid lender before you set your sights on buying out here. Knowing your "purchasing power" and your budget are extremely important, and will help narrow your search. You might also consider renting first to become familiar with a neighborhood. Check out these internet real estate sites to see properties/neighborhoods and statistics/home values: SFARMLS, Realtor.com, Dataquick.com, Yahoo and Google.

I am an experienced agent with Prudential and my office is based in SF. I have worked with many families who have moved to the Bay Area and have rented or purchased in the city and outside areas. Prudential has an excellent relocation program and many resources to assist with your moving. Please check out my site: http://www.agentlisa.net and give me a call or send an email, should you need further guidence and have questions.

Lisa

Lisa Knudsen
Lisa + Associates
PRUDENTIAL CALIFORNIA REALTY
415-515-6132
http://www.agentlisa.net
email: agentlisa.knudsen@gmail.com
0 votes
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Sun Feb 10, 2008
Hi Dan:

Sorry to have missed your question earlier. A great place to move to is Marin county, just north of Golden Gate Bridge; a great place to bring up families, and coming from Minnesota, I am sure you will enjoy the open space and nature setting Marin can offer.

Some information about Marin County: http://www.sylviasellsmarin.com/MarinCounty

Forbe rates Marin Schools Best for the Buck: http://www.sylviasellsmarin.com/Forbes+Rates+Marin+Schools+B…

Novato (one of the Marin towns) selected as Best Affordable Suburbs in CA, 2007 by Business Week http://www.sylviasellsmarin.com/Novato+selected+as+Best+Affo…

And, I happen to live in Novato; the most affordable town in Marin. My husband used to commute to the city (9th and Market Street) from Novato via the Larkspur Ferry http://goldengateferry.org/

Our price has dropped some during the past year, and you will be able to get a nice 3 bedrooms/ 2 baths, single family home with a nice yard in a great neighborhood school between $600K and $700K. If you go with nice town home, the price will be around $500K.

This is a great time to start looking. One way I recommend my out of town clients to do is to ask their Realtors to send them some listings so they can get familiar with the market here. When you are here, you can ask them to take you to different neighborhood you might be interested in to decide if that's a good neighborhood for you.

You have a lot of research ahead of you, but it will definitely be a great move! .

Best,
Sylvia
0 votes
Noevalleyjim, , Noe Valley, San Francisco, CA
Sun Feb 10, 2008
I am the only person who will answer you who is not a real estate agent and not too suprisingly, I will be the only one who will suggest that you rent for a while and get a feel for The City before you buy. If you want to live very close to downtown, but still family friendly, try renting in Noe Valley, if the suburban lifestyle is more your thing, I think Walnut Creek or Concord might be better.

There are many good schools in San Francisco, but you have to enter a lottery and rank your top seven choices, so it is a bit of a crap shoot. Walnut Creek is purported to have excellent public schools.
0 votes
margaret raz…, Agent, Cloverdale, CA
Sun Feb 3, 2008
Hey Dan, I am an S.F. native and now live in Sonoma County but if I were you I would insist on living in Marin County and commuting over the Golden Gate Bridge instead of the Bay Bridge for sure!! Marin towns still have the charm and community feeling and most are right near the ocean or bay. You can ride a ferry to work or bus or even park and ride your bike across the bridge to work. Marin is sunny when the city is grey. I can hook you up with listing information, if you want let me know. Margaret
0 votes
Peter Brunton, , San Francisco, CA
Sun Feb 3, 2008
HI Dan,
This answer really depends on what type of community you are looking for. I would personally recommend the Walnut Creek area for its affordability, great schools, active downtown, and easy bart access. If you are willing to have a little more complex commute, I would say say the Campbell area of San Jose is a great place to raise a family. One of the big positives of both of these areas is that within the time frame you are looking to purchase, there should be some excellent deals because of the subprime difficulties.
0 votes
Melanie Nard…, , San Francisco, CA
Sun Feb 3, 2008
Hi Dan,
Welcome to the Bay Area! Certainly there will be things to miss about Minnesota (I was born in St Paul) such as snow shoveling, brutal winters, and great public schools. I raised my kids here in the City and although I tried the public school system I ended up going the private school route, which is incredibly expensive. You could check out the parocial schools. Otherwise I would recommend schools in Piedmont, San Ramon, Danville, and a few communities in Marin ... if someone hasn't given you this site http://www.greatschools.net/search/search.page?state=CA&… it is useful.
On the West side of town you should be able to find something in your price range as well as in San Ramon. Alameda is another great little community that has some good schools and is just across the bay and either a ferry ride away, BART accessible, or a drive across the bay bridge -- 20 minutes without traffic and maybe 45 minutes at the commute apex. I'd start a search there. Good luck!
0 votes
Jed Lane, Agent, Petaluma, CA
Sat Feb 2, 2008
Looks like they did embed when I posted the response. Have fun
0 votes
Jed Lane, Agent, Petaluma, CA
Sat Feb 2, 2008
Dan,
Here is a link to an interactive map that shows how the Realtors break the city inot districts and sub-districts. http://www.sfarmls.com/docs/areamaps.htm With this tool you can look at the MLS http://www.sfarmls.com/ to see what area you might like and what the asking prices are. To find out the sale price you will have to contact a Relator. We have a great MLS and many tools to help you in your move. Sorry I can't embed the link but you can cut and paste.
Living in San Francisco is fantastic. I was born, raised and I'm raising my family here. It truely is a world class city and the neighborhoods do offer many different oprions.
Web Reference:  http://www.JedLane.com
0 votes
Sat Feb 2, 2008
Dan, do you play Rugby by any chance?
Web Reference:  http://www.gregorygarver.com
0 votes
Sally Rosenm…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Fri Feb 1, 2008
Hi Dan,

Without knowing the ages of your children, I would guess that the schools would be one of the most important factors. San Francisco Unified School District has some strict rules that, perhaps, were not used in the midwest....Go to sfusd.edu for schools. Not all schools are great in my city.

Also with young children, you would want to be in a real neighborhood. Some areas have more crime than others. You can check crime statistics via sfgov.org/site/police.

There is also, for fun, a visitor's site - onlyinsanfrancisco.com.

You also do not mention how much you can spend or whether or not you want a house or would consider condominium living. This is crucial because various areas cost more than others. You can find descriptions on many websites - my own included - of the different areas. Do you want to be able to walk to a grocery store? Do you want to be within walking distance to a playground or park? What are your real "wants and needs" (besides an easy commute to downtown?) Everyone can toss out names of neigbhorhoods, but you need to give more answers to get the right ones for you.

I hope to hear from you.... if not, good luck in your seach. San Francisco is a wonderful city!
Best,
Sally
Web Reference:  http://www.sallyrosenman.com
0 votes
Fri Feb 1, 2008
Hi Dan,

To be perfectly honest with you, most of the families are going outside of the city and the real answer to the best place really depends on exactly what you are looking for.

If staying in San Francisco is what is most important to you, I would say that Merced Heights would be your best bet. It's not the most exciting part of town, but its close to all the major conveniences and is affordable enough where younger families can enter the market. There have been a few single family homes in the neighborhood that have sold for the low 500's...plus you get a yard. Some younger families are moving to Bayview because there is a belief that the neighborhood is on its way up. However, the neighborhood is still dangerous and will take some time for this process to happen.

One thing that is really important for me to know, is what type of neighborhood and cultural aspects you are looking for. I know that you said that you lived in Los Gatos, and if you like the younger, professional type area, Campbell might be a great fit. The downtown area of Campbell has really blown up, but yet you can still find homes in great neighborhood for 700k probably even less in the upcoming months. You are right smack dab in the middle of all the shopping of San Jose, plus close to Santa Cruz.

Another area where you can really find deals is in Concord and Walnut Creek. There are a lot of families moving to that area because you can get more for your money and yet be extremely close to public transportation (BART). Downtown Walnut Creek is extremely active with nightlife and shopping during the day and there are tons of families that are out and about. The great thing about Concord is that its right next to downtown Walnut Creek, plus the subprime mortgage mess is leading to lots of great deals. Realistically, if you are patient and can find the right deal you will probably be able to get a nice 3bd/2ba home their for around 500k.

Anyways, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you could tell me a little bit more about yourself and your situation, I can give you some more in depth answers and some recent sales histories.

Regards,
Greg Garver
Web Reference:  http://www.gregorygarver.com
0 votes
Carol Andres…, , Pittsburgh, PA
Fri Feb 1, 2008
My husband and I reside in Marin County and my husband commutes to the Financial District via the ferry.
0 votes
Fri Feb 1, 2008
Dan, yes it is and there are new opportunities hitting the market every day. For a three bedroom in a decent area you will be leaning towards 700k. If you email me I will send you a couple properties.
Web Reference:  http://www.gregorygarver.com
0 votes
Linnette Edw…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Fri Feb 1, 2008
There are some great websites out there nowadays to start your research to compare and contrast different towns and communities. Start looking into the following:

http://www.greatschools.net - one of the best resources out there to compare and contrast schools
http://www.movoto.com - has good demographics and statistics
http://www.MyHousingGuide.com - primarily for the East Bay and shows proximity to BART and schools
http://www.Bart.org - can type in the Bart location from start to end to find out the commute time
http://realestate.yahoo.com/neighborhoods - find neighborhood profiles and city information

Hope that helps you get started! This is just the beginning....I have much more to send you if interested. I also have my own biased opinion on best areas in the East Bay for schools, value, community and commute.
0 votes
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