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Old 06-09-2011, 10:25 AM
 
63 posts, read 152,997 times
Reputation: 46
Default Living in Sebastopol, CA. Good for kids? Friendly? Housing market?

We are looking at moving from Utah to Sebastopol, CA. Through City-Data, I have learned from others that it may be a nice place to live. We briefly visited and liked what we saw. We have considered living in San Francisco or San Rafael, but I come from Montana & Iowa, so Sebastopol's rolling hills and wide open spaces (with trees) appeals to me. Also, I love gardening and animals, so living on 1-5 acres appeals to me. I also am fairly liberal, love healthy living, art, creativity, diversity, etc. I want to be a part of a friendly community. Yet, I also need some conveniences (for my daughter's sake). My husband and I work from home and hope to continue to do so. We have a 5 year old and want to move ASAP (next fall 2012) in order to get her situated in school. It is doubtful that we can afford private school, so public or charter will have to do. I am fairly "grounded" and realistic person, yet I have a love for art, creativity, "New Age" things (is that an old term?). I am an older mom-41, educated with a degree in Biology and a Masters in education. So, that our background. (Maybe more than you wanted to know! But, I want to know if I would "fit in".)

I think Sebastopol would work for us, but here's my concerns... What is the general feel of Sebastopol. Is it fairly friendly and open to outsiders, trying to make it their home? Are the locals rich and snooty or not? (Hope not!) Is it fairly liberal and artsy, as we have heard? I am darker in color and half Japanese, but I look Latino to most. How will I be treated? Is it easy to make friends? Do most people who have homes in Sebastopol, travel from San Francisco to Sebastopol on the weekends? Most of the houses seem to have large properties, so does Sebastopol feel like a community? Or, does it have problems, being separated by large parcels of land? Will my 5 year old like living there? Or will she tire of being in a "small" town? It looks like there are things to do there or in Santa Rosa, such as ballet, Aikido, yoga, etc, so I should be able to keep her busy and interested in a variety of things. Is this correct? Will I have to do a lot of driving? How are the schools? Will I have to put her in a private school? Is there a stigma or a problem with sticking my child in a public school? If I have to, I will do so, but it means living in a smaller house. Which brings me to housing situations. I am used to living in a large Victorian and somewhat decent, larger houses, so when I look at the houses in Sebastopol, I am dying! If all goes well, I am hoping to be in the range of $500,000 to $1,000,000, but I have to do a lease/option. All I am seeing is crap, crap, crap- meaning small little houses with some property. It's a little scary to see so much crap for so much money! The houses are so much smaller than I am used to and I am seeing 50's, 60's, 70's houses that need to be torn down or rebuilt. They aren't even small, yet CUTE! It has us worried that we will be forced to purchase a tiny 1200-1500 square foot hut on 3 acres (if I am lucky) for $700,000! I am just not used to this! I will accept it, eventually, but please tell me, somebody....what is going on in the housing market in Sebastopol? Are the prices dropping? Foreclosures? Or, are the prices remaining quite high? What do you foresee? What can I expect by next fall? Any ideas?

So, there you go. I just want some more detailed information on Sebastopol, before I pack up the bags or get my hubby to try it for a few months before we pack up. Any info is helpful. Thanks!
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,362 posts, read 54,170,320 times
Reputation: 16312
Quote:
Originally Posted by RunningWild View Post
living on 1-5 acres appeals to me.
We have a 5 year old
Will my 5 year old like living there?
How are the schools?
You may like say three acres but your kid will hate it. Likely the rest of the homes are on three acres so the 'kid density" needed for your kids to find other kids to play with other kids is insufficient. Also, on large lots you end up with a lot of retired people who "want their privacy" so the next kids might be three houses away, or a half mile. You end up with bored kids driving you nuts.

Too many retired "Get off my property" people who "like their privacy"; that's why they buy 3 acre lots - so they don't have to deal with neighbors.

He is retired, has no kids, and only leaves his house to go to church, go to the doctor, or eat at Bob Evans.



Kids want to play with other kids. In communities where there are large lots there is a) low kid density, and b) a good chance that your neighbors don't have kids, maybe they are retired.

I don't know if there is a perfect solution, but be aware life on a large lot with a lack of neighbor kids could be quite a challenge.

Your kids might be bored to death. Playdates are a hassle. Most kids would rather play with the neighborhood kids 50 feet away rather than 1/3 mile away.

Your kid want to play with other kids, play ball in the street, spontaneously hang out and goof off. With young kids, you'd hesitate to let them travel by themselves 1/3 mile or so to the nearest house. Kids are sort of isolated.



Your kids will want this:



"Mommy, there's nothing to do. Are you sure you called everyone for a play date?"




Schools:

California School Performance Maps
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:18 PM
Status: "Happy Chris Day" (set 1 day ago)
 
20,146 posts, read 12,555,534 times
Reputation: 17158
So you want to live in a million dollar house but complain that you can't afford private school?

Welcome California your not in Utah anymore Dorthy.
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:22 PM
 
63 posts, read 152,997 times
Reputation: 46
Besides insults, do you have any useful information for me? Can you answer any of my questions? Any information is appreciated bulldogdad. Thanks!
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Old 06-11-2011, 01:43 PM
 
63 posts, read 152,997 times
Reputation: 46
By the way, Bulldogdad, I am not completely ignorant. I hope that you aren't an example of the type of people that live in Sebastopol! There are many things that you don't know...for example, I am looking to find a decent place to live so that I don't have to dump $30,000-$50,000 into private school. I can then put it into my home and live in a location that is safe for my daughter to grow up in. Or even better, into my business, which makes me more money. Also, if the public schools are great in Sebastopol, then we are way ahead because I can then place my daughter in a public school, but also find private tutors, enroll her in classes such as art, yoga, dance, etc. I can give her some diversity in her education through private classes, etc. We can also travel and I can teach her myself as well. Of course, I have to take time out of my busy work and school schedule to do this. I also will have to hire somebody to help take care of her. Also, I happen to know that not all private schools are worth the money. A combination of public and home teaching may be worth it. There are so many things that you don't know. Don't judge. You don't know all of the information. So....I want to know about Sebastopol. Anybody out there that can give me useful information? I am getting older and I can't be making any mistakes on where to place my family.
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:28 AM
Status: "Happy Chris Day" (set 1 day ago)
 
20,146 posts, read 12,555,534 times
Reputation: 17158
Quote:
Originally Posted by RunningWild View Post
We are looking at moving from Utah to Sebastopol, CA. Through City-Data, I have learned from others that it may be a nice place to live. We briefly visited and liked what we saw. We have considered living in San Francisco or San Rafael, but I come from Montana & Iowa, so Sebastopol's rolling hills and wide open spaces (with trees) appeals to me. Also, I love gardening and animals, so living on 1-5 acres appeals to me. I also am fairly liberal, love healthy living, art, creativity, diversity, etc. I want to be a part of a friendly community. Yet, I also need some conveniences (for my daughter's sake). My husband and I work from home and hope to continue to do so. We have a 5 year old and want to move ASAP (next fall 2012) in order to get her situated in school. It is doubtful that we can afford private school, so public or charter will have to do. I am fairly "grounded" and realistic person, yet I have a love for art, creativity, "New Age" things (is that an old term?). I am an older mom-41, educated with a degree in Biology and a Masters in education. So, that our background. (Maybe more than you wanted to know! But, I want to know if I would "fit in".)

I think Sebastopol would work for us, but here's my concerns... What is the general feel of Sebastopol. Is it fairly friendly and open to outsiders, trying to make it their home? Are the locals rich and snooty or not? (Hope not!) Is it fairly liberal and artsy, as we have heard? I am darker in color and half Japanese, but I look Latino to most. How will I be treated? Is it easy to make friends? Do most people who have homes in Sebastopol, travel from San Francisco to Sebastopol on the weekends? Most of the houses seem to have large properties, so does Sebastopol feel like a community? Or, does it have problems, being separated by large parcels of land? Will my 5 year old like living there? Or will she tire of being in a "small" town? It looks like there are things to do there or in Santa Rosa, such as ballet, Aikido, yoga, etc, so I should be able to keep her busy and interested in a variety of things. Is this correct? Will I have to do a lot of driving? How are the schools? Will I have to put her in a private school? Is there a stigma or a problem with sticking my child in a public school? If I have to, I will do so, but it means living in a smaller house. Which brings me to housing situations. I am used to living in a large Victorian and somewhat decent, larger houses, so when I look at the houses in Sebastopol, I am dying! If all goes well, I am hoping to be in the range of $500,000 to $1,000,000, but I have to do a lease/option. All I am seeing is crap, crap, crap- meaning small little houses with some property. It's a little scary to see so much crap for so much money! The houses are so much smaller than I am used to and I am seeing 50's, 60's, 70's houses that need to be torn down or rebuilt. They aren't even small, yet CUTE! It has us worried that we will be forced to purchase a tiny 1200-1500 square foot hut on 3 acres (if I am lucky) for $700,000! I am just not used to this! I will accept it, eventually, but please tell me, somebody....what is going on in the housing market in Sebastopol? Are the prices dropping? Foreclosures? Or, are the prices remaining quite high? What do you foresee? What can I expect by next fall? Any ideas?

So, there you go. I just want some more detailed information on Sebastopol, before I pack up the bags or get my hubby to try it for a few months before we pack up. Any info is helpful. Thanks!
Ever heard of Tit for Tat? If you want open and honest friendly feedback to your questions, don't come off as being arrogant jerk in your first post.
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:26 AM
 
63 posts, read 152,997 times
Reputation: 46
Thanks, bulldogdad. What I am saying is....kindly refrain from responding to this thread. Your bitterness and mean-spiritedness is not really helping me at all. Thank you for respectfully refraining.

But, anybody out there with positive energy that would like to give any information about your cute town- Sebastopol? Much appreciated!
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:28 PM
Status: "crusty" (set 10 days ago)
 
Location: Hunkering down atop Shasta
6,632 posts, read 6,188,390 times
Reputation: 5024
I've only passed through it and stayed a few nights in my van, but it didn't seem to have that lively, artsy feel that I had read about and seen in real estate pics. Neither was it ugly or shabby in most places, some of the residential neighborhoods were very pretty. There was a nice bar with live music in some sort of old factory.

I drove from Jenner on the coast inland along the Russian River ...... what I liked seeing best was a little village called something like Guerneville ...... didn't see much, but there was a huge happy crowd on a beach along the river. Later I looked around on Google Earth and saw that there were quite a few nice little places up in the wooded hills north of that town. Then I went from there to Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, SF, and finally Santa Cruz.

Sebastopol is in a good location - near enough to San Francisco for day trips, and likewise to the coast.
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:30 AM
 
167 posts, read 352,996 times
Reputation: 120
Dear runningwild-- just popping in and wanted to tell you that I moved from Santa Rosa, close to Sebastopol almost 5 years ago, because I wanted to buy a home and it was totally unaffordable even in Santa Rosa in 2006. I was born in San Francisco and grew up in Marin county and lived in Santa Rosa for over 10 years before living in New Mexico now. I spent a lot of time in Sebastopol and know the area well. Most of my family lives there including my grown son and daughter. One daughter moved out here with me to finish her degree.

On a positive note, I do think you would find many if not all of the lifestyle things you want there though. There is lots of yoga and it definitely is liberal and almost hippy. I think all of your lifestyle ideals could be realized there as there is gardening, fabulous farmers markets, fantastic food, great stores all over and it is simply a beautiful area. No doubt about it. Having access to the Beauty of the area as well as all the things happening in the East Bay and SF make it quite a wonderful place to live.

I would think most schools are fairly good there, I was pleased with the Santa Rosa schools. Both my kids graduated from Santa Rosa HS, and my middle daughter recieved her AA degree from Santa Rosa Junior college. It is one of the best JC's in the Country and when she moved out here and started at the University of NM for her teaching credential, which she just finished, she recieved all A's. So what I am saying is I think overall the quality of education is good, certainly better than we have here in NM. I work at the Public schools here in NM and there is a huge difference between threre and here and I would not feel worried about a public school in that area. My daughter breezed through her classes at UNM because of the excellent prep from the JC and HS. I know your daughter is young, and I apologize if my info isnt quite relevant to your exact situation but it may help in looking long term at a possible move to the area. Since all three of my kids are now young adults, I have a slightly different view.

On the negative side however, even after the housing crash it is still a very expensive area. I got tired of the "I am so cool, so yoga, so hippy vibe" and in talking with friends still in the area, people are telling me that jobs have been very hard to get. To live there decently you really do need a lot of money and to have a nice home you are going to need a substantial amount of cash as you are seeing. I would talk with a realtor to get a better perspective and see what they have to say. I do not miss the prices of Northern California.

I am trying to give you a perspective of what it was like for me and why I moved from my true "home" and away from my grown daughter and grandaughter I adore. I visit once a year and when I do I enjoy the beach, the redwoods and shopping and eating. As well as visiting family. My situation is different from yours as well as my perspective. But maybe in all this it will give you a glimmer of more info to help make a decision with your possible move.

I would not suggest Guernville for a family. It is a gay community, (which is not the reason) and there are a lot of drugs. It is not a place for a family in my opinion. I would not move my kids there for any reason.

If you have anymore questions, please post or email -PM- me and I will do my best. I am not trying to dissuade your move but the housing is a very real concern. I bought two homes here in NM and one is a rental the other a beautiful home for a fraction of what I would have got in Santa Rosa or Sebastopol. I couldnt even afford a condo. It is riduculous. BTW, the further South you go, the more $$$ you are going to pay. Marin County is off the charts, and San Fransisco is even higher. Look into Santa Rosa, maybe Petaluma and Cotati as they are tad less $$$ than trendy Sebastopol. Good Luck!!!

Last edited by BlueRose; 06-19-2011 at 11:05 AM..
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:50 AM
 
63 posts, read 152,997 times
Reputation: 46
Dear BlueRose,
Thank you very much for your response. It is very, very helpful and the kind of info I am looking for. Recently, I have begun to wonder if we should move there at all, unless we can make a heck of a lot of money! That is very interesting...what you are saying about the people in Sebastopol. I worry about that too, as I'd like to find a community to belong to, but coming from Utah (Mormon country), it is a definate concern for me and for my daughter. Our experiences here have been less than delightful and I don't want my daughter to face the same discrimmination that I've experienced here for 18 years!

I have also looked at Navato, as you can get more "bang" (house) for your buck, but it doesn't really sound very community oriented. Plus the weather sounds a bit dry. I really would like some wetter weather and greener areas. (I really like quite wet weather, actually, and don't mind overcast days.) Any feelings or opinions about Novato?

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I've actually looked (a little) into San Rafael and the Mill Valley areas. Of course, they are even more outrageously priced than Sebastopol, it seems, so probably we'd have to rent for awhile (or forever)! But, my question is this....what are the general feelings (attitudes) about those areas? Snooty? Nice communities? Nice people? What types of careers do these people lead in order to live in such expensive places? Does this make them ridiculously unrealistic in their ideas about life, therefore making them hard to associate with? The only reason that I started looking into these areas is because I may have to be close to SF for 4 years or so, before we can move up north. Not certain yet, though. Don't know if I want to drive 4 days out of the week to go down to SF (if I end up having to, that is). Otherwise, I think I'd prefer to be close to Santa Rosa/Sebastopol area.

And, Walnut Creek. I haven't looked into this much. I drove through and it looked primarily white (not that I care, although diversity would be nice), middle and upper middle. People seemed nice enough. I didn't check out the houses. People seem to like it, but I don't have a feel for it at all. I only hesitate because it sounds so bland. So suburban and uninteresting. But maybe it is community oriented, etc. Probably better than Novato? Not certain if they are liberal there, etc. Not really certain if I'd fit in there. Any feelings about the area?

Oh..and a question about Sebastopol and Santa Rosa. Did you find that many people moved in and out of those areas? Or do most people move there and then stay? What do you think?

Thank you very much for your help and the info you have given. It is what I need - to hear from a "local's" experience.
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