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Old 08-19-2012, 03:47 PM   #1
jipstyle
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Default Moving to Bay area in 2 weeks!

I'm moving south from Vancouver to the Bay area to start a new job in September. I've got two weeks (!!) to find a place to stay .. hopefully a short-term lease .. so I'm up against a bit of a wall. I'm hoping you guys can help.

The details:

* I'm working in SF, at an office located near Embarcadero and Market.
* I'll be commuting to work via BART
* I've got a soft cap of about $2k/mnth for rent
* I'm bringing my wife and her 2 cats; they aren't working
* My wife is tiny and grew up in rural eastern Canada. Please help us stay away from high-crime areas. She prefers to walk to and from groceries. Given the option, she'd shop daily at the Berkeley Bowl.
* Secure parking for my STI is a must.

I'll also need info on best / worst places to buy gas, tuners, etc. .. but I can sort that out once I arrive. I find this kind of thing is best discussed over a few beers at the pub, yeah?

Helpful posts earn beers.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:04 PM   #2
OneManArmy
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That's a HUGE area if you're looking to commute on BART.

If it's just the two of you are you looking for an apartment, house or condo? That will determine where you can look.

A house for $2k that has say... 3 bedrooms. WAY fewer places are nice at that price.

A townhouse or a house with say... 1/2 bedrooms... Quite a few more.

An apartment/studio with 1/2 bedroom... pretty wide open.

Want to be near water?

As for tuners. When you narrow down your places I'd be happy to meet up with you over some beers and give you a run down of every tuner in the area to go to and to avoid including which ones are closest and which ones are better at certain things.

If I were you I would look at a map of the bart lines. Then pick some key cities on the line and just do some random searches.



I'll make a few assumptions and make a recommendation...


2 adults
2 cats (small yard)
1 car that must be in a garage
Safe
Nice
Central
Commute under an hour
$2k


Pleasanton>
For about $1900-2200 you can find a pretty nice house or townhouse to rent. It's safe. It's nice. If you live close to old town you can have TONS to do within walking distance and BART is 10 minutes away along with a huge amount of chain stores.

example
http://www.trulia.com/rental/3015633...anton-CA-94566


If you were to go to say livermore close to the new down town it's not as nice as pleasanton and you have to drive farther to bart but you can get a nicer pad.


Fremont>
It's the end of another line. It's suburb central. Not a bad choice.
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:11 PM   #3
jipstyle
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneManArmy View Post
That's a HUGE area if you're looking to commute on BART.
Yeah .. I'm really impressed by the extent of the rail system in the Bay area.

I'd like to keep the train part of the commute under 30 minutes, if that helps. Under 15 would be awesome.

Quote:
If it's just the two of you are you looking for an apartment, house or condo? That will determine where you can look.
2 people and 2 cats. We're hoping to find a 1 or 2 bedroom in the 650+ sqft range.

Quote:
Want to be near water?
I'd call that a plus but not a necessity. More important is walking distance to grocery shopping ... my wife doesn't drive (yet).

Quote:
As for tuners. When you narrow down your places I'd be happy to meet up with you over some beers and give you a run down of every tuner in the area to go to and to avoid including which ones are closest and which ones are better at certain things.
That'll be fantastic .. thanks!

Quote:
If I were you I would look at a map of the bart lines. Then pick some key cities on the line and just do some random searches.
That is my plan. We're looking at Berkeley, Emeryville, and the area of Oakland around Lake Merritt.

The name 'Oakland' is a bit scary ... we're both used to urban life, but I suspect that a rough neighbourhood in Canada would make most urban Americans laugh.

Quote:
I'll make a few assumptions and make a recommendation...

2 adults
2 cats (small yard)
1 car that must be in a garage
Safe
Nice
Central
Commute under an hour
$2k


Pleasanton>
For about $1900-2200 you can find a pretty nice house or townhouse to rent. It's safe. It's nice. If you live close to old town you can have TONS to do within walking distance and BART is 10 minutes away along with a huge amount of chain stores.

example
http://www.trulia.com/rental/3015633...anton-CA-94566


If you were to go to say livermore close to the new down town it's not as nice as pleasanton and you have to drive farther to bart but you can get a nicer pad.


Fremont>
It's the end of another line. It's suburb central. Not a bad choice.
Thank you!
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:23 PM   #4
JGard
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I was told you have to be indian to live in Fremont, though
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:11 PM   #5
jipstyle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGard View Post
I was told you have to be indian to live in Fremont, though
I'm 1/4 native but don't have my status card 'cause I didn't grow up poor.

Oh .. wait .. dot or feathers?
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Old 08-21-2012, 01:07 AM   #6
DabiDa
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I would have to agree with onemanarmy Pleasanton is a great place not to crowded and very nice.You have shopping if you drive north or if you want ot head south to san jose its close aswell. Oakland,emry/berk area are pretty crowded hate driving around and to find parking is just
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Old 08-21-2012, 01:51 PM   #7
JGard
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jipstyle View Post
I'm 1/4 native but don't have my status card 'cause I didn't grow up poor.

Oh .. wait .. dot or feathers?
dots!
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Old 08-21-2012, 04:06 PM   #8
frost0fractal
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Default

I love how nobody recommends North Bay because there aren't any trains that run up here, lol.
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:44 PM   #9
jipstyle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGard View Post
dots!
Ha! Nope, I've got the feathers.

Anyway, it turns out that my visa won't go through until mid-Sept .. so I won't be moving down until October. I'm pretty happy about that, actually ... I don't like being rushed.

I'll be coming down mid-Sept for a week of on-site orientation, so I'll have some time to dedicate to exploring neighbourhoods (sorry .. neighborhoods ... gotta learn to leave out the u) and looking at apts.

Thanks for the help, fellas ... and onemanarmy ... I owe you beers.
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:37 AM   #10
12ImprezaSL
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Try looking at Hillsdale Garden Apartments is San Mateo.
It's on the Peninsula so it doesn't get too hot.
It's next to a mall and walking distance to Caltrain.

http://www.essexapartmenthomes.com/a...a-4d02h0110473
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Old 08-23-2012, 02:40 PM   #11
jipstyle
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Hrm. I appreciate the help, 12ImprezaSL, but given the reviews (http://www.apartmentratings.com/rate...e-Gardens.html) ... I think I'll pass on that complex.
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:21 AM   #12
12ImprezaSL
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Ah, OK. I didn't know about that site. Good to know. I was looking into moving there. Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:15 AM   #13
jipstyle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ImprezaSL View Post
Ah, OK. I didn't know about that site. Good to know. I was looking into moving there. Thanks for the info.
Happy to help.

I throw the name of the complex and the town + review into google and check the review sites ... it seems to help. Just bear in mind that there are always disgruntled people, so I've never seen a building get as high as 4 out of 5 stars. Heck, I've seen people give one star because the leasing agent was rude and they didn't get the apt.

Still, some of the sites have quite a few (50+) reviews, so that gives you a decent picture of life in that building.

Quote:
lake merritt is a nice area for what it is, just be aware that it's still downtown and while it's not particularly unsafe, you'll see a bit of bull**** from time to time. Alameda is another option, super safe pleasantville like island. you'd have to drive to bart, but it's only about 5min away.
Awesome .. thanks!
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:54 AM   #14
jeighty3
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lake merritt is a nice area for what it is, just be aware that it's still downtown and while it's not particularly unsafe, you'll see a bit of bull**** from time to time. Alameda is another option, super safe pleasantville like island. you'd have to drive to bart, but it's only about 5min away.
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:58 PM   #15
SkyeC
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The garage part is something that's a bit of a pain, especially if you mean a single car garage, not a large garage you share with an entire building. Not too many townhouse sort of places you can afford comfortably unless you live somewhere like Pleasanton or Dublin. Those cities are fairly nice and quiet, though.

There are some cool lofts in Emeryville, West Oakland, and Berkeley that might have garage space, but the rent tends to be closer to $2500.

I'd personally stick to the East Bay for commuting, just because I like BART a lot more than CalTrain.
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Old 08-25-2012, 01:12 AM   #16
OneManArmy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyeC View Post
The garage part is something that's a bit of a pain, especially if you mean a single car garage, not a large garage you share with an entire building. Not too many townhouse sort of places you can afford comfortably unless you live somewhere like Pleasanton or Dublin. Those cities are fairly nice and quiet, though.

There are some cool lofts in Emeryville, West Oakland, and Berkeley that might have garage space, but the rent tends to be closer to $2500.

I'd personally stick to the East Bay for commuting, just because I like BART a lot more than CalTrain.
Word. I commuted for nearly 8 years from different parts of... well, everywhere to S.F.

I commuted on the Dublin line coming out of castro valley and hayward. The fremont line coming out of fremont, newark and union city. I drove and barted from san jose and milpitas. And I took a combination of driving/caltrain driving/bart out of Watsonville.

Caltrain is more comfortable and it's fine if you're coming from BFE. But I wouldn't want to do it on the regular if I didn't have to. 30-45 minutes on BART is a snap. I used to just take a nap. Your body learns it's stops. Usually. LOL. It's old. It's out dated. But it works.

I personally hate anything close to Oakland. 1... I just hate it. 2. I HATE driving on 880. So Hayward/Oakland, etc. No friggin way.

Fremont is cool. It's closer to San Jose. It's kind of a hub of freeways so you have options for driving around. There are plenty of areas that are close to shopping and what not to live by/walk to. It's not super "hip" like some other options but it's alright. I liked living there.
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Old 08-25-2012, 01:13 AM   #17
jipstyle
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Oh, sorry .. I'm cool with a shared garage space. Obviously, my own garage where I can work on my car would be fantastic but that is probably asking a bit much given my budget.

Side note: are there places in the bay area where you can rent a bay in a garage for a day? When I was in the Forces back in Halifax, we had a garage that service personnel could rent ... tools and a lift included. I haven't found anything like that here in Vancouver, so I'm not going to bank on it, but it'd be great if that kind of thing was available.

Anyone know?
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Old 08-25-2012, 01:16 AM   #18
SkyeC
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880 does suck. I avoid it at all costs. I'm house shopping right now and it HAS to be on the 580/680 side of things. So much more mellow and free of semi-trucks.

Welcome to the Bay Area, where it's almost always cheaper to rent than to buy unless you have $100k to drop as a down payment.
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Old 08-25-2012, 01:25 AM   #19
jipstyle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyeC View Post
Welcome to the Bay Area, where it's almost always cheaper to rent than to buy unless you have $100k to drop as a down payment.
Hilariously, the housing costs are lower in the Bay Area than Vancouver. A single-family home averages over 900k here .. though the market in finally starting to slide and we're going to be having a US-style 'correction' in the next year. Rent is cheaper here, though, but salaries are ridiculously low in comparioson.

Maybe I'll move back in 5 years when I can afford a home.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:00 PM   #20
geronimo81
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Oh man, I'm in the same boat except I have 2 kids, not 2 cats. I'm moving up from Fresno to start Chiropractic College in October. Fremont is probably where we will land since my school is in Hayward. I've also looked in Pleasanton/Dublin and they are super nice but a little more expensive.

There are a few gems out there that come in under 2k and have a garage, 3 bedrooms, but they go very quickly. Nobody will want to deal with you long distance. I tried for 2 months before we moved down from Montana and we had to move in with the in-laws temporarily. The market is very competitive so if you have any marks against you (income too low, credit score, pets) it can get your application sent to the bottom of the stack. Almost everybody deals with a property management company so there's a third party that won't advocate for anybody. They just take your application fee and send the applications to the owner who then picks who they want.

I've been up there every weekend for the last 6 weeks looking and haven't found anything yet. Nobody wants to rent to me because my only income is student loans right now (can't get a job til I move). Maybe it will be easier for you since you will have an income right away.

If you want me to look at something I may be able to do it for you since I'm up there on the weekends anyway but my #1 priority will be finding a place for us right now.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:43 PM   #21
jipstyle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geronimo81 View Post
Oh man, I'm in the same boat except I have 2 kids, not 2 cats. I'm moving up from Fresno to start Chiropractic College in October. Fremont is probably where we will land since my school is in Hayward. I've also looked in Pleasanton/Dublin and they are super nice but a little more expensive.
Good luck with the move!

Quote:
There are a few gems out there that come in under 2k and have a garage, 3 bedrooms, but they go very quickly. Nobody will want to deal with you long distance.
That's mostly true. I find that the very high-end places ($3k/mnth for a 1bdrm) are happy to talk to me .. probably because they get a lot of Canadians coming down to work in IT. As soon as I mention that I'm moving down to work in IT, have an offer in hand, etc., these places are willing to talk.

The thing is .. I'm not willing to put 30% of my salary into my rent. I know that the rule of thumb is 30% but damn ... that is a lot of money that I could instead put into my STI!

Quote:
I tried for 2 months before we moved down from Montana and we had to move in with the in-laws temporarily.
Yeah ... we are looking at getting an expensive but short-term lease initially .. 3 months or so ... in order to learn the city and the various neighbourhoods before signing on to a year long lease. It costs more but we really want to avoid getting stuck in a ****hole or having to navigate through dealers and addicts and whores to get to our home.

Thankfully, I'll be flying down for a week mid-Sept for orientation ... my wife is going to come with and do some apt hunting. That should make things a bit easier.

Quote:
The market is very competitive so if you have any marks against you (income too low, credit score, pets) it can get your application sent to the bottom of the stack.
Yeah .. and we hit 2 out of 3 of those. I have fantastic credit .. in Canada. But most places are only interested in a US credit score and my SSN will be about 3 weeks old when I start applying.

Quote:
I've been up there every weekend for the last 6 weeks looking and haven't found anything yet. Nobody wants to rent to me because my only income is student loans right now (can't get a job til I move). Maybe it will be easier for you since you will have an income right away.
That is rough.

Have you considered offering to pay for several months at once? When I had student loans, they just dumped the entire year's loan on me at once. Perhaps if you show up with 6 months rent in hand, they'll be more apt to rent to you?

Quote:
If you want me to look at something I may be able to do it for you since I'm up there on the weekends anyway but my #1 priority will be finding a place for us right now.
I appreciate the offer ... that is very kind of you. I do have some friends in the area though .. it seems about 10% of my graduating class have all migrated to the Valley in the 7 years since I graduated.

Good luck finding a home for your family! When do you start school?
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:12 PM   #22
geronimo81
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jipstyle View Post
Good luck with the move!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jipstyle View Post
Thanks man

That's mostly true. I find that the very high-end places ($3k/mnth for a 1bdrm) are happy to talk to me .. probably because they get a lot of Canadians coming down to work in IT. As soon as I mention that I'm moving down to work in IT, have an offer in hand, etc., these places are willing to talk.
You have income/they see good renter

Quote:
Originally Posted by jipstyle View Post
The thing is .. I'm not willing to put 30% of my salary into my rent. I know that the rule of thumb is 30% but damn ... that is a lot of money that I could instead put into my STI!
I can't imagine spending that much on a 1 bedroom. I'd rather live poor until I can buy a house

Quote:
Originally Posted by jipstyle View Post
Yeah ... we are looking at getting an expensive but short-term lease initially .. 3 months or so ... in order to learn the city and the various neighbourhoods before signing on to a year long lease. It costs more but we really want to avoid getting stuck in a ****hole or having to navigate through dealers and addicts and whores to get to our home.
I've gotten pretty good at spotting a bad neighborhood. My wife is always asking me to check out places that are relatively cheap and I can tell they are cheap for a reason. No thanks, I don't want to be scared to go outside after dark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jipstyle View Post
Thankfully, I'll be flying down for a week mid-Sept for orientation ... my wife is going to come with and do some apt hunting. That should make things a bit easier.
That will definitely help. If your friends were able to do it I'm sure you can find a place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jipstyle View Post
Yeah .. and we hit 2 out of 3 of those. I have fantastic credit .. in Canada. But most places are only interested in a US credit score and my SSN will be about 3 weeks old when I start applying.
I never thought of that. Sounds like you know what's up though.




Quote:
Originally Posted by jipstyle View Post
That is rough.
Have you considered offering to pay for several months at once? When I had student loans, they just dumped the entire year's loan on me at once. Perhaps if you show up with 6 months rent in hand, they'll be more apt to rent to you?
Yes, I don't have my student loans yet but have about 20k in the bank I can use for the time being. I am contacting a guy today to make a 3 month in advance offer. I think they need somebody to move in right away which works in my favor.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jipstyle View Post
I appreciate the offer ... that is very kind of you. I do have some friends in the area though .. it seems about 10% of my graduating class have all migrated to the Valley in the 7 years since I graduated.

Good luck finding a home for your family! When do you start school?
No problem, If you're looking for upper end you should check out Menlo Park. It's on the peninsula and is pretty nice. I have friends there that work in the city and they love it.

I start full time in October. I'm taking accelerated rate courses on the weekends to finish up my prerequisites. I've already taken Physics and Organic Chemistry I and am half way done with O-chem II. Each course is 5 weeks long. I'll be glad when I can get started on stuff that I will actually be using when I'm a chiropractor.
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Old 08-25-2012, 01:23 AM   #23
jipstyle
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OneManArmy .. would you mind giving me a quick estimate of the times for those commutes you mentioned?

I've used google maps but it doesn't do a good job of taking traffic into consideration and, obviously, that is going to be a huge factor.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:44 PM   #24
jipstyle
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I just got back from a conference in San Fran .. spent the week pretending I know wtf I'm doing and apt hunting in my spare time.

I found a nice 1 bedroom that is right beside the Federal Building in downtown Oakland. It is a block away from a BART station, a 20 minute commute to work, and is a luxury building with all the fixings .. awesome. It costs over $2200 / mnth. Not so awesome.

I'm moving down next weekend ... driving the 101 as far as possible and arriving on Sunday. See ya'll at the next meet!

OneManArmy: i owe you beers.
geronimo81: have you found a home?
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:58 AM   #25
geronimo81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jipstyle View Post
geronimo81: have you found a home?
Yeah, I found a place in San Ramon. I got a ground floor apartment with an attached garage. We decided we would rather have a nicer 2-bedroom and pay less. It's pretty big at 1200 sq ft. San Ramon is super nice and oddly enough the people are friendly as well/not stuck up.

This is where I live:

http://www.essexapartmenthomes.com/a...a-000610139449
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