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Love the idea of moving to San Francisco, despite being told that the city is too expensive and too crowded? Whether you’re moving for work, family, or yourself, we can help you successfully navigate the area’s sky-high rents and property values, while find the right landing spot for your own priorities. Get ready to discover Fog City in a way that works for you. Here’s our situational, neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide for moving to San Francisco.


Job Promotions, High-Income Earners, and Premium Neighborhoods

One of the big reasons that San Francisco has become so expensive is that, for years, it’s created high-earning jobs that have brought highly skilled professionals to the city. Silicon Valley grabs the headlines for these types of career opportunities, but the software and tech industries aren’t the only players in town. If you have a high-powered career, you may be looking to reward yourself by choosing one of the city’s more desirable neighborhoods. With this in mind, many of these neighborhoods are just as much about convenience as trendiness for the people who choose to live there.

  • The Financial District is great for people who work downtown and are looking to balance the stress of their job by eliminating the commute to the office—not to mention the downtown restaurants and nightlife with the respite of a luxury apartment within walking distance. 
  • In contrast, Nob Hill is the upscale neighborhood of choice for San Francisco families. Full of Victorian-style homes, it has that unmistakably safe and quiet residential feel, while still being smack-dab in the city center. In fact, it’s surrounded on all sides by the rest of San Francisco’s trendiest neighborhoods: The Financial District, SoMa, Haight-Ashbury, the Marina District, and Presidio Heights.
  • SoMa is the area of Market St. and is known for its singles and young professionals who use the Caltrain to get to make their work commute. You can also find plenty of modern loft apartments and luxury living experiences mixed with the charm of a historic neighborhood. In addition to SoMa proper, just across the Bay Bridge, the Mission District and Mission Bay are also in this neighborhood. This area is so trendy that many of the surrounding micro-neighborhoods—including Dogpatch and Potrero Hill—are also looking to take on the SoMa label.

Making San Francisco Affordable for the Middle-Class

It’s still not going to be cheap compared to the rest of the country, but both individuals and families can still find San Francisco neighborhoods that are within their price range, if they’re simply willing to avoid the trendiest, big-name areas. Like a lot of thriving cities, the solution for affordability is as simple as finding the downtown neighborhood that speaks most to you and then moving out a little from the city center:

  • As you move further away from the SoMa District, you can decrease your housing expenses, while still staying on the trendier side of the city. Noe Valley is usually a better option for singles, while Bernal Heights has a quieter, family-friendly vibe. Situated by these two neighborhoods, Glen Park is another a good option for affordability and its easy access to I-280. You can also find living options further south in the Outer Mission and Excelsior, but the neighborhoods tend to be a little safer if you stay above I-280.
  • Can’t afford Nob Hill, the Marina District, or Presidio Heights? The Western Addition, or NoPa, provides all the amenities and culture that you would imagine in a neighborhood just outside of downtown and Haight-Ashbury. It’s more affordable mostly because it’s known as a little less safe neighborhood than other San Francisco neighborhoods. Keep going west, however, and you reach Seacliff and the Richmond District which are great places to live, so long as you don’t mind the fog that hovers over the neighborhood on many mornings.
  • Golden Gate Park divides Richmond with the rest of the city’s west side. South of the park, Outer Sunset and Lakeshore offer more spacious living opportunities and traditional suburban neighborhoods. If you’re moving with your whole family or looking to settle down in the San Francisco area, this could the spot for you.

Unique Solutions for San Francisco Living

Putting aside conventional living and a smart choice of neighborhood, there are plenty of other budget-minded ways to discover what makes this city so special. High-rise, micro apartments is one of the increasingly popular options. In fact, it’s hard to find a vacancy or unit-for-sale at Cubix SF or the Book Concern Lofts, two of San Francisco’s earliest micro-unit apartment buildings. 77 Bluxome Apartments and The Panaromic are probably better bets for finding a vacancy.

Of course, if you think the people of San Francisco are going to leave it to major real estate developers to solve their housing crunch—well, it’s a good thing you’re reading up on the city before making the move. We’ve found fiercely individualistic, outside-the-box living solutions. Or inside-the-box solutions, as this artist created when he built a sleeping pod that fits in the corner of his roommate’s living room and which the city has since started cracking down on.

Looking for this type of shared living arrangement, but something a little less extreme? You might consider using a company, like HomeShare, to find a roommate and an affordable apartment at the same time. Another unique living solution that can save you a lot of money on rent? Living on a boat. As much as the city talks about the insane living costs and trendy shops and restaurants, a big part of what San Francisco San Francisco is this contingent of quirky residents who love living in the city just that much. 


The Role Storage can Play for San Francisco Living Solutions

Amazingly, one-third of all renters and half of those with kids report not having enough storage space in their home. Just because you’re moving to San Francisco with all your stuff doesn’t mean all that stuff has to be in your everyday living space. Whether you’re living with more people than the home was designed for or you choose a smaller-than-ideal living space to save on housing costs, out-of-home storage has become a time- and cost-effective method for getting more out of your San Francisco living space.