New Employees

Welcome to the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, where we hope that your association will be personally and professionally gratifying. As an employee of the Buck Institute, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have joined a research community dedicated to extending the healthy, productive years of life.

Our New Employee Relocating Information is intended to help you become acquainted with the community and region where the Buck Institute is located and to direct you to resources to help in your relocation plans and initial relocation.

Location and Driving Directions to the Buck Institute 

Travel by Air

The Buck Institute is 42 miles from San Francisco International Airport, with the Marin Airporter, providing convenient shuttle service between SF0 and Marin County, and 40 miles from Oakland International Airport. The Marin Airporter will stop in Novato, also will stop at the Novato Oaks Best Western in Novato upon request. 

Bay Area Universities
The Buck Institute is located 29 miles from the University of California, San Francisco Parnassus Campus, and not much further from the UCSF Mission Bay campus. We are 30 miles from the University of California, Berkeley, 63 miles from Stanford University and 62 miles from the University of California, Davis. 

An Overview of the Bay Area:
Marin, Napa, San Francisco and Sonoma Counties

The counties in the San Francisco Bay Area offer a rich diversity of cities and communities, and all are within a reasonable proximity to the Buck Institute. Marin County is comprised of 13 unique cities and towns, as well as a variety of communities in a large and relatively rural, unincorporated region. The Buck Institute is situated on Mt. Burdell in Novato, the northernmost city in Marin County.

Regionally, the Buck Institute is 30 miles from the city of Berkeley and 36 miles from downtown San Francisco. It is 29 miles to Napa Valley, and 20 miles to Sonoma. 

Finances – Living Expenses
In the Bay Area and Marin County, living expenses, such as food and public transportation, will probably compare favorably with those of your home country. However, visitors should prepare for housing to be a significant expense. Additionally, transportation may be a major expense if you decide to purchase an automobile.

We recommend that new arrivals bring enough money --  a minimum of $3,000 -- to cover initial expenses, including transportation to the Buck Institute, temporary housing, apartment deposits, meals, etc. In general, a monthly budget would include approximately $1,000 to $1,600 for housing and utilities. This will be based on the location and type of rental unit selected. New employees bringing a spouse and children, should plan to budget additional funds for housing and living expenses. If you plan to purchase an automobile, you will need to include the costs for auto insurance and registration. Automobile insurance can cost approximately $1,000 per year and automobile registration approximately $200 per year, depending upon the price of a used car.

Taxes: Moving Expenses [IRS Publication 521, Moving Expenses]. The Internal Revenue Service specifically identifies the cost of security deposits, including any given up due to a move, as an unallowable moving expenses. 

Housing Costs
Rates change and may be higher

As with much of the Bay Area, rental prices in Marin County (for apartments, townhouses and homes) tend to be high. 

For Example:
Average costs for 1 bedroom unfurnished units in Marin County: $900 - $1,400 

Average costs for 2 bedroom unfurnished units in Marin County: $1,600 - $1,900

To give you a better idea of housing costs and the types of available rentals in Marin County, a sample newspaper listing of rental units in Marin County is enclosed in your pre-arrival orientation packet. 

Housing Deposit
You will need to pay a deposit when you rent housing. Usually, this will require that you pay your first month’s rent, plus last month’s rent, and/or a smaller amount as a security damage deposit.

To extend your options for locating housing in a more affordable range, consider looking for housing north of Marin County. Petaluma, in Sonoma County, is located just 11 miles north of Novato and rental prices are a little lower there. New employees may also want to consider sharing rental housing or rooms that are for rent in homes. 

Once you have located housing, you will need to contact utility companies to establish basic services (telephone, gas and/or electric and water). The Exchange Visitor Office/Human Resource Department can provide you with the names and telephone numbers of the utility companies in the area where you locate housing. Utility costs will vary depending upon your rental unit. When you look at housing, ask if any utilities are included in the cost of the rental. Water and garbage are usually included in apartment rentals. Ask what the typical utility costs are for each place that you consider renting. Plan to pay approximately $50 - $150 for utilities, depending upon your usage and the size of your rental.

Prior to your arrival in Novato, you may contact the local utility companies in order to establish new service. The two main companies are:


Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Temporary and Long-Term Housing
One of your immediate concerns may be locating temporary or long-term housing. As you begin your housing search, a tool for mapping directions can be found at

Short-Term Accommodations
Marin County offers a variety of Hotel/Motel Inns and B&B accommodations, including several which are close to the Buck Institute in Novato. 

Best Western Novato Oaks Inn
215 Alameda del Prado
Novato, CA 94949
T - 415-883-4400  
T - 800-625-7466
F - 415-883-4128
Corporate Rate - $149
Wild Fox Restaurant - room service available
Complimentary continental breakfast buffet
Close to Golden Gate Transit bus service
Complimentary hotel shuttle to Buck Institute and return
3-Diamond Triple AAA


Courtyard by Marriott
1400 North Hamilton Parkway
Novato, CA 94949
T-  415-883-9950     
F - 415-883-8960
Rates $69- $144
Within walking distance to the Marin Airporter

Embassy Suites Hotel
101 Mclnnis Parkway
San Rafael, CA 94903
T - 415-499-9222
F - 415-499-9268
Rates $129 - $179
Very close to Golden Gate Transit bus service

Inn Marin
250 Entrada Drive
Novato, CA 94949
T-  415-883-9950
F - 415-883-5058
Rates up to 14 days are $79 per day. Extended stays over 15 days are $65 per day, including breakfast. Will provide transportation to and from Buck Institute.

Novato Days Inn
8141 Redwood Blvd.
Novato, CA 94945
T - 415-897-7111
T - 800 329-7466
F - 415-892-1186
Rates $64 - $74 (until Sep)
Walking distance to Buck Institute

Long-Term Rentals
As with much of the Bay Area, rental prices in Marin County (for apartments, townhouses and homes) tend to be high. To extend your options for locating housing in a more affordable range, consider looking for housing north of Marin County. Petaluma, in Sonoma County, is located just 11 miles north of Novato.

The Buck Institute has developed an in-house community bulletin board to post available rental units. The most popular resource for local rentals is Craig's List.


The Marin Child Care Council is a clearing house and referral service for childcare providers throughout Marin County.

If your children are between the ages of five and eighteen years old, you may enroll them in public school. Information on schools is available through the Marin County Office of Education and Sonoma County Office of EducationYour place of residence in Marin County (or outside of Marin County) will determine which school your children will attend. Information on schools can also be found in the resource guide included in your pre-arrival orientation packet. Be sure to bring your children’s birth certificates, copies of school records, and documented proof of immunizations. Information on schools, as well as recreational activities and child care providers, is available in the Human Resource Department. 

Social Security Administration - Marin County Office
1001 Lootens Place, 3rd Floor
San Rafael, CA 94901

You need a Social Security number to get a job in the USA, collect Social Security benefits, and receive some other government services. But you don't often need to show your Social Security card. Do not carry your card with you. Keep it in a safe place with your other important papers. This is a free service. Instructions on how to get a Social Security Number/Card can be found at:

Driver’s License and Car Registration

Further Assistance
Suggested guide: McCormack's Guides - Marin, Napa & Sonoma. Provides an overview of Marin, Napa and Sonoma Counties, including schools and cities, education, day care and health, living and working characteristics, and demographics.

You may also learn about Novato and the two neighboring communities by visiting their city websites:

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