San Francisco Housing Needed
Hey folks, I need some help with housing. My family and I have lived in the same apartment complex since we moved to San Francisco three years ago and it's getting prohibitively expensive. When we started there were three of us and we had a $2200 a month for a one bedroom. That was fine since our son was in a crib. I make a good wage working at a major internet company so we could afford the rent. Of course I'm not happy about the price premium for living in the city. But hey, we made it work.
Then a almost two years ago, surprise! we're having another kid. Plus our first son was getting to the point where he needs his own bed, so we made the move to a two bedroom in the same complex. $2500 a month, which I could just barely afford (but not really, if I ever wanted to send any of these kids to college or anything). My wife stays at home to take care of the kids. The hard reality is that although she wants to work, her profession (theater) doesn't pay enough to cover day care or other forms of child care.
Now our year lease is up on our current place, and the landlord tells us the rent is going up to $2750 a month. That I cannot afford, even if we eat nothing but rice and beans for every meal and get rid of our cell phones. My single income supports our family, and we just finished paying off our student loans this year.
So we find ourselves at a crossroads. First of all we want to keep living in the city. I don't want to hear any of this bullshit about how we should move to the burbs. I hate suburbia with a passion. Those people have dead eyes. I don't want to drive everywhere all the time for everything. I want my kids to have some sort of real social interaction and I want them to know how public transportation works.
Plus, I'm pretty sure that a rental on the peninsula doesn't really save me any money. Maybe I pay $500 a month less, but then I have to buy a car and that's a big monthly expense. I don't want to live in Stockton and drive for two hours to work in Sunnyvale. I currently take Caltrain to work every day and would like to continue taking a train so I have time for example to sit and write stuff like this.
The fact that I work in Sunnyvale also makes the other obvious city choice of Oakland unattractive because that's a difficult public transit commute. It's possible through a vanpool or something along those lines but that sucks. Also Oakland has an even less functional transit system than San Francisco.
Thus I now reach out to the internet for help. I need a reasonable, centrally located apartment in San Francisco. I'm not being unrealistic here. I can pay $2250 a month for a two bedroom somewhere like Hayes Valley. Like I said, we need to live in the city. Is it possible? My wife and I moved to Manhattan in 2003 and sold our car. We've been living in an urban environment ever since. We love it. We love the community, the shared adventure, the vibrancy of the whole thing. Heck I don't know, maybe it's time to just give up on the west coast for once and all and move back to NYC.
Anyway, that's my plea and my open question. We've been looking for rentals on craigslist and that's looking pretty bleak. Is there some secret San Francisco rental brokerage I don't know about? What to do? Anyone got any advice?
An Urban Family