Moving to the Bay Area
March 19, 2009 11:43 AM Subscribe
Help me plan my move to the Bay Area!
posted by skaye to work & money (19 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks to everyone who answered my last post, you were all very very helpful. Now that I'm at stage 2 of the move-to-Bay-Area process, I'm hoping the hive mind can help me again.
I'm planning a scouting trip to California at the end of April, about a month before my job starts, to look for housing options and figure the region out. I will have about 5 days. With the previous help of Mefites, I've narrowed down the places I think I can/want to live to pretty much two zones: downtown San Mateo and Potrero Hill in San Francisco (the latter for its proximity to the Caltrain system, which I will have to use every day to get to work in San Carlos, the former for its drive-able proximity to San Carlos and because I want to live within walking distance of shops, restaurants, etc.)
My questions are:
- Do you know anything about these two areas - what are they like as places to live? I am also still open to other area suggestions, though, so feel free to chime in on that. I would really love to live in SF but have realized that unless I live within walking distance of a Caltrain station I will start hating the commute really quickly.
- Is Millbrae worth checking out? My only reason for asking is that it attractively has both BART and Caltrain access.
- Any advice for how to go about looking for rentals in these areas? This is my first job out of college so I have no experience with this sort of thing. I've read as much as I can online and it sounds like I need to go with a credit report and checkbook in hand. Is this true? How current does my credit report need to be? (E.g. can I print one out now, in March, and still have it be convincing for a landlord in April/May?)
- Given that I start work immediately after graduation and won't have much time to shop around for housing, should I stay at a motel for the first week of work while I find a lease, or should I look to rent a place during my recce trip and pay for a month's rent without living there? I'm assuming that landlords won't appreciate the "I love this place and want to live here but can only move in in a month" spiel. Are there any other options I haven't considered?
- If I live in San Mateo, I will need to buy a car. I'm looking to buy something used and cheap - is a budget of about $4k reasonable for a small, modest, but safe and functional car? Any advice for where to go in the area to purchase one? Any car type recommendations to avoid sky high auto insurance?
- What's the best way to use/organize my limited time on the scouting trip? During the trip I'll be living with a friend in Berkeley, if that's relevant.
Any other first-time-renter/first-time-move to CA/first-time-car-owner advice would be very very welcome. The contract is for one year, so long-term stuff isn't really a concern for me. I'm sorry to bludgeon everyone with so many questions all at once - thank you all in advance!