Real State

What $900,000 Buys You in California

Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, is a popular landing spot for those looking for more space and easy access to urban amenities. This house is in West End, a laid-back neighborhood home to Alameda Point, a former naval air station that houses breweries and distilleries.

The property is opposite Longfellow Park, which has a tennis court and a playground, and a short drive from a ferry terminal, where passengers can make it to San Francisco in about 20 minutes. Oakland is about a 10-minute drive, and Berkeley is 15 minutes away.

Size: 1,131 square feet

Price per square foot: $791

Indoors: A paved walkway leads from the sidewalk to the front door. Beyond it is a small foyer that opens into a living room with hardwood floors.

While the house has been updated by multiple owners, plenty of period details remain, including a white-brick fireplace and crown moldings. An arched window looks out over the street, and a wide doorway faces a dining room with an original built-in china cabinet and more hardwood floors.

Through the dining room is a bright kitchen with stainless-steel appliances and new quartz countertops. Off this space is a laundry room with access to the backyard.

The hardwood floors continue from the dining room into a hallway that leads to a bedroom with sloped ceilings, a street-facing window and closets along one wall. A second bedroom off the hallway, of roughly the same size, has its original door hardware and direct access to a bathroom with a claw-foot tub and a porcelain pedestal sink.

Behind the house, in the garage, is a bonus space that the sellers use as a home office.

Outdoor space: Mature trees provide shade in the backyard, which is planted with drought-tolerant succulents and shrubs. A paved patio in the center of the yard offers an outdoor dining area. The garage has one parking spot; there is room for another car in the driveway.

Taxes: $10,476 (estimated)

Contact: Kate McCaffrey, Compass, 510-522-5223;

This house is in northwest Pasadena, about a five-minute drive from the Rose Bowl, where the University of Southern California football team plays and a monthly flea market — one of the largest in the country — is held. Most of the houses in the neighborhood were built in the early 20th century and (like this one) have been recently updated, as young families move into the area.

Old Pasadena, a popular shopping and dining district, is a five-minute drive; Dodger Stadium and downtown Los Angeles are about 20 minutes away.

Size: 988 square feet

Price per square foot: $910

Indoors: Part of the recent updates to this property included a front-yard makeover with an emphasis on drought-tolerant plants. A gravel path leads through the yard to the front porch, where the front door opens into a living room with gray hardwood floors and a large window facing the street.

An island divides the living area from an open kitchen with white cabinets and appliances. Behind the kitchen is one of the home’s three bedrooms, currently used as a home office.

To the left of the kitchen is a short hallway that leads to the other bedrooms. To the right is a sunny guest room with a built-in closet and a slate-gray accent wall; next door is a full bathroom with a combination tub and shower lined with white subway tile. At the other end of the hall is the primary bedroom, which is large enough to hold a king-size bed and has an en suite bathroom.

Outdoor space: A paved patio in back has canopies for shade and space for a few lounge chairs. A concrete path leads to a second patio, paved with gravel and large enough to accommodate a dining table. The backyard is landscaped with more drought-tolerant plants, including several rows of succulents, as well as an orange tree. The garage, currently used as a gym, has one parking spot.

Taxes: $11,424 (estimated)

Contact: Kevin Kelly and Joseph Cilic, Sotheby’s International Realty, 310-481-6262;

Twentynine Palms is known as the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park, which includes parts of the Colorado and Mojave Deserts. A popular weekend destination for hikers and campers, the park is about two and a half hours from Los Angeles and three and a half hours from Las Vegas.

In addition to tourism, the area’s economy is centered around the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, the country’s largest Marine Corps base, which is a 10-minute drive from this house. Within a five-minute drive are a number of grocery stores and casual restaurants; Palm Springs and Palm Desert are about an hour’s drive.

Size: 3,860 square feet

Price per square foot: $233

Indoors: A wide driveway leads from the street to a lime-green front door that opens into a foyer with a white-painted brick wall and a built-in planter.

To the immediate left is a laundry room that connects to the kitchen; straight ahead is an open living area with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the pool in back and, beyond, the mountains. The seller is an interior designer, and updates to the house preserved original midcentury details, including the living room fireplace.

The living area flows into a dining area that faces an updated kitchen with quartz countertops and a window overlooking the front of the property.

A hallway extends from the right side of the foyer, leading to a bedroom wing. At the far end of the hall is the primary bedroom, which has pool-facing windows and an en suite bathroom and dressing area. Two other bedrooms off the hallway share a bathroom with peach and orange tiles.

The lower level is reached by stairs off the hallway and also has a separate outdoor entrance, so it could be used as a guest apartment. There are two bedrooms on this level (one of them used as an art studio and crafts room) and two full bathrooms. The living area has a wood-burning fireplace and direct pool access.

Outdoor space: A covered veranda, off the kitchen and dining area, has a firepit and space for outdoor dining and entertaining. Steps flanked by cactuses lead to a pool surrounded by concrete, with a separate spa. At the front of the house is a carport with two parking spots; more parking is available in the driveway.

Taxes: $11,412 (estimated)

Contact: Colleen Hensley, Hensley Properties, Keller Williams, 760-533-1800;

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