Can you still buy a house for $500k in the Bay Area?
Is there anywhere in the greater Bay Area where you can buy a single-family home (not a condo) for $500,000 or less?
I’m working on finalizing a divorce and trying to figure out the future for me and me 2 kids, of whom I have custody (ages 7 and 10). I had hoped to stay in the house my ex and I bought together, but I can’t afford to buy him out given that the current appraised value is almost triple what we paid for it (bought during the Recession). My income is very modest, but I expect to have a decent amount for a down payment if we sell the house. After running some numbers it looks like 500K is about the max I can afford.
I’m a Bay area native, grew up in Berkeley and El Cerrito, and have lived in Oakland for 20 years, but I know I couldn’t buy a shoebox for 500K in any of those cities. For those of you who have been in the market recently, where should I look?
I’m not looking for anything big or fancy, just a single-family home with a yard, in a relatively safe neighborhood (wouldn’t expect it to be crime free, since crime is a reality in an urban area, just want my kids and I to feel safe walking to the local park, or sitting on the porch after dark, that kind of thing). I don’t care if it has an updated kitchen or the latest fixtures, but I do need it to be structurally sound, since I won’t have money for a big project like a new roof or foundation anytime soon.
Other things that are important to me: racial diversity, a decent-sized liberal population, and good special education services in the local public schools (one of my kids has learning disabilities). I work primarily in Berkeley but spend 1 or 2 days a week in Hayward, so anything too far north would be too much of a commute.
Leaving the Bay Area entirely isn’t an option for a variety of reasons.
Thank you in advance for any helpful suggestions! This process has been really hard--soul-draining, to be honest--but I’m hoping for a better life for me and my kids in the future.