Living in the Bay Area means living in one of the richest regions in the United States. San Francisco's cost of living remains one of the highest in the country, due in part to the tight labor market and the high cost of housing, food and other consumer goods. Median household income was $62,024 in 2000, the highest in the nation, according to the Census Bureau. It is estimated that two working adults must earn $77,069, and a single adult must earn $53,075, just to get by. The 2008 cost of living index in San Francisco County is 180.2, with the average in the USA at 100 .
These costs can be somewhat augmented by the proximity to downtown and location within a neighborhood, as while as the condition and amenities of the apartment, but as a whole housing is very pricey within the city. The good news is that because of the high cost of owning a home in the Bay, there are many rentals available at all times and San Francisco has been listed as high as 2nd best place to live in the country by Money Magazine. Average rent for a studio apartment is $1,141, with the low price around $800 and the highs around $1,700. One to two bedrooms are usually between $1,700 to $2,700 and $2,300 to $4,000 for three-four bedroom apartments.
To get the area you want for a price you can live with a simple formula may be employed. Divide your monthly income (after tax) income by three. Not much more than a third of your income should go to rent to insure that you can pay for the cost of living. If this figure doesn't net you the desired lifestyle you still have options. Make more money, consider a different neighborhood, or consider a different living arrangement by taking a roommate.
To calculate these expenses, there are many cost of living calculators available:
San Francisco hosts a city of diverse people and neighborhoods. Each area has its own personality and atmosphere, from its residents, to its shops, to the "vibe" it gives off. Finding the right neighborhood is an adventure. Here is a primer of some of the distinctive communities:
To learn more about these neighborhoods and others, go to:
There are many different apartments and many different ways to search and rent one. Here are a couple of options:
BROKER: In general, using a broker is a great idea if you are arranging a rental from out-of-town, or have more money than time. The San Francisco market is competitive, and a broker can give you an edge in finding the right place. A broker is responsible for finding apartments that fit your criteria and making appointments to fit your schedule. They save you the trouble of filing through expired listings, and "ghost" apartments that have been placed simply to entice to working with an expensive broker. For this convenience, the agency will usually take about 10% commission on the annual rent of the apartment.
Brokers are easy to come by in the Yellow Pages, or City Search. However, it can save you thousands to have a good broker so pay attention to reviews by former customers and who recommends a company's service. Ask your friends and family if they have used a broker they could recommend. If you are employed with a company they may have a broker they work with and you may be able to use them by contacting your human resources department to use the broker your company uses.
ON-LINE LISTING: There are a variety of on-line forums and community listings in which people will list their places or larger companies offer their apartments. Most searches are free and the selection is massive. Some examples are: sfbay.craigslist.org/apa/, http://www.rent.net, http://www.apartments.com, sanfrancisco.apartments.com/, and www.sanfranciscoonline.com/. Apartmentratings.com shows ratings from real people to help you find a home you will love.
CLASSIFIED'S: The San Francisco Chronicle offers an extensive classified's section, as well as a section in print.
BULLETIN BOARDS: On college campuses, churches, grocery stores, schools, bus stops and outside community centers there are often boards available for posting local ads. This gives you an idea of the neighborhood as well as some useful leads on apartments.
DRIVING AROUND: Many places are listed by simply placing a sign in front of the apartment. Sometimes only a number is listed so it can be helpful to write notes about the place and call the number on your cell phone. If a building without signs seems promising and you are not in a rush to move, you can try to locate the superintendent and ask about future availabilities. Many buildings offer a waiting list for prospective tenants.
An important trait in any roommate situation is having boundaries and a clear understanding of what each roommate requires. To protect yourself against potential problems should the worst happen, try to arrange it so that your roommates co-sign the lease. This makes all the roommates responsible for whatever happens to the property. If the worst was to happen, such as your roommate losing their job and not being able to pay rent, they will be held financially responsible- not you.
Here are some other websites to find a roommate:
Looking for cheap accommodation in San Francisco isn’t easy and can be time consuming. Fortunately the times of browsing innumerable adverts, making hundreds of phone calls and visiting dozen of houses belong to the past: with Uniplaces now you can look for your room comfortably sitting at home. You can pick a room in a shared home with other expats, a studio flat if you want more privacy, or you can team up with other friends and rent an entire apartment just for yourselves.
The booking system is very simple and doesn’t require any visit: all can be done in advance thanks to the detailed descriptions and photos of the rooms and you can secure your room before even getting there. Moreover the Uniplaces team will be available for any questions and help.
Uniplaces is an online marketplace for booking mid-long term accommodation with thousands of verified properties.
To learn more about the property caretaking field, and all the rent-free housesitting assignments available worldwide, go to The Caretaker Gazette’s website at http://www.caretaker.org