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Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Old Nov 30th 2010, 5:40 pm
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Default Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

My husbands job is moving to Palo Alto, CA in January. The company are sorting out visas for both of us. They are meant to be sending us on a research trip this weekend (still not confirmed), and we are meant to be meeting a relocation specialist - again not sorted! So I thought I's take matters into my own hands.

Looking at rental property on the internet, Palo Alto does look pricey - although moving from central London - similar prices. Do people recommend living in Palo Alto or are they good communting locations close to Palo Alto. I have heard some people live in San Fran and catch the Cal Train. At the moment we living in Wapping, London (quiet area on the outskirts of the city). We like the fact it feels like you are living in a small town, but can reach the city/westend easily. Ideally somewhere like that in the US would be great. Any hints / tips would be greatly appreciated - thank you!
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Old Nov 30th 2010, 5:53 pm
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Originally Posted by Davinaj3000 View Post
My husbands job is moving to Palo Alto, CA in January. The company are sorting out visas for both of us. They are meant to be sending us on a research trip this weekend (still not confirmed), and we are meant to be meeting a relocation specialist - again not sorted! So I thought I's take matters into my own hands.

Looking at rental property on the internet, Palo Alto does look pricey - although moving from central London - similar prices. Do people recommend living in Palo Alto or are they good communting locations close to Palo Alto. I have heard some people live in San Fran and catch the Cal Train. At the moment we living in Wapping, London (quiet area on the outskirts of the city). We like the fact it feels like you are living in a small town, but can reach the city/westend easily. Ideally somewhere like that in the US would be great. Any hints / tips would be greatly appreciated - thank you!
Hi Davina. We have just relocated for my hubby to take a job in Palo Alto, slightly different for us as we had been in LA for the last 3 years.

Palo Alto is lovely, it has a town centre feel, with restaurants and shops. There are also similar places near by. We live in Mountain View, the commute for hubby is around 15 minutes. We are really enjoying it here as we also wanted a small town feel, we can walk to restaurants, shops, farmers market. We can also easily walk to the train station.

There are many similar areas, Los Alto's, Los Gato's, Saratoga, which are all to the south. Personally I found if you went North you lost the small town feel with the little high streets and it was just residential suburbs.

We had a relocation woman who was really nice and helpful, although we did find our house ourselves (I can give you her details if you are interested). The rental market moves extremelly quickly here, good houses go within hours of them being advertised.

Craigslist is the best place to look for rentals, South Bay and Peninsula are the places closest to PA.

If I can help with anything either before you move or after let me know.
Nicky
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Old Nov 30th 2010, 6:21 pm
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Originally Posted by Davinaj3000 View Post
My husbands job is moving to Palo Alto, CA in January. The company are sorting out visas for both of us. They are meant to be sending us on a research trip this weekend (still not confirmed), and we are meant to be meeting a relocation specialist - again not sorted! So I thought I's take matters into my own hands.

Looking at rental property on the internet, Palo Alto does look pricey - although moving from central London - similar prices. Do people recommend living in Palo Alto or are they good communting locations close to Palo Alto. I have heard some people live in San Fran and catch the Cal Train. At the moment we living in Wapping, London (quiet area on the outskirts of the city). We like the fact it feels like you are living in a small town, but can reach the city/westend easily. Ideally somewhere like that in the US would be great. Any hints / tips would be greatly appreciated - thank you!
Palo Alto as well as Los Altos, Los Gatos, Los Altos Hills, Atherton, Hillsborough, Woodside, Monte Vista, and Monte Serneo are some of the nicest areas but are also among the most expensive. Overall the bay area is one of the most expensive areas in the US.

If you have children, you should consider renting in an area that has good schools. In the US, you street address determines the school(s) that children will be attending. Each address is attached to an area map that indicates the school that children will be attending.
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Old Nov 30th 2010, 6:25 pm
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Damn it's a nice area.

What does everything think of Foster City, San Mateo, Redwood City etc? Not too far away from PA and are cheaper
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Old Nov 30th 2010, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Palo Alto as well as Los Altos, Los Gatos, Los Altos Hills, Atherton, Hillsborough, Woodside, Monte Vista, and Monte Serneo are some of the nicest areas but are also among the most expensive. Overall the bay area is one of the most expensive areas in the US.

If you have children, you should consider renting in an area that has good schools. In the US, you street address determines the school(s) that children will be attending. Each address is attached to an area map that indicates the school that children will be attending.
Eating out is damn cheap though Well compared to LA anyway. Actually, I have found the overall cost of living cheaper in the Bay Area compared to LA, although the index is around 10% higher.

Groceries are cheaper, house and car insurance are around 50% cheaper, rental prices around the same, entertainment seems cheaper too, as I said eating out is way less expensive, and the cinema was cheaper too. Gas is more expensive though, but as we no longer sit in traffic all day we are actually saving on this too.

Originally Posted by E3only View Post
Damn it's a nice area.

What does everything think of Foster City, San Mateo, Redwood City etc? Not too far away from PA and are cheaper
We looked at those areas, ruled Redwood City out on schools. Foster City and San Mateo I just found bland, big houses and cheaper but just housing estates, no small town feel to them it felt like the towns had been built purely to meet the housing boom in Silicon Valley, no real thought given to giving them an identity. Looked at some houses in San Mateo with fab views though.
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Old Nov 30th 2010, 9:16 pm
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Welcome to BE

Definitely have a snoop in the immigration side of this forum so you can get your questions together for the employer, what visa they'll get, how soon they'll go for a greencard, repatriation costs if made redundant or you not liking it etc.
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Old Nov 30th 2010, 10:34 pm
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Are schools an issue?
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Old Dec 1st 2010, 1:42 am
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

stay in Palo Alto!

If the higher rent is a concern, then consider renting a place where he can walk/cycle to work so you won't need to pay a second car.

Avoid the 101. We live/work in Cupertino. Commuter colleagues from San Fran prefer the I-280 (to the I-101) to travel every day.
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Old Dec 1st 2010, 3:52 am
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Originally Posted by Davinaj3000 View Post
My husbands job is moving to Palo Alto, CA in January. The company are sorting out visas for both of us. They are meant to be sending us on a research trip this weekend (still not confirmed), and we are meant to be meeting a relocation specialist - again not sorted! So I thought I's take matters into my own hands.

Looking at rental property on the internet, Palo Alto does look pricey - although moving from central London - similar prices. Do people recommend living in Palo Alto or are they good communting locations close to Palo Alto. I have heard some people live in San Fran and catch the Cal Train. At the moment we living in Wapping, London (quiet area on the outskirts of the city). We like the fact it feels like you are living in a small town, but can reach the city/westend easily. Ideally somewhere like that in the US would be great. Any hints / tips would be greatly appreciated - thank you!
Well, Palo Alto is certainly not a bad place for your husband's company to be relocating you to. Given that PA is where your husband is going to work there are really only two reasons that you wouldn't live there (1) you don't want to live in suburbs and want the hustle and bustle of the city and (2) it's too expensive. If it's the former, then San Fran is the place to live and your husband can commute on CalTrain (but check out where his office is and how easy it would be to get from the CalTrain station to his office). If it's the latter then practically everywhere except Atherton can work out cheaper, although the nicest towns nearby aren't much easier on the wallet.

I'd echo other posters' recommendations on Menlo Park, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Saratoga; all of these towns have decent enough town centers with places to go out and eat and drink. Mountain View can be a mixed bag but I have some friends who live there and love it. Personally I didn't really take to Redwood City. Further north Burlingame and San Carlos are nice.

And in general, the closer you get to highway 280 the nicer it gets; the closer to highway 101, the more suburban and flat. If you have to commute, 280 is gorgeous and relatively traffic free; avoid planning a commute on 101 like the plague.
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Old Dec 1st 2010, 4:16 am
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Just a warning that "East Palo Alto" is not simply the Eastern part of Palo Alto, it's a much less desirable area and probably not a good place for your first US home. (gonna throw in an "imho" there just in case I get flamed)

A lot of the towns mentioned above are very expensive, and even coming from London you might be a little shell shocked. Further South and East will be slightly cheaper living, but not quite as nice. Depending on your pay it might be a compromise you have to make - we did, and it's really not too bad at all, the whole of the South Bay is a lovely area to live. Just expensive.
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Old Dec 1st 2010, 6:23 am
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Originally Posted by Jscl View Post
Just a warning that "East Palo Alto" is not simply the Eastern part of Palo Alto, it's a much less desirable area and probably not a good place for your first US home. (gonna throw in an "imho" there just in case I get flamed)

A lot of the towns mentioned above are very expensive, and even coming from London you might be a little shell shocked. Further South and East will be slightly cheaper living, but not quite as nice. Depending on your pay it might be a compromise you have to make - we did, and it's really not too bad at all, the whole of the South Bay is a lovely area to live. Just expensive.
Good point about East Palo Alto. You wouldn't even want to stay at The Four Seasons.
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Old Dec 1st 2010, 6:41 am
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Originally Posted by Jscl View Post
Just a warning that "East Palo Alto" is not simply the Eastern part of Palo Alto, it's a much less desirable area and probably not a good place for your first US home. (gonna throw in an "imho" there just in case I get flamed)

A lot of the towns mentioned above are very expensive, and even coming from London you might be a little shell shocked. Further South and East will be slightly cheaper living, but not quite as nice. Depending on your pay it might be a compromise you have to make - we did, and it's really not too bad at all, the whole of the South Bay is a lovely area to live. Just expensive.
Nobody is going to disagree with you about East Palo Alto. East Palo Alto is a separate city from Palo Alto and at one was going to be renamed Nairobi.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, East Palo Alto had the highest murder rate per capita in the US. Then in 1993, the mayor asked the police departments from the surrounding cities to come into the city to help patrol the city. Palo Alto on the other hand is a very safe city with crime rate in all categories well below the national average.

The murder rate in East Palo Alto has dropped by about 80% since the early 1990s but it is still a violent city and is the center of drug distribution in the south bay. Nobody choses to live in East Palo Alto.
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Old Dec 1st 2010, 6:45 pm
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Thank you all for your replies, I will take all of your ideas into consideration and visit these areas for myself next week. Luckily we have no children, so we don't need to think about schools.
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Old Dec 1st 2010, 6:48 pm
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Originally Posted by N1cky View Post
Hi Davina. We have just relocated for my hubby to take a job in Palo Alto, slightly different for us as we had been in LA for the last 3 years.

Palo Alto is lovely, it has a town centre feel, with restaurants and shops. There are also similar places near by. We live in Mountain View, the commute for hubby is around 15 minutes. We are really enjoying it here as we also wanted a small town feel, we can walk to restaurants, shops, farmers market. We can also easily walk to the train station.

There are many similar areas, Los Alto's, Los Gato's, Saratoga, which are all to the south. Personally I found if you went North you lost the small town feel with the little high streets and it was just residential suburbs.

We had a relocation woman who was really nice and helpful, although we did find our house ourselves (I can give you her details if you are interested). The rental market moves extremelly quickly here, good houses go within hours of them being advertised.

Craigslist is the best place to look for rentals, South Bay and Peninsula are the places closest to PA.

If I can help with anything either before you move or after let me know.
Nicky
Thank you for your excellent advice, hopefully we will be visiting next week, so we can check out all of these areas. Would you be able to private message me the details of the relocation lady? It's exciting and nerve racking at the same time!
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Old Dec 2nd 2010, 4:56 pm
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Default Re: Husbands job moving to Palo Alto - where to live?

Originally Posted by Davinaj3000 View Post
Thank you for your excellent advice, hopefully we will be visiting next week, so we can check out all of these areas. Would you be able to private message me the details of the relocation lady? It's exciting and nerve racking at the same time!
I've sent you a PM
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