TEN Things to Know Before Buying in Lafayette, CA

1.     The Town of Lafayette, CA

The town of LafayetteCaliforniais the largest of 3 small towns in a bedroom community known as Lamorinda (see more about Lafayette, CAat http://www.ci.lafayette.ca.us/). Lafayette is noted for a high quality of life with top quality schools.  With a population of (approx.) 24,000 as of 2000, the town ofLafayette is located approx. 15 miles east of downtownSan Francisco.  Locals who drive into “The City” each day across the Bay Bridge know they can expect mild to warm weather as soon as they pass though the Caldecott (cold to hot) Tunnel.


2.      Lamorinda:

Lamorinda is not a town or city but an area which refers to the adjacent Towns of Lafayette, Orinda andMoraga.  Locals often refer to Lamorinda as the name of their community compared withLafayette, Orinda orMoraga.  When “out of the area” people look to buy homes in our community, they will often consider any one of the 3 towns because of their similarities.  All 3 communities are close toSan Francisco(15 to 20 miles to SF).  All 3 have very low crime rates.  All 3 have excellent schools and are considered affluent communities.  It should be noted thatLafayetteand Orinda neighborhoods are on both sides of the Freeway (Highway 24) and thatMoragais the furthest from the Freeway, approx 4 to 5 miles south of the Highway 24.  The average sale price in 2011 for each of the towns was:

  1. Lafayette- $1,027,812 (down 5.6% from 2010)
  2. Orinda- $1,011,687 (down 3.6% from 2010)
  3. Moraga- $893,690 (down 4.8% from 2010)


3.      Highs and Lows–DollarRangeof Sold Detached Homes in 2011 by Town:

  1. Lafayette– Low $399,000 – High $2,900,000 (248 sales in 2011 – 252 sales in 2010)
  2. Orinda– Low $250,000 – High $3,450,000 (168 Sales in 2011 – 180 sales in 2010)
  3. Moraga– Low $530,000 – High $2,650,000 (125 sales in 2011 – 102 sales in 2010)


4.       2011 Home Prices of a Typical Detached House:

What was the average sale price of a home in Lamorinda during 2011 that had 3 to 4 bedrooms, 2 baths and approximately 1,800sf to 2,200sf by town?

  1. Lafayette– Sale Price – $789,035 (down 8% from 2010)
  2. Orinda – Sale Price – $838,276 (up 1.5% from 2010)
  3. Moraga– Sale Price – $770,103 (down 3.5% from 2010)

5.  School                                     Websites

Lafayette Schools:

Pre-Schools in Lafayette         http://www.eastbaypreschools.com/

Burton Valley Elementary      http://bves-lafsd-ca.schoolloop.com/

Springhill Elementary             http://ses-lafsd-ca.schoolloop.com/

HappyValleyElementary       http://hves-lafsd-ca.schoolloop.com/

Lafayette Elementary             http://les-lafsd-ca.schoolloop.com/

StanleyMiddle School           http://sms-lafsd-ca.schoolloop.com/

AcalanesHigh School             http://www.acalanes.k12.ca.us/acalanes


Moraga Schools:

Kindergarten Information – http://www.moraga.k12.ca.us

Camino Pablo Elementary – http://cpes-msd-ca.schoolloop.com/

Donald Rheem Elementary – http://dres-msd-ca.schoolloop.com/

Los Perales Elementary – http://lp.moraga.k12.ca.us/

Joaquin Moraga Intermediate – http://jm.moraga.k12.ca.us/

CampolindoHigh School- http://www.acalanes.k12.ca.us/campolindo/


Orinda Schools:

Gloriette Elementary – http://www.orindaschools.org/glorietta

Wagner Ranch Elementary – http://www.orindaschools.org/wagnerranch

Del Rey Elementary – http://www.orindaschools.org/delrey

SleepyHollowSchool–   http://www.orindaschools.org/sleepyhollow

OrindaIntermediate – http://www.orindaschools.org/ois

MiramonteHigh School- http://www.acalanes.k12.ca.us/miramonte


6.     Public Transportation:

The most important part about public transportation is that both the towns ofLafayetteandOrindahave BART Stations (Bay Area Rapid Transit).


7.     Lafayette Town Resources:

a.      Library and Learning Center (http://www.lafayettelib.org/)
b.      Lafayette Chamber of Commerce (http://lafayettechamber.org/)
c.       Lafayette Veteran’s Hall (http://www.lafayetteveterans.org/)
d.      Lafayette Park Hotel (http://www.lafayetteparkhotel.com/)


8.     Noteworthy Lafayette Restaurants and Eateries:

  • Yankee Pier (Bradley Ogden’s Fish House – Really Good Seafood)
  • Chow (Great Casual dining place for singles or families)
  • Bo’s BBQ (GR8T BBQ in Lafayette – You Bet)
  • Millie’s Kitchen (small home style breakfast for patient customers)
  • Amarin (Every town has multiple good Thai restaurants, this isLafayette’s)
  • La Finestra Ristorante (one ofLafayette’s best kept secrets for Italian fine dining)
  • Postino (A truly fine dining Italian Ristorante – GR8T Date Dinner)
  • MetroLafayette
  • The Duck Club (Lafayette Park Hotel)
  • Blue Ginko (Sushi in a Strip Mall – You Bet)
  • Uncle Yu’sSzechwan(nice sit down Chinese Restaurant with good parking)
  • Lily’s really good and inexpensive, authentic Chinese and Mandarin food
  • Mangia Ristorante Pizzeria (San Franciscostyle Pizza)
  • Diablo Foods (old fashion Grocery Store with large Butcher Counter)
  • Patxi’s (Pah Cheese)Chicagostyle pizza with a touch of elegance


9.     The Lafayette Reservoir:

The Lafayette Reservoir is located offMt. Diablo Boulevardon the west end ofLafayette. Completed in 1933 the reservoir is a standby supply of drinking water for East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) customers. The 925 acre site with a 1.4 billion gallon reservoir was opened to public recreation in 1966 with hiking, fishing, boating and picnicking.  This is a very popular spot for local residents to walk to and around the (approx.) 4 mile walking path.  There is a charge for parking in the Reservoir Parking Lot.   Fishing is $4.00 per day at the reservoir and the usual state license requirements and bait restrictions apply. The State Department of Fish and Game plants thousands of trout each year joining bluegill, black bass, black crappie and several kinds of catfish.

Privately owned rowboats, canoes, kayaks and sailboats are allowed at the reservoir. There is a fee for boat registration. In addition, there are rowboats and pedal boats for rent at the activity center on an hourly, half-day, or all-day basis.  For more information:  http://lafayettechamber.org/community/lafayette-reservoir/


10.      Lafayette Art and Wine Festival:

About the Festival

The Lafayette Art & Wine Festival, held each year on the third weekend in September, is the largest event in Lamorinda and one of the five biggest outdoor festivals inContraCostaCounty. This is one of the best attended events in Lamorinda each year (over 60,000 attended this 2 day event in 2011).  You can stroll among stalls of art, handmade crafts, sampling foods from top local restaurants, and enjoying quality wines and microbrews.   There are also lots of fun activities for kids too.



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