If you have found this website, I assume you are seriously considering moving to San Francisco.   I would also assume you have visited the city on more than one occasion.   If you have not, I'd highly recommend you make a trip now.   If you have visited before, it is important to understand it is quite different to see the city from a resident's perspective.  San Francisco is far more than Fisherman's Wharf or Union Square.   Let's try to put some framework around your decision making process.  

  1. What do you need/want?    
    • Where is work?  How far are you willing to commute?  Are you planning to drive, bike, or use public transportation?   
    • Based on your profession, where will you most likely be employed if you ever desire a career change?
    • Where is your significant other going to work?
    • Do you prefer single family homes in a more suburb setting or do you want to be in the center of things?  
    • How many bedrooms and bathrooms will you need and/or would you like to have?   How about a backyard and a parking garage?
    • If you have children, what type of schools are you planning to send your kids to?   Are you prepared to send them to private schools if you don't get your top choice schools.
    • If you have pets or plan to have pets, you will also need to consider the type of housing your pet(s) need.
    • What other neighborhood amenities or characters are you looking for?   Parks?  Walking distance to restaurants and coffee shops? Demographics?
  2. How much can you spend on housing?   Now we understand your wish lists, let's look at how much you are planning to spend on housing.   It will be imperative to put a budget together so you can see your overall financial picture clearly.  

            Gross Pay

            - Tax Liability (Your tax liability is going to change.  You should assume 10% as state income tax)

            - Other payroll deductions (insurance, 401k and other deductions)

            - Childcare/schooling (Full-time day care costs anywhere from $1,100 to over $2,000 per month.)

           - Groceries and eating out

           - Transportation (Car, parking, public transportation)

           - Entertainment, travel, communications, and extra

           Net before Housing

Once you have figured out all these components, you will have a clear understanding of what your upper limit in housing is.   That bottom line number will help you to figure out how much you can afford to buy.  Please note ownership costs include more than mortgage.   You will need to consider insurance, property taxes, and general maintenance.   I generally don't recommend going in with a specific percentage of income since it is important to understand how flexible your spending is and how much you are willing to scarify to be a home owner.  

3.   Can you and should you buy?  Once you know how much you can spend on housing on monthly basis, we will need to examine your downpayment and credit history.   Assuming these are non issues, we will do a search on the current listings and see what you can get in the neighborhoods you like.   The market changes constantly, however this exercise will give you an idea of what you should expect.   Then we will start a house search process in your desired neighborhoods.   The process can be as short as two weeks and as long as years.  

Since it is a major purchases, sometimes people decide to rent for a while so they can understand the area better.   If that's the case, we can help you to find a temporary place until you are ready.   

Welcome to San Francisco!