New poster, prospective buyer in SF and very happy to have found this informative/lively community!
My fiancee and I are looking to buy a SFH in the Noe/Dolores Heights area in the $1.4 -2M range. We could probably afford up to $2.2-2.3M but would rather not stretch to our max.
Would love any perspective on the following:
Given our budget, is it crazy to buy a house with no garage in these neighborhoods? I think this is one of the only ways to get what we are looking for at this price point. We will have a car but don’t mind street parking as long as street parking is decently available. We would also be open to adding a garage in the future (how much does this realistically cost in $$ and effort? We got one rough quote of $200K for a fairly hilly lot - this seems low to me), but this would be an expensive and possibly frustrating project. However, are we hurting ourselves on future appreciation - e.g. should we either pay more or give something else up (views, SFH) at this price point for sake of a garage?
What would you do with our budget, we can probably only afford an entry-level SFH in this area? More info on our priorities/non-priorities are below. Would love your thoughts on whether we are compromising the right things here, with both lifestyle and future appreciation in mind.
Should we even buy now, or wait given that (IMO) price increases seem to be softening and interest rates rising? We are from but do not currently live in the Bay Area. We currently live in a HCOL east coast metro and plan to relocate back to the Bay Area in 2 years. If we bought now, it would be to hedge future appreciation but we would take a cashflow loss renting the place out until we can move in. If prices remain stable in the next 2 years, I would rather wait as we will be in a better cash position and can avoid the hassle of being long-distance landlords.
Priorities (in order of importance):
- Location - We started looking broadly, but have narrowed to the Noe/Dolores area for the mix of walkability, sunshine, views neighborhood feel, proximity to friends and dog-friendly amenities and relatively easy commute south.
- Views - This is huge for my fiancee.
- 3 bed/2 ba (or potential to expand/renovate to achieve this)
- Rentability - We plan to rent the place out (at cashflow loss of hopefully no more than ~$2K/month with 20% down) until we move back to the bay area, so the place needs to be in rentable condition with minimum rehabbing. We will do more extensive work before we actually move in.
- SFH - We currently own a townhouse. While it’s been nice, we are (perhaps irrationally) enamored with SFH-ownership, especially in a city that is not making more of them.
- Garage - will we regret not having a garage? how hard is it to add a garage in the city on a hilly lot (our lot will probably be hilly given our desire for views)
- Schools - we don’t have kids yet, and will probably move before our future kids are in school
- Layout/renovation status - We feel comfortable rehabbing in the future before we move in (spending another $200-400K)
- Yard/outdoor space - We would love to have nice outdoor spaces but it’s less important for us. We are ok with having a smaller lot as long as there’s a deck with nice views.