Looking for house with a max 2.2M budget

Hi there,

We’re a couple in our late 30s (combined income 430k) looking to buy a house with a max 2.2M budget.
We want semi-good school district and enough room for the in-laws.

Here are two homes that we looked at recently but acted too slow.

We are living in a condo right now but have saved enough down payment for our house.

I want to solicit your opinions since you guys have seen a lot, whether it is a smart move to jump to such a big purchase at this time and whether our choices (links below) are good.



Those homes are far apart geographically. You’re literally all over the map.

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I was once like that: all over the map. Where do you guys go to work?

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why two home wide apart? Is your work location near by millbrae? Both are having creeks, flood insurance and hazard.

I was looking at walbrook, but stayed away for three facts 1) Creek 2) Market is slowing down 3) I can wait as I have good home, even if prices are north, no issue for me.

Lynbrook is a much better high school than mills.

Walbrook is not Lynbrook, but Prospect High. If this is Lynbrook school, then price is above 3M !

Yes, Lynbrook is better. But the linked house in San Jose does not go to Lynbrook.

To OP: I’d buy in best location possible with crappiest (or smallest) house you can stand. You said enough room for in-laws, so does that mean 3 bedrooms, 2 baths? $2.2M for 3/2 can get you into most cities in peninsula. If your requirement is 4/2 or 4/3 for $2.2M, then your choices are a bit limited but still many options. Not knowing any more info, cannot give any useful opinion or advice.

Well, maybe not.

I looked at the houses on the right side of Lawrence, there are a lot of options between 1.5M and 2M. Take this one for example:


It has been sitting unsold for 50 days, asking for 2M. 5/3 at 2500ft. Plenty big for family and two sets of inlaws I think.

Or is there some obvious flaws I didn’t see?

thank you guys, you are much more experienced.

one of us work in the city and another work in the south bay.
so we are looking from west san jose all the way up to millbrae (not sure if this is a bad thing)

i’ll keep looking and solicit your opinions.

Both are driving? Don’t need near Caltrain for easy access to city?

Millbrae sold

Yes caltrain to the city.

greatschool rates both mills and lynbrook at 10, why lynbrook is much better?
also prospect high is rated at 9, and from your reaction, it seems like lynbrook is worth 1M more?

Also we looked at this


and it lists two high schools: Carlmont High & Sequoia Union High

how do we tell which school that address is assigned to?


Just to throw it out there, how about Fremont? With a budget like that, you should be able to buy in Mission San Jose neighborhood with its great schools and you should get a pretty nice home with a large lot. Weather in Fremont is pretty nice and warm. Each of you would have to commute though by Bart to the city or drive across bridge to South Bay but doable I think. Sure, Fremont may not have the cache of some of the other places mentioned but it is still a desirable city where a lot of tech workers are moving into. In fact, maybe you can buy a smaller house and build/design your dream home there instead of having to settle for something already made.

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Mission Fremont is a great suggestion. Another option that works for both SF and South Bay would be Palo Alto, but 2.2M won’t buy you much in PA.

Lynbrook is much better than Prospect. Check out our other thread about Berkeley admissions stats.

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Emerald Hills

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What square footage are you looking for/how many bedrooms in the non-inlaw part? Sounds like PA might be the place to look so that you can split the commute.

Are you ok with Menlo Atherton as a high school? They have a mixed demographic with an honors program. If so, Menlo Park might also be a good match. Encinal and some of the other MP elementary schools are supposed to be good. Hillview is recently built and people I know with kids there are happy.

I’d recommend either San Carlos or Menlo Park.

Buy the crappiest house in the best location you can.

When doing your budgeting, don’t forget to account for property tax, max mortgage interest rate deduction, and AMT. Good luck!

Our house hit the market today. It’s small but updated, sits on a lot that’s perfect for adding on. The assigned elementary isnt great but it’s easy enough to transfer to a better school that’s just as close. It’s super convenient for commutes.
Short drive to diridion station, even shorter drive to Santa Clara station.


I can see a couple of issues.

  1. It’s by the quarry train tracks.
  2. There is an overhead power line with structure nearby.

The seller agent is a low baller in asking price and is probably negotiating hard for more than 2M. No buyer has bent yet, I guess.

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Sarcasm? Dropped $300k from Apr’s asking. For $2 mil, can get better location.