Buying a house under 750K

Hi all

I've found looking through threads here very helpful, but wanted to pose some other questions.  We have moments when we are feeling great about our search, and other moments when we feel like we are losing our mind.  We are in contract right now, but think we have to pull out - our inspections revealed over 100K in extra work that wasn't part of the seller's disclosures.

Here's what I'm wondering - any advice on what neighborhood where we can find an attractive 3/2 or 2/1 with bonus space house in an attractive neighborhood?  Meaning - when you walk around houses and lawns look cared for, neighbors are friendly, kids can play.  For under 750K.  This seems like so much money yet we are having trouble finding a home and wonder if we should just give up and move out of the bay.  At first we were also trying to take public schools into account, but with our daughter still just a baby, it seemed like that added a whole other dimension to the search that we just couldn't fathom.

We've been considering: Richmond annex, various neighborhoods around the Laurel and Dimond ( tho so far nothing close to Dimond has been affordable) and areas around Mills College.  My husband really wants a walkable neighborhood and I really want a house over 1000 sq feet on a lot of at least 4000 sq feet.

There is so much that varies so quickly in neighborhoods.  Any tips appreciated!

-Eli

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RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

Redwood Heights.  Just up the hill from the Laurel. 

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

Look into Hercules. Have lived her for thirty years. Close to San Francisco and also easy access to Hwy 4 and Hwy 680. Culturally diverse and safe neighborhood. Elementary schools are fine. Good luck. 

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

There's so many pros and cons to all neighborhoods. Richmond Annex, Point Richmond, Marina Bay (Richmond), Pinole, Hercules all might be options for SF homes in that price range, maybe. You might also want to consider condos/townhomes, and maybe that leads you to Walnut Creek or Pleasant Hill, where a very small condo might be in that price range.

As someone who bought a house when we had a one year old and were expecting #2, I am very happy we bought a 4/2. It has been great to have that extra room (now my home office, thanks to shelter in place). All our school friends in the neighborhood who have 3/1s or 2/1s say they feel like they're cramped as the kid or kids have gotten bigger. #firstworldproblems for sure, just a data point for your consideration.

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

You’ve just described San Leandro! It gets written off by a lot of people, but in many ways it’s one of the last affordable gems in the East Bay. Check out the Estudillo Estates and Broadmoor neighborhoods. It’s right off the 580, is flat so it’s great for biking and walking, there’s a co-op preschool in the neighborhood at Roosevelt Elementary, walkable to an amazing coffee shop (Zocalo) and restaurants (like Top Hatter, which is worth checking out in any case). Who knows what’s going to happen with the pandemic, but the city was also in the process of rebuilding the community pool at Roosevelt Elementary, which would make a pool within walking distance. When our kid was a baby we loved walking the neighborhood, and the Oakland Zoo and all of its space was just next door. The Broadmoor neighborhood has smaller homes/lots, but I’d imagine that most are over 4,000 sf. Estudillo Estates has bigger homes and is more leafy in general. Good luck!

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

If you are willing to purchase a duplex or townhome (many of which are wonderful) you can still find a place in Alameda for under $750K that also meets your other desires - walkable, comfortable neighborhood, yard, friendly, kids can play. Plus you'll get excellent public schools. I would recommend concentrating your search on Bay Farm (94502), where there are many duplexes/townhomes on lovely quiet streets. I haven't seen single homes going for under $750 but there may occasionally be one of those as well, either on the main island or on bay farm.

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

Hi Eli

I'm sorry to hear about the additional inspection costs. We were in the same boat back in 2017. We were renting a place not far from Mills college and desired all the things you mentioned in your post. We did not find that on the west side of the Caldecott tunnel. We ended up moving well past Mt Diablo into Brentwood. If you work out in Oakland, this may not be a good solution for you. Otherwise, our neighborhood has well maintained homes, the neighbors are friendly, our kid plays with other kids almost daily out in the cul-de-sac, the schools are well rated, and we have a 4/3 2000+ sqft home on a large lot with a pool, small orchard, and additional yard space (for about 650k). Every week we ride our bikes as a family to downtown Brentwood for the farmer's market (under 2 miles from our neighborhood and a lovely, ride through nice neighborhoods). BART is available in the next city over, Antioch. We've taken BART as far as SF for day trips as a family. 

Any who, this solution may not work for your needs, especially if you have to drive past the Caldecott for work. But, if you are willing to extend your housing search, your family may be happier for it. (We certainly love it out here. I'm writing this post in our small orchard shaded by our fig and apricot tree. You may love it out here too!)

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

Looking for the exact same thing and coming up with very little! I'd add El Cerrito-- usually more expensive than 750K but once in awhile I see something. And the North and East neighborhood in Richmond is fairly nice. I'm eager to hear what others suggest.

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

Have you considered Hercules? There is a lot of new construction and many options around your budget. They are currently building new residences with retail on the bottom which will look like Emeryville's Bay Street. There are plans for ferry service to Sf in the future and there's a transbay bus called the Lynx to take you directly to Sf. It's safe and family friendly. https://www.redfin.com/city/8519/CA/Hercules/filter/viewport=38.03446:37.97793:-122.22204:-122.30135

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

Wow, its like you are living inside my brain. My hubby and I have been desperately looking for a home in that same price range, same neighborhoods, same sqft, we also have a baby. 

If you figure out the sweet spot, let me know! Good luck to you!

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

We live in May Valley in the Richmond/El Sobrante area. Up Morningside Drive is a fairly charming And diverse neighborhood in your price range with a well liked (If not high scoring) elementary school. Not walkable as it’s in the hills and not much in terms of nearby restaurants (Pinole is strip malls and el sobrante is pretty depressed) but it’s safe and friendly and clean. Houses selling in the 750 range are over 2000 sq feet. 

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

We live in Pinole Valley, and last I checked, houses like ours (3/2, 6000sqft lot, 1300sqft house) were going for between $600/650. Our neighborhood is super friendly and has lots of (and ever-more) kids! In a normal summer, there's a whole gang of young elementary school kids down the street from us who literally ride bikes in the street every afternoon like it was 1960 ;) Our 3.5-year-old has tons of neighborhood friends and there is a fairly active parent community with neighborhood activities (again, when circumstances allow -- not so much this year but we'll be back!). In the last 2 years, we've had a Halloween party, spring egg hunt, and MLK Service Day food pantry drive (with 10 toddlers walking around with a wagon collecting toilet paper ;)) plus tons and tons of informal events. There's a big group that goes trick or treating together.

As far as other neighbors, the neighborhood's definitely in transition -- we have a lot of seniors and empty-nesters as well as young families. We really do love where we live; the only hassle is when my husband has to commute to his job in Berkeley. Can't speak to the schools yet as I don't have a school-age kid, but I know families who are sending their kids to the local public elementary school (walkable from our house) as well as various private ones (full disclosure: we're probably leaning private, but it's more to do with our family's specific needs than the general quality of the local schools).

Let me know if you have any questions. Happy to help!

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

Hi, I wish you luck in your search.  From what we understand, the days of being able to buy a house near Berkeley , much less in Berkeley, for $750,000 are long gone. I’m sure you’re working with an agent, and I’d be surprised if they’re not telling you the same thing. A quick look at Zillow homes for sale between $700 and $800K with some of your other wants shows there are 38; less than half under $750K, and very few located in Oakland or Richmond. There are quite a few in Hayward, which may not be what you want.  I hope we’re wrong, and you can find your home.

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

Someone else asked a similar question a few months ago.  It can be done.  You'll be able to find something in Concord, Martinez, Castro Valley, Novato and Rio Vista.  I've been watching housing prices and was expecting a drop due to covid-19.  Hard to believe but prices are holding firm and buyers are paying over asking. I don't get it. 

Good luck

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

That was our situation in 2018, which was the year when prices shot up to their current plateau. We felt like we were losing our minds, too! After many months of nail-biting we eventually found a house close to where you've been looking: in the Allendale district. We ended up spending $800, which was more than we'd budgeted for. But the house is on one of the loveliest, friendliest streets in the district, and it's 1150 sq ft in near-perfect shape with a huge, beautiful garden, so we went for it. There are a few houses around here going for under 750K, but they usually have much smaller yards or need work.

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

All houses need work. I know 100k seems like a lot, but having bought a home twice now, we always lost out to all-cash buyers for the move-in ready homes (And sold our first home that we ended up updating to an all-cash buyer). Yes, you may end up spending more on this particular house, but you know you can get it. If the needed work are things that you can do over time my first recommendation would be to try and negotiate down the price and if not, plan ahead and save. 

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

Consider the north area of San Leandro near downtown, great library, shopping. Easy access back to Oskland. We made the choice for a bigger house and private school over staying in our Oak neighborhood which we loved. SL offered nice quiet neighborhoods to choose from. Also walkable to BART if you look in the area near city hall called Best Manor. I understand your exact frustration but very happy with lir choice.

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

If you are willing to go out a little farther like parts of San Leandro, Concord, Walnut Creek (good schools, sub $750k will get you a 3/2 townhouse). We have 2 elementary school age kids, just moved from Oakland after 13 years to WC and couldn't be happier with our neighborhood and amenities. 

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

San Leandro or San Lorenzo. We wish we had bought in San Leandro instead of stretching our budget to buy a smaller house in North Oakland with a "good" school. San Leandro is close enough, has lovely suburban / family friendly vibe, surprisingly walkable. OUSD has so many problems, but because we are house poor, we can't afford private school. Especially, nowadays, we really wish we had a bigger yard for kids to run around and play and live in a family friendly neighborhood.

-- Feeling stuck in Oakland and wishing for a more spacious suburban life

RE: Buying a house under 750K ()

I have lived in Hayward for almost 20 years and I have loved raising my son here. I’m not oblivious to the negative things people say about it, but honestly, that hasn’t been our experience at all. We live on a kid-friendly dead end street, very safe (Sometimes we forget to lock our doors type of safe), solid public schools (Stonebrae Elem/Bret Harte Middle/ Hayward High kids do very well, but there are others), great farmers’ market, small walkable downtown, fabulous parks and rec, brand new library, etc. Also very progressive and diverse. I’m sure you’ll find more and better services and vibe in “more desirable” towns like Alameda, Albany, etc, but for the price tag, the right neighborhood in Hayward cannot be beat!