Where to buy to live and rent if I work in SF? Max budget 850k

I’m 26, single and work in SF and would like to buy somewhere where I can live in one of the room and rent out the rest. I’m not looking for a quick flip. I can afford up to 850k on a conventional 20% loan. I drive, so it doesn’t have to be walking distance to bart or cal train.

What I can about is:

  1. not SF (although I doubt I can afford it). I’m not a fan of san francisco
  2. relative to the rest of bay area, lower risk on the area tanking in the case of a market correction
  3. good home price to $ I can rent the rooms out for ratio
  4. close enough to SF (via public transportation) so the commute isn’t miserable (so south bay is out)

Daly City, if you don’t mind the fog. @myo rented his DC house to students from SFSU and made a killing in rent. 850K is a bit tight in the Westlake area though. May have to go east of 280.


Actually the South side of SF is pretty suburban. If you like suburban style you may find something you like.


Thanks @manch. Would you say that DC/South SF is a safer bet than south oakland/hayward/fremont/san bruno? Also, for my purposes, would you say that SFH has more potential than a condo?

Other areas to consider would be Pacifica, San Bruno and Fremont. Fremont is further out from SF but BARTable I think and I think appreciation wise is a great spot with all the nearby tech and Tesla. Pacifica is colder like Daly City but I like the small town feel of it and it is near the water if you care for that. San Bruno is a tad warmer and the homes there up in the hills are pretty nice and detached.

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@togepi, If you work in City, I think DC is a good bet. You have to deal with the fog though. I used to live in Fremont and commute to City. Doable but I didn’t like it in long term. Also Bart that goes through Oakland & Hayward is not as nice as Bart that goes through to DC & Millsbrae. Same Bart but different people.

With 850K, it might be doable in Serramonte area of Daly City. West Lake & St. Francis are about 50K or more expensive. With two story house, you can live in downstair (assuming just you or another person) and rent the upstairs for at least $3500 / month. That should cover your mortgage. You just pay property tax and other fees out the pocket and lives almost free.

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We are split on this on this forum. Both has pros and cons, but if you are house hacking, I assume you want SFH unless you are okay with splitting the rooms. Personally, I preferred SFH over Condo for long run.

DC and South SF is much better commute-wise. Doing 1.5hr commute each way will quickly drive you insane, especially you don’t have family and so don’t have any special reason to endure the craziness.

For your purpose it does sound like SFH is a better fit. You have more leeway to structure your and your renters’ living arrangement.

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The knock on SSF is that some neighborhoods are pretty darn close to the flight pattern out of SFO. Hence, not recommended.

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Oh, I mean Southern SF, not SSF. The neighborhoods hugging the southern border of SF, like Excelsior.

SSF the city is too far for commute into city.

Take this home for example:


It’s in the Portola neighborhood, sold for 915K. If you go a bit west to Excelsior or a bit south to Crocker Amazon price will be lower. These neighborhoods are all pretty quiet and suburban.

Another Portola house, this one sold for 875K.


Well, there is a BART station there in South San Francisco so honestly the commute wouldn’t be any worse or can even be better than my commute from central Sunset to the Embarcadero (it takes me about 45 min door to door at about 6:30am M-F). I would just be careful of where the planes go over your home (and that goes for Daly City, San Bruno, Pacifica, too). Some people are light sleepers…

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BTW this is what drives me insane about talks of 1.3M median price and thus only rich brats can buy houses in SF. Everyday I see houses sold for 700K or 800K and condos/townhouses for even less. Sure, it’s not Pacific Heights or Noe Valley. But c’mon!

Dude, you need to move out of Sunset… :smile:

I know, you are right and one day we will. Chinatown is calling the dragonboy home…

Or something more suitable for your status…


It also has not sold yet…:slight_smile:

This is what beckons me… (I should have taken night shots):

This is taken from the back of the roof top. Imagine being say 10 ft higher and having these combined views out of your front window.


Something like this or will it end up in the millions?

This one is too good looking. May sell for low 900s.