Because of a housing shortage in the Bay Area, the high demand for living accommodations has sent real-estate values skyrocketing.

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And the region's behemoth tech companies aren't slowing down on talent recruitment. Engineers are constantly pouring in.

Google campus
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Many arrive viewing their new lives through rose-colored glasses, holding high expectations of what a tech salary will look.

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Fancy cars, colossal homes, and a more-than-comfortable lifestyle fill their minds.

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The reality is often much different than what they expected.

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IMDb/Warner Bros.

The biggest wake-up call? The astronomically priced rent.

san francisco housing market
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They end up spending a good portion of their salary purely on rent, leaving little else to cover the other outrageous expenses in the city.

Google employees
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Source: RENTcafe and SF Gate

And so tech workers, both seasoned and newly minted, have had to get creative with how they can outsmart the city's notoriously absurd rental costs.

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Like the people behind the Negev, a communal-living organization that houses tech workers in San Francisco.

San Francisco The Negev tech house
Gabrielle Lurie/Reuters

Source: Business Insider

It's one of many communal spaces in the city designed to help techies circumvent the housing shortage and high rent. The home offers 50 rooms across three floors.

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Gabrielle Lurie/Reuters

Source: Reuters

Many Negev residents sleep in bunk beds and shell out $1,900 a month to live here.

San Francisco The Negev tech house
Gabrielle Lurie/Reuters

Source: Reuters

The tenants are software engineers, UI designers, operations analysts, or virtual-reality engineers, and most are under age 30.

San Francisco The Negev tech house
Gabrielle Lurie/Reuters

Source: Business Insider

There's also a social element to the Negev. Residents are encouraged to bounce ideas off one another and to code and create apps.

San Francisco The Negev tech house
Gabrielle Lurie/Reuters

Source: Business Insider

Zandar Dejah, left, told Reuters that it's "basically an extension of college. We sort of live in a frat house."

San Francisco The Negev tech house
Gabrielle Lurie/Reuters

Source: Business Insider

Every Sunday there's a communal dinner for housemates, and on the weekend the house hosts parties.

San Francisco The Negev tech house
Gabrielle Lurie/Reuters

Source: Reuters

As convenient as it is for its occupants, the home has been criticized for depriving natives of affordable housing.

San Francisco The Negev tech house
Gabrielle Lurie/Reuters

Source: Reuters

But many young tech workers can't afford conventional housing ...

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Gabrielle Lurie/Reuters

... especially if they have a family.

tiny home tech salary san francisco
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Source: Exploring Alternatives

Micah, along with his wife, Jana, and their son, moved to the Bay Area to pursue a tech career.

tiny home tech salary san francisco
Exploring Alternatives/YouTube

Source: Exploring Alternatives

To avoid the city's steep rental costs, they had a tiny house built for their family of three in Texas and lugged it out to California.

tiny home tech salary san francisco
Exploring Alternatives/YouTube

Source: Exploring Alternatives

The next step was finding a place to park it ...

tiny home tech salary san francisco
Exploring Alternatives/YouTube

Source: Exploring Alternatives

So they teamed up with a family already settled in the Bay who allowed them to post up in their RV pad, for a fee.

tiny home tech salary san francisco
Exploring Alternatives/YouTube

Source: Exploring Alternatives

They use an extension cord to stay hooked up to the house for power, and they also keep a generator outside for when they want to use the air-conditioner or washer and dryer.

tiny home tech salary san francisco
Exploring Alternatives/YouTube

Source: Exploring Alternatives

They also keep solar panels in the yard for extra power.

tiny home tech salary san francisco
Exploring Alternatives/YouTube

Source: Exploring Alternatives

The pint-sized abode has everything the family needs.

tiny home tech salary san francisco
Exploring Alternatives/YouTube

Source: Exploring Alternatives

There's a washer and dryer in the bathroom.

tiny home tech salary san francisco
Exploring Alternatives/YouTube

Source: Exploring Alternatives

Guests are educated on proper toilet use with a handy cheat sheet on the windowsill.

tiny home tech salary san francisco
Exploring Alternatives/YouTube

Source: Exploring Alternatives

And there's a fold-down table for eating.

tiny home tech salary san francisco
Exploring Alternatives/YouTube

Source: Exploring Alternatives

The couple has a lofted sleeping nook, with another loft opposite them in the house for their son as he gets older. ..

tiny home tech salary san francisco
Exploring Alternatives/YouTube

Source: Exploring Alternatives

At which point they said they might need to reevaluate living spaces since a teenager will make the home a tad more cramped.

tiny home tech salary san francisco
Exploring Alternatives/YouTube

Source: Exploring Alternatives

The D'Andrea's are also new parents ...

google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

And like Micah and Jana, they're accustomed to the small-living lifestyle.

google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

Googler Pete D'Andrea ...

Google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

And his wife, Kara, shelled out $1,900 for a Winnebago van and moved to Silicon Valley from Chicago when Pete snagged a job with one of Google's self-driving-car teams.

Google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

They parked their mobile digs in the Google parking lot and lived there for a year and a half to two years (before having their daughter,) putting 80% of their income into savings.

Google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

An upraised Ikea twin mattress served as their bed ...

google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

And a small compartment opened up to a toilet, sink, and shower.

Google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

The sink pulls out from the wall.

google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

The couple kept a mini fridge in their small kitchen ...

google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

And there was a stovetop for cooking.

Google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

To maximize space, they placed a cutting board over the sink for when they're not using it.

Google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

Kara knows it's not an ideal set-up, but she didn't mind in the least.

tech salary san francisco googler van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

“I think a lot of people think this is like the antithesis of comfortable, but I actually really loved it,” Jana told Tech Insider in 2016. “I was really happy.”

google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

They saved up enough to put a down payment on a house. Seven months after moving into it, they got a dog, four cats, and three chickens. That was also when their daughter was born.

google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider

As for their van, they'll hang on to it and use it for traveling. Pete told Tech Insider that he sees plenty of other vans parked in the parking lot at Google. "We're not the only ones," he said.

google employee van life
Tech Insider/YouTube

Source: Tech Insider