Where / which neighborhood should I seek for an apartment? I’m moving there with wife and we might have child in a year.
TC 260 new job, wife seeking new job (may take some time, and not engineering)
Zillow has a feature called zestimate (which estimates what rental price of the apartment should be so that you know that you are not being completely cheated) and trulia (has info about the neighborhood: crime, schools, public transport, general stores, etc.
Always wise to stay at a decent commute distant from work, so that it doesn’t frustrate you later. Traffic in this city is like no other city. Trust me, I have lived in Chicago downtown, and that doesn’t even cut close.
You probably want to stay at a direct train/bus route, and avoid driving for work. Parking is usually $35 for the day in downtown. Monthly parking in downtown is maybe $250-300.
If your office is in downtown, you can look for rentals on the other side of the bridge. There are several good options in the north and north east sub-urb, which are on a direct route via BART blue, yellow and red lines. You will most likely like a place there, which will keep your rent pressure closer to 35%.
Most places have a 1.5 month rent as a security deposit. So, be prepared for that. They take that with the first months rent, and the total can approximately be 8-10k. Be prepared for that upfront expense.
If you want to live in the city, you can try looking for western neighborhoods like inner Richmond, richmond district, outer Richmond, sunset.
Anything 2-3 miles from downtown will be heavily expensive and smaller in size. For example, I have a friend who lives in the lower pacific heights and pays 4K for 2bed2bath for 1000 sq. ft. Another one in the same area pays 3k for 1bed 1 bath 800 sq. ft. Parking not included. I was able to find several places in the western neighborhoods that I mentioned earlier in $3200-3500 2bed 1bath houses 750-1200 sq. ft. Most of the time, you can find parking included with rent in these places.
Another good resource is apartmentlist.com where you can select what you want, your budget, things that you care about the most, and then, apartments will be recommended to you based on your choices. Pretty good way to see what you really want, and what are the things that you are okay to compromise on.
There are places that have rent control as well. That basically means that the annual increase for the apartment will be controlled. Not sure about the details, but, definitely explore that aspect if you have multi-year plan in the same house.
It’s always better to start your search online during the week, and schedule open houses by wed/Thursday of the week. Try to club appointments in the same area together, it will save you a bunch of time. And the only way to do that is plan earlier in the week, otherwise it’s hard to find the time hat you want with the agents. They are super busy, but, very helpful and respectful of your time. At least in my experience.
With all that said, it can be overwhelming at first. But, once you find a home, start exploring the city. By far, living in this city has been great, it has a unique vibe to itself unlike any other city I have lived in earlier. Weather is amazing the entire year, and lots of good places to explore along the bay. All the best for your move. Cheers!!