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  1. #1
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    Another Possible SF Resident

    The culmination of a very successful interview process is approaching for me in May. Unless I really act like a dirt bag, I should be offered the job. This would mean moving the family to the SF area. I know there is good riding (I've been out here before for work) and now I am just getting adjusted to the housing sticker shock. Since the office would be a few blocks from the GG (yeh, smack dab in the middle of touron central), I am thinking North Bay. I know the commute will be hell, but I have a wife, two kids, and four dogs (yes, four) that need space. It seems that's where the larger lots are.

    I have checked Petaluma, Santa Clara, Sebastopol, and Occidental. If there are any other areas that would give me a newer home, 2300 sq ft. minimum, four bedrooms, and at least .15 acres for around $850,000 and less please let me know. Oh, and schools are extremely important. The wife is a bit apprehensive about the whole thing, but at my level of work you have to go where the jobs are since they don't come to you. Then again she has never been west of Ohio, so she doesn't know how beautiful the west coast really is. If there are any other north bay commuters here, please let me know your daily experience so I can start hypnotizing myself to forget about the agony.

    It looks like for the first eight months I'll be alone as my family still has things to take care of. So, I'll get lots of riding in then (better than sitting in a 1 bedroom studio sulking). I am sure that as this get's closer and the offer comes in I'll be heading back out to check things and hopefully bring the bike (gotta live where there's trails). I'll be out twice in May for the final interviews but I won't have time to bike .

    I see there are quite a few group rides that take place as well, and I'd love to participate in them as well. I guess I'll just have to step up from my flatlander fitness.

    Thanks again and hope to see some of you soon.

  2. #2
    smw
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    First Id like to say congrats and welcome. Sticker shock is regular here, but in the past the housing market has grown at a good rate. Im not sure about the North Bay area's, I live in Santa Clara county. Your funds would get you real close to what you want in my neighborhood, which has a great scool district, and great neighborhood. However living in Cambrian area of San Jose creates a long commute. Its on the Los Gatos Campbell border. The other commute option would be to use Bart. Sorry I couldnt be of more help, Im sure some of the North Bay folks will chime in.

    Sean
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  3. #3
    ballbuster
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    Hate to tell you....

    ... but $850k out here is pocket change for a 4br 2300 ft2 house. Petaluma is a 1hr commute to SF in the morning, unless you leave reeeaaaly early. Add another 20-30 min for Sebastapool. No commuter trains up that corridor, either. There is a bus, and carpooling will help.

    You can also try Concord/Pleasant Hill (925 area code) At least there is BART to the city (no bikes on BART in that direction, tho!). Parts of Concord are a bit ghetto, but there are decent areas as well.

    Welcome to the neighborhood! We all look forward to more riders in the group. Keep in touch and good luck!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by smw
    First Id like to say congrats and welcome. Sticker shock is regular here, but in the past the housing market has grown at a good rate. Im not sure about the North Bay area's, I live in Santa Clara county. Your funds would get you real close to what you want in my neighborhood, which has a great scool district, and great neighborhood. However living in Cambrian area of San Jose creates a long commute. Its on the Los Gatos Campbell border. The other commute option would be to use Bart. Sorry I couldnt be of more help, Im sure some of the North Bay folks will chime in.

    Sean
    Thanks. I can deal with an hour commute home (I am an early riser and at work by 6:15, so mornings should be bearable). I will check out Santa Cleary, but it looked a lot more packed in than north bay. The office is pretty much at the Wharf.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    Thanks. I can deal with an hour commute home (I am an early riser and at work by 6:15, so mornings should be bearable). I will check out Santa Cleary, but it looked a lot more packed in than north bay. The office is pretty much at the Wharf.
    At that time in the AM, you will be fine wherever you are. When I worked in the City, I started at 6 and traffic wasn't even a consideration. At least from the north, you are all freeway to work, from the south you have to get down 19th, which will slow you down.

  6. #6
    Yappy little dog!
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    Quote Originally Posted by smw
    First Id like to say congrats and welcome. Sticker shock is regular here, but in the past the housing market has grown at a good rate. Im not sure about the North Bay area's, I live in Santa Clara county. Your funds would get you real close to what you want in my neighborhood, which has a great scool district, and great neighborhood. However living in Cambrian area of San Jose creates a long commute. Its on the Los Gatos Campbell border. The other commute option would be to use Bart. Sorry I couldnt be of more help, Im sure some of the North Bay folks will chime in.

    Sean
    So things in Alameda County seem kind of reasonable. Is there a train from there to the city?

  7. #7
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    From East Bay you also have the option of a ferry in addition to the BART. My aunt commutes on the ferry from Vallejo to SF and loves it.

    I have no input on housing prices. The sticker shock is worse when you've grown up here and realize you have to leave to afford your own house.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    So things in Alameda County seem kind of reasonable. Is there a train from there to the city?
    BART runs frequent trains from Alameda and Contra Cost Counties, however they come into the city downtown, and not where you described that you will be working. North Bay/Marin isn't a bad option even though you will most likely need to drive as the traffic in that direction isn't nearly as bad as east. Problem is housing is more expensive.

    Edit: The farther north you are, the more for your money. If you live in San Rafael or Novato, you could probably be at work in half an hour (maybe a little more from Novato) at the time you are talking about starting work.

  9. #9
    ballbuster
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    Yep

    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    So things in Alameda County seem kind of reasonable. Is there a train from there to the city?
    BART, if you're lucky enough to live near a station... and if you're lucky enough to go where it goes in SF. It only really runs to the downtown area, and through the mission to southern SF, then down to the airport.

    Parts of Alameda county are nice. I'm in Oakland, which parts are nice, but you won't find any big yards.

    BART runs 3 ways throught the east bay. It runs east, then north through Berkeley and up to Richmond, East near highway 13 towards Concord, North east, then towards Pittsburgh. THere is a third line that runs south through Hayward towards Fremont. They are planning to run BART further south and back west towards San Jose, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    *edit* oh, I forgot that there is a line that goes south, then east towards Dublin.

    More info here:

    https://www.bart.gov/stations/map/systemMap.asp



    One pore point: BART doesn't run into the city where you need to go, so you'll prolly have to transfer to a bus to get to The Presideo (where I assume your office will be). They don't allow bikes on BART in the commute direction, either.

    I ride BART from Oakland to Martinez wtih my bike, but that is counter-commute. It is an easy system to deal with, I can tell you. Not terribly cheap. Each direction costs me about $4, which is about 2x the gas I use to drive. It is fun to bike commute in the limited way I do it. I'm about 15 miles each way on the bike.

  10. #10

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    I am trying to locate a contact for crazy andy. could someone forward this to him and have him call scott at 209-704-0097 in regards to finally getting his sunglasses dialed in
    thanks

  11. #11
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    So I would have to get off at the Embarcadero and make my way down Beach. What about a folding bike? Would they allow that? I'd like to minimize the use of a car if I can. It's not the gas price that bothers me, it's the unnecessary waste.

    For North Bay, I had thought about driving to just before the GG and then riding my bike across. Is that done?



    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    BART, if you're lucky enough to live near a station... and if you're lucky enough to go where it goes in SF. It only really runs to the downtown area, and through the mission to southern SF, then down to the airport.

    Parts of Alameda county are nice. I'm in Oakland, which parts are nice, but you won't find any big yards.

    BART runs 3 ways throught the east bay. It runs east, then north through Berkeley and up to Richmond, East near highway 13 towards Concord, North east, then towards Pittsburgh. THere is a third line that runs south through Hayward towards Fremont. They are planning to run BART further south and back west towards San Jose, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    *edit* oh, I forgot that there is a line that goes south, then east towards Dublin.

    More info here:

    https://www.bart.gov/stations/map/systemMap.asp



    One pore point: BART doesn't run into the city where you need to go, so you'll prolly have to transfer to a bus to get to The Presideo (where I assume your office will be). They don't allow bikes on BART in the commute direction, either.

    I ride BART from Oakland to Martinez wtih my bike, but that is counter-commute. It is an easy system to deal with, I can tell you. Not terribly cheap. Each direction costs me about $4, which is about 2x the gas I use to drive. It is fun to bike commute in the limited way I do it. I'm about 15 miles each way on the bike.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    So I would have to get off at the Embarcadero and make my way down Beach. What about a folding bike? Would they allow that? I'd like to minimize the use of a car if I can. It's not the gas price that bothers me, it's the unnecessary waste.
    Not sure about that one, the rule is no bikes during rush hour (nothing like promoting alternative transport). You should be able to take a bus over, but it adds to your commute time if you take bart, catch a bus, and then possibly have to transfer.

    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    For North Bay, I had thought about driving to just before the GG and then riding my bike across. Is that done?
    Yes, you can ride your bike across the bridge.

  13. #13
    ballbuster
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    Cool!

    Quote Originally Posted by EBrider
    Not sure about that one, the rule is no bikes during rush hour (nothing like promoting alternative transport). You should be able to take a bus over, but it adds to your commute time if you take bart, catch a bus, and then possibly have to transfer.



    Yes, you can ride your bike across the bridge.

    Looks like folding bikes are allowed!

    http://www.bart.gov/guide/bikes/bikeRules.asp

    From the BART site:

    >>

    Folded bikes are allowed on the trains at all times. During commute hours, folding bikes must be folded before entering the paid area at the Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, and Civic Center San Francisco Stations, and the 12th and 19th Street Oakland Stations. At all other stations, they may be folded on the platform, but must be folded before boarding a train.

    <<

  14. #14
    ballbuster
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    Exqueeze me?

    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    I am trying to locate a contact for crazy andy. could someone forward this to him and have him call scott at 209-704-0097 in regards to finally getting his sunglasses dialed in
    thanks
    Never heard of him


  15. #15
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    Bikes, BART, etc.

    There's also a van with bike trailer that goes from Macarthur BART in Oakland to downtown SF. And back again in the afternoon. (basically during the times when bikes are not allowed on Bart) I used to take it a bunch of years ago, but it still exists. Looks like it's still $1!

    http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/shuttle.htm

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    So I would have to get off at the Embarcadero and make my way down Beach. What about a folding bike? Would they allow that? I'd like to minimize the use of a car if I can. It's not the gas price that bothers me, it's the unnecessary waste.

    For North Bay, I had thought about driving to just before the GG and then riding my bike across. Is that done?
    Yes folding bikes are allowed on all Trains at all hours. The Ferry is a nice alternative, but it's expensive. My co-worker lives in Vallejo and takes the Ferry from there, and it's $220.00 a month. I take Bart from Walnut Creek. Bart is .20 Cents a mile and it's $130.00 a month for me to Bart in to Embarcadero.

    To get from Embaracdero Bart to Beach Street you could bike up on a folding bike it's about 1 1/2 miles, or you could take the Trolly which runs every ten minutes during rush hour. Personally, you'll be better off taking the folding bike. Faster, and you won't have to worry about the crowded Trolly.

    Welcome to San Francisco Bay Area! I work in the Financial District of San Francisco. I am more than happy to show you the good lunch spots, coffee spots or a nice ride after work into the Marin Headlands once you're settled.

    -Larry
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  17. #17
    ballbuster
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    I saw that this morning...

    Quote Originally Posted by sashax
    There's also a van with bike trailer that goes from Macarthur BART in Oakland to downtown SF. And back again in the afternoon. (basically during the times when bikes are not allowed on Bart) I used to take it a bunch of years ago, but it still exists. Looks like it's still $1!

    http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/shuttle.htm
    ... and was wondering what that was about.

    I go the other way. I get on at McArthur and get off at either Pleasant Hill or Concord. On the way back, I get on somewhere in between Concord and Orinda, depending on how much energy I have for riding. One of these days, I'm going to try to go over the ridge without the aid of BART. I tried it once from Oakland to Orinda, and that was a workout.

    The other day, Dan'ger, Ibis Guy and I rode from Martinez around the backside of Briones to Orinda. It was a great ride, dispite the fact that I was out of sugar water and nearly bonking towards the end. My short cranks and tall gearing didn't help either. I hit a top speed of 50.5 MPH on the road bike. Heeee ha!!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    For North Bay, I had thought about driving to just before the GG and then riding my bike across. Is that done?
    Yeah, I do that. You're a couple years late on the housing market. 3-4 years ago you could get what you wanted in San Rafael. Now $925K gets you 1447 sq ft (neighbor's moving.) I think you've got to go north of Novato or look at fixer-uppers. Check out the mls listings for the north bay here:

    http://www.greathomes.org/

    -slide

  19. #19
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    I used to take it every day when I lived in Oakland (which was like a dozen years ago--wow). It was always me and a bunch of bike messengers. These days, I bet that if you try to get on there with gears, they probably beat you up and steal your lunch money.

    I have only a 3 mile ride to and from work, but I have a couple 15-20 mile loops in the city I'll do before or after when I have the energy and the daylight.

  20. #20
    wg
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    At that price range you can also take a look in Northern Walnut Creek, and Pleasant Hill. There are some areas with decent size lots etc. Its an "older" section so many lots were created with living in mind vs the postage stamp stuff going on now. The small lots in my neighborhood are about .25 acres. PM me if you want more details
    BART is easily accessible too. Plus if you had to drive it'd be much closer than Petaluma and further norrth so road time would be minimized. You're going in early enough to not worry about traffic. 101 southbound from Petaluma can really suck.
    Last edited by wg; 04-27-2006 at 08:55 AM.
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  21. #21
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    So many decisions, but I still need the offer and that will not happen until after May 22 (my last meeting with them). They are flying me out twice, so I have to think they are pretty serious about me.

    My main concern is for my family. They are quite materialistic. For me, give me a bike, a shack, and my computer and I will be happy. They will not accept anything less than they have now. Call it spoiled, but they out number me 3 to 1 even though I control the $$$ . So I have already compromised to endure a long commute to give them a big house and yard in a good school system with what I can afford.

    Transportation cost doesn't bother me. I currently pay $200 a month for parking, $45 a month in bridge tolls, and god knows what to gas up the Suck-U-dry-V every four days.

    Hypothetical... What if I lived in Napa and drove (or bike) to the Vallejo ferry? Long day?

    If I do get and accept the position I would be working right next to (I am trying to avoid naming the place ) the Argonaut Hotel. I don't know how close that is to the Financial District but I certainly wouldn't mind making some friends and hitting some good lunch spots. I have been to SF many times on business, so know my way around a little bit (unusally branching out for the convention center).

    Thanks again to everyone for the help and advice. It's a big life changing event for me and it's great to see the perspective on things from the locals.

    Quote Originally Posted by LJ0913
    Yes folding bikes are allowed on all Trains at all hours. The Ferry is a nice alternative, but it's expensive. My co-worker lives in Vallejo and takes the Ferry from there, and it's $220.00 a month. I take Bart from Walnut Creek. Bart is .20 Cents a mile and it's $130.00 a month for me to Bart in to Embarcadero.

    To get from Embaracdero Bart to Beach Street you could bike up on a folding bike it's about 1 1/2 miles, or you could take the Trolly which runs every ten minutes during rush hour. Personally, you'll be better off taking the folding bike. Faster, and you won't have to worry about the crowded Trolly.

    Welcome to San Francisco Bay Area! I work in the Financial District of San Francisco. I am more than happy to show you the good lunch spots, coffee spots or a nice ride after work into the Marin Headlands once you're settled.

    -Larry

  22. #22
    ballbuster
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    Don't worry...

    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    ... They are quite materialistic.
    They'll fit right in.

  23. #23
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    You may be able to spend more than you think on a house. Consider that property tax here is 1% and fixed for the whole time you own it and utilities are going to be much less. For example, NY state has 3% property tax, so the difference in monthly outflow between a $400k house in NY and a $800k house in CA, assuming a 20% down payment, is only about 50%, not double as you might expect.

    Also, the rest of your cost of living won't go up nearly as much. So for budgeting purposes, much of your extra income can go towards hosing.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBrider
    You may be able to spend more than you think on a house. Consider that property tax here is 1% and fixed for the whole time you own it and utilities are going to be much less. For example, NY state has 3% property tax, so the difference in monthly outflow between a $400k house in NY and a $800k house in CA, assuming a 20% down payment, is only about 50%, not double as you might expect.

    Also, the rest of your cost of living won't go up nearly as much. So for budgeting purposes, much of your extra income can go towards hosing.
    Yeah, I figured that. Get ready for some shock...

    I live in NJ, the highest prporty taxes in the country. My current property taxes on a 2800 sqft house w/pool and 1/3 acre is $10,185 a year. It is assessed at around $300,000 though it would sell within 7-10 days (hot market here) for around 540K.

  25. #25
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    Oh no more Jersey folk!

    haha kidding one of my roomates is from Jersey, always trying to show me how big his trunk is....and his favorite show is Sopranos.

    Welcome to the beatiful Bay Area!

  26. #26
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    Ha ha

    Quote Originally Posted by baycat
    Oh no more Jersey folk!

    haha kidding one of my roomates is from Jersey, always trying to show me how big his trunk is....and his favorite show is Sopranos.

    Welcome to the beatiful Bay Area!
    If you get out here by July, you could see Springsteen play at the Concord Pavillion.

  27. #27
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    Yep, you get that out here...

    Quote Originally Posted by EBrider
    ... much of your extra income can go towards hosing.
    ... a good hosing!

    Nah, I dig it out here. I can't imagine moving anywhere else.


  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by baycat
    Oh no more Jersey folk!

    haha kidding one of my roomates is from Jersey, always trying to show me how big his trunk is....and his favorite show is Sopranos.

    Welcome to the beatiful Bay Area!
    I do a lot of riding in the Pinelands during the winter here. That's where we like to bury the hits found in the big "trunks".

    Actually, although I was born in New Yawk and raised in Joizey, I have no dialect. You'd never know I was from here.

  29. #29
    PCC
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    You might find what you want in San Bruno, especially up in the hills around or past Highway 35. My children to to Highlands Christian Schools and it is one of the more highly regarded schools in the area. Milbrae is pretty good, too, and the public schools out there are pretty highly rated as well. San Bruno is about 10 miles south of the Golden Gate Bridge. Milbrae is 15.

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    Some thoughts on commuting from the North Bay.

    From Corte Madera, my drive to Levi's Plaza is 25-35 minutes in the AM and about 35-50 min back in the PM depending on traffic. Remember that bridge tolls are $5 on the GG bridge and parking can be godawful expensive depending on where you are...$300+/mo is not uncommon.

    Auto congestion up to Larkspur/Corte Madera is tolerable but gets progressively worse as you go north thru San Rafael & Novato.

    GG Transit district has comfortable buses and decent service, but hours are limited. Schedules are available at:
    http://www.goldengatetransit.org/

    Driving down to Mill Valley and biking in is a good option if you're dedicated. Cold and wet, though, especially in the summer fog months, depending on when you head out. Biking from MV to Fisherman's Wharf is only about a 40-50 minute ride on a road bike from the Park & Ride.

    School districts need to be looked into...private schools in Marin are $$$$ $28K for Branson. Do your research on school districts...kind of a budgeting nightmare to invest $800K in a house and have to pay for childcare and private school on top...

    Good luck on your hunt...see if they'll offer parking...

  31. #31
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    There is a planned commuter train that will run from Cloverdale (way north) through Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Marin, to someplace near the ferry. Once it gets started, it'll probably connect to busses or ferry to SF. The tracks are already there, they just have to work out details, and convince people in Marin to help pay for it.

    For $850 you could get something nice anywhere norht of Petaluma. The "good" schools tend to be in the expensive neighborhoods. I'm a teacher at a charter school which I think is pretty good. Once you narrow down your search, go visit a school in the area. Don't just go by published state test scores.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnauzers
    Yeah, I figured that. Get ready for some shock...

    I live in NJ, the highest prporty taxes in the country. My current property taxes on a 2800 sqft house w/pool and 1/3 acre is $10,185 a year. It is assessed at around $300,000 though it would sell within 7-10 days (hot market here) for around 540K.
    So, realistically you may want to put a higher number in your budget for home price. The problem with the 800 range is that it is really in the sweet spot for a house price. From there, what you get for your money goes up exponentially with any additional money you spend. The difference between a $850k house and a $1,050k house is night and day, probably something like 50% better for 20% more money. At that price, you could get a very nice house with less than an hour commute, or a good house much closer. If you find something for less that works for you, well that's great.

    I've moved states 4 times for work, and it would be hard for my wife if we stepped down in housing. The extra monthly outflow is much less than the anything close to that price in NJ.

    Edit: You may want to rent for six months until you figure out the commute situation.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    ... a good hosing!

    Feels like that sometimes, doesn't it.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuruAtma
    There is a planned commuter train that will run from Cloverdale (way north) through Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Marin, to someplace near the ferry. Once it gets started, it'll probably connect to busses or ferry to SF. The tracks are already there, they just have to work out details, and convince people in Marin to help pay for it.
    Push the gas price higher and they'll pay for it one way or another .

    Quote Originally Posted by GuruAtma
    For $850 you could get something nice anywhere norht of Petaluma. The "good" schools tend to be in the expensive neighborhoods. I'm a teacher at a charter school which I think is pretty good. Once you narrow down your search, go visit a school in the area. Don't just go by published state test scores.
    Great advice, thanks. My kids are pretty smart (maybe the get it from me and are in mostly advanced classes which tends to keep them away from the riff-raff anyway.

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