You set a certain budget for your house hunt — and you can’t go a penny over it. But what if you want to expand your search a wee bit beyond a specific neighborhood? We decided to play the comparison game by exploring what you can buy for a certain dollar value in various California neighborhoods with a series called “Cali Comparables.” We’re crisscrossing the Golden State to give you an idea of how far your dollar goes in certain areas.

San Rafael, with its quaint downtown and the recreation of Mission San Rafael Arcangel at its core, is one of the oldest, largest and most culturally diverse city in Marin County.  It’s also one of the Bay Area’s most desirable places to live — with real estate prices to match. Neighborhoods.com recently listed San Rafael as one of “6 Bay Area Suburbs with the Best Downtowns.” From the city’s vibrant restaurants to Thursday night farmers markets and easy access to transit, it’s no wonder that the median home price in San Rafael is now eclipsing the $1 million mark.

If you’re wondering how much house you can afford in this Marin County wonder, look no further. We set an imaginary budget just beyond the median home price of $1.6 million to see how far our dollar would take us.

191 Deer Park Ave | San Rafael, CA 94901 | $1,595,000

Never before on the market, this lovingly-cared-for home has been in the same owner’s possession for over 50 years. A private gated drive leads you to a knoll top setting with views of the Bay and Mt Tam. Mid-century modern lovers will enjoy the rich character of this custom ranch home, which offers four bedrooms and 2,986 square feet of living space. Ideally located on the border between The Dominican and The Country Club, this residence offers expansive views and sought-after single level living featuring a magnificent indoor/outdoor flow, vaulted ceilings, walls of windows and a great separation of space — perfect for entertaining.

29 Bridgegate Dr | San Rafael, CA 94903 | $1,643,000

Located in highly desirable Lucas Valley Estates sits this tranquil retreat offering 3,212 square feet and four bedrooms. Inside, a chef’s dream kitchen awaits with granite countertops, gas cooktop, and double ovens.  An open floor plan flows to a large family room with wood floors and a fireplace. The over-sized master bedroom has a sitting area, fireplace, and a remodeled bathroom. One bedroom and full bathroom on the main level make this home ideal for extended families. Set on an over-sized corner lot, there are several areas for enjoyment. A location in the coveted Dixie School district is a bonus.

14 Baywood Terrace | San Rafael, CA 94901 | $1,625,000

Now here’s one incredible value! Situated on a private road and on approximately 1/2 acre, this stunning five-bedroom, 3,685 square-foot newer home was built in 2003. Highlights include gorgeous views and high ceilings throughout. It is a true entertainer’s delight with a large open dining, living and family room concept. The chef’s kitchen is pure luxury with two sinks, gas/grill range and a large granite island with storage. A private guest suite features built-ins and three fireplaces. A gracious master suite leads to deck and flat grassy area. San Francisco commuters and wine lovers will appreciate that the city and Napa are easy drives away.