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Moving to Bay Area - so many questions...

Moving to Bay Area - so many questions...

Old Aug 31st 2012, 7:23 am
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Default Moving to Bay Area - so many questions...

Hi All

First of all, this forum is incredible, it truly is - the resources are great.

So yesterday my wife and I got approved for L1/L2 (i am primary applicant). We move to to bay area in around 3 weeks (all being well) for a start date of October 8th in my new role. Caro will not be able to work until her EADS comes in, but that is ok.

We're heard and seen that rents are crazy. Our company will be putting us up in corporate housing for 2 months while we find our feet in the new city. From our research, it looks like the east bay is the way to go. We like the look of berkeley. We figure on budgeting 2000-2200 for rent every month, is that doable for 2 bedrooms?
My office is in SSF, and my office has a shuttle bus linking BART and also the Oyster Point ferry to the office - is this commute doable? I'm ok with max 1 hour.
Aside from rent, costs in general - we get great healthcare with the company, so that is one load off our minds, but what about everything else - we thinking around the follow

Electricity- $200/month
Broadband/cable/cell - $250/month
Car Insurance - $1500/year
Food - $600/Month

Are these about right?
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Old Aug 31st 2012, 9:30 am
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Default Re: Moving to Bay Area - so many questions...

Not sure about rents in Berkeley but it is probably doable.

Having a shuttle that connects to BART is great but it does limit you to whatever specific times the shuttle runs. Don't forget to add your commute costs to your monthly budget.
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Old Aug 31st 2012, 7:52 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Bay Area - so many questions...

Congrats on the move, I live in South San Jose and can give you some idea of what we pay

2 bed 2 bath 1200sq ft apartment is $2400 / month rent
on top of that is about $60 ish for water and garbage

Elec is $35-$60 per month (we dont run the a/c a lot no need to really)
Gas have none
Car insurance is $1650 per year for 2 cars (this is cheap by all accounts with AAA)
Eating out etc I find a lot cheaper ( I am from Uk) we can eat out with no alcohol for like $20-25 quite easily
Iphone with loads of minutes etc is about $100 per month with ATT
Broadband/home phone and comcast (tv ) is $130 per month

Food shopping depends on where you go i.e wholefoods/nob hill is more expensive than say walmart or target but food is organic etc etc

Bit like going to waitrose or marks and spencers v asda lol

We tend to get our boxed stuff from Lucky or Target and some of our fruit and veg, we occasionally get meat etc from whole foods for a treat :-)

Hope that helps

Last edited by tilz; Aug 31st 2012 at 7:56 pm.
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Old Aug 31st 2012, 8:05 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Bay Area - so many questions...

Just to add

Where are you moving from?

i.e. will you have any credit history, if not make sure you have extra money for deposit on a place to rent.

We had no credit when we moved over and we have to leave 3x the normal deposit amount.

Start looking soon for apartments it can take a bit to find , use craigslist, zillow etc to find some , the 2 months will fly by.

Good luck, its worth it !!
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Old Aug 31st 2012, 9:38 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Bay Area - so many questions...

Originally Posted by remember_me View Post
We're heard and seen that rents are crazy. Our company will be putting us up in corporate housing for 2 months while we find our feet in the new city.
Remember at least part of this likely will be construed as taxable income. Try and get your employer to to "gross up" this and any other relocation costs that aren't tax deductible.

Originally Posted by remember_me View Post
From our research, it looks like the east bay is the way to go. We like the look of berkeley. We figure on budgeting 2000-2200 for rent every month, is that doable for 2 bedrooms?
My office is in SSF, and my office has a shuttle bus linking BART and also the Oyster Point ferry to the office - is this commute doable? I'm ok with max 1 hour.
Not really. BART from Downtown Berkeley to South San Francisco is 47 minutes. A little less from Ashby, a little more from North Berkeley. Throw in time to get to/from the Berkeley BART station and the shuttle drive time and you could be looking at a lot more than an hour. The ferry seems to take about the same time to Alameda, so you could live there and take around the same time. I like Berkeley a lot, but I think I might be looking on the peninsula if I were working in South San Francisco. And, yes, rents are crazy - the stats I've seen suggest they've increased 25% in San Francisco in the last year.

Last edited by Giantaxe; Aug 31st 2012 at 9:45 pm.
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Old Sep 1st 2012, 12:41 am
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Default Re: Moving to Bay Area - so many questions...

Originally Posted by remember_me View Post

Electricity- $200/month
Broadband/cable/cell - $250/month
Car Insurance - $1500/year
Food - $600/Month

Are these about right?
There was another thread a day or so ago with a similar question, that had plenty of info, general, but should get you going.

Internet/cable/phone is usually $100-150 for a bundle and mobile depends on data type of plan, but anything from $100-150
Car insurance about $1K per 6 months for a brand new car with decent cover and you'll probably need two.
Food, depends if you're interested in healthy stuff or cheap rubbish etc.

Thing is, with no US credit history or driving history, you've got to factor in deposits for everything, so $50-600 per utility and potentially 1-3 months worth of rent along with first and last months when you sign. Doing great if you don't need them, but you need to expect that start up cost.

Welcome to BE and good luck though!
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Old Sep 4th 2012, 5:45 am
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Default Re: Moving to Bay Area - so many questions...

hi!

Thanks for all the tips so far, sorry for the lack of responses, sudden work trip came up

Where are you moving from?
We're moving from Madrid, Spain - both British/Irish citizens

will you have any credit history, if not make sure you have extra money for deposit on a place to rent
None, our credit here in spain will probably be worthless, however we get a grant of $10000 (grossed up) to cover first expenses to our new flat etc. Likewise our corporate housing is grossed up as well to cover any tax liabilities.

Our company is taking care of us quite well, we have an actual relocation department that will take our flat budget and find places for us to see from mid-november. They act as guarantors on any applications and cover any extra payments beyond the norm for utilities deposits etc.

Our start date for the new company isn't until october 8th, but we will be going over next week for a re-con mission. As we are entering on our visa, I am assuming that when we actually do move over, our info should have passed to the SS system so we can get one straight away
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Old Sep 6th 2012, 8:47 pm
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Smile Re: Moving to Bay Area - so many questions...

First of all congratulations, I moved over to the bay area in March on an L1 and haven't looked back.

2000-2200 rent in Berkley is not going to get you much, It won't be in a nice area and you won't be living in anything approaching luxury. If I were you I'd live a little further out, you'll get much more for your money. It really depends on where your going to work, if your working down town within easy access to a BART, just follow the lines east and look at areas close to the BART. I live out near Lafayette which can be a little pricey but is cheaper than Berkley. My commute is 40 minutes door to door on the BART but I work on the east side of the bay bridge, if you work down town your probably looking at about 1 hr 10 on BART.

Check out CraigsList for rental properties:
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/hhh/
BEWARE OF scams and don't give a deposit unless you've been shown round the place by someone with a key!

You will have no credit history but all is not a loss, if you get your company to write a letter saying you're on an inter company transfer and support you, sometimes letting agents will not sting you with extra deposits (ours didn't and we just payed 2 months down)
Getting a car may also be a problem if you don't have cash, VW and Audi offer special schemes for people like us called "Foreign Business Professional" plans. You get good lease rates and only have to provide visa and employment docs (No credit history check) Insurance can also be a problem, I'm with Progressive who take into account your EU driving history and will insure you on an EU license. (Most other US insurers will treat you as a new driver and give silly quotes)

Your bank will provide you with a visa or master card debit almost immediately, you can also get a secured credit card which is secured by funds you transfer to a separate account.

The figures given for utilities look good, be aware food can be expensive in this area. Good luck
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Old Sep 8th 2012, 3:07 am
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Default Re: Moving to Bay Area - so many questions...

When you say "we get great healthcare with the company, so that is one load off our minds," do you mean great FREE healthcare through the company?

Sometimes it's free but very often you pay about 30%, which can be $100s a month. Just want to check that you've checked!
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Old Sep 8th 2012, 7:31 am
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Default Re: Moving to Bay Area - so many questions...

Get ready to sort out your driving license sooner rather than later. Makes life much easier to get it out the way.
Maybe open you bank account with HSBC. I hear good things about them being able to help when you're overseas.

Good luck!
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