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!

Comments (34)

Mar 23, 2015

Thought you may find this interesting:

http://jasonevanish.com/2013/01/17/25-things-i-wis...

Mar 25, 2015
Random Name:

Thought you may find this interesting:

http://jasonevanish.com/2013/01/17/25-things-i-wis...

This is super helpful! Thank you!

Mar 23, 2015

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

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

-Bayview
-Hunter's Point
-Excelsior
-Tenderloin

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.

Mar 23, 2015

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

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.

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Mar 25, 2015

Thanks a ton @"sfgfan10" and @"fryguy22"! I've heard similar opinions on tenderloin and nob hill.. What do you guys think of the SoMa and North Beach areas? Are those walking distance from the Financial District?

Mar 23, 2015

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:

http://sfist.com/2012/09/24/supervisors_to_conside...

Mar 23, 2015

"Tendernob" lol

Sorry.

Mar 25, 2015

Also interested

Mar 25, 2015

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
bizskool:

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

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 23, 2015

Take UberX, it's nowhere near $100 from FiDi to e.g. Emeryville

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Mar 25, 2015

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

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

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

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

there's always the tenderloin, aka, skid row... you'll save a ton of money, but renter's insurance would be sky high and cab drivers might refuse to drive you back at night

Mar 25, 2015

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

Hunters Point

Mar 25, 2015

I am moving out to SF this summer as well, if you are looking for a nice apartment close to the financial district The Bay Side Village was recommended to me.
http://www.baysidevillage.com/

Mar 25, 2015

When I was in San Francisco, the best choice was to suck it up and pay the fee for Metrorent. Things may have changed a lot since then.

Mar 25, 2015

Any other suggestions? What's the rent for a studio at Bayside? Couldn't find it on their website. I'll be working on California Street, and don't want to be more than a mile or two away. Most of the Craigslist postings I've looked at are in the $1600-1800/mth range, but I'd prefer to keep it around $1500/mth.

Mar 25, 2015

Look at Avalon at Mission Bay as well, pretty close to Ca Street.

Mar 25, 2015

I haven't looked at bayside specifically, but most of the newish apartments in South Beach are very expensive. IIRC, the place I checked out had <500 sq ft studios starting at $2400 a month. I stopped looking in that neighborhood right quick.

For proximity to the financial district I would look in Nob Hill and North Beach/Russian Hill. In Nob Hill, you don't want to be south of about Pine/Bush streets, or you will be in the tenderloin (watch out for craigslist postings claiming nob hill when they are really the tenderloin--two VERY different neighborhoods). In North Beach you should avoid anything between Powell and Kearny south of Broadway--that's Chinatown. For bars, restaurants, etc. in Nob Hill you'll want to be close to Polk St., in North Beach aim for Columbus Ave.

Feel free to PM me with other questions about neighborhoods, although I have no insight on using brokers/services--I've always just used craigslist/open houses although that is time consuming and very difficult if you aren't already in town. One other suggestion: consider roommates. You can find good rooms in great houses for under $1K/month easily. Before we moved in together, my wife paid $800 a month for a huge room in a 4 bedroom apartment that had killer views of the bay, Alcatraz, Coit tower, etc. and was 3 blocks from Columbus.

Mar 25, 2015

Bayside studios cost between $1670-1800 a month for about 500 sq ft, if you want a parking spot its another $200 a month