San Jose - Rental advice for new grad

<p>DS will be starting a job in San Jose later this summer, working north of the airport for a major employer. It's very exciting but we don't really know the area that well. It seems like some of the more highly regarded rental areas are south and southwest of downtown but he would prefer to keep his commute within 15-20 minutes. Any suggestions where he might look for a decent apartment in a nice area with basic services (groceries, restaurants, etc.) nearby? He doesn't need a major social scene but it would be nice if there were other young people around. </p>

<p>I've looked at places like North Park and Santana Row but they do seem a bit fancy and expensive for a guy just starting out. One idea is to rent a furnished place for a few months until he settles into his job and learns his way around, then finding an apartment and furnishing it. Is that practical in San Jose?</p>

<p>(And yes I guess this makes me a helicopter mom but the parents on cc are such an excellent resource that how could we pass it up! I assure you that he got the job all by himself with no help and no connections!)</p>

<p>In SJ, a twenty minute commute could mean a quarter mile! Traffic is just brutal. Is he near downtown? That would be a great location for a young person, most of SJ is just suburban sprawl.</p>

<p>If he's north of the airport, he might do well to find a summer sublet around Santa Clara University. That way he can get a better feel for the area and delay the decision a month or two.</p>

<p>A good place to find a rental is Craig's List.</p>

<p>south</a> bay area sublets & temporary classifieds - craigslist</p>

<p>Well, its been a loooong time since I rented, but back in the day it was practical to rent a small furnished place. I'd recommend that approach, or yes, subletting for the summer from a Santa Clara U or San Jose State apartment.</p>

<p>Downtown SJ has been trying to perk up for the past few years and there are now more condos right down town. Don't know the costs. </p>

<p>If you are from some east coast places, the mass transit for SJ does not compare favorably. The train goes a few places, but the connecting busses are not much use. </p>

<p>He might get advice to head for Milpitas, but be aware that it will be a nightmare for a commute since that is the one corridor that every one is on. </p>

<p>There used to be tons of apartments off Lawrence Expressway that might be anti commute for him. No nightlife or walking to restaraunts tho'.</p>

<p>The mass transit in the San Jose area is not great, but the weather is, so he could possibly commute by bike, pedalling right past the traffic jams.</p>

<p>Subletting from a Santa Clara student (much nicer area than the San Jose State area, and closer to work too) would let him scope out the area before looking for a longer term lease. He might hook up with a congenial group renting a house, or his new friends might point him to attractive apartments.</p>

<p>I was going to suggest contacting the Santa Clara Law School for their housing lists.
Law students would be closer to his age.</p>

<p>My son just moved to Portland from that area. In fact, his whole office packed up and moved to Portland, including the business owner. After twenty years the cost of living got to be too much. Son was paying $1200 for a room in a shared house; new apartment will cost about $800.</p>

<p>My son parked his car about a year ago and commuted entirely by bicycle. He lived in Mountain View (west side) and worked in Mountain View (east side) and the drive was less than a mile--and took a half hour some days. Cycling was faster and easier. </p>

<p>I agree with the people who say to find something short term while he gets to know the area and finds potential roommates.</p>

<p>Thanks all - unfortunately I don't think subletting will work since he won't be there until late summer and I assume the students will be returning around then. Would sublets be available into the fall? Looks like he'd be better off checking Craig's list closer to that time.</p>

<p>Sounds like his best bet is to stay north of 280 although I'm not sure if he should consider as far as Sunnyvale or Mountain View. Does most of the rush hour traffic go into and out of San Jose, or is it in every direction? Some downtowns are good for reverse commuting. I think there's a transit stop near where he'd be working but we don't have the exact location yet. It certainly would be interesting to live within biking distance!</p>

<p>ds and mates find their next cohabitant via craigslist. DS found his shared house (seattle) on a 3 day search and interview process. I'd plan on a 5 day search and discovery. Many CMU'ers in the SJ area.</p>

<p>If your son's job is north of SJC, then as long as he's somewhere along 101 he'll be fine. If he's in Santa Clara or Sunnyvale then he'd be doing a reverse commute going to that part of San Jose on 101, and there are alternative roads like Central Expressway and Montague Expressway that aren't too bad. Also, if he's in Mountain View there are many rentals close to the downtown, and he can get from the MV transit center to San Jose (check the transit maps to be sure that the light rail goes close to his work). </p>

<p>The traffic isn't nearly as bad now as it was during the height of the dot-com boom, but it all depends on what you're used to.</p>

<p>I wouldn't rule out a sublet even in late summer. There are also corporate (furnished) apartments but of course those would be much more expensive.</p>

<p>I would go with those areas south of downtown San Jose - downtown Campbell or Los Gatos. Every other area is suburbia defined- car absolutely necessary- in Campbell or Los Gatos you can enjoy the weekend in their walkable shopping/happening areas.</p>

<p>Los Gatos is indeed walkable, but (1) Los Gatos pretty far from the airport, and (2) it's expensive even for the expensive South Bay. Campbell would be closer, but still not that close. If he's looking for a busy downtown, he could also consider Mountain View, which would be about as close as Campbell.</p>

<p>Marilyn, when you say your son is going to be working north of the airport, do you mean compass north (i.e. between 237, 880 and 101) or "logical north" (north as the term is usually used here)? We in the South Peninsula have this notion that 101 runs north to south, so we speak of Mountain View and Palo Alto as "north" of San Jose, when actually they are west of San Jose.</p>

<p>^^ I lived in Sunnyvale for several years and never could figure out why they referred to west (really W/NW) as north. I figured people around there were just directionally challenged.</p>

<p>Haha, there is no good commute in the Bay Area! You will, however, find many young people who will choose Palo Alto if they can afford it over living in SJ and just accept the commute. The area in Mountain View around Castro also attracts a young, professional crowd. As a young professional, his social life will probably not end up being SJ centered. I'd also reommend a temporary housing situation to let him get the lay of the land.</p>

<p>I mean compass north per Cardinal Fang. I don't want to name the company but it's one of the really major companies in that triangle. It's funny how "north" is defined in the area since we consider "downstate" to be anywhere in Illinois except Chicagoland, even if it's north or west of the city.</p>

<p>
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I figured people around there were just directionally challenged.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>It's so true! And I confess to being one of the challenged. Here's the logic: If you're on the Peninsula, San Francisco is north. And the 2 major freeways that go from San Jose to San Francisco are 101 and 280. Therefore they must be running north-south, right? So using the freeways as a reference point, Sunnyvale would be north of San Jose, and Mountain View would be north of Sunnyvale (since it's just up 101 from Sunnyvale). Wrong! This gets even more confusing with El Camino Real, which at times runs north-south and at other times runs east-west. So most of the time people say "this side of 101" or "the other side of 280" to indicate where the heck something is.</p>

<p>Regarding Palo Alto, rentals are expensive but it's a great place for young people. I agree that Mountain View is also appealing, with lots of restaurants and a hopping downtown that includes a terrific farmers market on Sunday mornings.</p>

<p>Some of the major companies have their own shuttles from transit stops. Google runs a shuttle from the MV transit center, for example, and the companies in San Jose might do the same.</p>

<p>Mountain View does sound like a good option, probably more so than around the colleges. We actually stayed in MV for a night five years ago when DS was going to be attending a program in SJ. We had thought it was just this little town until we got there and realized it was actually a small city. And very appealing. Hopefully there will be some possibilities on furnished sublets but in the meantime we'll start researching regular apartments.</p>

<p>We are used to highways and interstates turning direction!</p>

<p>There are great commutes in Silicon Valley! We're fortunate with our beautiful weather: You just have to get out of your car and take the fine roads and paths cyclists use. Or use one of those wifi equipped company buses. Or, if your commute is less than a mile and you have normal health, go by foot.</p>