Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

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Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby amt » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:17 pm

My family is considering a move to that area if a job opportunity works out. We are from the central Texas area, where median home prices are around 200k (ours is probably 280k and is 2950 sq-ft). We would probably want to live in SF proper. I am looking at the home prices, and they are obviously a lot different then our local market (what an understatement!). Then there's the state income tax (we currently have none). For anyone who did make the move, was the significant increase in cost of living worth it? What about the area made that cost increase worth the move (weather, community, food, things to do, etc)? Also, was your experience that the local employment market was willing to pay more for your position compared to you previous area? Thanks!
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby yobria » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:49 pm

Are the high housing prices out here "worth it"? The market has already answered that question. Rents are what I'd be concerned with if I were you though. Buying a home in a place you know little about is a bad idea.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby SGM » Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:08 pm

I have some rather dated experience in moving from Texas to SF in 1985. We thoroughly enjoyed SF. We lived above the city in Marin County. My wife worked in SF proper. We have great memories of our time there. We bought our house at a good time. The market had been stagnant for at least 5 years and took off during the 5 years we owned our home. House prices change from street to street more because of fog than anything else. My wife and I both had 20 percent increases in salary to start. Pay raises were good, but I would not count on that in this economy. California seems to be hurting these days. I would not consider moving there without a good job with good prospects in hand. We did not need air conditioning where we lived but the temperature changed ten degrees from the bottom of the street to the top of the street. Produce was reasonable. I liked the cultural life, restaurants, site seeing, sailing, whale watching, hiking, b&bs and access to skiing a few hours east. People always seemed to have interesting things to do on the weekends.

If not for a career change and east coast family, we might still be there.

Two years ago we had a great visit to SF, the east bay and the north coast.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby Watty » Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:43 am

I sort of did the opposite about 25 years ago. I moved from the south end of the bay area(Sunnyvale) to Portland Oregon and one of the big factors was that the cost of living was so much lower there. Both financially and for the quality of life it was a great move for me that I never regretted. When I moved I changed jobs and I was able to make a lateral move salary wise.

The Bay Area was a great place to live for a few years when I was right out of college but for me it didn't make sense to settle down there and to try to raise a family.

Even back then one of the problems with the high cost of living there was that some people I knew had kids that were in their late teens and early 20's and if they didn't have any special job skills then they had a very difficult time affording the bay area. This tended to force the kids to leave the area which some of the people found hard to deal with.

I don't mean to be an alarmist but one of the other factors that helped me decide to move was the earthquake danger. I was in a number of very noticeable earthquakes in the six years I lived there so I tried to objectively research what the real danger is.

I don't have any special skills in it but I was Geology major for a few years before I switched to computers(not that that really means a whole lot) so I am at least familiar with a lot of the terms and information sources that are available. I was mainly looking at buying a house there and as best as I could guess if I had bought a house there I estimated that it could expect to have major damage in an earthquake maybe once in 200 years. This doesn't sound terribly bad but that means if I owned a house there for 20 years, then there would have been a 10% chance if it having major earthquake damage within that 20 years. I suspected that the real numbers might actually be worse. Take some time and research what the current consensus is on the earthquake risk. A quick search found this;

https://geohazards.usgs.gov/eqprob/2009/index.php

If you enter Zip code 94109, time span 20 years, and 7.5 magnitude the turquoise area roughly show the probably of up to 10% of that happening. I am actually sort of surprised that my guess back then wasn't that far off from what this shows. Also plug a 6.7 earthquake in that model and other time ranges to see the maps of different probabilities. 6.7 is the magnitude of the northridge earthquake for reference;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_Northridge_earthquake
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby mac808 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:04 am

I moved from Austin to San Francisco. The cost of living in San Francisco is, compared to Texas, just obscene and depressing. You will feel poor, overtaxed, and nickle and dimed at each turn. Lower cost of living led to so much less stress for me.

Even back then one of the problems with the high cost of living there was that some people I knew had kids that were in their late teens and early 20's and if they didn't have any special job skills then they had a very difficult time affording the bay area. This tended to force the kids to leave the area which some of the people found hard to deal with.


+1

This is ultimately why I left for cheaper pastures.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby PaddyMac » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:16 am

There are plenty of calculators around the web for comparing cost of living in different cities, which will give you an idea at least:
http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/sav ... lator.aspx

The most important question is will your income be significantly higher?

The cost of living in CA is certainly something to worry about. It's not just State tax, the sales tax is also high. Fwiw, we moved from So. Cal. to New Mexico. Because everyone makes less here, the cost of getting a repair done or even your hair cut is less, and health care was half the price (we're self-employed so buy individual insurance).

California is a great state to live in if you can afford it. But do a lot of research.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby cheesepep » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:47 am

Just don't think of the costs, think of the huge culture change/gap between the two cities. Even if I had enough money, I wouldn't want to live in SF because of the city culture and people there. Just not my cup of tea.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby galectin » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:28 am

Housing is crazy there.

My computer programmer son just moved there to work for a web-based startup as employee #6. He is sharing a 2BR apt. in the North Beach area. He and his roommate pay $3200/month.

From what I understand from him, if you are looking for a house, etc. you might want to look South (San Bruno, or some where by the airport) between the Palo Alto area where prices become insane and SF, or North to Marin County, maybe Petuluma. Commutes from these places will be at least 45 min, from what I understand.

And, as other posters have commented on: The culture is different between central Texas and SF. That's not to say one is better, but it certainly is different.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby harrychan » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:16 am

cheesepep wrote:Just don't think of the costs, think of the huge culture change/gap between the two cities. Even if I had enough money, I wouldn't want to live in SF because of the city culture and people there. Just not my cup of tea.


Ditto. I'm sure there are great people but the general climate and its direction it is heading does not interest me nor would I want to raise my family there.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby kermit » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:40 am

How old are you? Do you have kids? Will you take advantage of everything the city offers?

We moved to San Francisco from a tiny town in upstate NY where homes are 1/10 the cost. Everything is more expensive here. But it is worth it if you take advantage of the amazing weather, hiking, food, bars, music, neighborhoods, etc. We love being a short walk or muni ride away from the best restaurants, bars, and shopping anywhere.

If you only occasionally do any of those things it might be prudent to live in the suburbs where you get more bang for your buck (although it is still *very* expensive).

Note: I'm probably going to ignore my own advice. We plan on having kids in about 5 years and I'm pretty sure we will still be living in San Francisco. It's just too much fun!
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby amt » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:05 am

Thanks for all the replies. I am 38, my wife a little younger, and we have one 2.5 yr old with special needs. One of the things I was hoping would be better out there was the health care. IMO, health care around here is not that great especially for children with special needs, in spite of a fairly new children's hospital here (management of it is terrible, but then again this may be considered "average" among health care). I certainly would not move out there without a solid job offer, and IMO, I would not consider it unless there was a 30% jump in pay. Even with that jump, I expect we would have to down-size a lot. We would probably go from 2950 sq-ft to 1500, and we would possible go from 2 cars to 1 (I would use either company shuttle or public transportation). The hardest thing to predict right now (for me) is what the housing is really like. I see houses anywhere from 350/sq-ft to 1000/sq-ft, but it's nearly impossible to tell what you are really getting. The other thing hard to understand is just how much we can get around by walking (in SF). It's tricky because there may be things that seem close, but might not be practical considering the elevation changes. I guess a visit with my wife is on order (I have not been there in 14 years). Thanks for all the comments!
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby FrogPrince » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:37 pm

If you're coming for the healthcare, and unless there's a specific place that's better for your child, I'd recommend not moving here. Your child will need lots of support, and this makes it difficult if not impossible for both spouses to work - and you won't be able to have a decent standard of living unless both parties work. The healthcare isn't that much more special than other parts of the country (I've been bounced around Stanford clinics, so I have firsthand experience) so I doubt the tradeoff would be worth it.

amt wrote:Thanks for all the replies. I am 38, my wife a little younger, and we have one 2.5 yr old with special needs. One of the things I was hoping would be better out there was the health care. IMO, health care around here is not that great especially for children with special needs, in spite of a fairly new children's hospital here (management of it is terrible, but then again this may be considered "average" among health care). I certainly would not move out there without a solid job offer, and IMO, I would not consider it unless there was a 30% jump in pay. Even with that jump, I expect we would have to down-size a lot. We would probably go from 2950 sq-ft to 1500, and we would possible go from 2 cars to 1 (I would use either company shuttle or public transportation). The hardest thing to predict right now (for me) is what the housing is really like. I see houses anywhere from 350/sq-ft to 1000/sq-ft, but it's nearly impossible to tell what you are really getting. The other thing hard to understand is just how much we can get around by walking (in SF). It's tricky because there may be things that seem close, but might not be practical considering the elevation changes. I guess a visit with my wife is on order (I have not been there in 14 years). Thanks for all the comments!
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby mac808 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:33 pm

Thanks for all the replies. I am 38, my wife a little younger, and we have one 2.5 yr old with special needs. One of the things I was hoping would be better out there was the health care. IMO, health care around here is not that great especially for children with special needs, in spite of a fairly new children's hospital here (management of it is terrible, but then again this may be considered "average" among health care). I certainly would not move out there without a solid job offer, and IMO, I would not consider it unless there was a 30% jump in pay. Even with that jump, I expect we would have to down-size a lot. We would probably go from 2950 sq-ft to 1500, and we would possible go from 2 cars to 1 (I would use either company shuttle or public transportation). The hardest thing to predict right now (for me) is what the housing is really like. I see houses anywhere from 350/sq-ft to 1000/sq-ft, but it's nearly impossible to tell what you are really getting. The other thing hard to understand is just how much we can get around by walking (in SF). It's tricky because there may be things that seem close, but might not be practical considering the elevation changes. I guess a visit with my wife is on order (I have not been there in 14 years). Thanks for all the comments!


Texas has some of the best hospitals in the world, e.g. MD Anderson in Houston and Southwestern in Dallas. You might look into relocating within Texas if this is one of the driving priorities.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby Watty » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:47 pm

.....and we have one 2.5 yr old with special needs.....


Don't underestimate the value of your current support network even if you don't use it very often.

For example when my son was a toddler my wife had a medical emergency (that turned out to not be serious) and had to go to the emergency room. She wasn't able to contact me at work so she left my son with a neighbor we knew but we were not real close friends with and she went to the emergency room. One of our closer friends was able to come and get my son from the neighbor within about an hour and took care of him for a few hours until things calmed down. The problem is what will you do for situations like this for the first six months to a year after you move?

I did a cross country move for a corporate relocation when my son was in middle school to a city where I knew virtually no one and not having any people to call on in an emergency was scary for the first year or so until we had met more people.

As an alternative to San Francisco you might look at relocating to a college town that has a good medical center. They will vary a lot but when I relocate to retire I will be taking a hard look at college towns because of the medical care and often moderate cost of living. There are also often students looking for practical work experience so you might be able to affordably hire students in related majors to help care for your kid.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby momar » Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:50 pm

Why would you limit yourself to SF proper?

The areas that aren't on the peninsula are all wonderful and all different, so you could probably find one that is a good fit. It might be a little harder to get into the city, but there is plenty of stuff going on in these places and you can also view it as easier to escape to all of the surrounding areas that make the Bay Area one of the best locations in the world (ocean, wine country, Tahoe, Yosemite etc).
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby epilnk » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:03 pm

I'm assuming you've researched the accommodations best for your child's specific needs, and have concluded that SF is a good choice for you. There are many places with good health care, of course. SF has a lot going for it and is excellent for many medical conditions, including my son's rare disease, but now that we live 1.5 hrs away I hate the driving (and the parking!) when we go back for his annual comprehensive. With a special needs child you need to research the school system as well. Non special needs families tend to flee SF proper, but I don't know about families that need specific accommodations.

There are trade-offs to be made no matter where you choose to live. SF is worth moving to if what SF offers is worth it to you. Nobody else can tell you that, but it was for us. You do live smaller in exchange for the amenities. I would definitely recommend renting for the first year - location matters a lot.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby kermit » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:45 pm

Ah that makes more sense. UCSF and Stanford both have world class pediatrics programs and UCSF is building a new children's hospital that should be ready in a few more years. And I bet living closer to the hospital is preferable if you know you will be a frequent visitor.

Like you alluded to: walking in the city can be difficult because of the hills. The muni (light rail) system is convenient if you live near one. We are just a few blocks away from one and it can take us nearly anywhere we wouldn't want to drive to. I don't particularly like the buses but some people swear by them. A lot of people bike around and there are websites devoted to teaching you how to bike the city without climbing too many hills! Finding parking can be tough depending on the neighborhood but nothing a few trips around the block won't cure. There are areas that I hate to park in but you get used to it and begin to know where to look for parking.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby frose2 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:57 pm

You don't say how rich you are, but I've seen at least one person making in the mid six figures cancel his plans to relocate to the Bay Area because of the home prices. I've lived in the Bay Area, and there's really nothing special there except the weather (incredibly even throughout the year, no hot weather ever, and enough rainfall for trees). You need to just go to SF, spend some time with a realtor, and see if moving there is even in the cards. There are a ton of miserable people in the Bay Area who didn't get their foot on the real estate ladder and are going to be lifelong renters until they move away. There are a ton more miserable people who undertook a nightmare commute just to be able to own a home. Guess what, since 2005 home prices in the crazy commute areas have collapsed, whereas home prices in areas with good commutes are stable or rising. The happy people in the Bay Area are the ones who bought homes long ago and have seen themselves greatly enriched by the houses they live in, without even the drawback of higher property taxes due to California's system whereby property taxes don't increase with house valuation except when a home changes hands. Those happy people will look down on you as a lost soul.

I should add that I moved to the Bay Area in the 80s when I was in high tech -- the Bay Area used to be the best place in the world for high tech -- and home prices were a fraction of what they are today. I would nonetheless not have done it if I could not have afforded to buy a house up front.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby yobria » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:05 pm

There are also some very happy people living in rent controlled apartments, taking the bus, shopping in the Chinese supermarkets, enjoying the free health care and doing well on $25K/year.
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Re: Anyone here move to San Francisco for a job?

Postby amt » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:41 pm

Thanks for all the replies. Regarding the health care: The care we need is really more developmental vs medical, so the schools, both public special education and private education (primarily applied behaviour analysis) are important. Sorry if I did not specify earlier. We will need some health care, but hopefully not very complicated surgery. The main reason I was drawn to this area was the high tech sector which I work in and its job opportunities, combined with the fantastic weather. Our winters in Austin are not fine, but I've had enough of the summers (and I've been here >20 years, so I've had plenty of time to "get used to it"). Within the bay area, I was drawn to SF because of the lure of a "city life", where we could walk to many things (parks, incredible food, etc). I do not know much about the surrounding areas, but given the commute issues, I would only consider a location where I can go via corporate shuttle, a very quick public transport, or 30 mins or less drive. That IMO would put us either in SF or somewhere very close to Mountain View. What I am seeing so far is that housing around Mountain View is actually more than SF! I am not sure I could practically live too far from work and have to drive.

Re: Dallas & Houston: I grew up in Dallas, and I have no desire to go back. Houston is Dallas but more humidity (no thanks)

Honestly, it's sounding like it's not a good idea to make the move (assuming I even get an offer to do it). However, It sounds like the best thing to do is just plan a short trip there with my wife and enjoy a few days there while noting the various important pro's and con's while were there. Maybe in a few months we'll be able to do that. Thanks for all the info!
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