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Potential Bay Area Move - Where to live?

Potential Bay Area Move - Where to live?

Old Sep 6th 2019, 8:09 pm
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Default Potential Bay Area Move - Where to live?

I'm a GC holder, been in the US since 2007. I live in Denver at the moment, after spending 8 years in NYC. My wife is from NJ, we have 2 dogs, and twins expected in November. Neither of us particularly like Denver (well, it's nice enough, just not 'us' and we can't see if being the place we settle), and want to get back to a bigger city, or at least a suburb with access to a bigger city. Our plan had been to move back to the East Coast next year once our twins are around 6 months old. However, I've been offered a job in SF, and we're trying to decide if we want to make the move for 2-3 years. It'd be an internal move, so the company will pay moving expenses, but I won't get a salary adjustment. My wife won't be working initially, but we can probably go to just over $5k rent for the right place.

If we had the money to live in SF and be able to afford a modern large 2 bed, private outdoor space etc, then we'd be open to living there, but my initial scanning of zillow, craigslist etc seem to indicate that even with $5k-$6k a month, we'd be looking at older places, maybe 1000 sq ft if we're lucky, which just isn't big enough. Having 2 dogs definitely narrows the scope of rental places available to us.

A few people have mentioned Sausalito, Larkspur, Mill Valley, but they all look very pricey, and none of them seem to have much of a town center, although that's just my online research. If we go the suburb route, we'd at least want somewhere somewhat walkable. I don't know much about the East Bay. Berkeley looks nice, and despite the reputation, I've heard that areas of Oakland are nice too. Someone else mentioned Walnut Creek, but the commute looks pretty long, and it looks a little too quiet and suburby for us. i.e. if we're going to move to the bay area, we want to feel like we're actually here, not just a random town. We'd want easy access to SF.

So, any suggestions as to where might make sense for us? Criteria is 2 bed, $5k max, not a huge commute to SF, not too far inland, and walkable. From my reading online and given the criteria, everything points to Berkeley, but thought I'd see if anyone else has any other ideas that I might not have seen? Alternatively, are there any family friendly areas in SF itself that we should check out? I've been there 5-6 times, but only really know the financial distrct, nob hill, and north beach.

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Old Sep 6th 2019, 8:15 pm
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Default Re: Potential Bay Area Move - Where to live?

Originally Posted by pejp View Post
It'd be an internal move, so the company will pay moving expenses, but I won't get a salary adjustment. My wife won't be working initially, but we can probably go to just over $5k rent for the right place.
Bear in mind that you're potentially going to be supporting a wife and two newborn children on a single income, what IS your current salary?
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Old Sep 6th 2019, 8:18 pm
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Default Re: Potential Bay Area Move - Where to live?

Originally Posted by TexanScot View Post
Bear in mind that you're potentially going to be supporting a wife and two newborn children on a single income, what IS your current salary?
$280k
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Old Sep 7th 2019, 2:42 pm
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Default Re: Potential Bay Area Move - Where to live?

If i were to return to the Bay area the only place I'd really consider living would be the East Bay = Walnut Creek, Lafayette areas or on the other side Mill Valley. The whole region is a gridlocked shithole but at least these areas make up for it. Good luck.
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Old Sep 7th 2019, 6:20 pm
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Default Re: Potential Bay Area Move - Where to live?

If you think Denver is 'too small of a city' for you, you're going to have an even worse problem in SF. What is it you are hoping to find in SF that you don't have in Denver, except easy(ish) access to the coast?

You will not find a 'modern large' two bed with outdoor space in SF for 5k. SF is a city devoid of kids because of this very reason. While Oakland is regenerating at a fast pace, decent accommodation in safe areas is hard to find because the supply is too low for the demand.

The traffic and commutes to/from SF are insane from pretty much anywhere that you'd want to live. What I always advise is decide how long of a commute you can handle every day and work backwards from there to find locations within that radius.

With two kids and two dogs, I'd be looking at either Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Burlingame, San Carlos or Redwood City. The latter three are on the Caltrain lines and have decent walkable downtown areas.

Your salary will be enough for you to live on and support your family but remember you will be taxed a lot more in CA, sales tax is higher and everything - and I really mean everything - is going to be more expensive than it is in CO.

For what it's worth, I'd live in Denver over SF/Oakland any day. My bags are already half packed.
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Old Sep 8th 2019, 11:00 pm
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Default Re: Potential Bay Area Move - Where to live?

Originally Posted by sherbert View Post
If you think Denver is 'too small of a city' for you, you're going to have an even worse problem in SF. What is it you are hoping to find in SF that you don't have in Denver, except easy(ish) access to the coast?

You will not find a 'modern large' two bed with outdoor space in SF for 5k. SF is a city devoid of kids because of this very reason. While Oakland is regenerating at a fast pace, decent accommodation in safe areas is hard to find because the supply is too low for the demand.

The traffic and commutes to/from SF are insane from pretty much anywhere that you'd want to live. What I always advise is decide how long of a commute you can handle every day and work backwards from there to find locations within that radius.

With two kids and two dogs, I'd be looking at either Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Burlingame, San Carlos or Redwood City. The latter three are on the Caltrain lines and have decent walkable downtown areas.

Your salary will be enough for you to live on and support your family but remember you will be taxed a lot more in CA, sales tax is higher and everything - and I really mean everything - is going to be more expensive than it is in CO.

For what it's worth, I'd live in Denver over SF/Oakland any day. My bags are already half packed.
Well, I don't mean so much in physical size. Obviously SF is pretty small. However, it definitely has more of a big city feel. Denver is nice enough, but it's sprawling. It's not very walkable, the downtown area is pretty limited and never feels particularly busy, and it's lacking in culture, restaurants, diversity, and all the things that we enjoy about big cities like London and New York. Not saying it should have those things, as it's fine as it is, it's just not very interesting and not what we look for in a city, and either way, we want to get out before out kids are school age. Outside of a few areas downtown, it feels very surburban, which we don't like. Obviously SF is no NYC or London, but whenever we've been there, it feels like more of the big city vibe that we enjoy. Also, access to the coast is a big factor for us. We don't enjoy being so far from the ocean.

Thanks for the advice though. We're probably not going to make the move. Cost of living is the biggest factor for me. I'm sure Walnut Creek and the other places you mentioned are great, but I don't think it's going to be what we're looking for, and aside from the career opportunity, there doesn't seem much point in moving there if we can't afford to do it properly. We're going to just sit tight until we move back to New York next year.
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Old Sep 11th 2019, 2:15 am
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Default Re: Potential Bay Area Move - Where to live?

Originally Posted by pejp View Post
Well, I don't mean so much in physical size. Obviously SF is pretty small. However, it definitely has more of a big city feel. Denver is nice enough, but it's sprawling. It's not very walkable, the downtown area is pretty limited and never feels particularly busy, and it's lacking in culture, restaurants, diversity, and all the things that we enjoy about big cities like London and New York. Not saying it should have those things, as it's fine as it is, it's just not very interesting and not what we look for in a city, and either way, we want to get out before out kids are school age. Outside of a few areas downtown, it feels very surburban, which we don't like. Obviously SF is no NYC or London, but whenever we've been there, it feels like more of the big city vibe that we enjoy. Also, access to the coast is a big factor for us. We don't enjoy being so far from the ocean.

Thanks for the advice though. We're probably not going to make the move. Cost of living is the biggest factor for me. I'm sure Walnut Creek and the other places you mentioned are great, but I don't think it's going to be what we're looking for, and aside from the career opportunity, there doesn't seem much point in moving there if we can't afford to do it properly. We're going to just sit tight until we move back to New York next year.
So it's not so much a big city you're looking for, it's a city with a strong downtown. SF certainly has that, but I think you're making the right choice. I grew up in SF and loved it, but unfortunately the place just isn't what it used to be. Cost of living is the main problem. I've been in the UK for a while now and am looking to move back to the US - SF and the Bay Area is not on my list. There are other US cities that have the same or better quality of life for less money. I would much rather live in NYC. Sure, much of Manhattan is just as expensive as downtown SF, but there are more affordable options further away from the city centre than there are in the Bay Area.
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