Post # 1
My husband might be transferred to the San Mateo area, my job would be in San Francisco. We used to live in San Francisco for over 6 years, but the cost of living is just too expensive now for it to be a realistic place to live – while trying to save money to buy at house at some point. The peninsula is lovely and the commute wouldn’t be too bad for me, but the pricing isn’t that much lower so I’m not sure if that’s a good idea either…
I have always really liked the East Bay and the rent prices can be a lot better in comparison, but I’ve heard the commute is awful to the Peninsula. I guess I’m just trying to find out if anyone else lives in the East Bay and commutes to the Peninsula, San Mateo area. As far as where I’m looking in the East Bay…Oakland (Temescal, Piedmont, Rockridge, Lake Merritt area), Alameda seems really nice too. Would it be crazy to live in that area and have my husband commute to San Mateo? Of course, we would also have to look at the extra money we would be spending on bridge tolls, gas, BART fare, etc.
We know moving to the Bay Area would be a dramatic lifestyle change for us, but we’ve lived there before so nothing will be too surprising. We do have a dog now so finding dog friendly places is a bit harder, and my husband has it in his head that we need to have a yard, which I’m not sure is realistic within our budget.
Anyways, just looking for advice, thoughts, or experience with this commute!
Post # 2
My brother recently lived with friends in San Jose and some of them commuted into San Fran. That whole area is just crazy expensive 🙁 Even San Jose was pretty pricey.
Post # 3
- Wedding: November 2014 - 11/15/14-Vineyard
kiraly17: how long do you consider a long commute. I soooo get where you are coming from. I lived in Hayward and commuted to SF every day and now I live on the peninsula a little further south of San Mateo and still commute to SF.
I guess it all boils down to how you going to commute? Car – think about the wear and tear and gas costs? BART or CalTrain think about those daily costs adding up? Quality of life – do you have kids? what amount of time will be spent away from home just commuting? I will say that the commute from the peninsula is wayyyyyyy better than from the east bay. It used to take me 2 hours to get home from SF to Hayward to where now on the peninsula it is on average about 45 mins to an hour each way.
Take what it will cost you per day and add that in to what it will cost you where you will live and is it worth the shorter commute with less travel expenses or double commute with less housing costs? I was born and raised here in the Bay and I will say that I totally love being on the Peninsula the most.
Post # 4
I live (and work) in Oakland. Commuting via public transit (BART) is great if you’re able to go that route. Your husband really wouldn’t if he works in San Mateo. The 880 freeway is pretty bad, and he’d have to cross a bridge (which always adds time onto the drive). But honestly, I think this is what a majority of bay area people end up doing. Living in the bay area, you basically know you’ll probably have to deal with a commute. It’s do-able, and living in the East Bay is way more afforadable. (And honestly, I love living in Oakland. We live on the Berkeley/Emeryville boarder and everything is close by).
Alameda is awesome. I’ve been trying to get Mr. BC to move there for years (but it really would make his commute to Marin unbearable). My fingers are crossed that we’ll get there some day.
Post # 5
kiraly17: it’s always a trade off here. You either commute, or you have an ungodly rent amount and live close by. I live in Santa Cruz and commute to Santa Clara. Not bad noe, but I did go to school up past Petaluma and commuted down to Santa Clara. That was way worse!
This is why I’m completely moving from CA after our wedding.
Post # 6
Thanks for the responses so far! Really helpful!
To answer some of the questions asked:
Unfortunately I will need a car for my job so I’ll have to drive into the city via the Bay Bridge frequently…BART may be an option somedays when I know I won’t need my car. I can also work from home sometimes if needed – basically my job is flexible.
My husband will drive to San Mateo, so yes he will be spending a lot on gas, wear and tear, tolls, etc. by driving from the Oakland area. We do need to really look to see if the pros of more affordable housing outweigh the cons of commuting and expenses related to that.
We are coming from Southern California so we are familiar with long commutes and traffic, but right now my husband only has a 15 minutes commute and I work from home so we’ve been spoiled.
I’ve spent some time in San Mateo and I really like the area, I’m just concerned with renting costs as well as the fact that it seems the quantity of available places is limited.
We have friends that live in Oakland (Lake Merritt area) and they really love it. They commute into SF.
We don’t have kids yet, but we’re kind of NTNP right now. So yes, living in a family friendly place is something we need to think about. We do like urban areas though. We’re living in the suburbs right now and I HATE IT SO MUCH!! 🙂
Miss Border Collie: I had never thought about Alameda until recently, and it looks so nice! I had no idea! I like that it has more of a small town feel but it’s right next to 2 major cities. Fingers crossed that you are able to move there someday!!
Post # 7
Gabrielle713: Yes, it’s a total trade off! When I lived in San Francisco 3 years ago I paid $2000 (split with a roommate) for an 1100 sq.ft. 2 bedroom flat!! It was huge, had a garage, backyard, formal dining room, fireplace. I had no idea how lucky I was, now I’m kicking myself for moving. I’m still in shock by how expensive it’s gotten up there, it’s absolutely mind-blowing.
Post # 8
I lived in SF for about 5 years and grew up in Fremont. SF got too expensive, even rent in Fremont was insane, and everywhere between Oakland to San Jose to San Mateo is just nuttyballs right now. I live up in the North Bay in Santa Rosa now and it’s a lot more affordable, but it’s about an hour away from SF and you pretty much have to have a car. The commute is a bitch, but do-able. I commuted between Santa Rosa and SF for about a year and it was fine. I know a lot of my professors when I was in grad school commuted from Petaluma to SF, it’s about 45 minutes and a straight shot down 101 and across the GG bridge. But again, what you’re not paying for cost of living, you’re paying in tolls and gas.
I think what I find people forgetting about is not only rent, but how much more tax is, paying for parking, paying tolls, commodities being more expensive (milk, produce, gas), entrees at restaurants being $1-$2 more in these areas, etc… It’s just a very expensive place to live. So keep that in mind as well when looking at different areas; somewhere like Alameda or Fremont may be slightly less in day-to-day expenses than somewhere like San Jose or Palo Alto.
Post # 9
kiraly17: I live in SF and commute to Berkeley. bart everyday adds up, and it’s 2 hrs each day.
The East Bay hoods you’re looking at are very hip! We thought about moving there when I got my east bay job but It didn’t make sense.
Would Burlingame or Daly City make sense? I know both are family friendly, just depends on your budget.
Post # 10
MadameX: You’re absolutely right about everything (besides rent) also just being more expensive up there. Something else to keep in mind. I hadn’t really thought about the North Bay, but I feel like that might be a pain to commute from for my husband since you would have to drive through the city…but yes, it’s doable. I think we both like more urban areas right now since we’re coming from the suburbs. I feel like this is our last chance before kids to really live out our city dreams! ha.
bitsybee: I’ve looked into Burlingame, so that’s not off the table at all. I just haven’t found much in my intial searches that would make sense for us and that allow a larger dog. I haven’t looked into Daly City, but only because it reminds me too much of college 🙂 I didn’t go to State, but a lot of friends did and I felt like we were always going to places in Daly City and I didn’t love the vibe. And yes, I am completely generalizing Daly City, I know it’s a nice family friendly place, I guess it’s just not where I imagine living.
I think my husband and I need to really sit down and take a look at the added expenses with a commute, not to mention the extra time in the car and not at home! It might end up being worth the higher rent prices to live closer to work, it’s just hard to wrap my head around these prices!! It’s just crazy and unbelievable. In the end I do think it’s worth it, I love the Bay Area and living in SoCal for 3 years has made me appreciate it even more.
Post # 11
If your husband is going to be working in San Mateo and you in SF, there is absolutely no way I would live in the East Bay. My FI used to commute from the Peninsula to work in the East Bay and even though it was somewhat of a reverse commute, it was horrible for him (and me, since I felt like I never got to see him).
I would live in Millbrae/San Bruno/Daly City so that your husband could take Caltrain from Millbrae down and you could take BART into the city when you don’t have to drive. COL in those places isn’t too bad.
If you insist on the East Bay, Fremont or Hayward would probably be the most doable although your commute would still be pretty bad (especially if driving, but rather long on BART too).
ETA: Feel free to PM me if you have any other specific questions about areas or whatnot — I’ve lived and worked in the East Bay, SF, and the Peninsula doing crazy commutes, so am happy to help if I can!
Post # 12
kiraly17: Burlingame is my pick if we ever move to the ‘burbs. Daly City has a Trader Joes! Though I don’t blame you for not wanting to move there.
Definitely model it out. I live in Noe Valley, and when I had to commute to Sunnyvale (further than San Mateo, but still) I was looking at 45 – 2 hour drives. It sucked a lot. Going down the other side of the peninsula gives you options, but you have to deal with the bridges and the merges.
A friend of mine lives in Hayward and commuted to San Mateo, but he also would go in at 11 am and leave at 8 pm to avoid traffic. Just food for thought.
Post # 13
TheGridMonster: Thank you for the advice. I’m leaning more towards the Peninsula now. I think in the end the slightly higher price of the Peninsula will be worth it to be able to see my husband more and when compared to the extra $$ we would be spending on gas, tolls, etc! I really like Burlingame so I think we will definitely look there. I’m not as familiar with Millbrae, only driven through. Daly City isn’t my top choice, but hey, I can’t really take anything off the table now!
bitsybee: That’s a long commute, glad you don’t have to do that anymore!! My husband does think that his hours would be flexible, but I think overall a long and unpredictable commute would just suck…and I really don’t want to have to drive across the Bay Bridge daily when I really think about it.
Post # 14
kiraly17: Burlingame is great, but it’s pretty pricey. San Mateo/Hillsdale are likely to be more reasonable in terms of cost.
Post # 15
- Wedding: November 2014 - 11/15/14-Vineyard
I was going to say watch out for Milbrae and Burlingame too as you are right next to the airport and will have the planes right over you…all. the. time.
I second Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, Foster City area for you guys.