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If you’re thinking about buying a house in the SF Bay Area it’s a really good idea to do your homework first because the Bay Area is a big place and even cities right next to each other, as many cities in the Bay Area are can be very different. So even for a life long Bay Area native, like myself, it’s a good idea to do your homework before you start your home search in a new Bay Area city.

In this video I’m going to compare two east bay tri-valley cities —Livermore and Pleasanton. And at the end I’ll reveal the 2 things ONE of these two cities has that no other cities have. Do you know what they are? 

I was born and raised on the Peninsula, more commonly known now as Silicon Valley. Growing up I only knew of Pleasanton because my family went to the county fair and horse races every 4th of July and then one of my best friends moved to Pleasanton in 4th grade. Back then it was considered FAR AWAY. We did not know anyone who lived in Pleasanton and commuted to the Peninsula. Fortunately for me, my mom and my friends mom were pretty good at driving us to visit each other for long weekends. And Livermore… I only knew of Livermore because it was the town we drove through to get to the Delta where my dad kept his boat docked.

So yeah even living here my whole life the Bay Area is large and going to another city can be a whole new experience.

First off, let’s get oriented. Livermore and Pleasanton are both part of Alameda County. Pleasanton is located right where 680 and 580 meet on the south side of 580. Livermore is just east of Pleasanton along 580 and is on both on the north and south side of 580. Livermore is the farthest city east along the 580 that is still considered part of the Bay Area.

Pleasanton and Livermore are similar in size with Livermore. 24 sq. miles and 26 sq. miles respectively. 

It’s pretty widely known that the Bay Area is an expensive place to live, but if you’re not from the Bay Area you might not realize that there can be some drastic differences in cost of living from one city to the next. This is something that hasn’t changed in all my life of living here. 

So, let’s take a look at the affordability of Pleasanton vs. Livermore today.

According to Bay East Association of Realtors
The median household income in Pleasanton is $142,412
VS
The median household income in Livermore of $104,223

A difference of more than $38K/year

10 LARGEST EMPLOYERS in Pleasanton are:
Kaiser Foundation Hospitals
Safeway, Inc.
Oracle America, Inc.
Workday
Pleasanton Unified School District
Macy’s
Valley Care Medical Center
Clorox Services Company
State Fund
FMC
Thoratec

vs

10 LARGEST EMPLOYERS in Livermore:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Valley Care Health System
Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District
Comcast Cable
Sandia National Laboratory
FormFactor, Inc.
Wente Vineyards
Kaiser Permanente Regional Distribution Center
City of Livermore
Livermore Area Recreational & Park District

So, how does the median home price of a detached single family home compare?

As of this recording the median sales price for a single family detached home in Pleasanton is $1,640,00 vs. $1,101,250 in Livermore.

Property tax rate in Pleasanton is slightly lower than Livermore. It’s 1.0873% per each thousand vs. 1.0971% in Livermore. BUT keep in mind this does not account for any supplemental taxes that are also specific to each city. Diving into that would be for another video.

School:

School ratings often play a big role in housing prices. Even buyers without school aged children often take how area schools rate into account when buying a home. 

Let’s see how Pleasanton schools compare to Livermore schools.

According to Niche.com with the exception of Pleasanton’s alternative high schools, all Pleasanton schools get a grade of A or A+.

Livermore Schools rank slightly lower than Pleasanton with the low grade of B- going to the district’s continuation high school. 

Livermore has a graduation rate of 95% and average SAT score of 1240 *out of 721 responses.

Pleasanton has a graduation rate of 97% and average SAT score of 1350 *out of 1663 responses. 

If you want to dig deeper into school statistics I’ll put a link in the description below with additional resources.

Sports:

If you’re a sports fan keep in mind that the tri-valley isn’t home to any professional sports teams. But… as part of the Bay Area baseball fans cheer on either the SF Giants or the Oakland A’s, although there’s been recent news that the A’s are considering leaving the Bay Area so… if you haven’t picked a team to be a fan of you might want to choose the Giants so you’re not stuck with a bunch of Green hats and shirts in your closet and no games to wear them to.

If you’re a dedicated football fan the Bay Area is home to the best NFL team ever. Okay, I’m a life long Bay Area native so to me there is only one great team and that is the San Francisco 49ers. Even though they’re no longer actually in San Francisco. They now have a stadium in Santa Clara which isn’t that far to go to attend a home game.

If Ice Hockey is more your speed then plan for some trips down to San Jose to cheer on the San Jose Sharks. 

Prefer Basketball? Well, you can head over to San Francisco and catch a Golden State Warriors game. 

College:

If you have kids and are planning ahead for college, or perhaps considering going back to college yourself. You might be wondering what options there are near by for colleges.

Livermore has Los Positas junior college right in town and easily accessible if you live in either Livermore or Pleasanton.

If you’re looking for a state university, Cal State East Bay located in Hayward isn’t too far away. There’s also SF State and SJSU. We’re also commuting distance to UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco as well as many other private universities such as Santa Clara University, Stanford, UOP, and several others. 

Entertainment:

Ok, so if you move to the Tri-Valley what are you going to do for entertainment when you’re staying close to home? When I moved to Livermore from the Tri-Valley in 2006 I’m not going to lie… it was an adjustment. I got married in 2005 and my husband humored me by moving into my tiny 1 bedroom condo in Mountain View because I did not want to move out of Mountain View. He had a house in Livermore and I decided we should remodel it then sell it, and my condo, and buy a house in Mountain View. So being the DIY’er that I am, with the help of a friend she and I remodeled his house to get it ready to sell. The only issue was… we were working and could only do it on weekends so it took us a very long time. An entire year in fact.

So, remember the housing crash? Well, it was the worst timing ever. So I reluctantly agreed to move into the newly remodeled house and rent my condo out instead. I agreed I would do it for one year and then if I didn’t like it we were moving back. Well… I adjusted and even came to like it in Livermore. So much so, I didn’t even want to move back. 

I think my biggest adjustment was local dining and entertainment. There just wasn’t much of either at that time. I was used to a busy downtown with every type of restaurant you could want, coffee places, and watering holes to meet up with friends all of which were open late into the night. There was not much of that in Livermore at the time. 

Except for a few places, every time we went out we had to go out of town. 

I remember being really really bored one evening and decided to go buy a book to read. Well.. I couldn’t even find a bookstore in town. I ended up in the book department at Target and you know that is slim pickings as far as books go.

Let me assure you.. A lot has changed in Livermore and Pleasanton since I moved here. A LOT.

Both Pleasanton and Livermore have great downtowns. Livermore feels more active once the sun goes down. Not to say there aren’t places in downtown Pleasanton you can go after dark, it just reminds me of down town Los altos were a lot of businesses close early. 

Downtown Livermore also has two movie theaters, one older called the Vine located on the western end of downtown and a newer larger 13 screen cinema located at the eastern end of downtown. Pleasanton doesn’t have a movie theater downtown or anywhere in the city as a matter of fact. So if you live in Pleasanton and want to see a movie on the big screen you’ll need to head to theaters in Livermore or Dublin.

Both Livermore and Pleasanton have theaters for live performances downtown. Some professional shows come through these theaters as well as community shows, children’s theaters, and music concerts. And I have to also mention that Wente Winery has a fantastic concert venue as well and great seasonal outdoor concert series where artist like Rick Springfield, The Tenors, Styx, The Temptations, REW Speedwagon, Boz Scaggs, and The Doobie Brothers just to name a few perform.

Shopping:

If you like to shop and are wondering what your shopping options are here’s the rundown. Both Livermore and Pleasanton have all the usual stores like Target, Walmart, Safeway, Nobill, Trader Joe’s, and things like that.

Where they’re different is Pleasanton is home to Stoneridge mall, a traditional indoor shopping mall with large anchor stores like Macys and Nordstroms. Here you’ll also find an Apple store, Sephora, and the usual food court dining options like Wetzel’s pretzels and hot dog on a stick (fun fact… I used to be a hot dog on a stick girl!).

People living in Livermore looking for an indoor mall usually head to Pleasanton.

However, Livermore is not lacking in the shopping options. In fact Livermore is home to the poorly re-named San Francisco Premium Outlets. The outdoor outlet mall located on the western end of Livermore is home to over 180 brand name and designer outlet stores and the building hasn’t stopped yet. This mall is still expanding and with additional shopping centers located just across the street it’s easy to make a whole day shopping and still not see every store. 

Before the outlet mall opened I often went to Stoneridge mall in Pleasanton to do my shopping. Now, unless I need to go to Apple or really want cheesecake from the cheesecake factory… I do most of my shopping at the outlet mall in Livermore. It’s just closer and feels like I’m getting a deal with the name outlet in the title.

Crime:

When looking for a place to live, many buyers want to know… how much crime is in that area? Let’s take a look at neighborhoodscout.com to see how Livermore and Pleasanton compare when it comes to crime.

According to neighbhorhood scout .com Pleasanton has a crime index of 23. 100 being the safest. That means it’s safer than 23% of US cities.

Looking at Livermore neighborhood scout .com gives Livermore a crime index of 27 (again 100 being the safest). Meaning Livermore is safer than 27% of US cities. 

So according to data provided by neighborhood scout .com Livermore rates slightly safer than Pleasanton. 

Looking at Data from City-Data . com from 2019

Crime rate in Livermore is 149 and Pleasanton is lower at 130. 

Recreation:

If you like the outdoors Livermore and Pleasanton both have some great recreation areas close by. 

There are many areas you can hike along past some cows, goats or other wildlife. If you’re out on the trails on a hot spring day or anytime in the summer months you need to keep an eye out for snakes. It’s not uncommon to come across some rattlesnakes sunning themselves on the paths. Be especially careful with small children and dogs and don’t let them get into the tall grass where snakes could be hiding. Remember you’re in their territory.

If you’re looking for a place with water, Shadow Cliffs regional recreation area is in Pleasanton right at the border of Livermore. There’s also Del Valle lake at Del Valle regional park where you can enjoy a day on the lake close to home or bring your camping gear and stay a few nights.

And the one thing that Livermore has that no other city in the entire bay area has is… an expansive wine country and vast number of wineries to visit. I know that most people think of Napa when they think of wineries, but us Livermorions, Livermorons, Livermor… whatever it is we call ourselves… have a saying…

“Napa is for auto parts, Livermore is for wine.”

Livermore is home to more than 45 wineries. If you like wine there is nothing like having wineries and tasting rooms just minutes from home. If you’re coming for a visit be sure to check out the Livermore Valley Wine Country itinerary planner to map out your wine tasting day. I’ll put a link to it below.

https://www.lvwine.org

Here’ something you might not know…. In 2012 The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry officially approved Livermorium as the name for element 116. The name Livermorium (atomic symbol Lv) was chosen to honor Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the City of Livermore. You’ll find it located on the bottom right corner of the periodic table of elements.

So at the beginning of this video I said there were two things ONE of these cities had that no other city can stake claim to. do you know what it is?

It’s Livermore! And the two things are… It’s California’s oldest wine region. The only city with element 116 named after it. If fact, there are only two cities in the United States with elements named after them, Berkeley with element 97 (Bk).

So leave me a comment below and tell me, if you were going to pick one of these two cities to move to right now, which one would you choose and why?

And if there is another bay area city you’d me to do a comparison video on let me know that in the comments as well. 

if you’re thinking of moving to or from the tri-valley or anywhere in the Bay Area and want more information about buying or selling your home… I can help you. give me a call, shoot me a text, or send me an email. However you want to connect. If you’re thinking about making a move I’m here to help make it easy for you.

I’m Maria D’Aura, Tri-Valley realtor with eXp realty. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel, give me a thumbs up, and leave a comment below