What are the top factors to keep in mind when searching for a place to live in your city?

Neighborhood characteristics, amenities, proximity to public transport, schools, work, shops, cinemas, churches and type of accommodation are all factors to consider before choosing a place to live. It's best to consult someone with a good knowledge of the area that you are interested in. It is not difficult to find housing, as long as you are willing to pay for it and move quickly to ensure a rental contract.

There are several attractive communities around San Francisco where you will be able to find more value for your money. However, count on a busy commute if your job site is in San Francisco.
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What are the most popular neighborhoods in your city for expats?

There is a wide variety of neighborhoods available in the city. For those seeking a single family home or apartment, the Noe Valley would be an ideal choice. The center of this area is on 24th Street, and it tends to have pleasant weather---though the afternoon winds are sometimes a bit brisk. The Marina is also recommended for people seeking single family homes or apartments; it is centered around Chestnut Street. Cole Valley offers similar amenities in milder weather.

South of Market (SOMA) is an area that has recently gone through a major development. A few years ago, SOMA consisted primarily of warehouses and office buildings, but with the arrival of the dot .com era, many of these were converted into lofts, and work and living spaces. SOMA's weather is normally mild, and the Caltrain station and the PacBell baseball park are both within walking distance. Potrero Hill is 90 per cent residential with the intersection of 18 and Connecticut streets at its center. You'll find some of the city's best restaurants in this area. This neighborhood experiences the highest number of sunny days in the city. Potrero Hill lies between two major highways, the 101 and 280, making it very accessible.

Nob Hill lies in the center of the city and is one of the more exclusive neighborhoods. The Financial District, Chinatown and North Beach are all within walking distance. Afternoons tend to be foggy in this area.
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Do expats tend to buy or rent their homes?

Most expats rent, and typically, must sign a 12-month lease. Short-term leases (3 to 6 months) are harder to find and are sometimes more costly, but they are available. Most rental apartments and homes are unfurnished.
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Typically, will I be required to pay additional money up front (such as a deposit) before moving into leased housing? If so, how much is common?

Typically, one month rent and a security deposit equal to one month rent are requested up front. The costs vary depending on the amount of monthly rent required. If the rent is $2,000 a month, the property manager may require first month's rent of $2,000, plus an additional security deposit of up to $2,000. California law limits the security deposit to no more than two months' rent for an unfurnished apartment and three months' rent for a furnished apartment.
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Are utilities generally included in the price of rent, or are they extra?

The rent for townhouses, condos and homes typically does not include utilities. Rent for apartments, however, sometimes includes water and waste management, but not other utilities. Ask your landlord for more details.
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Are there special security concerns I should be aware of in regards to my home or choice of neighborhood?

As in most large cities, some areas are more desirable than others. We advise that you check with friends, colleagues, a real estate professional or Crown San Francisco staff when deciding on a certain neighborhood.
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I’m not sure if I should bring my appliances. What is the electric current, Hz and plug shape in your city?

The electric current in the United States is 110 volts. The electrical Hertz (Hz) is 60.

Do note: It is not recommended that you bring appliances from overseas. Although there are converters available, the appliance will probably not function properly.

Below are examples of the types of plugs that are used in the U.S.:

Type A - Flat blade attachment plug

Type B - Flat blades with round grounding pin

The electric current in the United States is 110 volts. The electrical Hertz (Hz) is 60.

Do note: It is not recommended that you bring appliances from overseas. Although there are converters available, the appliance will probably not function properly.
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Do you have any other accommodation information that might help me?

The Bay Area runs from Santa Rosa (North) to San Jose (South) and to Tracy (East). While commuting to the city from these areas might create problems, many families find excellent housing opportunities in the East, South or North Bay or on the Peninsula. Most of these communities are better equipped to accommodate families with children, as they offer yards, larger parks, better outdoor facilities and more.

Typical examples of driving times during rush hour are:

  • San Jose-San Francisco: 1 1/2 plus hour;

  • Oakland-San Francisco: 1 hour;

  • Clayton-San Francisco: 1 1/2 plus hour;

  • Santa Rosa-San Francisco: 1 1/2 plus hour.

In the recent past, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) has been extended to Contra-Costa County in the North Bay, Pleasanton, in the East, and San Bruno/SF airport, in the South. When not living in the city, living near one of the BART's many stations would substantially cut down on commuting time.
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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.