Housing/Living Tips for FT IB Analyst in Downtown SF

Hey everyone,

I'll be going into investment banking in SF starting this summer and I just wanted to ask my fellow finance guys for some tips. I don't know anyone in the area and I'm not familiar with SF at all. I'm currently looking into leasing a studio and I was wondering if anyone could provide any insight on how to go about searching for apartments in SF.

Does anyone have opinions on which parts of SF are ideal and which parts I should avoid? Is it crucial to stay walking distance to downtown? Is a car essential? Any other things you guys think I should consider?

Any input you guys may have is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Comments (34)

Mar 23, 2015 - 1:16pm

Don't bring a car. Parking is hell, especially downtown.

Areas to avoid (though they might have cheaper apartments, which is a definite plus):

-Hunter's Point

Note: I'd say that of all of these, the Tenderloin is the one that's improving the fastest, so it's possible to find nice apartments near the edge of that neighborhood. It's still a fairly rough neighborhood though, especially around Leavenworth.

"There's nothing you can do if you're too scared to try." - Nickel Creek
Mar 23, 2015 - 1:30pm

Agree with sfgfan.

I'd say Nob Hill / Lower Nob Hill is a great area for someone starting out. Gouges you slightly less than most other areas of the city, you can walk to work and also walk to Polk St on weekends, there are a lot of younger people living there.

Note on Lower Nob Hill getting into Tenderloin - the further South you go the sketchier it gets. My personal cutoff would probably be Sutter St. Anything south of that (Post / Geary / O'Farrell / etc) I would probably avoid

Mar 23, 2015 - 4:44pm

Agreed, kinda. My feeling with Lower Nob Hill aka Tendernob is that it's a bit weird. It's not as bad as the Tenderloin, but it's not very nice either. As far as neighborhoods go, there isn't much that makes it "special" outside of the fact that it's close to other, better neighborhoods. You definitely have to be careful of which street you turn down, but that can be said of just about anywhere downtown with the exception of the Financial District and South Beach. I personally wouldn't think of it as a place I'd want to live if it weren't so cheap.

That being said, there are definitely some very nice apartments there, though the buildings often don't look like anything special.

"There's nothing you can do if you're too scared to try." - Nickel Creek
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Mar 25, 2015 - 2:44am

yes to both. They're nice neighborhoods (North Beach more than SoMa, for the most part), and each are within blocks of the financial district. I would imagine you could expect to spend ~$1500-$1700 for a room there. You'd spend more on a studio, unless you plan on getting one of these gems:


"There's nothing you can do if you're too scared to try." - Nickel Creek
Mar 25, 2015 - 1:22pm

When is the right time to find an apartment? FT analyst in SF (Originally Posted: 05/20/2014)

I am working in SF, training in NY. Training starts mid July, and should last about 6 weeks, after which I should hit the desks in SF.

I am not sure whether I should commit to an apartment now, or after training. If I commit now, then I will to sublet the place for June and July. I am worried I may not find someone for such a short term, which will cause me to lose a lot of money (rent p.m is > $1600).

The other option is to find an apartment after I return from NY. But I wonder if August will be too late, and by that time perhaps most places within reasonable distance from Financial District and reasonable price ranges will be gone.

Could anyone working in SF please give me some advice? When do most FT analysts engage in the search process?

Mar 25, 2015 - 1:24pm

Also does anyone know to what extent a BB will reimburse your late night cab fare? If I work in SF FiDi, and live in East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley for eg.), commuting by taxi is easily $100. I can't take the BART, since it closes around midnight.

Mar 25, 2015 - 1:25pm


Also does anyone know to what extent a BB will reimburse your late night cab fare? If I work in SF FiDi, and live in East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley for eg.), commuting by taxi is easily $100. I can't take the BART, since it closes around midnight.

Can't speak from IB experience, but I think you'd want to live closer to work. Sounds like a brutal commute, especially after working such long hours.
Mar 25, 2015 - 1:28pm

East bay is a pretty bad idea. Short bart ride in the morning but trust me, will be brutal after work. Especially on fridays and the weekend if you want to hang out with friends / coworkers in the city. Cab ride will be more like ~50-70 and yes, not a good number

Mar 25, 2015 - 1:33pm

SF Apartment Search (Originally Posted: 07/28/2010)

I'm moving to SF and looking to live in one of the younger, cooler neighborhoods (I've heard Cow Hollow, Marina, Knob Hill maybe) and was wondering if someone could point me in the direction of some decent buildings. Also if anyone has advice about other locations or just general info about the city I'd be glad to hear it.

Mar 25, 2015 - 1:34pm

I know there are some really nice apartment buildings near the embaracadero close to the ferry building, but its a little too touristy down there. The good thing about SF is that rent is slightly cheaper than NYC, not sure thats true for owning though. Does anybody know if it is easier or harder to get into IBD or equity research in FS than NYC? What are the ours like in SF.....time difference means you'd probably need to be in the office 3 hrs earlier......just wondering if you get stuck working even more hours because of that than you would in NYC

"One should recognize reality even when one doesn't like it, indeed, especially when one doesn't like it." - Charlie Munger
Mar 25, 2015 - 1:35pm

Hours: usually sf you have your own team since it focuses on tech and healthcare, so you work with pacific timezone only

Getting a job : probably harder in sf just because the fewer number of spots available, in nyc you might have 50, and sf you might have 4-5 ( but also less school competition, you are looking at claremont, usc,ucla,ucb,stanford only, sometimes wharton and harvard people who want to come back to cali)

To the OP question:

nobhill. russian hill, soma are usually the place to be for young people. Chinatown might be an option since it's right next to the red light district.

If you move further from the financial district you can live around the civic center area, but you would have to commute with muni or bart.

Mar 25, 2015 - 1:36pm

I live on Nob Hill for the summer and rent is decent. You can get a nice apartment for around 1000-1200 bucks, and the place I live is 5 blocks from work at the Financial district, takes about 7 mins for a morning stroll. Coming back home's a bitch though, cos the hills are so damn steep, I usually just cab back...

I hear the Marina and North Beach are nice places to live too, but rent is steeper

Mar 25, 2015 - 1:37pm

If you're working in FiDi, it's going to be a pain in the butt to get to work from Cow Hollow or the Marina. Marina is young but super yuppy. SoMA is the best spot if you want a new apartment in a high rise, and there are a good number of clubs and growing number of restaurants, but there's no neighborhood feel whatsoever.

Personally, I'd recommend Russian Hill, Nob Hill or North Beach. They're all relatively reasonable, easy to get to FiDi and have tons of restaurants and bars within walking distance (Polk Street for Nob/Russian Hill, Columbus for North Beach). If you want to live by yourself, a studio in these spots are $1,300-$1,500. 2-BRs are usually cheaper per person though.

Also look at the Mission if you want to save cash. Can take the BART quickly downtown from 18th or 24th St and it's got a cool 'hipster' vibe with the best bars and widest range of restaurants. Plus its the cheapest, although it is a bit more dangerous than areas to the north.

Mar 25, 2015 - 1:39pm

move to soma if you want a sick pad, clubs at night, but zero neighborhood. zero. theres some bums, some broken glass, and not a lot of people. but that's where the nicest spots are and also the most convenient to FIDI.

move to nob hill if you want a quiet neighborhood also very close to work. also very hilly. fuck those hills.

move to north beach (my hood, so im biased) if you want a sweet neighborhood and tons of shit to do in your huge amount of free time. Restaurants, fishermans wharf, parks, etc.

Move to Marina if you can find good public transport nearby (it shouldnt be that hard) and welcome a 25-35 minute commute in the mornings. It's super yuppy but thats not all bad; lots of young people and pretty neighborish.

Anywhere else is almost not an option due to distance, but maybe pac heights or Hayes valley if you welcome a long commute.

Mar 25, 2015 - 1:41pm

San Fran Apartments? (Originally Posted: 03/31/2008)

Hi all,

I am moving to SF for full time this summer, and would like to get some advices from any SF bankers. Would you recommend any apartment agencies besides those on craigslist? And also... what's the deal with citiapartments? It gets really bad reviews over the internet but they have tons of apartment available. Would a week in SF be a little short for settling down an apartment?

Thanks in advance!

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