The Top 6 Questions To Ask Yourself When Purchasing in San Francisco

Deniz Kahramaner
Deniz Kahramaner
Sep 26, 2022
When getting ready to purchase a home in a new area, there is almost always going to be an unending list of questions that one wants or needs to ask in their buying process. Many of these questions can be answered using various tools. Here are the top questions that should be asked when one is moving to San Francisco and specific programs or tools that could be used to find answers.

What is the safety rating of this neighborhood?

One should always be thinking about the security of the place they are considering purchasing. Not only is it a large investment, but, potentially, that is the home that one’s family will find themselves living in. For example, living in Mission Bay is very different than living in the Sunset District. When looking at a new area, you should ask yourself: “Do I feel safe in this neighborhood? Would I feel safe in this neighborhood at night?”
One tool that is useful for finding this information is called Area Vibes, which is a site that scores different neighborhoods by their “Livability” as well as gives comparative crime rate percentages that are weighed against the average rates of the city in which the neighborhood resides. One can also look at the Citizen App or Pulse Point to look at the regular occurrence of crime and crime reporting by location.

How far is this property away from work? Family? A good park?

Knowing how easy one’s access will be is important when it comes to lifestyle, time spent commuting, and time spent with family. More than you would expect, you will want to know if you have always to take a car to work or if it’s possible, you can take alternative means of transportation such as a bus, MUNI, or BART. Furthermore, if one likes engaging in fitness activities outside, they would need to know how “walkable” the neighborhood is as well as how bikeable it is.
In this case, a great tool to put to use would be Walk Score, which tells you how walkable and bikeable a neighborhood is, as well as how it would score in terms of access to public transit.

Do I want to be able to walk to grocery stores & restaurants?

Access to groceries, restaurants, and food is incredibly important. If you live in a food desert area, then it probably takes gas to get you to a grocery store or restaurant. This means that it is more expensive to live farther away from a grocery store. Thus, when looking into a new neighborhood, you should check if that particular location is close to a commercial corridor.
Walk Score, once again, is a great tool for this, as it tells you the score of a specific address based on proximity to key locations such as transit, grocery stores, food, and other essentials. Google Maps 3D view is also a good judgment for this.

Am I located on a busy street?

One thing that many people worry about and, if you aren’t thinking about it, you should be, is the question of noise and traffic. If a particular location is known for heavy traffic and loud noises, then it might not be the optimal location for someone with small children or sensitive sleeping habits. This can be a deal breaker for many people, as a good night’s sleep is vital to one’s health. Even more so, one might want to answer the questions of, “Where is the closest parking for people who visit?”, “Can I find street parking easily?”, and “Is the street loud or can I hear it from inside my home?”
A great way to figure out how busy a particular location might be is to go through How Loud, a site that grades addresses with a Sound Score that is based on how loud they are, how busy the traffic is, and how close they are to airports. This score is also affected by the existence of nearby transit spots such as bus stops, MUNI lines, or cable cars.

What are the schools like in this neighborhood?

For those who are hoping to start a family or already have children, the question of the school system they will be entering is of utmost importance. This is particularly true for those moving into larger cities, as in places like San Francisco, where the schools are on a lottery system that is built to maintain equal diversity in schools.
A good tool to answer this question is Great Schools, which is a site that gives grade scores to schools that range from 1–10. These scores are based on performance and other factors and are a great insight into whether or not a specific school district or area is right for you and, more importantly, your children.

What is the climate like in this neighborhood?

When you are considering buying in a new neighborhood, you want to explore around and, probably, ask around about how people enjoy living there. While we don’t have an easy access tool to answer this question, it is still an important one, as it has to do with the lifestyle and culture of the people who could be your close neighbors. You can also check social media or news reports about the area to see what is a common occurrence or event.
In San Francisco, you don’t know right off the bat if you are going to live in a neighborhood that is subject to intense fog. Microclimates of San Francisco are a very real thing that one can learn about by asking neighbors, or friends familiar with the area the right questions.
Overall, what matters most when you are buying in a new area is that you ask questions. No question is a bad question, and you must always try to stay informed and aware of the location in which you are considering living. If you are entering into the buying or selling process, and are looking into new neighborhoods, consider reaching out to Atlasa for assistance. You can contact us at or you can check out our website at
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Deniz Kahramaner
Deniz Kahramaner is the Founder & CEO of the data-driven Real Estate Brokerage Atlasa. His mission is to help home buyers understand the tradeoffs of different home options using big data and analytics. Feel free to contact Deniz if you need help with the home buying or selling process at