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Old 05-16-2007, 06:19 PM
14 posts, read 77,074 times
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Possibly moving here, it is a choice for us at least (we are military). We homeschool so schools are not an issue. We would love to know a good town nearby where we can actually afford to buy something that is within about 1/2 hour driving distance, keeping in mind my husband's commute will not be during peak hours. We do have 2 kids, who will be 6 and 3 when we move, so things to do with them are a plus! Just need a safe, inexpensive neighborhood. Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2007, 08:40 PM
Location: Monterey, CA
23 posts, read 131,397 times
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I'm assuming your significant other will either be stationed at the Defense Language Institute (DLI, http://www.dliflc.edu), the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS, http://www.nps.edu), Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Oceanography Center (FNMOC, https://www.fnmoc.navy.mil), or one of the tenant commands associated with those.

Speaking from experience, Monterey is a BEAUTIFUL place to be stationed. Purchasing a house, even with BAH, is most likely not an option. On-base housing options are not too bad, with many of the older (pre-WWII) homes being demolished and replaced with brand-new housing. If you opt for on-base, chances are you will wind up in the La Mesa Housing area or the Parks at Monterey Bay (http://www.montereybaymilitaryhousing.com/faq.asp (broken link)). One of my co-workers is a Marine officer spouse, and her base housing is newer and nicer than mine (although I'm closer to the beach.)

As there is a large military presence here, many landlords understand the transient nature of the job and actually prefer military (due in part to the guaranteed rent payment.) In my complex alone there is one O-3 attending NPS and an E-5 attending DLI.

Your kids will find tons of activities, such as the beach, and definitely Dennis the Menace park (http://www.monterey.org/rec/denmenace06.pdf (broken link), couldn't pry my niece and nephew away.)

Send me a PM with any specific questions or reply here for the benefit of society .

Good luck!
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Old 05-16-2007, 09:03 PM
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Cool, thank you. Though some of that housing is nice, after finding out one of our former homes was essentially on or between superfund sites I'm leary of living on bases. My husband is actually Coast Guard, so none of the above. I'm thinking we can afford up to $500k max. He is pretty dead set on buying SOMETHING LOL. Maybe some little fixer upper will drop from the sky for us!!! What do people do around there to afford a place to live? We're coming from NYC and there are more places for less money here than I can find there, it's mind-boggling. What surrounding areas are ok? Watsonville? Castroville?
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Old 05-16-2007, 10:22 PM
Location: Monterey, CA
23 posts, read 131,397 times
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Your first site to visit should be Craigslist (http://monterey.craigslist.org). Best bang for your buck would be Marina and possibly North Salinas (look for a development called Creekbridge.) While somewhat cheaper, the Monterey area is on par with, say, Manhattan. 1 Bedroom apartments rent for 600-1200/month, 2 Bedroom 1100-1800/month, and 2-3 Bedroom houses go for 1600-2500+/month.

Unless you bought several years ago, most people who move here have accepted the fact they will be renting for a LONG time. The Monterey Peninsula tends to have a lot of "old money" families who have been here for generations.

Castroville is an ok area to drive through, but it is very beneficial to have a good command of the Spanish language due to the proximity of farmland surrounding all sides. Watsonville is nice, although more rural than Monterey and the cost of housing is similar.

If your husband is dead-set on a house, see if you can PCS to a location such as Astoria, OR or Sacramento, CA. People move here for the slow pace of life and the quality of it. Acceptance of the fact that you probably won't be able to purchase tends to come later. Although I do have to admit that the Coast Guard Station, Monterey is located mere steps from the biking trail, Cannery Row, and has one of the best views. Look it up on Google Maps, Hybrid View and you'll see what I mean (http://www.mpcc.com/business/MilitaryInstallations.asp (broken link)).
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:50 AM
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Ah, you assume we WANT to go to California. We actually lived in Alameda (Oakland) about 5 years ago. We are Floridians, and believe me if we had more than 4 units to choose from we'd be focussing on there!!! When you start moving up the ranks the choices get much slimmer. Monterey is one of our better choices as far as quality of life overall based on the city and such (housing prices aside). I actually spent one day there, and it was beautiful. Walked Cannery Row and drove around some. That playground sounds great, by the way! Thanks for the tips on where to start peeking at housing options, too. I think we will have to plan on buying with housing as a backup.
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Old 05-17-2007, 07:54 AM
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What "Monterey Local" said is so true, a lot of Monterey people are "old money" and have lived there forever and a day and way before Monterey was "discovered". For me, i left behind Monterey and my big extended family is all there. I even owned a home in Marina but just could never afford to move up and into Monterey where i grew up.
Unfortunatly i just dont see you finding something in the $500k away from "Monterey" that does not need some sort of major renovation or in a bad area.I'd get there first and rent then take your time looking and seeing whats available.
There is new housing going on at the old Ft.Ord and in Marina. I'd look into that and see what the starting prices are for that.This area will no doubt be transformed into something so new it's refreshing for the area that has so many older homes.
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:56 AM
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Fixing up a home doesn't scare me. We'll only be there two years so doing some work on a cheap home and making some money in the end doesn't scare me.

The new military housing is quite nice I just prefer NOT to live with everyone my husband works with anymore. Too many people who know too much about each other's business.
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:55 PM
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Hey Trueblue, I'm a fellow Coastie!! Recruiter in San Jose. If you're only going to be there 2 years, I would advise against buying anything even if you could afford it. Prices are declining in much of the state, and expected to fall more. The prices that are always hit the hardest at the lower end of the purchasing spectrum (sp), especially at the beginning of a downturn. Plus, it usually takes 60-90 days to purchase a house, and sellers usually pay real estate commisions. Commision on a $500,000 home would be $30,000 alone. Average time on market is around 6 months in some places. I would honestly wait until you get somewhere the market is more stable, unless of course you can get a home for $300K in Monterey, which would be an outstanding deal.

Good Luck
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Old 05-19-2007, 01:06 AM
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if you're only going to be living there for two years, you need a 500K home to appreciate 30K over those two years to break even with the sale of your house because of agent commissions. The CA market probably will not perform that well at this point in time. Aside from that, you'd be hardpressed to find even a complete dump for 500k in the monterey area. Salinas might be an option, but you want to be very careful about where you decide to live in Salinas as some areas are pretty rough. I'm not very familiar with the fort ord housing developments but if you were looking to buy in the monterey area, the fort ord/marina area is probably where it'd be. Good luck to you and I thank your husband for serving.
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Old 05-20-2007, 11:39 AM
159 posts, read 705,238 times
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I agree... seriously our market is on the verge of major declines. Buying
now and having to sell in two years could mean possible bankruptsy or
having to short sale your home unless you put down close to a 100 thousand
that you don't mind losing. For the next two years and possibly longer
we'll have declining prices. For the price of buying.. why not rent something
in Monterey where you know you already like it? That would be my suggestion anyway.
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