Reassure me- possible move to the Bay Area from life long East-coaster - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 05-22-2012, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DH has an on site interview at a good company in South SF.  I've never lived anywhere but the East Coast and the thought of moving across country with two young kids and a house full of pets is very daunting.  Part of me is excited, and this job would be an absolutely perfect fit for him.  I am freaking out about:

 

1. Finding suitable housing with good public schools in a rental (preferably single family home rental) that will allow pets.  I've been all over city-data forums and the pets seem to really limit our options.  The cost is also mind boggling.

 

2. We will be so far from family.  We are not close now, but a 10 hour drive is still more conductive to visits than a 6+ hour plane ride, especially since my father will not get on a plane.

 

 

I guess I'm looking for some reassurance (maybe?) that we could find housing in a good area.  We have previously lived in a very walkable town, farmers markets, library, etc. and loved it.  We are currently leasing in very typical suburbia where we need a car to get anywhere and like things here too.  I can see either scenario working well, provided the area is safe with good schools.  DH would be commuting to Oyster Pt. Blvd in South SF.  We would consider driving, BART, ferry, etc.  All options on the table.  Obviously the shorter the commute the better, but given our pet situation we realize we might have to be more flexible on this.  I am currently SAHM.

 

I would love feedback from anyone currently renting, or from someone who has "been there done that" with pets and young kids.  Am I over-analyzing this with the pets thing?  The dogs are small, well behaved, and immaculate.  They are show and performance dogs.  The cat is just a cat, LOL!

 

Thanks so much.  My stomach is all in a knot this morning after learning about the on-site interview invitation!

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#2 of 20 Old 05-22-2012, 09:34 AM
 
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http://www.511.org/

This website can help you see all the commute options for the Bay Area.  I would recommend craigslist.org to look for rentals.  It is the most-used site for that.  I live in the East Bay, but I have always thought of the South Bay as an area that's a little less expensive and better for families.  If you look south of San Francisco, you will find places that are larger and cheaper.  It is more on the suburban side, but I'm sure there are still great schools and fun stuff like farmer's markets. 




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#3 of 20 Old 05-22-2012, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by pokeycip View Post

http://www.511.org/

This website can help you see all the commute options for the Bay Area.  I would recommend craigslist.org to look for rentals.  It is the most-used site for that.  I live in the East Bay, but I have always thought of the South Bay as an area that's a little less expensive and better for families.  If you look south of San Francisco, you will find places that are larger and cheaper.  It is more on the suburban side, but I'm sure there are still great schools and fun stuff like farmer's markets. 

 

Thank you!

 

What area is considered South Bay?  Like Daly City? Or further, like Palo Alto?  Something in between?  I'm still working out all the terminology!  Thanks for your comments!

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#4 of 20 Old 05-22-2012, 06:40 PM
 
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The weather outside SF is good.

 

Schools are great in Menlo Park, San Carlos, Belmont and Palo Alto.  It is possibale to rent a house that allows pets.

 

Caltain runs from SJ to SF.

 

If you want BART, then is is MIllbrae but  schools are not as good.

 

Daily city sucks. I used to live there. It is always cold an foggy. What is the point of moving to California?

 

 

 

Bay Ara has yoga, tai-chi, crystal healting, yoga, tantra and every other new agy thing galore......as long as you have the money to rent here.  It is rapidly becoming a rich person playground.

 

JCC in Palo Alto and Foster City have amazing pools and programs for kids.

 

The farmer markets are amazing.

 

 

I would say Burlingame to Palo Alto is Peninsula

 

Sunnyvale to San Jose is South Bay

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#5 of 20 Old 05-23-2012, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

The weather outside SF is good.

Schools are great in Menlo Park, San Carlos, Belmont and Palo Alto.  It is possibale to rent a house that allows pets.

Caltain runs from SJ to SF.

If you want BART, then is is MIllbrae but  schools are not as good.

Daily city sucks. I used to live there. It is always cold an foggy. What is the point of moving to California?



Bay Ara has yoga, tai-chi, crystal healting, yoga, tantra and every other new agy thing galore......as long as you have the money to rent here.  It is rapidly becoming a rich person playground.

JCC in Palo Alto and Foster City have amazing pools and programs for kids.

The farmer markets are amazing.


I would say Burlingame to Palo Alto is Peninsula

Sunnyvale to San Jose is South Bay

Thanks for this info! You say a rich person's playground. Can you say (here or in a pm) what you might consider a livable salary for a family of four? We have an initial range expected for this potential offer, but it is near impossible to know what is reasonable/livable/etc having never lived in the area.
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#6 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 03:07 PM
 
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Moving here is hard.  We moved to the Penninsula a few years ago with two dogs and a cat.  We literally only found 2 places over a 3 week search that would take us, the pet thing is a huge deal.    Finding a SFH rental that will take pets AND is in a good school district on the penninsula you should expect to pay minimun 2600-3000/month rent.  If your husbands job is right off the BART line, you may want to consider the East Bay.  Castro Valley has decent public schools and affordable housing. Parts of Albany and Oakland have decent school, but housing is more.  I'm not familiar with Walnut Creek, but I think they are a cross roads of affordability and  good schools.  I have found the East Bay to be way more down to earth and friendly than the penninsula.

 

Check out craigslist to get an idea of rentals

 

I wouldn't move a family to the bay area on less than 120,000 a year.  We moved here on 80k a year and it was too tight, and at that point we shared one car, and had only one child.

 

I'm jaded by this area.  The amount of money it takes to get by here just makes me sick.  Then again I love the weather, diversity and natural beauty of the place.


Julia, mama to Bumpa 2008, and The Mole 2011

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#7 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 03:18 PM
 
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I just want to amend what goldingoddess said about schools in the East Bay.  Albany and Alameda have very good schools.  It would be easier to find a place to rent in Alameda.  Albany is very small.  Piedmont has great schools but it is very expensive and has very few rentals.  It is also a very small town, and it is surrounded by Oakland.  Oakland does not have good public schools.  Walnut Creek has good schools, but the town is very homogenous and white for a town in the Bay Area. 

I agree that living here can make you very jaded.  Sometimes it feels like all you do is struggle to survive and you don't get to enjoy any of the fun stuff there is to do.  But the weather, diversity and natural beauty are great!  You can drive an hour in any direction and it feels like you are in a totally different place from where you started.  If you love the outdoors and you value being around other liberal folks, it can be totally worth it, but it's not easy.  Sorry to be such a bummer.




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#8 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by goldingoddess View Post

 

I'm jaded by this area.  The amount of money it takes to get by here just makes me sick.  Then again I love the weather, diversity and natural beauty of the place.

 

Yes, this is what I am afraid of.  Thing is, neither of us are saying "let's move to the Bay Area because we want to live there"  It's more to take advantage of a job that has not otherwise been offered anywhere else- and one that will allow significant career advancement and hopefully lead to even better things (more options, etc) down the road.  It's a fine line to walk.  I very much appreciate all the comments here.  It's helpful.  Thank you!!

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#9 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 06:43 PM
 
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I do love the weather.

 

I love the amazing education opportunities for my kids. Where else can a 16 yo get internship with a computer company on a spot  while haniging out with amazing people at various CS events?

 

Sf is not NYC but has good opera and symphony hall.

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#10 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 09:52 PM
 
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We live in Walnut Creek and we love it here. It seems to be pretty diverse but maybe not compared to the rest of the bay, whenever I go to the park we are one of the few speaking English (mostly European, a few Hispanic). My dh makes 110,000 and I'm a sahm and we are comfortable. We pay 2150 for a 2bd/2bth townhouse, have one dd (but plan more), and our only debt is from short selling our house when we moved here. We love the farmer's markets and trails for biking/walking, weather is awesome, people are wonderful and open minded. There are so many things to do here for families, it really is great. A lot of our friends here work in the city and either drive or take BART. I have a friend moving in a few months to Palo Alto with one young child, she seems excited to live there but I don't really know anything about that area.
 


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#11 of 20 Old 05-25-2012, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Are you renting in Walnut Creek, or do you own the townhouse? This area has been mentioned a few times when people learn we have pets.  I need to check the BART schedule to see what the commute times would look like. Thanks!

 

I'm curious to know how you found the rental (if you don't own).  Craigslist seems to be the go to place according to many.... are there other places I should be looking?

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#12 of 20 Old 05-27-2012, 02:22 AM
 
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We rent, and just moved here a year ago. There are great dog parks here, we see pets everywhere. And we did use craigslist, but my husband also looked on something called padmapper that he liked. It's a great area with good schools and safe neighborhoods, but would probably be a pretty far commute for your dh, I'm thinking an hour on BART. Mine despises commuting, so we live close enough for him to bike/walk to work (he works in WC).
 


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#13 of 20 Old 05-27-2012, 10:49 AM
 
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I love the Bay Area. (grew up in various places around the Bay) I like the weather (no snow shoveling, but you can go up to the snow), I like the people, I like the fact that there are vegetables year round. I love the sunshine. It *is* very expensive, which makes things tough, though with some shopping around you can mitigate it.

 

Things to pay attention to:

 

1) The fog lines: the Bay area has microclimates (in SF, different neighborhoods have different levels of fog). Talk to locals to figure out what the weather is like and whether you can deal with it.

 

2) Commutes: Commutes around here can be horrible. I've known people with 2.5 hour each way commutes 5 days a week. In our family, we prioritized being able to bike to work. Other people manage to be on Bart or Caltrain. Many companies have shuttle buses (so one can work during the commute). Think long and hard about what the commute is going to look like before deciding where to live. If the company does temporary housing, take advantage of it. Rent for a while before buying.

 

3) Talk to the company about commuting/housing options. People there will have very specific knowledge about how the ferry commute goes, what's bikable, bartable...

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#14 of 20 Old 05-29-2012, 10:07 AM
 
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Hi there,

I would try and find housing as close to DH's job as possible. 

Getting around stinks. I cringe whenever I have to get on the freeway, because without a doubt there will be traffic somewhere along the way. 

IMO, Bart is not nice, I would always choose the ferry, however I don't know all the routes and if that would be an option for you. Personally, I would not live in the East Bay & want to commute to  SouthSF. I think you would definitely want to limit your rental search to the Peninsula or SF. 

 

We rent with pet and kid. If we had neither, we could find somewhere much cheaper. I echo everyone else in saying that it is a very hard pill to swallow as to how much money it takes to live "comfortably" here. (We don't)

Definitely agree to rent before buying. Check listings on padmapper.com. Really helpful in finding a rental. 

 

With all of that being said, it is a beautiful place to live with crisp air and amazing views. I like the fog, feels cleansing. And while I am used to hot hot summers from May to September, the mellow summer (and sometimes chilly) is fun. 

 

Good luck to you. If you have specific questions, I imagine any of us could help. I have lived all around the bay. 


 

 

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#15 of 20 Old 05-29-2012, 10:00 PM
 
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We live in Berkeley and my DH worked at the same company your husband is interviewing at (I'm guessing - but it was the same freeway exit and it's a huge company:-) ). Our house is only 2 blocks from BART. DH used to take bart to one of the stops in SF and then take the company shuttle the rest of the way. He said it took him 45 minutes on BART and another 20-45 minutes on the bus. Before we bought this house, he used to drive and it would take at least an hour - but he was happier at least being in his own car. In any case, it it definitely doable, but eats into your day! That said, we love living here in the East Bay. For us, living in most of the areas around South San Francisco just wouldn't make us happy. We were happy living in the city, but that is way too hard once you have kids (and why we moved)! We decided that it is worth DH commuting for me to be someplace where I'm happy (I stay home) and that he is happy in when he isn't working. We have decided we are comfortable with Berkeley's public schools - at least thru middle school. As someone else said, Albany has great schools. It's a bit further from a BART station, but not horribly far. 

 

Cindy

 

PS: Feel free to PM me if you want me to ask my DH questions about the company. He no longer works there, but did for over 5 yrs. And BTW, he works even further down the peninsula now, but it is still doable.


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#16 of 20 Old 05-30-2012, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for the continued replies!  The interview is on Monday the 4th..... hopefully we will know one way or the other shortly thereafter. nod.gif

 

We have survived a long commute before- we lived a south west suburb of Philly and he commuted to North Jersey.  It was 80+ miles in one direction.  I can't believe we did this for 5 years (with kids!).  Right now he has an 8 mile, 15 minute commute.  So we've definitely experienced the extremes.  I'll have to look at the map again, Berkeley is a bit further north, on the East Bay?  Is this correct?  Although I'm not sure if it's still called the East Bay....

 

We will look at all options.  I am really most concerned about finding a place that will allow us to bring our pets and be in a good elementary school district.  We have no intentions of buying, we have nowhere close to the down payment necessary for a house in the Bay Area (without robbing our IRAs and 401k)! Maybe after a couple years..... if we can manage to save while paying the high rent.

 

Thanks again everyone! I'll keep checking back here and post after the interview!

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#17 of 20 Old 05-30-2012, 08:18 AM
 
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I wouldn't really call  Berkeley too far north. You just head over the Bay Bridge and head north and then it's only 2 exits up. On a nice day with no traffic, it's 15 minutes from SF. :-)


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#18 of 20 Old 06-05-2012, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, the interview went really well.  Now we wait orngtongue.gif

 

I'm really torn, and go back and forth multiple times a day between wanting an offer and all that involves, and wanting to stay here with the "known and familiar"  Time will tell.  Thanks again for all the info here!!

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#19 of 20 Old 04-11-2014, 11:47 AM
 
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Hi there, just seeing this thread now and wondering if you ended up moving to the Bay Area.? We are in a similar situation, life long (for the most part) east coasters needing to move to Berkeley for husbands phd. We have 3 elementary age boys and have a cap of 3500 for housing. Would love a good school with a thriving GATE program. Thanks for any info you can provide!
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#20 of 20 Old 04-11-2014, 03:55 PM
 
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Most elementary schools in Berkeley are great. We pay really high property taxes here in Berkeley to pay for our schools. But as far as I know, there is no GATE program in Berkeley. Also, a lot of UCB families end up in Albany - all of their schools are top notch. But also no GATE program. 

 

Cindy


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