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Old 01-17-2014, 03:50 PM
Location: Oroville, CA
107 posts, read 191,452 times
Reputation: 115


Chico is a great town, What kind of ethnic restaurants/markets are you looking for? I am a Realtor in Oroville, which is about 20 minutes South of Chico. Our Restaurants include American, Mexican, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and Soul. We have Mexican and Asian markets here in town. I have not researched the Chico area for this, but I know that Chico is a bigger town, and is a little more multi-cultural then Oroville. Crime stats in this area cannot be compared to other areas because of more aggresive reporting and in Oroville's case too many people living outside the Oroville city limits(So stats show the crimes of 60,000 people in a statistical area of 16,000 people. Bidwell park is a large, beautiful park in the middle of town, and Chico is very bike friendly. The downtown area is near the University, and it is usually brimming with people. I earlier posted about the jobs here. Some of those mentioned are cutting back, but you might keep checking for the type you and your wife are looking for. The real estate market prices are moving upward, and plenty of new homes are being built there. Since you are not sure if you would like the area, your best bet is to rent for awhile if you decide to stay.
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:45 PM
kux kux started this thread
28 posts, read 46,851 times
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I am curious to know about the options to rent single family houses in Chico? What will be the average rent for a 3 to 4 bedrooms per month in Chico? I have also always heard that taxes in CA are very high. Are there any taxes on food, clothing? For example, in Minnesota, there is no taxes on clothing. Thanks
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:10 PM
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Unprepared food is non-taxable, prepared food is taxable (such as from a restaurant) and so are canned beverages, clothing is taxable. Generally, if you can buy it and it isn't unprepared food, you pay sales tax. The rate varies county by county, from 7.5% to 10%. The cost of living is a lot lower than San Francisco and the Bay Area in general--Chico is a looong way away, and it is in no way a Bay Area suburb. Income taxes are relatively high, property taxes are lower (but property values are higher.)
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:49 PM
2,147 posts, read 4,092,187 times
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Check Craigs list dot org for rental rate ideas on apartments and houses. And check great schools dot org for school ratings/rankings and parent reviews. You can search by city. Also google maps and you can get driving/mileage distances. Google the colleges in the area, too.

Also, a quick google search will give you a list of CA taxes. There's set state tax, and some cities/towns have their own tax above that. Wikipedia probably has a list. There's no tax on groceries; but restaurant or deli prepared foods there is. Clothing is taxed. The main difference between MN and CA cost of living in real estate purchase. Food in CA can be had relatively cheap-so much produce is grown in the state, and its available year round. In many areas, central heat or A/C are not needed for most if not all of the year. So you don't have high heating bills, for example, for 6 months per year.

Are you choosing chico and then hope to get the teaching job? Or is it that your spouse may be offered one ahead of time? It's not a huge economy in Chico, and state budget cuts have meant fewer highers at community colleges and state universities.

If you're looking for milder weather than MN, you could also check out Oregon-such as Eugene and Corvallis, both of which have universities and more affordable cost of living, relative to most of CA. Not hugely diverse, but university towns so there is some exposure and a few amenities. I'm just making an assumption that you might be exploring different options-so I've added an extra bit of information. (:
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:14 AM
kux kux started this thread
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Absolutely, my options are open. Thanks a lot
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Old 01-23-2014, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by kux View Post
We are planning to move to Chico in 2014. I would like to know how expensive is the cost of living, say compared to Sacramento, and San Francisco.
(1) Are there many community colleges, colleges, besides Cal State University, or in a 20 miles radius of Chico? My spouse is considering teaching in a community college/college in Chico.
(2) I understand that California Public School System tends to be competitive. How are the public schools (elementary to high school) in Chico rated?
(3) Is it a comparitively *safe* place for growing kids?
(4) Are there new construction/housing development in Chico, and how are housing prices compared to Sacramento?
(5) What are the common various activities people do in Chico?
Hi kux, it's nice to hear you're curious about Chico.

To answer your questions,

1) The only immediate alternative to Chico State is Butte Community College, which is about a 10-15 minute drive south-southeast of Chico. Technically, the school is listed as being located in Oroville but it's really a rural campus on a big nature preserve. However, the school built a satellite campus in the Chico city limits about nine years ago and it offers a large variety of courses right here in Chico so students don't have to commute out to the main campus as often. Butte College is actually pretty impressive for a two-year institution and I believe is nationally ranked. The next nearest schools are probably Shasta Community College and Simpson University which is a private Christian university (both schools are located in Redding which is roughly a 90 minute drive north of Chico).

2) I may have a rather unique perspective on Chico's public school system as a former student of said system and also my dad taught for 40 years (the final 15-18 or so of his career were in Chico Unified School District) so I have insight from both the students and teacher's perspectives. Personally, I think our schools are great. Now, I can't comment on the elementary schools because I attended a private school until sixth grade, but for middle school I attended Hank Marsh Jr. High School and for high school I went to Chico High. Both schools were fantastic in my opinion, they had a lot of teachers who invested themselves in the students. I'm not quite sure what you mean by competition, but if there are any pitfalls in the public school system here, then they're the same pitfalls that the rest of the state experiences - if not the rest of the country.

3) I've always found Chico to be a rather safe community, it all boils down to where you live and where you spend your time. Every community has issues and Chico is no exception, but I think the people who say Chico has excessive crime rates is either viewing skewed statistics or they're not using common sense when they go out in the community. I grew up in southeast Chico and there's a number of neighborhoods that experience next to no crime. The public areas of the city tend to be safe to be in, granted if you feel like hanging around there at 2AM on a Friday night that may not be a safe choice. Growing up my friends and I were always roaming around the downtown area at all hours and I can't recall any instances when we felt unsafe.

4) Currently there are at least two housing developments either being prepared or underway, the construction of both have been a pretty controversial subject (most Chicoans want to keep the city small enough to remain feeling like Chico - not like it's mutating into another Roseville). One such development is a 200 home sub-division in north Chico being developed by Epick Homes. The other is just in the infancy stages on the south side of HWY 32 opposite from California Park. I'm personally a bit skeptical about that one because it's being built adjacent to a toxic waste dump site from the 70's and 80's. Home prices tend to range from about $225,000 - $350,000 on average, with some neighborhoods falling well below that average and others very much above it. Aside from those newer developments, there are roughly 200 homes total for sale around the city as of today. The housing market is pretty solid, houses rarely sit long unless they're horribly overpriced.

5) As far as activities in Chico go, it tends to have a pretty outdoorsy community not unlike Portland, Oregon (in fact, I've heard that Chico and Portland often exchange residents, same with Chico and San Luis Obispo). Many of the most common outdoor activities revolve around Bidwell Park. Lower park has a lot of paved walking and cycling trails (one on each side of the creek, creating a circular course). There's also the One Mile Recreation area which features Sycamore Pool and a grassy area for people to relax and take in the sun or toss a frisbee around. Just a few steps away from there is the Caper Acres children's playground and next that is a decent softball field with a number of picnic tables for events. If you head northeast you'll eventually arrive at the Hooker Oak Park area which has a softball field, baseball field and another playground. Not far from there is the Five Mile Recreation (essentially at the doorstep of Upper Park) area which has a large grassy area with a number of picnic tables and restrooms. Upper Park features more natural, rugged, terrain with a variety of hiking and mountain biking trails and about four or so swimming holes in the creek (a couple of which are harder to access than others).

Aside from the park stuff, there's a number of community activities, especially during the warmer months. From April to September is the Thursday Night Market, which is one of the 2-3 farmers markets throughout the week. This one tends to be the most popular as the downtown area on Broadway from 2nd Street to 5th Street is blocked off and vendors and food trucks setup shop in the area. There's often live music or other performances in the City Plaza area at this time.

Originally Posted by kux View Post
I am curious to know about the options to rent single family houses in Chico? What will be the average rent for a 3 to 4 bedrooms per month in Chico? I have also always heard that taxes in CA are very high. Are there any taxes on food, clothing? For example, in Minnesota, there is no taxes on clothing. Thanks
There's quite a few rentals in Chico, though many of them tend to be geared towards Chico State students. If you know where to look, though, you'd be likely to find a good family home. I'd recommend checking out the southeast area of Chico if your budget allows it, since there tends to be some of the nicest family homes in that area. On average, I think a decent 3bd/2ba home goes from about $1,200-1,500 per month and a 4bd/2ba may go for around $1,700-2,000 per month. Sales tax in Chico is about 7.5%, a lot of people complain about that but I think that sort of thing may get offset in other areas. For example, if you're a homeowner then Prop 13 from 1978 says your property taxes won't exceed 1% of the home value - which is great because a lot of places have exorbitant property taxes.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:04 PM
19 posts, read 40,616 times
Reputation: 11
Hello again, thanks so much for the detailed insights of the town. That is really useful indeed.
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