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nejarb

Shiny_Rock
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Aug 3, 2006
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Okay, I know it''s expensive to live in northern cal, but how bad is it? And what are those additional expenses? Obviously housing is more $, and then the only other things I can think of are taxes (property and income) and energy costs.

I''m just trying to figure out how far a certain amt of income would go in palo alto v. houston. We live in houston, and my guy is looking for jobs elsewhere. One of the firms he''s interested in is in palo alto, and we''re thinking that most people our age, about to start a family in next 5 years, would leave cal and go someplace more reasonable. But obviously if the salary is high enough then we can still maintain our current/expected standard of living where ever we go. We just ened to figure out how high the salary needs to be in a place like nor cal.

I only looked on housingmaps.com, but saw enough there to get a good idea of real estate market in area. why would anyone BUY a house there right now? the prices must be inflated b/c renting is SO MUCH more reasonable. I mean, I wouldn''t buy a 1MM house as an investment if I could only rent it out for 2,500 a month. After expenses, that''s only like a 2% return! So if I had to live in an area w/ a real estate market like that, I''d happily pay my 2,500/mo rent and if I felt as though I needed to own real estate somewhere, I''d buy 3-4 places in kansas city or someplace, and get a healthy income stream (with which I could pay my 2,500 rent) or build equity (if I had to finance the purchases), AND have a realistic hope of some reasonable appreciation!

so, with insane real estate ownership costs out of the picture, and assuming we drive fuel efficient cars, the only significant consideration is state income tax (which we don''t have in tx), right? taking into account trader joe''s, it''s almost a wash! just kidding.

Am I missing something? Is shampoo more expensive there?
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
31,003
nejarb, *everything* is more expensive here. palo alto is actually a pricey place to live...if he works in PA you guys can easily live in a 'cheaper' area that doesn't have such a prestigious name attached to it, but also has lower rent!! there are some cities that border PA that are cheaper, even gas is cheaper elsewhere which is pretty funny. the bayarea is made up of all these towns where things kind of wax and wane based on the prestige of the town...you can drive 5 miles into another area and it's maybe 2/3 the rent and gas is like 40 cents cheaper or whatever.

i am born and raised northern california and honestly it's not all it's cracked up to be in the long-term. don't get me wrong, i adore it here, because it's all i have ever known. but it's so expensive to live here especially if you want to buy and have kids in the future. for just 2 people, sure it'd be fun to move here and live hand to mouth for a few years...living in california, renting a cool place, living the good life, visiting wineries, skiing in tahoe, whatever. but honestly long-term lots of people do consider leaving here and going elsewhere if you aren't born and raised here. we are even considering it and i was! but for every person who considers leaving or does leave, there are always 1-2 more who won't ever leave, or those who come in as transplants to take their places etc. this place is pretty transitional...and you get a ton of transplants from other areas. but honestly the weather here has been suckier and suckier in the last 5-10 years....nothing like what it used to be. sometimes we wonder why people DO come here...if it's for the tech industry then yes there's probably no better place to be...but there are lots of other super interesting areas besides california.

in any case...i would weigh it pretty carefully in terms of coming here. i don't know that i'd really ever advocate someone moving here who was married or about to be, and might be having kids in a few years. it's hard to be successful here long-term on one salary, we don't know many people who can do it who don't struggle in some way, shape or form unless you managed to get into the housing market a long time ago and have a leg up on everyone else kinda thing.

though i would say that in terms of renting vs home ownership, buying our townhouse was the best decision we could have ever made. we got in at a good time and it has appreciated a large amount in 3 years....and with our huge tax break, it really has paid off for us in terms of owning vs renting...plus we adore our place. but yeah i wouldn't come here and expect to stay for a few years and want to buy anything. i don't think it'd be worth it long-term with the market the way it is right now. THOUGH honestly this market typically takes a really long time to adjust and when it does, its in small increments. so i always tell people who are considering buying not to wait because it really doesn't get THAT much better. the last total crash we had was in i think 89-90 and if the RE bubble didn't burst from 2000-2004 when everyone was floating out of here in droves because of the downturn, then it won't burst now because people ARE coming back in from other states so the cycle is already starting again. now is probably a pretty good time to buy if people can afford it.

blah blah i could go on for days about this. but honestly unless you really actually want to live in northern california, i wouldn't come here for a job. oh and for salary, be sure you know how much you need, most people who do come here for a job think they are getting an awesome salary, then they come here and go 'oh crap' because it's totally not enough and they are screwed. houston compared to here is like pennies to live from what i have seen...hehee.
 

movie zombie

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another california native here.....

get online and check out properties for sale in the bay area........a studio can go for $675K in palo alto. the farther you go up the pennisula towards the city the pricer it gets. its a bit cheaper in south bay but there is a tradeoff for that. however, there are people in palo alto that have lived without a car for 20 years....and that''s with kids. again, another tradeoff is having to coordinate your schedule with that of the local transportation system and be willing to get a rental car for longer trips.

do not think you can move here for a few years, buy a place and then be an absentee landlord. this is not the place for that.

salaries are great if you''re in the tech industry but the cost of living eats it up easily unless you are extremely frugal. i worked with an attorney who had a place in houston...fab house with curved staircase and all the upgrades. he came to work in mountain view and when his wife saw the $1M fixer upper he got in los altos she almost divorced him....and that was more than 10 years ago. the market it isn''t any better now.

if you really want to live in california, be in the bay area, then by all means go for it. i can see the lure and the magic of it....i''ve often thought it would be nice to be young, married, but without kids in san francisco....there is just so much to do. of course, if the income is eaten up by living expenses then one might not be able to do those things.

you could also live in the central valley and drive 2 hours one way to the bay area for work.....which many do. however, that''s a 4 hour junk of time out of your daily life and lots of miles on your car not to mention your nerves. there is now a train coming from stockton and that could be an option.

hate to sounds so negative but as much as i love living here, i wouldn''t want to be young and starting out here.

movie zombie
 

nejarb

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haha! hand to mouth! you don''t know my fi! he saves at least 25% of his after-tax income, and wouldn''t take any job where he couldn''t continue to do this. easy to do in houston if you make over 100k, but probably not in palo alto unless you make X. we''re just trying to figure out what X is.
i lived in west marin county for a few years when i was younger and still have some friends there and visit sometimes. i imagine palo alto isn''t quite that expensive, but still. we are trying to arrange our life (where ever it is) in such a way that we don''t have to spend too much time driving. so if he''s working in palo alto, we''re living in palo alto. i''d actually like to live in the foothills just west of palo alto, but that''s really expensive huh?
he works in finance, so the best jobs for him are in dallas and nyc. it''s unfortunate that we don''t care to live in either city, b/c he could easily get a job in one of those places starting at 200-250k. there''s firms that pay that much in other cities, and this firm in palo alto may be one of them, but i know that 250k there isn''t the same as 250k in dallas.
how much do you think is necessary to live comfortably, continue saving, have $ to travel, eat well, etc in palo alto if you want to have kids? (we''re not into range rovers or boats or anything like that)
also, i have a law degree and we''re only 26, so i could work for a few years as well and pull in some pretty good cash before we have kids.

i predict that RE prices will drop in the area. the rent you can charge is a check on value, and eventually this will come around. like in my example of living in 1MM home that i rent for 2,500/mo--eventually the landlord is going to just sell it to me for less b/c he can reinvest in anything else and get a much better return. he''s not going to make up the difference in return through appreciation unless the value appreciates at least 5% a year, and that type of appreciation is not sustainable when the market is already inflated. So, with the exception of a housing market where all homes are owner-occupied and the location is extremely desirable, it is simply an economic reality that RE prices will drop if the return on rental properties is less than it is on tresury notes. The only reason why people have been buying in these inflated markets is that their percieved cost (i.e. monthly payment and upfront expenses) seems low b/c of creative lending schemes combined w/ low interest rates (which in turn have driven prices up more). IMO alot of these buyers and lenders are in deep sh#* in the next few years.
mara, if i were you i would have sold my place a year ago. i''d be renting. unless i LOVED the place and planned on staying there for a while anyhow--in that case i wouldn''t even be concerned at all w/ the housing market or the financial aspects of ownership v. renting.
 

Emeraldfan

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Joined
Apr 27, 2006
Messages
299
nejarb - it''s so funny you posted this because my fiance and myself are moving to the Palo Alto area from Chicago next week. We are worried about the same thing, as far as salary and cost of living goes. I am going to be starting as an associate with a large law firm in Palo Alto and he will be working in downtown San Fran so we are looking to live somewhere in between. I am doubling my salary but with higher taxes and rent here, it''s not like we''ll be getting ahead as much as I''d like.

I''ve been told Menlo Park is nice and is a little cheaper than Palo Alto. I''m also looking in redwood city, redwood shores and belmont. Condo''s look to be about 1/3 cheaper to rent in those areas than Palo Alto. We were looking at buying a place and selling our condo in Chicago. However, 1400 square foot places on 1/4 of an acre are going for close to 1M and they are fixer upppers. I agree that renting is the cheaper way to go right now and what we''ll be doing until we decide if we''re in for the long haul. It looks like it''s a beautiful place to live but it does look very hard to afford it.
 

Mara

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hehe at menlo park being cheaper to live in than PA. not quite. i think honestly the best thing to do is get into town, get a feel for the surroundings and what you like and where you'd like to be. redwood city borders MP but MP is like another land. to me menlo is nicer than PA...and atherton is nicer than MP. i couldn't honestly imagine us living in either city unless we had $2m! hehe. but you can get a shack apt in PA just like you can get a shack apt in MP for probably pretty cheap. you probably wouldn't like it but you could do it.

hmm what would i say you'd need to live a comfortable lifestyle here, it really depends on what you consider comfortable. our incomes are nowhere near shabby...yet we are definitely not socking away 25%. and we don't nearly travel as much as we'd like to. but we do have a fun lifestyle and for the most part we do what we want when we want. sustainable, who knows, definitely not with children and one income.

re: the RE market...you will find that the bayarea is kind of a market unto itself. it really defies most analysts forecasts and i don't really know anyone who has been able to predict what will actually happen here. they have been saying for years that 'this year is the year' things will drop. and yet not really. if we had sold a year ago like you suggest nejarb, we'd make way less than if we sold today. and our places are still selling, even while other places are laying stagnant. so we're in a good position right now far as we can tell. but we honestly don't know if we want to sell right now or what. and quite frankly, the whole selling to take your $$ and sit on it while renting is not the way to go in my opinion if you intend to stay here, having been here and seen how this market works. we would only do that if we wanted to take our money and LEAVE the area. i have really not known anyone here in my life and my parents lives who ever said that buying property here was a bad decision. konck on wood of course. but it's always interesting to hear external people's takes on this market. you'd be surprised at how buoyant this market continues to be even during downswings. but even then, we DO love our place and since we are unsure what we want to do in the next year or two, we figure we'll just sit tight and figure it out...we're more than happy with what our house has done in the 3 years we have been here, it has wildly exceeded our expectations, so we have some buffer.

in any case nejarb if you guys are seriously considering it, come out here for a visit and get a feel for things...the lay of the land. personally i am not a huge fan of the PA and MP areas for living because they are so upscale suburby...we live in san jose which is about 25 minutes from there (oh and all the cities are really close together so you can live 2-3 cities away and only be like 10-20 min from work depending on the commute) and we go in there for breakfast or shopping of course, but it's such a pretentious area to live in, we live near downtown in san jose (the 10th largest city in the US) and it's a very transitional kind of area with a more edgy feel and works for us now. we like seeing all the change around us and being part of history making of this area. my parents wanted us to buy in a nicer area for the schools (we don't even have kids?!) and yet when we bought this place we knew we were taking a risk but we have been really happy and it has appreciated far beyond anything that my parents could have chosen (near them!) for us...hehee.
 

movie zombie

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historically, bay area prices have never had a bubble burst the way it has happened in the rest of the country with one exception: loma prieta earthquake in 1989 saw people leave the bay area but even then prices weren''t a total bargain for those on a budget. but even that wasn''t considered a bubble burst. what holds true in other markets just doesn''t hold true in the bay area. the economy will have to really suffer nationwide [think depression] before bay area prices will see an adjustment. \

movie zombie
 

movie zombie

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yes, you can live in east palo alto for cheap....better read about east palo alto before you do though. however, that area is changing because land is too valuable to tolerate that kind of neighborhood. anything in the flats will be cheaper.....the further west into the the hills gets more expensive.

foster city: mostly built on fill and shakes like jello if an earthquake hits despite meeting building and earthquake codes.

menlo as it is affectionately called by those prone to such things is pricier than pa, and atherton means you were the founder of mervyn''s, some big shot attorney who represents pfiser, or some such income level. as i said, the further one moves north in the pennisula, the more expensive it becomes.

look online at property prices. plan a visit to areas with a real estate agent. you know your budget for travel and other expenses as well as that great savings plan he has going. you know what kind of lifestyle you want. can you do all that on $200-250K in the bay area? something will have to give somewhere and only the two of you can decide what that will be.

movie zombie

ps mountain view is a great bay area starter place to live.
 

KimberlyH

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MZ mentioned Mountain View as a possible place to live. My sister''s husband grew up in Milpitas and they have lived in Mountain View for 4 years. They both really like it there. It''s a neat little city, as is Sunnyvale. That being said, my BIL makes far above the national average income (my sister is a SAHM, they have one child) and they don''t see any way out of renting if they stay in the bay area. The only homes they can afford at this point are mobile, which is less than appealing to my sister. BIL keeps talking of moving to North Carolina once he finishes college (he''s been going part time for quite some time). Coastal CA doesn''t follow national trends for housing, especially in the bay area, and while the market may ebb and flow it is highly unlikely that the bubble will ever pop. I''m not a RE agent, nor do I live in the bay area (i''m at the opposite end of the state in San Diego) but I know from what they have shared that it can be quite frustrating. And everything costs more from gas to milk. My mom and I have both noted this when visiting my sister and her family.
 

nejarb

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MZ: i''ve looked online at houses. actually, every time he mentions a different city, the 1st thing i do is get online to see what the RE market is like and whether there is a whole foods or a trader joe''s! and we can''t go visit every place there''s a firm that he''s interested in working at. there''s about 4 he''s in contact with and several more that he''s just heard about from headhunters but hasn''t contacted yet. we''re just trying to get a better feel for a place to know whether we could live there before he starts investing any time communicating with a firm there. it''s good to have options, but if there''s too many potential options, then it''s too much to juggle and pretty time consuming. and we''re not even necessarily crazy about moving to palo alto or anywhere in ca in general, it''s more that he''s particularly attracted to this firm in terms of their investment philosophy, reputation, etc.

mara: that''s interesting about the market there. i wasn''t saying i would''ve sold if i were going to stay there, but if i were going to move someplace anyways then i would''ve just gotten out and rented before i moved, b/c i would''ve thought "this can''t happen again next year," but it did and that''s good for you. i just wouldn''t have thought so.
 

nejarb

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EF: how exciting! i''m sure you guys will do great. what area of law do you practice?
 

Emeraldfan

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nejarb - I am a corporate tax attorney (boring I know, but it pays the bills). Between my fiance and I, we are looking at being in the same income bracket as you 200k-250k (maybe more with bonuses). I''ve been researching online as well for apartments but don''t think we''ll finalize anything until we get out there and get a better feel for the neighborhoods. I''ll let you know how it is when we get there next week.

mara - interesting about menlo park being more expensive than PA. My friend must have been wrong about that one. It''s good to know that the areas are so close together the commute won''t be so bad. Do you know how easy it is to park at the caltrain stations to get into San Fran? If my fiance can''t drive and park there everyday then its going to influence us to find a place within walking distance of one of the stations.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
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nejarb, it happens almost every year here...the whole ''but it can''t be higher next year''...that''s what i am trying to say. rational economics don''t really apply to the bayarea from what i have seen in my 30+ years here. sure there are downswings but even in 2000-2002 when things were BAD here in terms of people having to leave because they couldn''t afford to stay etc...there are always those people who somehow manage to keep the economy here afloat. can there be a downswing? sure! but a correction in the RE market would most likely not be more than 5-10% which would be huge for here and again, wouldn''t really make a dent in most prices. so a house is 700k instead of 770k. it''s still expensive.

anyhow, it''s very hard to tell others what it''s like here...it''s best to see for theirselves! and yes someone suggested MV..it''s a nice place to live and middle of the road, it''s a nicer area too. sunnyvale would be less nice typically, yet the two are side by side. it''s kind of like menlo/atherton and then redwood city is right next to it (where greg lived and he hated it). but even within blocks typically you will find small micro-neighborhoods...aka like where we are you can walk 2 blocks and it''s kind of not so great houses, then walk another 2 blocks and you are in the middle of 2-3million dollar homes that have been there since early 1900''s. it''s pretty interesting in any case but doesn''t really fit a ''mold''. and a lot of times people come here and find that their idea of ''worth'' aka what you can get is just amazingly skewed, lol. for houses check out mlslistings.com. this is the website that i use to scout for houses in our area..we were thinking of moving and maybe getting a smaller house in a better area still near to where we are but we really do love our place and don''t want to give it up for smaller and less amenities but $200k more expensive in a better area if we aren''t entirely sure we want to stay there and raise kids etc.

the other thing to consider in moving to a very expensive place...you always have to be sure that your income potential is that same super high level. you mentioned bf could come here and make 200-250k or similar. well if you live in a place like PA or menlo, he will HAVE TO always make that amount to continue to survive there. so that''s kind of another reason why if i were considering moving here long-term i''d go hmmm...do i really always want that pressure year to year?? it can lead you to feel somewhat trapped, greg feels like that sometimes about his job which is high paid with very nice bonuses but sometimes he says he feels like he can''t ever get out of that...what if he actually wanted to do something different or take a pay cut. wouldn''t happen here in this area. just something else to consider.

in any case i love it here, obviously...but i always tell my parents they screwed me by having me here because you already start in an expensive place so your perspective is skewed...''of course it''s fabulous here, who wouldn''t want to be here''...hahaa. and then the idea of leaving is so foreign! but people COME to california! because it''s so fabulous! LOL. which is kind of what we are dealing with now, aka greg is not from here and he likes it here but he could like it just as easily somewhere else, aka somewhere cheaper...but i am like ''why would we leave?''...hahaha.
 

Mara

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Date: 1/21/2007 7:21:24 PM
Author: Emeraldfan
nejarb - I am a corporate tax attorney (boring I know, but it pays the bills). Between my fiance and I, we are looking at being in the same income bracket as you 200k-250k (maybe more with bonuses). I''ve been researching online as well for apartments but don''t think we''ll finalize anything until we get out there and get a better feel for the neighborhoods. I''ll let you know how it is when we get there next week.

mara - interesting about menlo park being more expensive than PA. My friend must have been wrong about that one. It''s good to know that the areas are so close together the commute won''t be so bad. Do you know how easy it is to park at the caltrain stations to get into San Fran? If my fiance can''t drive and park there everyday then its going to influence us to find a place within walking distance of one of the stations.
EF...yes the areas are very close together. for example if you work in PA...MV borders it and so does menlo and then redwood city. you could live in one of 4-5 areas and be within a close distance, depending on where you drive and how you commute. in terms of caltrain, greg takes it 4x a week into work, we live in san jose and his work is in belmont which is right next to redwood city (north) and he can walk to the train station from where we live. the train stations are very easy to park and ride from. menlo has a really nice train station, and also redwood city has 2 i think. atherton has one but it''s intermittent service so i would not use that train station at all really. the only thing is that once he gets into SF...how close is his work? can he walk? if not he will have to cab it or bus it. that''s kind of the pain...because SF is only one stop from caltrain. it gets you into the heart of SF and that''s the last stop.

oh and menlo does have a fair amount of living areas near the train station, apartments or condos there may not be TOO bad. i would also consider mountain view for sure as there is a super cute downtown area there where you can live near and for not too much and then just walk to the train station as well. we take the train into MV or PA sometimes for dinner on weekends. in terms of train rides, from MV to SF it would probably be about an hour but a bullet (express) would be more like maybe 30 minutes. the closer north you go the shorter the time. you can also look at caltrain.org online for schedules etc.
 

Beacon

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This is pretty interesting. I live in San Mateo, exactly centered between Palo Alto and San Francisco. It's a very handy location. There are no appreciable price differences between Palo alto and Menlo Park. Both are expensive. Atherton, which borders Menlo Park is the single most expensive zip code in the ENTIRE United States.

Mountain View could be considered cheaper than PA and MP. But the nice parts of Mountian veiw are very expensive and the bad parts you don't want. That is why, on average, MV is "cheaper" than Palo Alto/ Menlo.

Nejarb - you are too rational about rent. In this market, positive cash flow is unlikely unless the landlord has owned the place a super long time. This does not matter. Even in the most expensive places you can rent a place for a much lower monthly than you would pay if you owned it. This has been true for the 18 years I have owned property here.

The total investment return calculation adds in the appreciation of the property. Sure your tenant is paying you 2500/mo, BUT the property is appreciating at 2000 per month at the same time (for a very simple property, some go up much more). This may seem unlikely to you, but it is absolute fact and I have this same circumstance in my own properties. So, you are breakeven or neg on the rent and still making money.

Your landlord is highly unlikely to cut you a sweet deal to take the place off his hands!

The Bay area is absolutely unique b/c it is constantly inventing new companies that produce prodigious returns for the employees. Our latest is Google. It used to be Ebay. It once was Genentech. Way back (and now on a 2nd round) it's Apple. These companies, born here, produce millionaires. Those that are not millionaires, are just extremely comfortable. They all buy property. See how it happens?

It's still far cheaper here than in NYC, Hong Kong or London. Actually for what you get here, whole amenity package, it is a pretty good deal compared w/ some other high price places.
 

nejarb

Shiny_Rock
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Beacon, I guess I''m just in disbelief that such a high rate of appreciation has gone on for so long and will continue to do so. Because, in my mind, who is that landlord going to sell to so that he can finally realize his return? someone who wants to live there?--IMO this person should just rent! someone who wants an investment?--IMO this person should invest in an index fund!

it''s just really hard for me to understand this. my family has been involved in real estate investments for decades and i''m sure we would''ve done better w/ properties in ca (in fact there were some many many years ago in west la--prob should have held on to those!), but i would never get involved in the real estate market there for investment purposes, b/c it''s just too weird and doesn''t make sense to me. plus i''d be scared it was going to fall into the ocean.
 

Beacon

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Nejarb - I hear you. I am a long time investor and do not believe in one way markets. I like stocks better than physical real estate anyway, for a long list of reasons. But property here has a very long track record of success.

The Bay area market is subject to periods of speculative frenzy but underneath, it is truly demand driven. Get a map and look at the SF Peninsula. It is surrounded on 3 sides by water and one side is all mountains. What land there is has been built. It is not like Texas where you have miles of open land to use.

Consider that the area produces world class innovative companies and talented people from all over the world move here to participate. They are smart and well paid. They want a house. There are a limited number of houses. Ta-da - you see the trouble.

If you drive 120 miles due east you will hit Sacramento. Now that market is a disaster. Often a housing area of last resort for people forced out of the Bay area, it is much, much cheaper. However, it has been dramatically overbuilt and there is plenty of land available. It went through a totally silly speculative boom that has collapsed. It will take years to recover.

Like most investments, real estate is truly local and you need to understand that these markets each have a unique character. When it will end, I don''t know. All things do and success sometimes is the worst enemy, so future results are not guaranteed.

I will repeat what I said before - NYC is worse, London is worse, Hong Kong is worse. All of these markets would make a person rich over the long haul.

BTW Nejarb, investing in a stock index fund would produce similar results to a Bay area investment in real estate - provided you were 90% leveraged in the index fund. But, most people would consider it very "dangerous" to buy stocks on margin. It is, of course, identical to buying a piece of real estate with a mortgage. But I digress....
 

UCLABelle

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May 15, 2005
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My entire family is from the Bay Area (my mom grew up in MP, my aunt and uncle now live in Redwood City, and my other aunt lived in PA)...ALL CAN BE EXPENSIVE! But it really depends on the specific street/location/lot/home quality etc. I know that of the three, RC is the least expensive. We are in the process of selling a family home in MP. It is a REAL fixer upper but it is being listed for 1.5-----I know when I "grow up" (hehe, okay, when I look to buy) I could NEVER afford the house.
 

movie zombie

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Jan 20, 2005
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11,879
to be blunt, making $200-$250K isn''t that unusual around here and because of that housing and everything else is priced accordingly. landlords aren''t interested in turning over their inventory to realize a profit because they''re already making money from renters. single family houses are often left to a family member who then moves into the house because its the only way they can stop renting and own a home in the area.

but everything in life is a compromise. if hubby finds a job with a company he likes and really likes that job, perhaps the tradeoff of traveling a bit less, renting a bit longer, or whatever will be worth it for the two of you.

movie zombie
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
and the weather isn't as good!

movie zombie

ps studios for $650[,000]-$695[,000] in los gatos and/or palo alto seem like a bargain compared to that per square foot price..........
 

Emeraldfan

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 27, 2006
Messages
299
Beacon - How is San Mateo to ive? How long do you think the commute between San Mateo and Palo Alto would be during rush hour?

Also, does anyone else know anything about San Mateo (good/bad areas)? After looking at where my fiance will be working (Embarcadero Center), the Bart is a lot closer than the Caltrain - so we were thinking San Mateo would be good cause it's close enough to drive to the Bart yet still not a bad commute for me to Palo Alto.

Thanks everyone and sorry if I'm hijacking the thread.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
san mateo is pretty nice...there is a cute downtown area with housing and rentals around it and in dt there are some yummy food places and some bars and shops (draegers!!)...greg used to work over there (i did too for a while) and we lived in foster city for a while. if it works out for commuting and all that, it''s definitely a nicer area than some.
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
friends just sold a home in san mateo......house backed onto 101 and their back fence was the freeway sound barrier. small house of about 900 square feet with 2 small bedrooms and 1 small bath. they had fixed it up though so it was not a fixer upper. house sold about 3 months ago for over $600,000.

a thought: there are a lot of nice places in san francisco that are conveniently located for commuters. lots of nice condos to be had.........not a bad way to start out in the bay area, get a feel for the different towns during weekends, and then make the move to one of the smaller towns down the pennisula after you''ve had time to adjust and research.

movie zombie
 

Beacon

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 14, 2006
Messages
2,037
Mara recapped this about right. SM is a pleasant area. It can be very costly or not as costly, there is a lot of variation.

It depends what you are used to. I moved here from NYC and thought I had DIED. But it''s not that bad.

Palo Alto has better restaurants, a much, much prettier mall. Stanford Mall is one of the most beautiful I have seen and I used to be in retail and visit malls all over the US. Palo Alto also has superior public schools which is half of why it is so expensive there. You may not need this right now, but it helps your resale later.

SM has the advantage of being near the SF Int''l airport. Other things are very, very convenient, like lots of post offices, EZ Fedex Office, good medical facilities, good gyms nearby, very nice library system. If you use DMV, even that is easy, but of course, don''t do it, use AAA, which is also very easy here. Food shopping is good - Whole Foods, Draegers, LOTS of good Asian markets, if you are into that, which I am.

Just next to SM is a very cute town called Burlingame, which has some decent restaurants and attractive shopping.

Palo Alto is 15 minutes away w/o traffic. With traffic, it really varies, can be long on the side streets. SF is also a very fast drive, again depends on traffic. Depends where you are going in PA too, cause you might be able to take HWY 280 which is spectactularly beautiful between SM and PA and often less crowded.

I often drive to San Mateo to Sunnyvale to arrive at 5.30 for dance practice. This takes about 35 minutes, it''s 21 miles. That might be a reverse commute for some though.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
oh yeah total perk of us living in foster city (which is a tiny town right next to san mateo...you may want to consider it, a few PS'ers live there too)...is that it was so close to SF! we'd just go up 92 to miss traffic on 101 and we'd be there in like 20 min. also half moon bay is right there..we had our first date in HMB! whereas now in SF we are like an hour from SF and about 40 minutes from HMB...we still drive to both relatively frequently but it was much faster when we were in the north peninsula in FC!!

one of my girlfriend's lived in san mateo at the end of third street (downtown) in this really cool apartment building...there are a bunch of places like that down and around there and rent was not that exhorbitant from what i can recall. also bgame is super cute, might be a bit more pricey to live there, esp near downtown, but SM is kind of a nice 'in-between' for that area i think.

in terms of living *in* SF....i don't know if i'd personally attempt that (though i don't love SF anyway, it's too dreary and blah for me, i'm a sunny suburb girl at heart!!). it can be pretty pricey (depending on where you live but you don't want to be in a dire neighborhood either) and also it's hard to get in and out of the city if you drive. sometimes when we are leaving SF to come home at night it takes us 30 minutes just to get OUT of SF and onto the freeways. so it can be a little stressful mentally unless you are both working and living in SF and don't leave much. otherwise i'd live in a suburb and go into the city fairly often, as we did when we lived in Foster City, we were up in SF almost every weekend.
 

Emeraldfan

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 27, 2006
Messages
299
Thanks mara, movie zombie, and beacon!! This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for.

I think we will check out burlingame and maybe foster city as well as san mateo. We will definitely rent for a year before buying anything so we can get the feel of the neighborhoods. I will be working in Palo Alto almost halfway between 280 and 101 so I could use either highway. I did hear that 101 gets crazy backed up during rush hour and therefore foster city is harder to get from/to because of it - but maybe it is worth looking at.

If anyone has any other suggestions or knows anyone that is looking for renters please let me know.

Thanks!!!
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
actually EF you can take 280 to 90 and then get to belmont or san mateo or foster city using it, you don''t have to use 101 at all. we rarely use it in fact. san mateo is more off of 101 than foster city is but you can get to SM using the side streets off 92 as well. anyhow if you are working in PA and he is in SF...SM might be a great in between for you guys.
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
more food for thought only because i''ve worked with lots of commuters: it is nice to have a place inbetween the two work places, however, it does mean that you''re both commuting which has its own set of problems.

movie zombie

ps there are some really nice condos for rent down by the san francisco train station....and more being build along townsend. the whole area is being rennovated: restaurants and walking distance to the ballpark. i know a couple that has lived in that area for some time and he has always worked in south bay! their move in order to buy a house however has been to portland oregon!

i also have a friend that commutes daily from mountain view to the embardcadero center via caltrain. you can check their schedule [as well as bart''s] on line. the website even has a nifty trip planner that works really well.

movie zombie
 

nejarb

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
324
"landlords aren''t interested in turning over their inventory to realize a profit because they''re already making money from renters." -MZ

but the amt of $ they are making from thier renters should corrospond with what the asset is worth. this is my whole point--if i own something worth 1mil i want to make AT LEAST 50k every year of net income on this asset. otherwise i''m selling it and buying an asset that will produce that much income. OR i''m keeping it IF i know i can sell it later for so much more than 1mil that i can make up the difference in loss of income over the years that i''ve held on to it despite its production of a mere 1.5-2% in income. what i''m hearing is that in northern california, this is the case. i can see that it has been in the last 10 years.

beacon--who buys stocks on margin? i honestly cannot even imagine. is this common? everyday people who work as teachers, doctors, insurance sales, etc are watching kramer on cnbc, getting all excited, and calling thier broker? or is this something that hedgefunds or institutional investors do? your analogy is interesting. i''d say buying google on margin is like financing a real estate investment in LA (risky). taking out a mrtgage for a real estate investment in houston is more like buying coca cola on margin (not risky)...then again you have to get a good deal too. low risk + good deals = over time, you''re going to get just as rich as if you frantically buy into risky/high upside investments, except you won''t be so stressed out, and you won''t look so stupid while you''re doing it.
 
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