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Ask HN: Would you still move to the Bay Area?
11 points by baccheion 314 days ago | hide | past | web | 17 comments | favorite
I notice rent and housing prices are completely insane. It's been especially bad since 2013.

Given everything (rent, salary, being black and 30+, wanting children eventually, etc), would you still move to the Bay Area or would you prefer to live elsewhere?

What are other good locations to consider? Seattle, WA? North Carolina? Austin, TX?




It really depends on your life stage. If you're single and plan on staying that way for a couple of years then you can come up with alternative arrangements (i.e. Shared housing, etc) that make those Bay Area salaries actually worth more than the rest of the country. And the commections that you make will be worth it.

If you're older and/or have a family then no freaking way. Adjusted for cost of living the Bay Area salries are lower than many places. Apparently Minneapolis and Atlanta pay Software Engineers the most money if you adjust for cost of living. I just moved away to the Midwest and I kept my salary (the company hiring me considered it a "raise" and they weren't wrong). Adjusted for cost of living I would be making over 250k in the Bay Area (according to Pay Scale's COLA calculator).

I often hear folks from the Bay Area say the rest of the country doesn't pay well, but from conversations I've had with other professionals I have had in my town and a perusal of Glassdoor tells a different story it's not hard to make 140k+ where I live.

Companies in the Midwest and Southeast know they are competing for talent with the Coastal centers and they have started to pony up.

You can't look at absolute dollars. If you make ~120k in the Bay you have to realize that's like making 75k every where else.


Forget about the rent prices. It's really not that big of a deal. Being black is not an issue. I've never had a problem here. There are very few places in the country more diverse and inclusive than the bay area. After all your expenses you will still be making 10-20% more than anywhere else and the job market is on fire. Any decent engineer can come and go to jobs as they please around here. I can't imagine a better place to be.


Is it difficult to find a good apartment (quality build, washer/dryer in unit, good location, gentrified or new, etc)? Where's the best place to rent (for me)? Palo Alto? Mountain View? Menlo Park? San Francisco?


In SF proper you're probably not going to have much luck unless you are at a very high end salary. Hundred year old Victorian one bedrooms in a crappy neighborhood will start around $3k. If you don't mind roommates though, and you really just want to live in the city, it's possible.

The best place to look IMO is the east bay, from Oakland to Berkeley. It's still a quick BART ride into downtown SF but prices are 50% cheaper than in the city. Other than that San Jose is decent but you will be forced to drive everywhere.


I moved from the bay to NYC last year and thought that there is enough tech here for it to not hurt my career. I wasn't wrong, but as I decided to make a career change to become an ML engineer, I found that there was noticeably less opportunity here than in the bay. I still found a good job in the end, but there were just so many more interesting jobs back there.

I don't know if it's worthwhile to go to the bay for purely financial reasons, but it definitely still seems like a good place to go for career reasons.

I'm sort of expecting to move back to the bay eventually, I'm just hoping that they get their head out of their ass and build some more housing.


As someone in the NYC area and about to finish my Masters, I worry about this too. I don't really want to work for a bank or an insurance company. I guess there are jobs in the medical field though.


Seattle median home value is $612,000. San Francisco median home value is $1,132,300 (zillow).

Assuming all other factors are equal that means you need to save almost twice as much for a down payment in these areas. If you are making >100k/year CA income tax will further complicate matters.

Seattle home prices are about 1/2 SF. There is no state income tax, so add on 8% to your income. Salaries are slightly lower, but not by much.

If you don't care about culture and just want to make/save lots of money, this is the place to be.


The Bay Area is about the only place I'd relocate to. I'm picky about what teams I'd want to work for, so the only way I'm going to upend my life, sell my house, buy a house (or find a place to rent) is if I know that I won't have to do it again if things don't work out.

I'd throw LA into the mix too, as it has a growing tech scene and a lot of things going for it. Seattle, Austin, and maybe Boulder if you can survive the cold.


After taxes, rent and food, what is the net savings in your bank account today?

Then evaluate your offer and calculate net savings in Bay Area.

For many (especially those currently located in low-paying areas such as Eastern Europe or some Asian countries) the net savings are greater with all things considered, therefore a move makes sense. For others the increase is marginal or non-existent, as high salaries exist elsewhere in the world, so they won't bother.


Things get tricky when you work remotely... I'm "stuck" in eastern Europe working for western European clients, charging North American rates :)


I moved to SF from Europe and Im glad I did it. I will probably not stay here my whole life but its a great experience.

I found a very nice studio in Marina (pacific heights) for 2.5k, and it was pretty much first place I applied to, so finding place at least for me was super easy.


I travel between Sunnyvale (company HQ) and Austin (home) fairly often. It all depends on your priorities of course - but the quality of life in the Bay Area doesn't hold a candle to Austin.


Are you saying the quality of life is better in Austin?

(I'm in Austin and am / was considering moving to Palo Alto or San Francisco.)


For that, just divide yearly_salary by monthly_rent (for the same type/size of housing). You can also check crime data and other such things on http://www.city-data.com .

Many move from the Bay Area to Austin, Seattle, North Carolina, etc, especially when they're ready to buy a house. Unless something special is waiting for you, I'd say San Francisco will be a step down. I'd definitely recommend visiting first.

If you're moving for career reasons, then you should first see if the Bay Area company will allow remote working.


I've been there a number of times, but not for extended periods. I'm not moving, but the idea of moving has crossed my mind. I have no kids or family and I currently live downtown Austin in a studio (no car and bike everywhere without problems). I have a job at a local start up right now, but things change.


Nevermind being black. I was there for 3 years, I am Spanish, my English was far from perfect and people were really nice to me.

I used to pay $500 for a huge room in a flat shared with 2 other people :)


go for it, you won't be disappointed.




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