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Family moving to San Francisco

Family moving to San Francisco

Old Feb 8th 2020, 9:09 am
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Default Family moving to San Francisco

Hello! My husband has been offered the job of a lifetime in San Francisco. Taking the job would mean moving us both and our two young daughters (6&4) from the UK.

I am so excited by the adventure ahead, but have so many questions, but I’ll start with a few of the biggest.

Which area is best to raise a young family? My husband will be working in the city, but I would prefer to live in a suburb.

We need access to good schools. Any recommendations for public and private?

How much on average should we expect to be paying in rent per month for a 3/4 bed house?

I will be leaving my very good job to make the move. What type of visa will I need to apply for work when I’m out there?

Argh! I have so many questions, but those are weighing most heavily on my mind right now. Any advice you can give will be very helpful. Thanks!
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Old Feb 8th 2020, 9:28 am
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

Hi, and welcome to BE.

You may be able to get a derivative visa that allows you to work, but it will depend on the visa the company is proposing to get for your husband. Do you know which it is?

Might also be worth mentioning the salary on offer if you don't mind sharing that info, so that those in the area can steer you towards affordable areas for your budget (well, affordable by SF standards anyway!).

Good luck with it.
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Old Feb 8th 2020, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

Not sure anyone can give advice without at least an idea of household income
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Old Feb 8th 2020, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

We need more specifics to offer any practical advice. The visa type that the company is sponsoring your husband for will determine whether or not you will be able to work. So until we know whether you are a one-income household or two-income household it’s hard to say. Also the income itself would be helpful.

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Old Feb 8th 2020, 3:56 pm
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

I think those of us in the US, but not in SF know just enough to know that this is a minefield, and that the costs and limitations on living in SF to take up a job there can be pretty extreme. ... So renting a "3/4 bed house" might be wildly unrealistic (ridiculously expensive) within any reasonable commuting distance, because traffic in the entire SF area us horrifically bad. For context, a 1 bed apartment actually in the city of SF can cost $5,000/mth, and home owners have been reportedly renting out a "spare" bedroom for $1,000 month. I say "spare" in quotes because the cash has been so tempting that families have been reported to have moved their children into a single bedroom to created a "spare bedroom".

The cost of housing is so great that it is economically viable for builders to buy $1million+ homes and demolish them to rebuild new homes, which needless to say are selling for $2-$3million or more.

Last edited by Pulaski; Feb 8th 2020 at 4:22 pm.
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Old Feb 8th 2020, 8:41 pm
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

Is this a new employer or a company move?
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Old Feb 8th 2020, 8:55 pm
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

Make sure the wage being offered is sufficient to at least maintain your current quality of life, its an expensive area.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/28/fami...francisco.html

"an Francisco metro area family of four bringing in $117,400 a year qualifies as “low income.”

"annual salary of $82,000 now puts single adults in the “low income” bracket as well."

MIT puts the minimum income needed to meet basic needs for a family of 4 at 92,000 but this is basic needs doesn't leave room for vacations, investments, eating out etc.

What is well above a living wage in most city's can be struggling to make ends meet in SF.

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Old Feb 10th 2020, 6:35 pm
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

As others have said, find out which visa your husband is coming on. His visa will dictate whether you can work or not. If you can, there will be a several month wait before you can start working as you'll need to apply for work authorisation so that will need to be taken into consideration for your initial finances.

A 3/4 bedroom house in the suburbs in an area with good schools is going to cost upwards of 5k a month (and that's a very low estimate: your post code dictates which public (state) school you can go to so it stands to reason that the better the schools, the more housing costs). A 3/4 house in SF proper ... impossible unless you can afford 12-15K a month. Also, SF is a city almost devoid of children. As soon as people have kids, they head out to the burbs.

Living in the suburbs and commuting to SF is a killer so you need to work out exactly how much of a commute your husband can stand and work backwards to find out where that will allow you to live.

For decent areas with good schools within an hour/1.5 hour commute (one way) to SF, you can look at Burlingame, Hillsdale, Foster City, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos on the Peninsula. Walnut Creek, Pleasonton, Lafayette in East Bay and anywhere in Marin County to the north. There's also Los Gatos, Campbell and Morgan Hill but these are likely too far south (2+ hour commute one way).

Do not take the warnings about salary lightly: it is horrendously expensive in the Bay Area. Families struggle even when earning what would be considered a huge salary elsewhere. 200k would be the absolute minimum he should accept and even that would be low for a family of 4 once tax, rent, healthcare contributions and food has been considered.
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 6:56 pm
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

Originally Posted by NickandRachael View Post
H


I will be leaving my very good job to make the move. What type of visa will I need to apply for work when I’m out there?

Argh! I have so many questions, but those are weighing most heavily on my mind right now. Any advice you can give will be very helpful. Thanks!
You will obtain the relevant visa based on your husband's visa. It will be applied for during his application. You won't need to apply for it yourself, it will all be done by your husband's company in line with his visa.

Hence the questions regarding HIS visa. If he is applying for an H1B visa then YOU get an H4 and will NOT be able to work.

If he is being transferred by his current company then he gets an L1 and you get an L2 and you WILL be able to work.
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 7:11 pm
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
.... Hence the questions regarding HIS visa. If he is applying for an H1B visa then YOU get an H4 and will NOT be able to work. ....
.... While you are physically in the US, per the terms of the visa, not even remotely for an employer outside the US.
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Old Feb 12th 2020, 4:15 pm
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

Originally Posted by NickandRachael View Post
Hello! My husband has been offered the job of a lifetime in San Francisco. Taking the job would mean moving us both and our two young daughters (6&4) from the UK.

I am so excited by the adventure ahead, but have so many questions, but I’ll start with a few of the biggest.

Which area is best to raise a young family? My husband will be working in the city, but I would prefer to live in a suburb.

We need access to good schools. Any recommendations for public and private?

How much on average should we expect to be paying in rent per month for a 3/4 bed house?

I will be leaving my very good job to make the move. What type of visa will I need to apply for work when I’m out there?

Argh! I have so many questions, but those are weighing most heavily on my mind right now. Any advice you can give will be very helpful. Thanks!
As others have said, it's very dependent on what your income will be. We were recently offered the opportunity to move to SF through an internal move at work, we have infant twins and a HHI of around $330k, and decided against it as we wouldn't have been able to afford to it properly. i.e. to make it work we would have been so far away from SF that we might as well live in any generic suburb. I looked around a fair amount, and a decent size 2 bed apartment starts at about $5k a month and goes up from there. A comfortable 3/4 bed house in SF itself is going to be at least $10k a month. So it really depends on what your husband expects to be earning, and if you'll be able to work, which is dependent on his visa type.
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Old Feb 13th 2020, 5:30 am
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

Congratulations on your Husband's job offer!

Yes, the Bay Area is super expensive compared to the rest of the USA but it need not be as expensive as some posters here are rather misleadingly suggesting. A lot depends on where in San Francisco your Husband is working and how you can position your commute and living location. Let us know and I can advise further as I live here.

For example, if it is the financial district or the south of market tech industry (where I worked until recently) don't even think of living in the city. The East Bay is easily accessible on the BART (train) and with acceptable commuting times. (Also don't think driving it unless work hours are outside of rush hour. You will find that getting into San Francisco is less of a hassle than getting out of it in the evening.) House prices in the East Bay are more reasonable by Bay Area standards and more family oriented. There are very good schools in Lamorinda and the 680 corridor also. I currently rent a 3 bedroom 1,500 square foot house with a large backyard yard plus outdoor kitchen in a very good school area in Walnut Creek within walking distance to the BART (train) for $3,600/month. Craigslist is your friend! When I was working in the city I could be downtown within 35 minutes and that included getting a seat on the train. A secret is if you move a bit further out the commute can become quite tolerable as you can usually get a seat in the rush-hour which is not the case closer to the city. You trade off an extra 5-10 minutes for a seat.

I don't know anyone who spends $5,000/month on a 3/4 house let alone $10,000/month which would be the definition of insane. That includes people on $200K+ salaries. There are lots of living choices from houses to condos to apartments which are usually bigger and more luxurious by British standards. Spend a bit of time to find the right place for you. I mean you can spend that much but you don't have too.

Chris

Last edited by aquatone; Feb 13th 2020 at 5:34 am.
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Old Feb 13th 2020, 12:16 pm
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

The way that the OP phrased it 'offered the job of a lifetime' sounds like a new job with a new employer.

If so, H1 will be the way that this goes, and it may end in tears in the lottery.

Oh and if it is an H1, you the spouse won't be working, at all, on your H4.
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Old Feb 13th 2020, 12:46 pm
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

OP never came back, presumably they found out the complications.
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Old Feb 13th 2020, 7:56 pm
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Default Re: Family moving to San Francisco

Originally Posted by aquatone View Post
Congratulations on your Husband's job offer!

Yes, the Bay Area is super expensive compared to the rest of the USA but it need not be as expensive as some posters here are rather misleadingly suggesting. A lot depends on where in San Francisco your Husband is working and how you can position your commute and living location. Let us know and I can advise further as I live here.

For example, if it is the financial district or the south of market tech industry (where I worked until recently) don't even think of living in the city. The East Bay is easily accessible on the BART (train) and with acceptable commuting times. (Also don't think driving it unless work hours are outside of rush hour. You will find that getting into San Francisco is less of a hassle than getting out of it in the evening.) House prices in the East Bay are more reasonable by Bay Area standards and more family oriented. There are very good schools in Lamorinda and the 680 corridor also. I currently rent a 3 bedroom 1,500 square foot house with a large backyard yard plus outdoor kitchen in a very good school area in Walnut Creek within walking distance to the BART (train) for $3,600/month. Craigslist is your friend! When I was working in the city I could be downtown within 35 minutes and that included getting a seat on the train. A secret is if you move a bit further out the commute can become quite tolerable as you can usually get a seat in the rush-hour which is not the case closer to the city. You trade off an extra 5-10 minutes for a seat.

I don't know anyone who spends $5,000/month on a 3/4 house let alone $10,000/month which would be the definition of insane. That includes people on $200K+ salaries. There are lots of living choices from houses to condos to apartments which are usually bigger and more luxurious by British standards. Spend a bit of time to find the right place for you. I mean you can spend that much but you don't have too.

Chris
Walnut Creek is pretty far though. One of my colleagues lives there and freely admits that while it's nice enough, it's just a fairly generic suburban town. Walnut Creek is where I realized we'd have to live to make it work, so we turned it down. My comment was in reference to the fact she mentioned her husband possibly wanting to live in the city. An apartment big enough for a family of 4 will easily run at least $5k a month in SF. All my colleagues are in the Bay Area. One of them paid $1.8m (i.e. close to 10k per month) for his 2 bed apartment in SF, and another $1.5m for a 1400 sq ft 'house' in Rockridge. I get that there are people that make it work, but there is no point giving them a false impression if they think they'll be living in a 3/4 bed house either in SF of close to it. If you're paying $3600 for a 1500 sq ft house in Walnut Creek, then $5k is a pretty conservative estimate for pretty much anywhere closer, and an actual 3/4 bed house (i.e. 1500 sq ft +) is easily going to be $8k+. It's like someone saying they want to live in London and then telling them it's really affordable because they can live in Essex.
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