The House Hunting Dilemma

I’ve now been looking at houses for about a month or so in Noe Valley, Mission Dolores, Hayes Valley, South of Market and South Beach (all neighborhoods in San Francisco). I’m having the damned time resolving my inner conflict on what kind of home I want.

There are basically two choices. First, the downtown apartment. In South Beach/South of Market new (or near new) homes are for sale in great high-rise downtown locations. In my price range is a 1 bedroom 1 bath, plus den/office with parking and concierge. The benefits are that it’d be a new home, great location (downtown, Caltrain, 280 and 101 freeways) and it’d be in a high rise, which is awesome in and of itself. On the down side, the places are small (~800 sqft) and if I have to abandon the place in the next few years, but want to keep it, the mortgage may not be able to be held up in any significant portion by rent.

The second choice is the prototypical San Francisco neighborhood. Places that would fall in to this category, to varying degrees, are Hayes and Noe Valley and Missions Dolores. Most units for sale are either Victorian or Edwardian flats, build in the early 1900s, remodeled with new roofs and appliances and most maintain their period details, such as the wainscoting or crowns on the doorways. All the places we looked at have incredible charm and fit the “San Francisco” home mold. For the equivalent price, I can get a 2 bed, 1 to 2 bath flat with a backyard and possibly parking. They are farther from the freeways and walking to Caltrain is out of the question (would have to drive) but they’re in great neighborhoods and the homes are on average much bigger (1100sqft to 1300 sqft or so). Also, rent prices would better support a mortgage over here.

And so, I’m at a loss on what kind of place I want to get. Each has its own unique values and appeal. I am battling this inner conflict on what I want out of a home. I plan to live in it for 3 to 5 years and both types of locations would appreciate well with little difference. Such is my dilemma of where to live.