View Full Version : San Jose?
08-04-2008, 06:05 PM
DH's manager just put him in for a job in San Jose, CA. I guess this area is pretty much the hub of the telecom industry and if DH wants to grow his career with his current company we know that relocating is a major possibility.
Seeing as I am typing this from a very small town in Maine, California might as well be on another planet.
I am being totally premature about even breathing a word of this to anyone.... However, I just looked at realtor.com and the home prices in our budget are downright depressing and the schools have terrible ratings. It seems to be pretty obvious that we need to be looking at surrounding areas of San Jose.
This is where I'm getting totally lost, I've never been to California before. I hoping you guys know or know someone from this area who can point out a few nicer suburbs or neighborhoods to check out that are within reasonable commuting distance from San Jose.
I'm concerned about a safe, pleasant neighborhood, with good schools, populated by nice young families like we are still aiming to be (been TTC for a while now.) Somewhere we can live comfortably and not have to worry about accidently wearing gang colors, or installing bars on our windows.
After a few hours of preliminary research I am totally stumped. Can anyone help me?
I am terrified about even the concept of moving so far away... however, nice weather and year-round golf can't be all bad, right?!
Again, I'm trying not to make much of this, but I know I'm going to be thinking about it and trying to picture us living in California as we wait for DH's interview. Might as well get some solid info to work off instead of speculation, right?
Housing in the Bay Area is very expensive. And it's fairly common that the better the school district, the more expensive the homes.
There are so many things you need to think about. How far does your DH want to commute? Will you be working? Do you want a walkable downtown? Do you have an idea of a housing budget? Is a large yard important to you? Or would you rather live in an area with numerous parks? How do you feel about living in a culturally diverse neighborhood/town?
08-04-2008, 08:12 PM
San Jose is a very large city geographically. I think it's premature to be looking outside San Jose, as in further out.
You'd have to know where your DH will be working. What your budget is, what's important, etc. Depending on these factors, there are lots of nice areas in San Jose and neighboring towns (many of which are more expensive as you go up the pennisula towards SF).
08-04-2008, 10:46 PM
It's definitely the hub of tech companies, it's Silicon Valley. :) It's got its own feel to it, just like each area of the SF Bay does.
I think the questions above are great, but I'd add that you two should consider the amount of TIME your DH is willing to commute each way before you start looking outside San Jose.
Basically, the areas that are considered commutable distances are going to be the far South Bay, like Morgan Hill and Gilroy (many people move down there because it's a little cheaper); the Penninsula (going up towards SF, tends to be expensive); the East Bay (like Fremont or even as north as Oakland, and the more inland East Bay like Dublin or Livermore). The Santa Cruz/coast area is nice but that commute is very difficult--only one small highway, no real alternate routes--and the prices are high. Those are your options if you want the commute to be around an hour, and that's a general estimate because it depends on which part of San Jose his company is located. In the Bay Area we measure commutes by time, not distance, since they're not always proportionate. ;)
08-05-2008, 08:16 AM
Thanks for the quick replies everyone...
We are currently hoping to get about $400,000 for our current home... A 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath colonial that's around 3,000 square feet on just under an acre of land. We bought this house in a still-developing neighborhood just under two years ago, so we're pretty much hoping to just break even on it in the current market.
DH's office would be on Rose Orchard Pkwy... I think that's near 237 and 880 according to Google maps.
We are totally ready to sacrifice house and lot size for a great neighborhood with great schools and hopefully a commute at an hour or less. I am self-employed and work from home so it's just DH's commute we are worried about.
We are pretty outdoorsy people and have a big dog. We like to play lots of golf too. I hate labeling myself, but if pressed, I would say that we are fairly conservative and understated... We have also been struggling to ttc for 1.5 years now and in anticipation of having children, consider ourselves in the "young family" category.
Everything where we currently live is really spread out, but the roads are pleasant country routes with little or no traffic. We moved here from the Metro Boston area because the congestion was really getting to us... I guess that makes us totally crazy for considering San Jose, but if it's the right move to grow DH's career, we really should go for it. DH's manager keeps telling us how nice it is out there... I just can't picture it. Hopefully, we'll be able to afford an extra ticket if DH goes for an interview so I can come along and look around.
Thanks for any input... At this point, I'm just surfing various real estate sites, trying to picture where we could end up living.
08-05-2008, 10:27 AM
Hmmm... I'm guessing you all might like somewhere in the East Bay where your DH could take the ACE train (Altamont Commuter Express) to work, or maybe down in Morgan Hill or Gilroy. That would be a long commute, but you defintely get more house.
08-05-2008, 12:10 PM
Considering where he works, I agree you're probably going to want to look seriously at the East Bay. Morgan Hill and Gilroy are just down 101 from there, but 101 and 880 are NOT easy commutes. My personal problem with going so far south is that you're really disconnected from the rest of the Bay Area and therefore are going to miss out on a lot of activities, culture, entertainment etc--so partly that depends on if you like to go out much. Some of the good things about the East Bay are that it's just across the Bay from the City (SF) so you can drive or take BART (the train) over there. And the way the geography is, there's a strip of cities along the Bay, then there are some hills (and a mountain), and then there is another strip of cities (Walnut Creek, Concord, Pleasanton, etc). That means there are lots of green areas, forests, and reservoirs for hiking, horseback riding, biking, etc within about 10 minutes regardless of where you live. And the beaches (like Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, etc) are only an hour away. However, the South Bay & down towards Morgan Hill tend to be more conservative, politically, so that could make you more comfortable. And that direction is getting down into the Central Valley, which is more rural and conservative--and lots of open places for outdoorsy activities. Something to think about.
Back to the commute thing--680 is usually a better commute, so you might want to look at Pleasanton and Sunol as options, although the prices tend to be higher along 680 than along 880. Other places to look at would be Fremont and Milpitas. Since you are concerned about gangs, etc, it's worth mentioning that East San Jose (east of 101) has quite a bit of gang activity, so if you chose there you would have to be careful about which neighborhood you pick. But then again, there's going to be SOME level of gang activity pretty much anywhere, unless maybe you're paying closer to $1m for a house. :rolleyes:
08-05-2008, 12:18 PM
SiValleySteph, Thanks so much for the advice!
I am really trying hard not to think about this until we have to, but the seed has been planted so to speak! Knowing the names of towns to search under is helpful.
I can't tell you what a shock the real estate is! And I thought I knew about crazy housing costs from living in Boston.
Scooter, Thanks for all the input! I won't bug you until I know if this is really even a possibility or not. In which case I will definitely be picking your brain about REs and so on... It doesn't help that all of this is happening perfectly coincided with my first Clomid cycle and thus the longest, crabbiest 2ww ever... :rolleyes:
08-05-2008, 02:15 PM
I actually work near 880 & 237 and my husband works in Sunnyvale off of 101. We used to live in South SJ, but moved to Gilroy 5 years ago since we could get a bigger & newer house for the same price as an older home that needed updating in SJ. We love our house and neighborhood. There are lots of young families. Gilroy is growing, including building new schools. We are farther away from things, like being able to go to Music in the Park in downtown SJ, but you will find that in a lot of other areas of the Bay Area also. We aren't that far from Monterey, so it is nice to be able to drive down there often.
When we drive to work, the traffic starts around Tully on 101, so until then, you are driving 70MPH, so although we are further south, I don't mind driving that far. If I leave at rush hour times, my commute varries from 45-60 mins. If I leave later or earlier, it is 30-45 mins.
I have family in south SJ, East SJ, Campbell, Santa Cruz & Los Gatos, so I can give you input on those areas, but don't have any experience with the North Bay or East Bay other than visiting.
08-06-2008, 01:17 PM
Thanks so much for all the input on areas to live. It is helping a little...
Now, can anyone tell me what they personally love/hate about living in the San Jose area and/or California in general?
08-06-2008, 04:24 PM
I think most people, when discussing what they love about the San Jose area is the weather and geography! We have an extremely mild climate. Sure we'll get a heat wave or a cool snap periodically, but even those (when compared to the rest of the country) are pretty mild. We don't get snow, but we are only a few hours drive from good skiing. We aren't normally in the 100s in the summer, but we are just a few hours drive from desert if you want to see one. We live close enough to enjoy a full day at the beach without having to deal with too much fog nor salt damage to our homes. The valley is pretty flat, but we are surrounded by gorgeous mountain ranges great for camping, hiking, etc.
What I hate about California is how crowded we are. We are constantly on top of one another - even our yards are very small compared with much of the rest of the country. My husband recently started biking part of the way into work and has found that he really isn't losing any time - thats how bad the traffic is!
The bay area is also extremely expensive. You've seen how expensive the housing is, but also expect more expensive living. Land is very expensive and in most cities, at a premium. Because of this, rents are higher for stores here than in the rest of the country, so they pass that cost on to the consumer. There are other reasons too, but generally expect most things you buy in the bay area to be slightly more expensive than the rest of the country - even more expensive than some other parts of California. Gas is a great example of this.
08-06-2008, 07:05 PM
I think Cativa put it very well! I'd also rank the two worst things here as the housing prices/living expense and the crowding. That should be somewhat familiar to you, since you live in Boston & I know it isn't exactly uncrowded or cheap there. But when the 2/1 fixer-upper houses out in the suburbs are over half a million dollars, it's just hard to make much momentum around here.
If this transfer starts looking more likely, maybe you two could schedule a visit out here to get a better feel for the areas/communities?
08-07-2008, 11:00 AM
I love my area - Willow Glen (the part of San Jose I live in) and previously West San Jose/Campbell. :D
Weather, people, diversity (okay Willow Glen is not that diverse), restaurants, jobs for us tech people, etc.
I love the view of the mountains you get from just about everywhere!
I actually don't think my neighborhood/area is too crowded. I like having neighbors.
Yes, housing price is the #1 downside, for sure. I do like to think, though, that we would be happy in the same size house somewhere else even if we could afford a bunch more. (We have 1675 sq ft for family of 4.)
08-07-2008, 12:02 PM
Thanks for the input guys!
I told DH, that if he get's flown out for an interview, I'm coming too, no matter what.
Even if we don't take the job (if it's even offered) I have always wanted to see San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean.
And for the record... I USED to live in Boston. Now we live in a very small town in Southern Maine. There is a one room public library, sheep down the street, and a trout stream behind our house. There is very little traffic here, except for school buses and the occasional tractor. The beach is 20 minutes away and the mountains are an hour. It's a very relaxed, slower pace here, which is why we love it. The summers are usually beautiful and the winters gorgeous and snowy. There is nothing quite like Christmas in the Maine countryside...
We're NOT psyched about the prospect of having to seriously downgrade our home and deal with crazy congestion again. We would also be really sad to leave all of our families on the East Coast. We ARE psyched about the weather and the prospect of playing golf year round.
Basically, it comes down the DH's career, he's in telecomm, so apparently, San Jose is kind of the hub of the telecomm industry, so it could be a really great opportunity for him. It's all so up in air right now, which is hard.
California, just feels so far away... probably a little bit like Maine must feel to you guys! I'm excited about the prospect of a new adventure, but also really nervous about how we'll fit in there and what our lives would be like.
Thanks again for all your input! You've really helped me stress less (or at least more productively) as we've been waiting to see how this all pans out.
I'll keep you posted, okay?
08-08-2008, 08:59 AM
"...really nervous about how we'll fit in there..."
Moving here for you might be a total culture shock, its true.
If it helps at all though, you shouldn't have any trouble with the people here treating you like an "outsider." Californians are used to new people streaming into our state from other states and from other countries. We aren't the type that will call you "the new folks" 10 years from now just because you haven't been on your property for 3 generations if you get my drift. Also, since we have so much diversity, you are pretty sure to find some group that you mesh well with if you do some digging.
A word of warning though - have fun while visiting San Francisco, but don't just go there and think you have a taste of all of the bay area. First, you'll be a tourist and as in most touristy towns not everyone is that fond of tourists I'm afraid :( Second, San Francisco is a world apart from San Jose, which completely different from Gilroy, which isn't anything like Berkeley, which might as well be another planet from Pleasanton kwim?
Good luck to your husband on his interview!
08-08-2008, 09:36 AM
Oh Cativa, I totally understand what you are saying about a possible tourist trip to San Fran...
I would think of it as something totally different than scoping out a possible life in the San Jose area... It's just always been on my list as somewhere I'd like to visit (as a tourist) and who knows when I'll be out that way again!
I used to live in Beacon Hill, a rather small, historic neighborhood in the heart of Boston. Because of it's quaint brick sidewalks, very expensive brownstone homes, charming antique stores and little gardens tucked here and there (not to mention several historically significant buildings) it gets a lot of tourist traffic.
But people make their homes there and are often irritated by tourists as they attempt to shoehorn modern living into a tiny, old neighborhood. I've had a cab drive over a pair of underwear that fell out of my basket on the way to the laundromat, only to have a tourist photograph me, thinking it was hilarious. Not fun. I also must have had "please ask me for directions" tattooed on my forehead the entire I lived in Boston.
In other words, I think I know exactly what you're talking about. Ideally, the interview would be on a Wednesday or Thursday so while DH was doing that, I could acquaint myself with a few neighborhoods we'd like to consider. Leaving us with a day or so to do some preliminary work with a realtor. Then we could hopefully go to San Francisco and enjoy the weekend together and relax a little together as well as explore.
Anyway, we haven't heard anything about it yet anyway, so it may be a total no-go anyway.
08-13-2008, 01:33 PM
Oh, I'm late chiming in, but I will post my thoughts anyway. We moved here from Boston and we still go back east 3-4 times a year, so I can definitely relate on that front. It IS far, but it's not impossible to make it work. Plus for the first year+, your place will be the hot place for all your friends and family to visit/vacation, so you won't be too lonely. We moved here for my husband's job for what we thought would only be 3 years (he had a contract). Once the 3 years were up, we bought a house (townhouse) and we have now been here almost 5 years. That said, I still don't consider this our 'forever' home, and I take comfort in the fact that we CAN leave and go back east any time we want, you know? I think it makes it a lot more scary if you think about relocating *forever*. Maybe this is just a great opportunity that presents itself that you guys take advantage of for a few years, or maybe a few more, but it doesn't have to be forever. That's what I still tell myself. ;)
We live in Mountain View, so I'll make my pitch. We love it, but it's more expensive than some areas, less than others. We like the location (about 5 miles exactly in the middle of both of our jobs) and that we can walk to a fun downtown. It's a pretty young/hip crowd with lots of young families, at least in our area. We've only lived here about a year, though, and I hadn't been much more south of Palo Alto before we moved here b/c we used to live in San Mateo, so I'm not a good resource for San Jose.
I commute via public transportation, and that may be a possibility for your husband depending on what company he is working for. A lot of companies in the area have shuttle buses that they use in conjunction with Caltrain to cut down on commuting hassles. It's really nice w/ the cost of gas and we are able to easily survive with only 1 car (my work has a free shuttle bus and provides free Caltrain passes for employees). My husband's company also has a free shuttle bus that he can walk to from our house, but he's too prissy to use it so he drives. :p However, we planned on my continuing to use public transportation when we moved (since it's free) and we planned where to live accordingly. It isn't for everyone, but if it's a possibility for your husband, I thought I would mention it.
I think the good and bad parts about living here have been pretty well covered. My husband and I have always lived places with snowy winters, discernible seasons, etc. and we were very sad to be leaving those things behind when we moved. However, the fabulous weather here is extremely hard to pass up, and we go back east every Christmas to get our snowy fill. The only thing I occasionally miss weather-wise is new england fall, but we usually try to go back east once in the fall too to get our fix. My husband is a hard core new englander and I am surprised how quickly he took to the weather here. It really is fantastic. And as others have said, it's very centrally located for beach, skiing, wine tasting, sight seeing, the works. The biggest downfall by far is the cost of living. Coming from Boston IMO it is mostly the cost of housing and less so the price of... other stuff, except maybe gas, yikes. I always say I never thought I would live somewhere more expensive in Boston - and then I moved here! After this I think we just need to relocate to NYC or London to round it out nicely. ;)
08-13-2008, 03:27 PM
I'm from Gilroy if you have any questions, I also lived in San Francisco, Alameda, and Santa Clara.
Gilroy is a great place to raise a family, I also loved Alameda. I honestly love the Bay Area, yes it's crowded and expensive, but it's worth it IMO.
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