places to live near Stanford University

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aquamarine
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places to live near Stanford University

Post by aquamarine » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:41 pm

I might have a chance to move to California to work at a staff position at Stanford University. I was wondering if I wanted to buy a condo/townhouse, where is a fairly close place to live that is safe and I know this is hard but more reasonably affordable? What neighborhoods are unsafe? I know prices are really high in that in area. I would prefer to stay in the 500K-ish range or less but I'm not even sure that's possible. I've seen "mobile" homes on realtor.com --would you even consider this option? I'm thinking a small but safe condo/townhome would be ideal but what neighborhoods should I be looking at? If I would drive a further out, could I buy a home for that price range?

Suggestions? Any advice?

aquamarine
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by aquamarine » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:50 pm

As a comparison, my current home value is 250K. Is there anywhere I could live with that price range or is that completely unrealistic? What neighborhoods do you suggest?

bengt
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by bengt » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:54 pm

Safety is not really an issue, except maybe in East Palo Alto.
Mountain View is close by and 1-bedroom condo is about 500-550k.

Commuting is a nightmare in Bay Area but if daily commuting timing is flexible, San Jose is cheaper and ok option.

TravelGeek
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:00 pm

I think the days of East Palo Alto being the murder capital of the nation are long over.

http://www.ktvu.com/news/east-palo-alto ... ee-in-2017

I think parts of Redwood City (and East P.A.) are probably still the least expensive areas in the vicinity of Stanford.
aquamarine wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:50 pm
As a comparison, my current home value is 250K. Is there anywhere I could live with that price range or is that completely unrealistic? What neighborhoods do you suggest?
Sorry, completely unrealistic IMO (I lived on the Peninsula for 20 years until a few years ago).

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Watty
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by Watty » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:02 pm

With a big move like that rent for a year to make sure that the job is working out and that you really want to settle down there and to give you time to learn the areas and commutes.
Last edited by Watty on Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kevin M
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by Kevin M » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:03 pm

aquamarine wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:50 pm
As a comparison, my current home value is 250K. Is there anywhere I could live with that price range or is that completely unrealistic? What neighborhoods do you suggest?
You can do a quick Zillow or Redfin search to see for yourself, but I don't think you'll find anything in that price range anywhere really close to Stanford. For example, in the 94301 zip code, which is adjacent to Stanford, the least expensive condo I see is $1.475M. You can find something tiny in East Palo Alto in the $150K-$300K range, but you may not consider that a safe neighborhood. I see some condos in Mountain View and Sunnyvale in the $230K-$250K range.

Kevin
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bengt
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by bengt » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:36 pm

There are no condos below 500k near Mountain View or Sunnyvale. Maybe there have been some weird ads showing such (or same in-family transaction or murder place sale) but recent sales and Trulia current offerings show that below 500k you need to go to San Jose or Fremont.

aquamarine
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by aquamarine » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:47 pm

I've been doing some searching on realtor.com.

So I'm thinking of even looking at down town San Francisco. I found a 600 sq ft place for 350 K. I do not know the city. Are there some places in the city that are considered unsafe? What areas in downtown are "safe" vs "unsafe"? Even the 350K seemed suspiciously cheap for that area.

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celia
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by celia » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:51 pm

If you are eligible, consider on-campus faculty housing. I wouldn't mind living there and just ride my bike to work. The units I know about are for families and they are located next to graduate student housing. However, there aren't very many units and thus may be restricted to visiting faculty or some such.

GraduateStudent
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by GraduateStudent » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:56 pm

celia wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:51 pm
If you are eligible, consider on-campus faculty housing.
As an academic with lots of academic friends, I know tenure line faculty who have had to wait years to get faculty housing. Good luck as staff.
Life after grad school is great.

GraduateStudent
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by GraduateStudent » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:58 pm

I used to live in East Palo Alto. EPA got a bad rap in the 90's but its fine these days. Sure it's not as cushy as almost everywhere else, but my wife and I never felt unsafe living there.

Check out the little bit of EPA that is on the Stanford side of the 101. It's a pretty nice neighborhood and I've see 2BD/1BA units in the apartment complexes there go for the low 600's.
Life after grad school is great.

PFInterest
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by PFInterest » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:23 pm

Rent close by.
By staff do you mean tenure or what?

letsgobobby
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:27 pm

Is there a trailer park?

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kramer
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by kramer » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:33 pm

Palo Alto has basically refused to build multi-family housing for decades and had the nation's highest rents recently. All the surrounding cities have been gentrified with the tech boom.

San Francisco would be a very long daily commute... there is a Cal Train stop near Stanford Campus but just getting to and from the Cal Train stop on each end would be time consuming, in addition to the actual ride itself.

Essentially, housing is such a huge factor to living in the Bay Area (and particularly on the Peninsula where you would be working) that you should not accept this position until you understand it better.

Living on campus would be great if that were an option offered for your position.

TigerNest
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by TigerNest » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:09 am

aquamarine wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:47 pm
I've been doing some searching on realtor.com.

So I'm thinking of even looking at down town San Francisco. I found a 600 sq ft place for 350 K. I do not know the city. Are there some places in the city that are considered unsafe? What areas in downtown are "safe" vs "unsafe"? Even the 350K seemed suspiciously cheap for that area.
Was it this house: http://fortune.com/2015/09/25/san-franc ... pest-home/

Edit: haha it sold for $622,000 earlier this year.

TravelGeek
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:36 am

TigerNest wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:09 am

Was it this house: http://fortune.com/2015/09/25/san-franc ... pest-home/

Edit: haha it sold for $622,000 earlier this year.
I was thinking of that one as well ;)

And wow. $622k!?

bengt
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by bengt » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:13 am

OP need to realize that there are no 350k places in SF or 250k condos in Mt View. Cheapest 1-bedroom condo nearby (say, Mt. View) is north of 500k.

East Palo Alto is close and cheapest, and seems bit better nowadays (lots of gentrification i.e. regular Silicon Valley people moving in, though still some parts of it to be avoided).

Lot depends on how flexible schedule OP has, but if long and typical work hours, then commuting is a nightmare.

Within one hour of Stanford during commuting hours (other than East Palo Alto) there might barely be 1-bedroom around 400k.

Renting makes sense.

2m2037
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by 2m2037 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:30 am

If you end up buying a place for 500k near stanford, let me know and I'll have two of those please. :D

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eye.surgeon
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by eye.surgeon » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:38 am

Moving to Palo Alto is a recipe for poverty unless you're getting paid multiples of what you're earning elsewhere.
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NoGambleNoFuture
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by NoGambleNoFuture » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:56 am

aquamarine wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:47 pm
I've been doing some searching on realtor.com.

So I'm thinking of even looking at down town San Francisco. I found a 600 sq ft place for 350 K. I do not know the city. Are there some places in the city that are considered unsafe? What areas in downtown are "safe" vs "unsafe"? Even the 350K seemed suspiciously cheap for that area.
LOLLLLL following this thread for the laughs. OP for 600k you can get a 1br tent in the tenderloin. You won't want to walk outside from the hours of 12:01am to 11:59pm, though... (yes, there are terrible areas in the city - and you would never ever ever want that commute / unless you lived on the train line and even then...)

Another thing that's common in the bay are bidding wars. Look at listing vs selling price - often times selling is significantly higher. So you don't just go in offer full asking and congrats you get a house... you're prob 5th in line :/

denovo
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by denovo » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:51 am

aquamarine wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:41 pm
I might have a chance to move to California to work at a staff position at Stanford University. I was wondering if I wanted to buy a condo/townhouse, where is a fairly close place to live that is safe and I know this is hard but more reasonably affordable? What neighborhoods are unsafe? I know prices are really high in that in area. I would prefer to stay in the 500K-ish range or less but I'm not even sure that's possible. I've seen "mobile" homes on realtor.com --would you even consider this option? I'm thinking a small but safe condo/townhome would be ideal but what neighborhoods should I be looking at? If I would drive a further out, could I buy a home for that price range?

Suggestions? Any advice?

I would take a long and hard look at what your compensation is now vs. what they offering while considering cost of living. I probably wouldn't consider it unless your salary doubles.

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Watty
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by Watty » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:06 am

denovo wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:51 am
I would take a long and hard look at what your compensation is now vs. what they offering while considering cost of living. I probably wouldn't consider it unless your salary doubles.
Be sure to calculate your after tax income especially if you are coming from a state with low state income taxes any, bump in pay not be as large as it sounds.

With all the things that have been said about housing I would still keep an open mind about taking the position and renting if it could be a good stepping stone in your career so that you would be in a good position career wise to for your next job in a more affordable location. I worked in Silicon Valley for about six years right after college and it was great for my career even though I was glad to move when I did

niceguy7376
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by niceguy7376 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:23 am

bengt wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:13 am
OP need to realize that there are no 350k places in SF or 250k condos in Mt View. Cheapest 1-bedroom condo nearby (say, Mt. View) is north of 500k.

Within one hour of Stanford during commuting hours (other than East Palo Alto) there might barely be 1-bedroom around 400k.

Renting makes sense.
How would the Rents be for such units ?

Frisco Kid
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by Frisco Kid » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:44 am

OP, Palo Alto is currently one of the highest cost of living areas in the country. Surrounding areas also tend to be very expensive. You could consider living in the San Jose or Fremont areas but the commute will be brutal. Commuting INTO Palo Alto from anywhere in the area during normal work hours will be brutal. Is on campus housing an option? Retired Peninsula native I volunteer in Palo Alto a couple weekdays taking me 50 minutes minimum to drive 12 miles during the mid morning commute. Never better it can be much worse.......

MrDrinkingWater
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by MrDrinkingWater » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:11 am

OP: Please consider using your preferred "rent vs own" calculator (the NYTimes one might be best) to help you decide if owning will really be the right thing for you to do anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I saw that someone else suggested that your salary might likely need to be much larger than you think for you to live here at your current standard of living. I suggest that you might use one of those nifty salary comparison online calculators to double-check how your proposed Stanford salary's purchasing power compares to your current salary's purchasing power where you live now. Your salary may not be to be doubled to provide the same purchasing power. The results might help you fine-tune how much you can budget toward renting or buying shelter.

Good luck in finding a place to live.

Tallis
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by Tallis » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:25 am

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:27 pm
Is there a trailer park?
When I was a graduate student at Stanford in the 80s there was Manzanita Park, 20-year-old "temporary" mobile homes that were used as graduate student housing. It was so ugly it was airbrushed out of aerial photos of the campus. The three-bedroom Eichler house (really a barely heated shack on a concrete slab) that I rented with two fellow graduate students for $1000 a month is now listed on zillow.com for $2.6 million. Boggles the mind.

rebellovw
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by rebellovw » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:33 am

You have my condolences.

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Kevin M
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by Kevin M » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:54 am

NoGambleNoFuture wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:56 am
Another thing that's common in the bay are bidding wars. Look at listing vs selling price - often times selling is significantly higher. So you don't just go in offer full asking and congrats you get a house... you're prob 5th in line :/
Yeah, listing prices now are a joke around here. I recently offered $1.1M on a small house in San Jose near Campbell that was listed at $998K. There were 37 offers, and ours was on the low end. Offered $1.15M on a house listed at $899K, and was told that they had offers for more than $1.3M. It's a friggin feeding frenzy.

As a side note, this was to be a replacement property for a 1031 exchange. I've pretty much given up on finding a replacement property in this market, and am resigned to just paying my depreciation recapture and capital gains taxes.

Kevin
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cheapskate
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by cheapskate » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:12 pm

For a 1 BR condo <= 500K, you will need to look south of Santa Clara, likely San Jose. Driving on I-280 to PA will be terrible but you can take the Caltrain to PA and the Stanford shuttle into campus from the station. You will be bound by Caltrain schedules though (if Caltrain service experiences trouble, there is the backup option of express VTA buses down El Camino to SJ).

wstrdg
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by wstrdg » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:20 pm

Plus one for renting for at least a year. Despite being relatively small in acreage, the various neighborhoods of the Bay area are very distinct, and you need time to get a feel for what's what. The most frugal option is shared housing -- lots of adults (even entire families) share housing here. Check out Craigslist. Maybe Stanford has a roommate bulletin board.

Cheapest options for buying or renting are going to be in the East Bay (apartments in Dublin/Pleasanton), but you are looking at a one hour+ car commute each way. Public transportation is pretty poor from that area to Stanford. It is possible to take BART to Fremont and grab a bus across the Dumbarton Bridge to Stanford, but that's two hours each way, and not particularly cheap. Also, if you work late, you're screwed. Check out 511.org for routes.

There are some mobile home parks in Mountain View but the lot rent is sizeable, on top of the purchase price. And you never know when the owner of the underlying land may decide to sell out.

Be aware that the Bay area's various transportation systems are not seamless. Your best bet is to try to stay on just one; avoid connections. Each county has its own bus system; Caltrain runs from SF to San Jose; BART doesn't service the south bay; etc. Again, 511.org can give you a better idea if you are thinking of public transportation. Don't get me wrong -- public transport is great, but it doesn't reach all suburban areas, and it's terrible at linking the East Bay to Silicon Valley.

If you can swing a reasonable rental with a decent roommate, this could be a great adventure. Treat it as such.

NancyABQ
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by NancyABQ » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:49 pm

I used to own a 1750 sq ft townhouse in Mountain View. Easy commute to Stanford (no highway). It also happens to be down the street from Google (which didn't exist when I bought it).

I bought it in 1995 for $290K
I sold it in 2003 for $550K
Zillow says it would go for ~$1.5million today.

Salaries have not tripled since 2003. At the time I lived there I was easily able to afford it on one engineer's salary. How much salary would be required to afford that house today?

Seriously, look closely at housing costs before accepting that job!

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jabberwockOG
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by jabberwockOG » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:26 pm

Suggest you rent to see if the job works out and if you can stand living in an area with that level of horrendously high traffic and "too many rats in a cage" population density. If you do like that environment then certainly it would be a good idea to wait until the next downward business cycle that will also produce a related housing crash in the area due to silly prices and so many people living in underwater mortgage homes they can barely afford.
Last edited by jabberwockOG on Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

cheapskate
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by cheapskate » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:07 am

Heed the excellent advice here that you should rent for a while. Even renting, you will likely have to look further south (and take Caltrain).

I would highly recommend the move (even if it is just for a couple of years, as long as you can move back in case you don't like it here). It will be a good experience to work in the midst of all the action and vibrant environment. Sure, there are plenty of problems (sky high prices of everything, horrendous traffic, simple things like getting doctor appointments/hiring handymen being hard etc), but there are pluses to living here and experiencing how things are - even if it is for a couple of years.

random_walker_77
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by random_walker_77 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:19 am

jabberwockOG wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:26 pm
Suggest you rent to see if the job works out and if you can stand living in an area with that level of horrendously high traffic and "too many rats in a cage" population density. If you do like that environment then certainly it would be a good idea to wait until the next downward business cycle that will also produce a related housing crash in the area due to silly prices and so people living in underwater mortgage homes they can barely afford.
+1. If the career opportunity is great, rent first. It's going to be very pricy.

In the bay area, the operating definition of a "reasonable commute" is highly stretched. And it can be ok if you're working early or skewed hours. For $500K, your dollars stretch much further if you're ok w/ the slums of East San Jose. It's not the best neighborhood, but is pretty good compared to parts of Chicago, St Louis, or Detroit. 40min to Stanford when there's no traffic. You've got access to 680/280, which tends to be more reliable, but 101 or 237 are also options if the other routes are particularly bad that day. If you commute in early (by silicon valley standards), Google maps reports 45-85min typical commutes (leave at 6:45am) to get in by 8am. 50-110min if trying to get in by 9am. The commute back would be similarly bad if you're leaving during regular hours, but if you hang around Stanford and leave sometime after 7pm, then it's back down around 45min again. Downright easy compared to some of the 2-2.5hr commutes that people endure. Folks do regularly commute between San Jose and San Francisco after all.

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CaliJim
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by CaliJim » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:27 am

You might look into shared housing, rent a room in a house or apartment.

IMHO: better to rent close to campus than own something far away and have an insufferable commute.

The resources available around the campus area are fantastic, there is lots to do there when you are not working. You don't want to burn 2 hours a day in a car/train/bus. Keep your commute short if you can.

Redwood City, Sunnyvale, and maybe Santa Clara are good towns to search in. San Jose starts to get you into longer commutes.

Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Atherton are thru the roof.

Maybe even keep your current place and rent it out, if that makes economic sense, so you have that 'feeling of having a home', even if it is far away.
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aquamarine
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Re: places to live near Stanford University

Post by aquamarine » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:51 pm

Thanks everybody.

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