Post # 1
- Wedding: Disneyland - January 2016
Just a little woe is I type of post. Fiance and I went apartment hunting this past weekend and my fears have been confirmed. We can NOT afford to live in this area and I don’t know how anyone does.
We live in the bay area and as anyone from California knows, it’s expensive as hell. At the moment Fiance and I live with my parents. Aside from being old fashioned and wanting to wait until after we’re married to have our own home together, it’s also given us the chance to pay for the wedding entirely ourselves as well as pay off all our debt/loans so we can start off with a clean slate. Now we’re about 4 months out and I wanted to go searching around just to see what our options might be.
As I suspected, not only are options are extremely limited. A decent 1-2 bedroom apartment runs from $1,800-$2,300. These are not huge, private apartments in fancy communities by a long stretch. Just simple, CLEAN apartments in overcrowded parts of town. We must have searched for almost 5 hours and found nothing but townhomes (which we don’t want to buy), low income homes (which we just barely don’t qualify for), nasty apartments that don’t make you feel safe (been there, done that) or apartments leased through goverment programs. We searched between two neighboring towns which we decided are best for us given our work/life schedules and we found all of two complexes, both of which land directly in this price bracket. Fiance and I are both earning above minimum wage, but honestly, if we were paying that much for rent I can’t really wrap my head around how we would pay for any other necessities and not be scraping rock bottom by the end of the month.
At the end of this year my older sister (who also lives at home due to basically the exact same ‘holy crap it’s expensive to live here’ problem) has plans to move out, most likely to a mobile home. She’s offered to let me and Fiance stay with her and pay a minimum portion of the rent. We just discussed this last night, and while it’s awesome we might have somewhere to go after we’re married, I can’t help but feel really sad too.
I wasn’t expecting to go out and buy a home right away or anything. As if we even have the funds for a downpayment. But I was excited to find my own place with my new husband. To have some place just for us, where we could adopt a puppy (did I mention almost NO place allows pets) and just start our new life and tiny family together. I’m not looking for someplace huge or fancy. Just clean and safe. But it’s looking more and more like we’re going to have to wait even longer for our life to begin.
I know there’s not really much of a solution to this. Mostly I’m just sad and needed to vent.
Post # 2
TwinkleBoss: I feel ya. I used to live there and still have friends there. I about fell off my chair when my friend told me the rent on his 2 bedroom apartment! You say you don’t want a townhouse. You don’t want to buy a townhouse? It IS a really good way to get your foot in the real estate door. We didn’t put any money down, first time homebuyer (even though hubby has owned homes before, it had been so long he requalified). NO crazy adjustable rate mortage or whatever it’s called, either. I DID move from the south bay to the way north bay to afford the townhouse I bought when I lived there, though. I loved it up there! I hope you can steer clear of living with your sister, too. It’s just so nice as a married couple to have your very own space.
Post # 3
I feel your pain. A decent but small two bedroom apartment costs over $3k where I live (DC). Have you discussed living in the suburbs? We moved to Alexandria, VA, which is about a 30 minute metro ride to downtown and pay about the same amount for our two bed, two bath condo in a very safe, dog friendly area, that my law school roommate and I paid for our 600 square foot one bedroom apartment downtown (we converted it into a two bedroom, but it was cozy). Yeah, the commute sucks. Both Fiance and I spend an hour getting to work each day, but for us, it was worth it to have more space and to be able to adopt our puppy 🙂
Post # 4
It’s impossible to live on your own in the Bay Area off minimum wage, even if there is two of you. Even a mobile home rental space is expensive, I hear it’s like $800/month and you’re providing the HOME! It’s crazy. I feel bad when I hear people cant afford to live here (I live in the bay as well). And even owning is competitive. A lot of people are putting more than 20% down cash. My recommendation is look for a room to rent, but it’d be like living at home except worse because there’ll probably be more rules. The best recommendation is if you are not in school, and are just working, is to move. I know, it’s like the saddest option, but moving to Washington or Oregon, is so much cheaper, and way easier to live on your own. I have a few friends who have done it, and have not regret it. My boyfriend and I have middle class paying jobs (for the bay area), and even we have to rent out rooms in our house to afford our mortgage. Good luck!
Post # 5
monsterly: +1. It’s way too fucking expensive here.
Fiance and I are tied to the Bay for a number of reasons, but if it wasn’t for that, I would move in a heartbeat. I even keep a list of potential places: Seattle, Portland, Austin, Anchorage, Coeur d’Alene (I know it seems rando, but Google it — it’s gorgeous). This is an amazing place, with amazing people, but the COL is just outrageous. It might get better in the near future because of what’s happening in Asia right now, but probably not by much.
Anyway, if you need to stay, my only advice is to be very patient and expand your search as much as humanly possible. Good luck 🙂
Post # 6
I would move. Why bust your ass for awful – meh living conditions? We’re leaving NYC for the same reason when my Fiance is done with grad school. I LOVE visiting SF but… nope! to paying to live there. You should look at towns even an hour away if youre not ready for a big move out of state.
Post # 7
TwinkleBoss: Not sure how much help this is, but apartments use market-based pricing, which means the rental rates fluctuate significantly and very quickly (like day to day based on demand not just for that rental community but for the whole zip code etc.). Summer is generally much more expensive. Try looking again in January/February, or even December. There are probably not a lot of people looking to move right around Christmas time, so if you are willing to do that, you might find better rents.
I am in another major city (not Bay area though) and we see several hundred dollar swings in just a few weeks.
Post # 8
TwinkleBoss: That’s awesome that you were able to pay off loans! Congrats on that, that is huge! As for moving, can you both relocated to another state with a more afforable cost of living? Seek jobs in another state, you may even find a better offer.
Post # 9
- Wedding: Disneyland - January 2016
I wish we could move but at the moment it doesn’t seem possible 🙁 The Bay Area is a GREAT place for FI’s job as he works in HVAC and this area is a goldmine for people in his position. He’s still an apprentice which is why his wages are still on the lower end but the potential for a huge pay raise is there, whereas in other parts of the country it just isn’t. Additionally he’s also in school for another year and I have my own ties to another community program for about the same amount of time. We’ve discussed possibly looking into more northern California (such as Redding where my cousin lives) after he’s done with school and I’ve completed my program, but again that wouldn’t be for another year after we’re married at minimum.
Thanks guys for responsing, I’m glad I’m not totally crazy with how insane this area is. I’m going to try my best to widen our search as much as we possibly can. It doesn’t help that Fiance already commutes over an hour to work every day and by the end of the year my own job will be relocating to a new facility that’s even further away in the opposite direction.
Post # 10
TwinkleBoss: Girl, I’m with ya. We moved to New Jersey 7 months ago from Texas. We were renting a 3 bed/2 bath house with a 2 car garage and fenced-in yard for $1000. Now we’re in Jersey (9 miles away from NYC) and we’re renting a tiny 1 bed/1 bath hole in the freaking wall apartment for $1700. We have tried to break our lease and move out because the people who live above us sleep for 4 hours per night and stomp around the rest of the time and we can’t sleep. We couldn’t break our lease, so we get to sleep 4 hours per night. YAY. We are looking at where we can move to in February when our lease is up and we’re having the same results as you. Turns out $1700 is a steal. UGH. I want to go back to Texas!
Post # 11
Scary isn’t it! 🙁 I’m a Londoner so I sympathise. Apparently the average rental price in London now is £1,500. In North West London, we’re looking at £2,000 for a decent 2 bed flat. Both of our jobs are in London. We’re going to move 20 out, where the commute is about an hour and rent a lovely 3 bed house for around £1,500. We’ll end up spending more in the long run, as the commute is expensive but we’ll be a lot more comfortable in a nicer, bigger home.
I don’t know San Fran at all, but can you move out of the area and commute for work? If not, I’d consider relocating altogether.
Post # 12
TheGridMonster: wow, you’re not kidding. I googled Coeur d’Alene and omg. Must vacation there.
Post # 13
monsterly: Are basement apartments a thing in SF? I know here some families have completely separate basement apartments (your own enterance/exit, bathrooms, kitchen, etc.) that are usually fairly reasonable.
Post # 14
TwinkleBoss: I sympathize, girl. I really do.
The closest city to us right now has ridiculously inflated housing prices because a HUGE proportion of the population works for one of the multiple oil companies that have upgraders/refineries/okant there. It has less than 40k people – but some of the rents are the same as rents of nice apartments in the Denver suburbs where I’m originally from! It isn’t even a great place to live! There’s a tiny ‘mall’, the roads are in awful shape, and I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of grocery stores there. You still have to drive 2 hours to get to a Sephora, Costco, or department store that isn’t Sears. Sigh, I know that’s such a First World Problems complaint, but there it is.
And don’t even get me started on the rents in the city that’s two hours away.
Post # 15
I don’t know how far out you looked but I’m in an expensive area too. I have about a 50 minute commute into my job but its worth it to me for some space. I have twice as much space as I would for the same price in the city. Most of the secretarial type people in my office (lower wage) live 50 minutes to an hour outside the city because they can’t afford to live here. I’m an attorney and think the prices are crazy.