London-based business consulting and services firm PwC included San Francisco in its Top 30 “Cities of Opportunity”, as one of the 30 most attractive cities in the world for new business ventures. Sounds exciting, right? Hold on.
In the same report, PwC mentions the following:
“Cities with the greatest economic strength today often have housing that is priced out of reach. Five of our top 10 cities in economic clout fall at midpoint or lower in rent affordability (London, New York, San Francisco, Beijing, and Shanghai). This foreshadows difficulty in talent attraction, retention, and, ultimately, cities possessing critical, hands-on skills they need…”.
According to a recent article in SFGate, Bay Area citizens are fleeing jacked up housing prices by moving to other cities in California. But the high cost of rent in San Francisco is not the only problem. The complexity of the whole process in general scares the crap out of people, too - especially non-residents.
“When I arrived to San Francisco to test the waters for my startup, I had no idea that the housing situation would become a major problem” says Christian Torres, the CEO of an aspiring unicorn. “First, if you don’t have credit history in the U.S. which none of us foreigners do, you can’t even think about renting out anything for longer term without a cosigner. It’s almost impossible to sign a Lease Agreement for less than a year. And for mid-term, like I wanted - my only options were either Airbnb - which is hardcore expensive in here, or finding a room through Social Media, which is a pain in the ass…”.
The San Francisco housing situation is harsh on foreigners - and frankly speaking, on locals as well. However, if your target is three months to a year, there is a safety cushion for you. Co-living is the new choice for non-resident entrepreneurs in the City by the Bay.
“At some point your friends’ patience runs out and you gotta find your own place to stay. And that’s where the hell starts… I’m non-resident, so I had to pay the double of my apartment’s deposit - around $8,000. Even if you have that money, finding a landlord that you can convince that you’re reliable despite not having credit history is a total nightmare. I fell out of my startup work for several weeks”, says Monica, founder of Carbon White.
Here’s the breakdown for a three-month stay:
Another option is to find a home for mid- to long-term rent through websites such as Craigslist, Trulia or Zillow. 1-bedroom apartments start at $3000/mo. Most of us share 2- or 3- bedroom apartments with roommates paying around $1,600/mo. But before committing to a rigorous search, check if you are ready for it - here’s what it will require:
- Credit history in the U.S.
- Proof of positive rental history in the U.S. (lacking one might increase the price of your deposit substantially)
- Proof of income (such as your pay stubs, a letter from an employer and/or a job offer)
- U.S. Social Security Number
- Security deposit
If you don’t have all (or any) of the above, in the most cases you will need a resident co-signer who can provide this information and whose monthly income should be at least 8 times higher than your rental price
Co-living is probably your best bet now if you’re coming to San Francisco for over 30 days and don’t exactly know when you will be leaving. Because who knows, maybe you’ll become a unicorn after all. Co-living provides community and network. And with how crazy San Francisco is about startups, co-living spaces have become a sort of boot camp for foreign entrepreneurs, where everything is built to prioritize productivity and social activity. Co-living will provide you with:
- A place to sleep, whether it’s a bed or your own room
- A place to cook and dine
- A place to work
- A place to socialize and network
- High-speed wifi (always)
- Central locations walking distance from hip hoods and the Financial District (almost always)
- Laundry and cleaning so you don’t have to worry about those day-to-day routines
- Recreational spaces - such as a gym, movie room and other spots to have fun and relax from work
- Community activities and a lot of support in understanding what’s going on in San Francisco and how it works
All in all, it’s the best landing pad for you to relax and understand what your next step is going to be. And taking that next step will be a lot easier because you will have a huge family backing you up.
Our doors will always be open for you :)