San Francisco Apartment Research And Twitter Lurking

So next month I’m moving to San Francisco. It almost doesn’t seem real!
San Francisco
Creative Commons License photo credit: tomt6788

Twitter hashtag: #movetoSF
Since December, I’ve been perusing the ads of Craigslist to get an idea of what I could expect once I made the decision to move to San Francisco.

I’ve truly enjoyed working with Zendesk doing the webinars and  since they’re in San Francisco, it’s a good move for me to make.  Not only do I love the product, I’ve found the folks who work at Zendesk to be quite awesome!  I never imagined the cloud would whisk me out of Minnesota so…here…we…go.

I saw Adam Jackson wrote a post on his recent move.  If you don’t know Adam, he’s on Twitter as @adamjackson and made news in 2008 with his webcam that recorded all sorts of drama outside his apartment window in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco.
photo credit: adamjackson

When I first got on Twitter, I followed about 5 people and then data mined people who they followed and who followed them.  Who you follow is sort of an unspoken approval.  I somehow came across Adam when I saw a tweet about his friend who was in the hospital and was going to lose her radio show (or something like that).  I was intrigued by his seemingly constant tweeting.

In my early days on Twitter (I joined March 31st, 2008 due to @WomenWhoTech Conference), I was a total lurker (someone who watches but who doesn’t participate).  I was afraid to tweet as I wasn’t really sure what to share, if anyone was listening or what to say.  Actually, most of my time on the internet since 1998 was in lurker mode.  On forums, I was that person who PM’d (Private Message) instead of posting a public reply.  In fact, back in the early days of Lifehacker, you had to apply to be allowed commenting rights.  I don’t think Gina wanted a bunch of empty minded folks leaving useless comments.  I applied and got permission to comment.  Did I?  Nope!  Too uncomfortable.  Not sure what to say except, “I agree”.  LOL!

Twitter helped me get over this fear of public expression.  I enjoyed reading Adam’s dramatic tweets about life, work, his girlfriend, his apartment, food, travel and everything in between.  I now tweet freely so I have people like Adam to thank for that.  Another person I enjoyed following was @chuckumentary who always had a “pants status” update (I had no idea why his pants had to update us via Twitter but the updates were funny!)

Ok, back to apartments in San Francisco.


This map of San Francisco was drawn by Michael Wood for me at the Creamery coffee shop, December 2009 while I was in town for the Zendesk holiday party. Thank you Mike and Val for reaching out via my blog to provide your advice and knowledge of the San Francisco landscape over a cup of coffee! They both have technology careers.  Val had lived in San Francisco for 15 years and Mike for 3 so it was great to hear about what they liked, how they spent their free time and what neighborhoods they thought I would like based on my being a single technology geek.  Thank you!  It meant SO MUCH to me!
San Francisco Map By Michael Wood

Zendesk is located in SOMA (South Of Market) so I’ve been looking at apartments in the following neighborhoods:

  • SOMA
  • Mission district
  • Potrero Hill
  • Castro
  • Noe Valley
  • East Bay Area (based on @outdoorafro and @Surfinbrotha‘s recommendation)
  • Pacific Heights
  • Cow Hollow

I see on Twitter that @surfinbrotha says I should consider the East Bay.  He’s not the only one but my goal is to be within 30 minutes of Zendesk so, drop your ideas in the comments for sure because…that’s how I got into this whole “Moving to San Francisco” thing…asking others!  (more on that later)


My goal is to find an apartment with hardwood, floor to ceiling windows, not on the first floor that will accept my well behaved pets.

I have a 4lb, 10 year old Chihuahua named Bluey and I’ve had her since 2003
(Well behaved means potty trained, non barking, non destructive)
big dog smile - Bluey the dog gets a bath
and my awesome 15 year old cat named Turtle
(Also well behaved meaning non destructive, uses her litter box 100% and doesn’t do weird cat stuff like attacking strangers)
Turtle the Cat

Past that, there are nice things like having an office space, a garden space and storage.


Our World With Me Apartment complex model Bao'an
Creative Commons License photo credit: dcmaster

In Minneapolis, you can pay anywhere from $480 for a studio to $1,200 for a really nice 1 bedroom.  In fact, you can get many 2 bedroom units in the Twin Cities starting at $900.

The cost of living is higher in San Francisco.  Everyone keeps telling me that.

Based on my research through Cragslist, a studio (not in the Tenderloin) will cost you $1,200 and many 1 bedrooms go for $1,700 and up.

Right now, I pay about $650 for my 1 bedroom apartment in Minneapolis.  I’ve lived here 3 years.  Last year, they jacked up the rent considerably when they put in new kitchens (that is a WHOLE OTHER post unto itself).

Crazy People On Craigslist

Now in terms of how I’ve gone about finding potential apartments, I’ve mainly used Craigslist.  I have a couple of saved RSS feeds and when I go through them for keywords, pets allowed, rental price, etc, I sometimes come up with “gems”.  These are ads that somehow made it onto the Interwebz but have no chance of getting any sort of response from a sane person since it seems someone a “little off” wrote it.

This photo looks like there was a nuclear fall out in San Francisco

(cloudy day plus dirty lens).
Nuclear winter over San Francisco?

And the ad that offered 200 square feet for $850/month in SOMA
200 Square Feet $850 month in San Francisco

Now since this is California, I also saw several ads that said, “420” friendly
420 Friendly

There were of course, there were ads that highlighted the toilet as the best photo of the unit.  I can only imagine what the rest of the place is like
wow them with toliets

I even found one today that graciously offered the use of their cell phone for the very affordable price of just $0.10 per minute.  I’ll continue to collect the “special postings” over on Flickr.

Housing For Next Month

mobile from Dad and Momz
Creative Commons License photo credit: coleypauline

For right now, I am going to be moving into a temporary place for 4-6 weeks.  This will give me time to get a bit familiar with San Francisco but most importantly, allow me to go to apartment showings.  Ever bought a car over the Internet?  I have.  Twice.  First time was a bit shady.  Second time went much better but you’re still buying based on faith even if you have an independent auto mechanic check it out.  Same goes for apartments.  I’m better off looking while I’m in the city.

Thank you

All You Need is Love
Creative Commons License photo credit: DNQA

I want to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all the wonderful folks who have reached out on the blog to offer advice, recommendations and connect me to people in their network concerning my move!  Thank you as well to all the folks on Twitter.

I personally find this life event to be terrifying but in the face of fear, you find courage.  I’ve faced scary, horrible things in my life and each time, I’ve come away better for it.  I think this is what drives me on where others say, “I’m not going to risk it”.  The unknown has actually been more rewarding to me than the known.

I still need your help so feel free to reach out and contact me if you think you have an idea, resource or tip that would make my relocation to San Francisco easier.  People have shared their stories of moving to San Francisco, their thoughts about one day moving and also what to watch out for.  I love it all!

This entry was posted in About Adria, Adventures in Consulting, Moving to San Francisco, Thank you, travel on by .

About Adria Richards

Adria Richards is a developer and entrepreneur focused on digital equality. She has worked in the tech industry since 1998 solving big problems for companies of all sizes. Embracing her inner nerd, Adria moved moved to San Francisco in 2010 to pursue her passion for technology. Previously she has worked in technical and training roles for enterprise, nonprofits and startups; from Apple to Zendesk. Adria is a popular speaker and gives talks about culture, communication and diversity. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, yoga and bacon; not necessarily at that order. Her Twitter account is followed by President @BarackObama.

12 thoughts on “San Francisco Apartment Research And Twitter Lurking

  1. Latoicha

    I LOVE SAN FRANCISCO! I have been wanting to move their since 1999! It is so beautiful yet still has the hustle and bustle of business, creativity, and innovation. LOVE IT! I have been researching neighborhoods for years! One day, I will make the move. In the meantime, I shall be there in the Fall. We should do lunch!

  2. rulette

    I really think you should not underestimate the east bay…places in West Oakland will get you into the SF Downtown more quickly than from some parts of the City. That said, I lived in SF for about 7 years, all over the place. But as a mom, I love the East bay because it is more family friendly, green and there are people of color who are prosperous, rather than living on the street (which is ALL you experience in SF) Here is my take on the areas you are targeting:

    SOMA – great access to tech and clubs; great live/work spaces, not cheap anymore

    Mission district – best weather, great culture, bars, art, Historic Latin culture, CARNIVAL!

    Potrero Hill – nice, near some tech, great views, not good public transit, hilly for walkers/bikers

    Castro – sunny; can be loud, but lots of fun — knows how to party and protest!

    Noe Valley – strollerville, family friendly, sunny, great commercial artery, accessible by J Church line (best one)

    Pacific Heights – Expensive, but more affordable closer to Fillmore (California and Divisadero)

    Cow Hollow – No Se

    Can't wait to see how this all develops for you! So exciting!

  3. adriarichards

    Wow @outdoorafro,

    Thank you for the breakdown! See, I'm going to get out there, walk around,
    read Yelp, talk to folks and then make my decision.

    I wish you a great year of prosperity and success in 2010 and I'll be
    looking you up once I relocate.

    Love the “strollerville” reference!

  4. ben

    Great blog post! It is definitely a frustrating experience trying to find a place. thats why I am building a website called tuberent with video walkthroughs of apartments, yelp reviews of cool stuff around properties, google maps/street view. it is so much better than cragislist! Also, is has a more robust search engine for you to filter for things like hardwood floors. We're almost complete and I may have properties for you in about a month! Im always looking for user feedback. do you want to check out my site?

  5. mrjudkins

    Hi Adria!

    Wonderful post! My wife and I are moving to San Francisco ourselves at the end of May – from New Zealand. We've been going through a number of the same preparatory questions you have, and will be really interested to see how the move goes for you!


  6. mrjudkins

    Hi Adria!

    Wonderful post! My wife and I are moving to San Francisco ourselves at the end of May – from New Zealand. We've been going through a number of the same preparatory questions you have, and will be really interested to see how the move goes for you!


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  10. Mannyareyes

    Can you tell me about your temporary stay how went how much and where. I’ll be moving there and would like a decent place with parking

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