Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

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bawaso
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Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by bawaso »

Looking to buy a first home for my partner and I in the Bay Area. We currently live in San Francisco and like it here. We’ve also lived in the Peninsula and South Bay before that and are familiar with the areas. We are sort of familiar with the East Bay but not as much.

Goals are to maximize return on investment while also having a life we enjoy. We don’t have kids and don’t intend to, so want to be close to the city (40 min drive max) or in it.

SF - Can only afford a condo but hate paying the crazy HOA fees. Also, not sure of the condo appreciating.
Peninsula - May be able to get a townhouse if we’re lucky. Condo is achievable too.
South Bay - Townhouse or single family might be affordable
East Bay - affordable but don’t know too much

Type of home: The questions really are whether we should bother with a condo, or just stick to a townhouse or SFH for price appreciation reasons ? Not sure how to think about it.

Location: What are up and coming areas to buy that haven’t already peaked ? Is San Mateo county too hot still ?
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Noobvestor
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Noobvestor »

I currently rent in the East Bay. I periodically check Zillow, then remain a renter. This year, however, may be different. It remains to be seen, but I wouldn't be surprised if we have lower housing prices in the coming months or year. I would wait, personally, and see if that plays out.

As for places to live: there's lots to love up in and even just east of the Berkeley Hills - views, nature, etc... with the downside being it's hard to get up and down them without a car. Places close to BART with appeal to me include Berkeley and Lake Merritt. If you're likely to use BART, I would suggest an experimental road trip up and down the line in the East Bay to get a feel for what various places are like. I work in the East Bay, too, but if I worked in SF, I always thought Vallejo would be a good option - relatively affordable but with ferry access to the city.
Last edited by Noobvestor on Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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madbrain
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by madbrain »

There is no place in the south bay that's within 40 min drive of SF.
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Watty
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Watty »

A variation on a old saying, "The three most important things in real estate are, commute, commute, and commute."

Having a bad commute would trump any of the positives of a location.
visualguy
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by visualguy »

I don't think there are bargains that fulfill your requirements... I'm biased toward owning the actual land, so if you can get a single-family home in a good area (like Burlingame), I would do that, but condos/townhouses appreciate nicely as well, so don't rule that out if much more convenient to be in one of those in SF. Don't worry about prices that "peaked". Expect higher prices in the future in the long run in good locations in the Bay Area. The demand from people with means there will continue outstripping the meager supply - there is no magic solution for the lack of housing supply there, and the area is, and will continue to be, a huge magnet for successful people.
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Noobvestor
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Noobvestor »

visualguy wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:53 pm I don't think there are bargains that fulfill your requirements... I'm biased toward owning the actual land, so if you can get a single-family home in a good area (like Burlingame), I would do that, but condos/townhouses appreciate nicely as well, so don't rule that out if much more convenient to be in one of those in SF. Don't worry about prices that "peaked". Expect higher prices in the future in the long run in good locations in the Bay Area. The demand from people with means there will continue outstripping the meager supply - there is no magic solution for the lack of housing supply there, and the area is, and will continue to be, a huge magnet for successful people.
I wouldn't say prices have peaked, but I wouldn't be surprised if crisis factors specific to this year have a short-to-intermediate-term impact. As in: I would expect real estate to keep going up here long-term, but unless OP is in a rush to buy, better deals may be forthcoming. For instance, if a lot of AirBNB owners suddenly without income start long-term renting or in some cases selling, that may have a significant market impact.
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Topic Author
bawaso
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by bawaso »

Thank you.

I’ve looked at property history for condos in last 5 years, and it just doesn’t seem like condos are appreciating anywhere close to how much townhomes or single families are - hence my confusion on condos.

Santa Clara or Sunnyvale area to sf is a 45 min drive which isn’t great but ok if the place is great.

How are the Dublin / Pleasanton / Hayward / Newark areas for price appreciation?

Any other neighborhoods or pockets that have positive factors going for them and are relatively cheaper right now ?
Starfish
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Starfish »

The place where you work is the most important consideration, not what you do in the weekend.
visualguy
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by visualguy »

bawaso wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:06 pm Thank you.

I’ve looked at property history for condos in last 5 years, and it just doesn’t seem like condos are appreciating anywhere close to how much townhomes or single families are - hence my confusion on condos.

Santa Clara or Sunnyvale area to sf is a 45 min drive which isn’t great but ok if the place is great.

How are the Dublin / Pleasanton / Hayward / Newark areas for price appreciation?

Any other neighborhoods or pockets that have positive factors going for them and are relatively cheaper right now ?
In what locations did you see this much lower appreciation of condos?

Santa Clara and Sunnyvale aren't really a 45-min drive from SF unless you're speeding like crazy in the middle of the night. Probably not even in that case. During the working day, you are in commute hell.

East Bay towns with good school districts are fine for price appreciation, but the drive to/from SF is hell. Some take BART, but that has its issues as well.
bogledogle
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by bogledogle »

visualguy wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:40 pm
bawaso wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:06 pm Thank you.

I’ve looked at property history for condos in last 5 years, and it just doesn’t seem like condos are appreciating anywhere close to how much townhomes or single families are - hence my confusion on condos.

Santa Clara or Sunnyvale area to sf is a 45 min drive which isn’t great but ok if the place is great.


Santa Clara and Sunnyvale aren't really a 45-min drive from SF unless you're speeding like crazy in the middle of the night. Probably not even in that case. During the working day, you are in commute hell.

Santaclara or Sunnyvale to the city is NOT 45 mins. It's more like 1.5 hours, if you are having a normal day in commute traffic between 7:30 AM to 6:30PM
visualguy
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by visualguy »

bogledogle wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:11 pm
visualguy wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:40 pm
bawaso wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:06 pm Thank you.

I’ve looked at property history for condos in last 5 years, and it just doesn’t seem like condos are appreciating anywhere close to how much townhomes or single families are - hence my confusion on condos.

Santa Clara or Sunnyvale area to sf is a 45 min drive which isn’t great but ok if the place is great.


Santa Clara and Sunnyvale aren't really a 45-min drive from SF unless you're speeding like crazy in the middle of the night. Probably not even in that case. During the working day, you are in commute hell.

Santaclara or Sunnyvale to the city is NOT 45 mins. It's more like 1.5 hours, if you are having a normal day in commute traffic between 7:30 AM to 6:30PM
Exactly. If I worked in SF and had to be in the office all or most working days, I wouldn't want to live outside the city at all, and definitely not in the South Bay.
Carefreeap
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Carefreeap »

Where do you work and what's your budget?
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HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE »

For the highest optionality, look at San Mateo.

30 min to SF, an hour to SJ, 20 min across the bridge to East Bay and beyond.
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cchrissyy
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by cchrissyy »

it sounds like you want to buy because of a belief in appreciation, not because you have a desire to live in a different city or in a different type of dwelling. I'd suggest you question that idea. Probably the NYT rent vs buy calculator will show you that without the appreciation you're counting on, you are much better off continuing to rent and investing your money in other things.
Goal33
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Goal33 »

You need to tell us what your budget is and what you’re looking for.
visualguy
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by visualguy »

cchrissyy wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:25 pm it sounds like you want to buy because of a belief in appreciation, not because you have a desire to live in a different city or in a different type of dwelling. I'd suggest you question that idea. Probably the NYT rent vs buy calculator will show you that without the appreciation you're counting on, you are much better off continuing to rent and investing your money in other things.
No one ever won a long-term bet against Bay Area real estate appreciation :wink:
visualguy
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by visualguy »

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:59 pm For the highest optionality, look at San Mateo.

30 min to SF, an hour to SJ, 20 min across the bridge to East Bay and beyond.
Not during commute hours... To/from SF is closer to an hour than 30min then.
HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE »

visualguy wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:41 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:59 pm For the highest optionality, look at San Mateo.

30 min to SF, an hour to SJ, 20 min across the bridge to East Bay and beyond.
Not during commute hours... To/from SF is closer to an hour than 30min then.
Caltrain
visualguy
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by visualguy »

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:44 pm
visualguy wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:41 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:59 pm For the highest optionality, look at San Mateo.

30 min to SF, an hour to SJ, 20 min across the bridge to East Bay and beyond.
Not during commute hours... To/from SF is closer to an hour than 30min then.
Caltrain
Nope... That's just the train ride itself (and only the fastest "bullet" train), but you still have to get to the train station, and from the train station to your office.
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cchrissyy
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by cchrissyy »

visualguy wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:33 pm No one ever won a long-term bet against Bay Area real estate appreciation :wink:

fair!
but still, other decent investments exist. a person can rent housing and get their long run gains from VTSAX/VTI
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William Million
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by William Million »

It's the Bay Area so I don't think you'll find a bargain, per se.

However, if you work in downtown SF, I'd recommend Harbor Bay (Bay Farm) in Alameda. Ideally, you could walk to the Harbor Bay ferry, then 20 min on the boat to the Embarcadero. Beautiful sunsets over SF. Easy access to Oakland Airport.

Might not be a good time to buy, maybe in a year if economic crisis deepens. Rents for nice places would start at 4k. On the main island, west of Webster, you'd be near the other ferry to SF and might get in for $3k/month with a bit of luck.
Last edited by William Million on Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Squeaky
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Squeaky »

madbrain wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:44 pm There is no place in the south bay that's within 40 min drive of SF.
My dad lives in San Carlos, it's about 40 min away, it's perfect!
decapod10
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by decapod10 »

It's not worth worrying about price appreciation for your primary residence IMO as it is difficult to predict. Find someplace that you enjoy living, that's convenient to work, and that you can afford. That's usually difficult enough as it is, especially in the Bay Area.

If you work in the City and enjoy living there and have no kids, I would absolutely live there personally. But, You didn't mention where you work, which is important information.
TravelGeek
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by TravelGeek »

Squeaky wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:46 pm
madbrain wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:44 pm There is no place in the south bay that's within 40 min drive of SF.
My dad lives in San Carlos, it's about 40 min away, it's perfect!
It’s nice, I like the area from San Carlos to San Mateo.

But when I lived in the Bay Area, San Carlos wasn’t in the South Bay :twisted:
kirisch2
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by kirisch2 »

William Million wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:46 pm However, if you work in downtown SF, I'd recommend Harbor Bay (Bay Farm) in Alameda. Ideally, you could walk to the Harbor Bay ferry, then 20 min on the boat to the Embarcadero. Beautiful sunsets over SF. Easy access to Oakland Airport.
Ferry is where it's at. Punctual, comfortable, everyone (crew and passengers) is so nice and chill, and I can take my bike.
Alameda (with its 3 terminals) used to be a "hidden secret", but no more...but it still only costs half of good areas on the Peninsula.
As long as I have to commute to SF, no one can get me out of Alameda...
quadog
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by quadog »

Looking around San Carlos a couple months ago, there was a new condo development opening just off the main drag that might qualify for you. The main street is above average with good restaurants and shops. Not too far from Caltrain. On a weekend it’s probably ~40m to the city by car. (Obviously referring to non-pandemic times. Right now you could probably make it in <30m).
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lindsayinsf
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by lindsayinsf »

What is your price point? Search by your price range and see what areas have the most results. Then spend a few days going to visit various areas to get a feel for the neighborhoods. Also, be sure to compare new listing prices to recently sold prices. Housing in the East Bay is notoriously listed at 80% below expected sales price. San Francisco seems to be listed within $100k of the final sales price. I don't know about North/South/Peninsula.

I think regardless of location (Bay Area or not) condos don't appreciate as quickly as single family homes. Which is part of the reason they are more affordable to first time home buyers. They do still appreciate, however, especially in the Bay Area. I don't think appreciation should be your primary goal if you're not able to afford a single family home? It is also a very competitive market here. It's not uncommon for buyers to make offers on 10 to 20+ places before they are successful. Your criteria might change once you go through the process.

Do you mean "40 min drive" under ideal conditions, or 40 min total commute time door to door? Have you ever commuted from the Peninsula/South Bay to SF for work?
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ray.james
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by ray.james »

There are old town home developments with plenty of land and greenbelts(60s to 80s). They do not pack up like legos unlike new developments. These are the best bet in what I have found on the peninsula/expensive central locations. The new ones are more expensive but no ventilation, less parking and way more crowded. With old town homes/PUD developments you will get same size home (2 story) with better ventilation, greenbelts, parking, less crowding, better commute and true land value. The cons are small yard and more maintenance.

Schools matter a lot in the bay area. They work for better schooling for kids and home price protection relative to other school areas.
Last edited by ray.james on Mon Apr 27, 2020 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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leftcoaster
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by leftcoaster »

OP needs to clarify requirements. A condo in SF is a totally different lifestyle than a SFH in Dublin.

40 minutes to SF is going to depend on where and how. Yeah Caltrain gets to SF quickly but then you’ve got to travel in the city. Same with ferry. BART has more stops, but how soon will you ride it given coronavirus transmission risk?

For a couple with no kids, look at Albany. Good schools protect property value and yet houses are modestly sized so you aren’t paying for square footage that families need. It’s adjacent Berkeley but is much better run: their streets are maintained, they have a nice new pool, and they drove their homeless encampments out and into Berkeley. Easy access to the same amenities and in particular Solano Avenue.

Why not Marin?
Bill McNeal
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Bill McNeal »

Another vote for East Bay. Bay Farm in Alameda is nice, but it has noise problems from nearby Oakland airport. If schools are important, check out Piedmont, which is a separate city within the hills of Oakland. Walnut Creek area cities are also nice but further away and climate is less temperate.
lostcoast
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by lostcoast »

I lived for 43 years in San Carlos until I sold in 2016 and retired to a 5 acre site with a home 50% bigger than our 2 bdrm/1 bath home. Selling price in 2016 was 30 times what we paid for it and it is now worth 35 times. I loved the town and the surrounding area but I would never ever live with that traffic ever again. It got soooo bad over those years compared to before. Where I live now there is no traffic at all and I can get to the city in 1.5 hours along the coast. So I do think buying on the peninsula one would be rewarded in price appreciation but not in quality of life. Too much worry with the price and frantic pace.
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Starfish »

visualguy wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:40 pm
bawaso wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:06 pm Thank you.

I’ve looked at property history for condos in last 5 years, and it just doesn’t seem like condos are appreciating anywhere close to how much townhomes or single families are - hence my confusion on condos.

Santa Clara or Sunnyvale area to sf is a 45 min drive which isn’t great but ok if the place is great.

How are the Dublin / Pleasanton / Hayward / Newark areas for price appreciation?

Any other neighborhoods or pockets that have positive factors going for them and are relatively cheaper right now ?
In what locations did you see this much lower appreciation of condos?

Santa Clara and Sunnyvale aren't really a 45-min drive from SF unless you're speeding like crazy in the middle of the night. Probably not even in that case. During the working day, you are in commute hell.

East Bay towns with good school districts are fine for price appreciation, but the drive to/from SF is hell. Some take BART, but that has its issues as well.
I lived for 5 years in SF and commuted to Santa Clara. After 11pm it took precisely 45 minutes parking lot to parking lot.
I use to come in late and leave late so it was bearable.
I would not consider doing this commute at regular peak hours.
Starfish
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Starfish »

cchrissyy wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:17 pm
visualguy wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:33 pm No one ever won a long-term bet against Bay Area real estate appreciation :wink:

fair!
but still, other decent investments exist. a person can rent housing and get their long run gains from VTSAX/VTI
With 5X leverage while saving rent?
With nowadays interest rates and prop 13 you don't need even much (real) appreciation, just a bit of inflation.
mervinj7
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by mervinj7 »

Starfish wrote: Sun Apr 26, 2020 3:26 pm
cchrissyy wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:17 pm
visualguy wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:33 pm No one ever won a long-term bet against Bay Area real estate appreciation :wink:

fair!
but still, other decent investments exist. a person can rent housing and get their long run gains from VTSAX/VTI
With 5X leverage while saving rent?
With nowadays interest rates and prop 13 you don't need even much (real) appreciation, just a bit of inflation.
Anybody have a Google sheets calculator to quantify this? Ideally, it would take in to account Prop 13, house appreciation, rental inflation, total stock return, etc
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bawaso
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by bawaso »

I should clarify, the goal here isn't to determine whether SF can be reached in 40 minutes from X place, so maybe we will leave the commute accuracy out of the mix.

The questions again are:
1. Condo or Townhouse - In the Bay Area, I have barely seen much price appreciation on condos, but definitely seen more on townhouses. Limiting to townhouses, limits to a very small amount of inventory. Opening up to Condos, opens up many more options but don't want to deal with poor price appreciation (if it really is the case)

2. Given there is some flexibility in dealing with the commute (I leave either early in the morning or after 9 AM or late in the evening or before 4 PM), what would be a comparatively hot and upcoming neighborhood from SF, in SF and all the way to San Jose?

3. In East Bay also, would be hot and upcoming neighborhoods?

Budget is 1M (min) - 1.4 (max), but also depends on other factors such as HOA fees, any other taxes besides property tax, etc.
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ray.james
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by ray.james »

bawaso wrote: Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:06 pm Budget is 1M (min) - 1.4 (max), but also depends on other factors such as HOA fees, any other taxes besides property tax, etc.
HOA fees are interesting because some are true value additions and some are not.
- Some HOA cover all insurance - Internal + external. That is ~100 bucks in true value.
- Some cover patio, roofs, etc and have the reserved to do such a thing!- worth it.
- Some cover internet/TV packages - may not be of value personally. (Same with pools/tennis courts.)
- Take their reserves and divide by number of units to get how much rainy day fund it really has.
- Take a look at how much of the monthly dues go back to reserves VS regular operational costs.
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dziuniek
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by dziuniek »

Starfish wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:11 pm The place where you work is the most important consideration, not what you do in the weekend.
That would be a personal decision.
Balance
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Balance »

I'm both an appraiser and Realtor in the Bay Area.

My wife and I sold our house in Redwood Shores (between Foster City and San Carlos) 5 years ago and moved to Dublin to raise our kids. We haven't regretted it at all. Dublin has it all in terms of housing (big/small, new/old, SFR/TH/Condo), has restaurants, shopping and two Bart stations. It gets warm in the summer and has been this week. It has been great during this shelter in place since there are so many walking trails and space to move compared to when we were on the Peninsula and where I grew up in San Francisco previous to that. We have excellent schools (good for resale even if you don't have kids) and very low rates for violent crime. The downfall is there is hardly any nightlife as this is suburbia and will need to drive to the city if you like to party til the wee hours.
madbrain
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by madbrain »

Squeaky wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:46 pm My dad lives in San Carlos, it's about 40 min away, it's perfect!
Sure, but it's not in the South bay.
DonIce
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by DonIce »

bawaso wrote: Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:06 pm I should clarify, the goal here isn't to determine whether SF can be reached in 40 minutes from X place, so maybe we will leave the commute accuracy out of the mix.

The questions again are:
1. Condo or Townhouse - In the Bay Area, I have barely seen much price appreciation on condos, but definitely seen more on townhouses. Limiting to townhouses, limits to a very small amount of inventory. Opening up to Condos, opens up many more options but don't want to deal with poor price appreciation (if it really is the case)

2. Given there is some flexibility in dealing with the commute (I leave either early in the morning or after 9 AM or late in the evening or before 4 PM), what would be a comparatively hot and upcoming neighborhood from SF, in SF and all the way to San Jose?

3. In East Bay also, would be hot and upcoming neighborhoods?

Budget is 1M (min) - 1.4 (max), but also depends on other factors such as HOA fees, any other taxes besides property tax, etc.
Condos do seem to appreciate less, especially in VHCOL areas, compared to SFH. My personal theory on this is because of the HOA fees. HOA fees perpetually go up at very high year-over-year rates, and much of the increased buying power that comes with the passage of time and growth in incomes that allows SFH to increase in price, instead goes to HOA fees when it comes to condos. HOA fees in good buildings in desirable areas of Seattle are over $1k/month now in HOA fees, and still rising rapidly, far more rapidly than rents or home prices, which have plateaued for almost 2 years now.

That said, if you buy a condo, you are spending quite a bit less, and you can put the difference in the stock market and make up all or part of the missing appreciation if you get the historical return.

Also, never underestimate the value of your time and the quality of life. If being close to the city is important to you, and you don't mind living in a condo, forget about the price appreciation differences and buy yourself the lifestyle that you want.
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Noobvestor
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Noobvestor »

bawaso wrote: Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:06 pm I should clarify, the goal here isn't to determine whether SF can be reached in 40 minutes from X place, so maybe we will leave the commute accuracy out of the mix.

The questions again are:
1. Condo or Townhouse - In the Bay Area, I have barely seen much price appreciation on condos, but definitely seen more on townhouses. Limiting to townhouses, limits to a very small amount of inventory. Opening up to Condos, opens up many more options but don't want to deal with poor price appreciation (if it really is the case)

2. Given there is some flexibility in dealing with the commute (I leave either early in the morning or after 9 AM or late in the evening or before 4 PM), what would be a comparatively hot and upcoming neighborhood from SF, in SF and all the way to San Jose?

3. In East Bay also, would be hot and upcoming neighborhoods?

Budget is 1M (min) - 1.4 (max), but also depends on other factors such as HOA fees, any other taxes besides property tax, etc.
The real estate market has inefficiencies, but in my experience they are typically at the individual home level, not the neighborhood level. So if you're looking for a sweet investment deal, you have to keep you finger on the pulse of individual properties with a wide net. If you're looking for somewhere nice to live, it's a different question entirely. Especially given the current crisis, I wouldn't begin to know what neighborhoods will or won't do well in the coming months, years, decades. I'm not a doom-and-gloomer, but this could shake things up in ways no one expects. Maybe places along public transit lines will become cheaper as people shift to cars, or maybe the opposite. I don't know. I would submit that you need to separate your desire for price appreciation from your desire to find somewhere optimal to live, especially given that over long periods (per studies done in Holland, etc...) real estate doesn't really appreciate substantially over long periods once taxes and upkeep are factored in.

Now more than ever, I think questions of 'condo' versus 'townhouse' versus 'house' are being cast into sharp relief. I've long loved living in condo buildings and not having to deal with home maintenance and yard upkeep, but in this period, I suddenly wish I had a yard. YMMV. As for price appreciation: I bought a condo a decade ago, and it's doubled in value. I don't live in it currently, but it seems to have done well financially. But I think you really need to figure out what this is to you - a place to live or an investment. Trying to make it both could result in it being neither.
"In the absence of clarity, diversification is the only logical strategy" -= Larry Swedroe
rage_phish
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by rage_phish »

I’m biased but there’s no other place in the world I’d rather live than Walnut Creek
Carefreeap
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Carefreeap »

bawaso wrote: Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:06 pm I should clarify, the goal here isn't to determine whether SF can be reached in 40 minutes from X place, so maybe we will leave the commute accuracy out of the mix.

The questions again are:
1. Condo or Townhouse - In the Bay Area, I have barely seen much price appreciation on condos, but definitely seen more on townhouses. Limiting to townhouses, limits to a very small amount of inventory. Opening up to Condos, opens up many more options but don't want to deal with poor price appreciation (if it really is the case)

2. Given there is some flexibility in dealing with the commute (I leave either early in the morning or after 9 AM or late in the evening or before 4 PM), what would be a comparatively hot and upcoming neighborhood from SF, in SF and all the way to San Jose?

3. In East Bay also, would be hot and upcoming neighborhoods?

Budget is 1M (min) - 1.4 (max), but also depends on other factors such as HOA fees, any other taxes besides property tax, etc.
You can still squeeze into a SFR in my town 94044 about 10 miles south of SF. House will be older (typically 1958) small (3/1 or 2 and about 1000 sq.ft). When we relocated and bought our first house here DH worked in Burlingame/San Mateo area and we figured I would work in the City. Since we were relocating from the Washington DC area we knew (back in 1990) we did not want to get stuck commuting over a bridge. One of the best decisions we made. Back in 1995 we had a chance to move to San Carlos which we thought long and hard about. But we found a house 4 doors up from our old house which was 2000 sq.ft., almost a 1/2 acre with a gorgeous ocean view. Never regretted our decision to stay.
Every day I can hike is a good day.
HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE »

rage_phish wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:11 am I’m biased but there’s no other place in the world I’d rather live than Walnut Creek
Lol. I guess those Lafayetters are missing out.
decapod10
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by decapod10 »

bawaso wrote: Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:06 pm I should clarify, the goal here isn't to determine whether SF can be reached in 40 minutes from X place, so maybe we will leave the commute accuracy out of the mix.

The questions again are:
1. Condo or Townhouse - In the Bay Area, I have barely seen much price appreciation on condos, but definitely seen more on townhouses. Limiting to townhouses, limits to a very small amount of inventory. Opening up to Condos, opens up many more options but don't want to deal with poor price appreciation (if it really is the case)

2. Given there is some flexibility in dealing with the commute (I leave either early in the morning or after 9 AM or late in the evening or before 4 PM), what would be a comparatively hot and upcoming neighborhood from SF, in SF and all the way to San Jose?

3. In East Bay also, would be hot and upcoming neighborhoods?

Budget is 1M (min) - 1.4 (max), but also depends on other factors such as HOA fees, any other taxes besides property tax, etc.
If you like urban environments, I think the only place in the East Bay that is anywhere near comparable to SF would be Oakland. Any where East of the Caldecot is pretty quiet. Walnut Creek I suppose, but really not really that similar to SF. Orinda, Lafayette, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton, etc are all sort of sleepy places for the most part. If I had no kids, I like living in SF and I can afford living in SF, I would live in SF personally.

I don't know the South Bay as well
Noobvestor wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 2:29 am
I would submit that you need to separate your desire for price appreciation from your desire to find somewhere optimal to live, especially given that over long periods (per studies done in Holland, etc...) real estate doesn't really appreciate substantially over long periods once taxes and upkeep are factored in.

But I think you really need to figure out what this is to you - a place to live or an investment. Trying to make it both could result in it being neither.
I totally agree with this. It's hard enough to find someplace that you 1)like to live 2) can afford 3) reasonable distance to work, especially in the Bay Area. Then you start throwing in "possible price appreciation", it's just too hard. Places that are thought to be "likely to go up in price" will probably have already gone up in price. It's part of the reason why buy/rent ratios are so high in the Bay Area.
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JaneyLH
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by JaneyLH »

I lived in the Bay Area for most of my life. From my $54k starter home in Saratoga to the City to Pacifica to Emerald Hills to Redwood Shores. Pacifica was my favorite location, from easy commute to 1-block walk to the beach to crazy affordability and access to the outdoors. Redwood Shores was my second favorite. My most favorite though was getting out of this crowded metropolitan area to another west coast location with no state income tax, low property tax, reasonable distance to international airport, and major market concerts, theater, etc. a 40-minute drive away. It’s a beautiful place with no traffic problems.
Starfish
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Starfish »

rage_phish wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:11 am I’m biased but there’s no other place in the world I’d rather live than Walnut Creek

In the world? No less?
Nana-B
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Nana-B »

Perhaps this is not a concern to you, but for myself being very weather reactive, I did not like the heat of the East Bay in the summer. Every time we went into the city and felt the temperature drop on the other side of the Caldecott Tunnel I would think "why aren't we living in San Francisco?!!??" :)

My husband made that commute for 3 years. It was not fun.
Carefreeap
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by Carefreeap »

JaneyLH wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:56 pm I lived in the Bay Area for most of my life. From my $54k starter home in Saratoga to the City to Pacifica to Emerald Hills to Redwood Shores. Pacifica was my favorite location, from easy commute to 1-block walk to the beach to crazy affordability and access to the outdoors. Redwood Shores was my second favorite. My most favorite though was getting out of this crowded metropolitan area to another west coast location with no state income tax, low property tax, reasonable distance to international airport, and major market concerts, theater, etc. a 40-minute drive away. It’s a beautiful place with no traffic problems.
One of the fascinating facts I recently learned about Pacifica is that its population at incorporation (1957) was 35k. Today we are at just under 40k. We're barely grown at all and unless we go through a radical rezoning (unlikely) it's doubtful we will increase much more. There are only a couple of large parcels left and they are so steep and with very restrictive zoning it's unlikely they will be substantially developed either. The reputation of the town has also changed from when we first moved here. Everyone would comment about how foggy it was to today's "It's really pretty over there". Yes it's both. 8-)
Every day I can hike is a good day.
kir_royale
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Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

Post by kir_royale »

Do you want to commute into the City? I commute into the City from the East Bay and do it because I have kids. I would live in SF if I didn't have kids. Alameda, Pleasanton, San Carlos, Dublin et al. are where people go for the schools and have some flat yard space. Some of those areas are safer than others and you could have little to no property crime and quiet, but you'd live in suburbia. The people I know who live in the City with no kids live north of 280 and east of 19th. Glen Park/Excelsior/Portola are popular and glancing at Redfin, a lot of nice properties at $1.5 million, which might take haircuts with the downturn.
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