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Old 01-19-2016, 01:26 PM   #21
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What else is there to do with it? The point is there are not a lot of good options there, and one should be careful in making these kinds of decisions. Especially when young and thinking of starting a family in the future.
Housing prices are one consideration and salaries another. A two income (couple or even two roommates) in a non-management tech household can afford housing here as incomes are pretty high as well.
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:52 PM   #22
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Back to original OP request. There are homes in Santa Clara, that are in
Cupertino school district. May have flat roofs.

You said no townhomes, but:
Northpoint, complex, in Cupertino. Has Townhomes, 2/2, With attached
2 car garage. High 900K, but completely fixed up. (nice complex).
Depending on your unit location, will attend different school districts.
Management association, well run.
In my opinion, very difficult to find townhouse, with attached garage, in
Cupertino, in this price range. Units are on the smaller size, but you cannot
beat the location.

Off Homestead. About 1 mile from new APPLE site.
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Old 01-19-2016, 02:03 PM   #23
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One consideration that makes sense when housing prices are high per square foot where you need to live is going smaller and using techniques to live well in less space, like transformational furniture like Murphy beds, fold out desks, and extendable dining tables:

See the LifeEdited Apartment Move Through its Many Functions - LifeEdited
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Old 01-19-2016, 02:33 PM   #24
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The OP is looking for advice on buying in a tough, competitive market. The traffic problems are real, as are the school choice issues. You can easily spend $1.2MM here and not get anything on the OP's list of requirements. If the responses sound like "bash the Bay Area," it's because there are a LOT of problems the OP needs to navigate to find the best compromise.
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Old 01-20-2016, 12:21 AM   #25
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Parts of Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose have single family houses within your budget. Depending on which part, the commute and schools are good to acceptable.

Be sure to keep an open mind that $1.2m won't buy a lot in Silicon Valley. If you are willing to remodel, you might get a better deal.

Redfin is one of my favorite real estate web site. Enter location like Santa Clara County. Then narrow search by adding Filters like property type, price. Zoom in to narrow location further.
https://www.redfin.com/

I also used real estate sites like Zillow, Realtor, Trulia

Find out what school district an address belongs to
https://www.sccassessor.org/

Map of school district
Boundary Maps

2013 API scores, can't find any more recent ones, maybe this is the most recent
API County List of Schools

> 900 excellent academic and usually highly competitive schools
> 800 good academic schools
> 700 ok academic schools
Probably don't want to consider below 700

Goo Luck
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:50 AM   #26
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"Be sure to keep an open mind that $1.2m won't buy a lot in Silicon Valley. If you are willing to remodel, you might get a better deal" The Bay Area... "home of the million dollar fixer upper".........sorry that just sounds crazy.

I lived there most of my life and loved growing up there. Always lots to do and great weather.

I think you get conditioned to home prices in the area you live. When we started looking for a slightly larger home in the Bay Area in 2005 upgrading from a 2 bedroom 1 bath home to 3 bedroom 2 bath home it was going to be at least $600,000.........but that seems like a deal there now. My wife and I sold our house and relocated to Phoenix for the "half off home sale prices". It was just getting to crowded and expensive in the Bay Area.

Also something else to think about is property taxes...they are FOREVER!!! The house below shows $14,492.00 a year in property taxes...that's $1208.00 a month forever while working and in retirement....and we all know they will likely increase....

This one blows my mind:1691 Santa Lucia Dr, San Jose, CA 95125 | MLS #ML81520306 | Zillow[tracking]&utm_campaign=1702

From the ad for this $1,139,000.00 fixer upper....
House is located in a great community. But needs some work. Seller had plumber out a couple months ago. Major water leak. Sealed off water pipe. Plumber said both bathrooms need to be redone. House has to be repainted. Seller said water leaked when it rained in the bathroom. Roof looks OK but might need some repairs. Under neath kitchen sink major water damage, could be some mold issues. Had a lot of rats. Killed a lot of rats with poison. House smells a little. can't believe they actually posted that.

We still have family in the bay area and visit once a year or so. For us the old saying "nice place to visit but we wouldn't want to live there" fits pretty well these days...
Good luck with the home search. I know its really $$$$ to even rent in the Bay Area right now as we have two nephews who make really good money there but pay over $2000.00 a month rent for small apartments....I feel for them.
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Old 01-20-2016, 10:44 AM   #27
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Also something else to think about is property taxes...they are FOREVER!!! The house below shows $14,492.00 a year in property taxes...that's $1208.00 a month forever while working and in retirement....and we all know they will likely increase....
Actually that's not exactly true. During the downtown, the Santa Clara tax authority substantially reduced the assessed value our house for tax purposes. So our property bill went down significantly (the percentage decrease was inline with market value decline).

But on the upside, Prop13 limits tax increases to to 2% per year. So long time residents benefit tremendously. You have people in million dollar plus homes paying only $1 or $2k in yearly taxes. This capping of property tax is a great feature for early retirees.
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Old 01-20-2016, 10:49 AM   #28
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I have refrained from the discussion, lived in east bay area (Livermore) most recently 2002-2009. Kept my house there and finally sold it in 2013 when prices jumped a bunch and my good tenants had moved out. East bay is lower cost housing than south bay. South bay is crazy busy traffic and expensive housing. Not familiar enough with south bay specific communities to say what OP should do. I can only say for me that I am very happy to be out of CA, and SF Bay Area specifically. Even with the higher paying jobs in Silicon Valley, it seems very hard for a young family now.

One thing I have noticed though, people that grow up there and have the "conditioning" to the costs and politics have a different perspective about it. They just accept it and since they have not lived elsewhere, they are happy to stay. I think many could do better if they moved, but you have to be willing to make the move and uproot from the familiar.

Another observation was people generally have a very big portion of their retirement savings that is stuck in the house. Since the house costs so much, they do not have as much savings. When you spend all you have to just to put a roof over your head, it does not leave as much available for additional savings.
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Old 01-20-2016, 01:48 PM   #29
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I grew up here, and except for a few years in Idaho (Navy... No, really!) I've always lived in the SF Bay Area. In that time, it's gone from affordable in spots to really, really expensive. As in million dollar fixer-upper expensive, even in what were considered suburbs at one time.

Some of the current peak can be blamed on the tech boom, but having lived through the boom/bust cycles here, I'll note that each time around, we see higher highs and higher lows in housing prices.

Someone looking for an 'affordable' place here is pretty much limited to:
* A tiny condo
* a serious fixer-upper in the outer suburbs, away from public transit like BART stations
* Competing for small quantities of 'affordable' housing San Francisco is requiring as part of new construction (This gets cutthroat...)
* Living in the exurbs with a 2 hour commute (each way)

(I'm not bashing. It really is that bad. Worse than NYC, and approaching Tokyo.)

In looking at moving to locations away from the urban core where I could afford to live, something like Christchurch, New Zealand looks pretty reasonable as long as I don't have to commute any more...


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Old 01-20-2016, 02:24 PM   #30
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Another observation was people generally have a very big portion of their retirement savings that is stuck in the house. Since the house costs so much, they do not have as much savings. When you spend all you have to just to put a roof over your head, it does not leave as much available for additional savings.
One who works in SV and is a homeowner actually has two jobs, his or her actual work and the other job of speculating on the house potential cash-out price. Given the very high going- in prices, it will certainly be safer and may also have a better bottom line as well as lifestyle to find an upscale apartment complex very near to work, and if the family includes a child giving access to quality schools, and just plan to rent. In that case, a housing break will work for him or be neutral.

My long ago memory is that with trust deeds and California law, there is not going to be a deficiency judgment no matter how bad one's luck is in buying, but still it's nice to walk away clean if things go poorly. Somebody has to be able to pay rent in upper middle class developments, and Bay Area tech workers will never find themselves in Section 8. This is what I would do. Fund all the tax advantaged vehicles, get all the matches available, but don't speculate on house prices.

Nothing is forever, except of course the love of a good woman.

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Old 01-20-2016, 07:42 PM   #31
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Parts of Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose have single family houses within your budget. Depending on which part, the commute and schools are good to acceptable.

Be sure to keep an open mind that $1.2m won't buy a lot in Silicon Valley. If you are willing to remodel, you might get a better deal.

Redfin is one of my favorite real estate web site. Enter location like Santa Clara County. Then narrow search by adding Filters like property type, price. Zoom in to narrow location further.
https://www.redfin.com/

I also used real estate sites like Zillow, Realtor, Trulia

Find out what school district an address belongs to
https://www.sccassessor.org/

Map of school district
Boundary Maps

2013 API scores, can't find any more recent ones, maybe this is the most recent
API County List of Schools

> 900 excellent academic and usually highly competitive schools
> 800 good academic schools
> 700 ok academic schools
Probably don't want to consider below 700

Goo Luck

Agree. also, check out Northpoint. Cupertino. Will be years before you have to consider high school. Townhouse, and Condo are different.
well with in your budget. Good area.

Townhouse, usually have enclosed attached garage, and only one common wall with neighbor.

Condo, very similar to apt living.
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:26 PM   #32
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Actually that's not exactly true. During the downtown, the Santa Clara tax authority substantially reduced the assessed value our house for tax purposes. So our property bill went down significantly (the percentage decrease was inline with market value decline).
Sooooo... when do you expect the next big downturn in the Bay Area. Maybe the OP should wait to buy....
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:57 PM   #33
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One thing to keep in mind in picking out a neighborhood is to look at how the home prices fared in 2008. Some areas saw huge declines and others barely dropped in price. In general the outer suburbs got hit the hardest.

Or follow Ha's advice to rent. Even though rents are high, I would rather be out rent money than get laid off and be stuck with a $1M mortgage on a house now worth $500K, unless you pay cash for a house or have a big nest egg to get through the next job / housing bust.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:39 AM   #34
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Sooooo... when do you expect the next big downturn in the Bay Area. Maybe the OP should wait to buy....

I have no clue. People are talking about bubble but I haven't looked at any valuation measures. But is renting until there is a decline a bad strategy?

The big benefit with prop 13 is that any year inflation is greater than 2% means a real decline in your prop tax. This is just awesome for long time homeowners.


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Old 01-21-2016, 10:16 AM   #35
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Had a realtor ring my bell the other day. Asked me if I knew of anyone interested in selling because inventory is low.

I just told him I'm not in the market, which is probably what he wanted to know.

I'm probably sitting on at least $500-600k in gains but if I sold, I would just raise my property tax base way up, unless I moved out of state. My place is a 1300-1400 sq. ft. townhouse and I see people buy homes which are palatial in comparison for under $500k in other parts of the country.

And rents around here are probably even worse. My mortgage is well under $1000 and no way I can find rents anywhere near that and the apts. would be tiny.
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:20 AM   #36
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Well, it WOULD mean that, except every local government agency and school district has figured out how to pass fees and parcel taxes in the low turnout elections. The idea behind Prop 13 was that taxes would eventually decline to 1 percent of assessed value, as bonds were paid off and the hurdle to pass new bonds would prevent most from passing. My tax bill is now more like 1.6 percent of assessed value.
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Old 01-21-2016, 10:37 AM   #37
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I'm probably sitting on at least $500-600k in gains but if I sold, I would just raise my property tax base way up, unless I moved out of state. My place is a 1300-1400 sq. ft. townhouse and I see people buy homes which are palatial in comparison for under $500k in other parts of the country.
Yes, but that is other parts of the country, and for the most part these parts all suck relative to good parts of SF Bay, especially if one is a software/tech worker. Not only will his pay be better there, but his other opportunities are all around, and perhaps best, he is in a place where he will always be learning and improving his career. Last but not least, these so called palatial homes are generally ugly as sin, and everybody else has one too, so you get no points. Plus, you are either freezing or boiling too often.

Quote:
And rents around here are probably even worse. My mortgage is well under $1000 and no way I can find rents anywhere near that and the apts. would be tiny.
Your situation is much different from a new entrant into the market, and for the most part unless you are soon planning to leave the area for good, you are much better off holding. Market timing with homes breaks up marriages, makes everybody mad, and usually does not work.

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Old 01-21-2016, 11:45 AM   #38
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Well, it WOULD mean that, except every local government agency and school district has figured out how to pass fees and parcel taxes in the low turnout elections. The idea behind Prop 13 was that taxes would eventually decline to 1 percent of assessed value, as bonds were paid off and the hurdle to pass new bonds would prevent most from passing. My tax bill is now more like 1.6 percent of assessed value.
Our property tax bill is .04 percent of market value these days. Prop 13 has worked out for us, but it does keep older homeowners like us from downsizing. If we moved to a lock and go condo and didn't like it, there is no going back to the kind of house we have now without paying a lot more in property taxes. So like many of our retired neighbors, we stay put and that lock in effect adds to the housing shortage.
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Old 01-21-2016, 12:23 PM   #39
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DD lived on Maranta Ave in Sunnyvale. Although she sold before the kids started school she had no concerns about those that they would attend. Most homes in that area are split-levels typical of the 80s. Hard to say what a particular home would sell for today.

I just looked at Zillow. Her home sold for $1.8M April 2015. It is a pristine house but, Gulp!!
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Where to buy in Bay Area, California?
Old 01-21-2016, 01:12 PM   #40
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Where to buy in Bay Area, California?

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Had a realtor ring my bell the other day. Asked me if I knew of anyone interested in selling because inventory is low.

I just told him I'm not in the market, which is probably what he wanted to know.

I'm probably sitting on at least $500-600k in gains but if I sold, I would just raise my property tax base way up, unless I moved out of state. My place is a 1300-1400 sq. ft. townhouse and I see people buy homes which are palatial in comparison for under $500k in other parts of the country.

And rents around here are probably even worse. My mortgage is well under $1000 and no way I can find rents anywhere near that and the apts. would be tiny.

Whether your property taxes would go up in CA would depend on where you now live and where you moved. There are 10 counties (last time I looked) that let you take your prop tax assessment with you. If you're interested, check out Props 60 and 90.


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