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Unread 12-31-2010, 12:33 AM
 
Location: Edina, MN
333 posts, read 337,307 times
Reputation: 184
Default oh look! Another relocation advice thread ;)

Thinking of relocating to San Diego within the year.

As potentially useless bits of info, my grandpa was stationed in San Diego on and off for decades as an officer in the Navy, and dad used to build tract homes in the area back in the 70s when I was born in Glendale hospital...lived in La Mesa at the time, not sure where. Family relocated to Iowa, where I grew up, and I ultimately landed here in Minneapolis where I met the wife. Have also lived in ATL and STL over the years before returning here. And we've both had enough of "here." Time to move on.

Anyway, we are debating relocating to San Diego primarily, with the LA basin and south Florida as potential options. The debate isn't over whether or when we will relocate but to where, so we're still in the information gathering stage here. Move would occur within the year assuming no unforeseen bumps in the road.

As a bit of background, I'm 35, she's 33. No children or immediate plans for any, and we're not opposed to private school, so public school quality isn't an issue for us. Well it is, but only insofar as it affects resale value of homes we might be looking at.

We both telecommute, so location isn't important in that regard, and our jobs come with us when we move. No problem there. The only requirement for either of us is reasonable proximity to a major international airport, and SD obviously fits the bill there.

Based on what research I've already done, we can afford to buy pretty much wherever in San Diego, bearing in mind that La Jolla and Del Mar would certainly be on the higher end of what we're comfortable paying.

So all that being out of the way, what we want is pretty simple.

1) a nice, clean, safe neighborhood where we can run together or alone, day or night

2) a neighborhood with at least a modicum of character. No cookie cutter tract homes or townhouse developments. No HOAs, no gated communities, no excessive jet noise. No high concentrations of college students, old people, or twentysomething party animals. Just a nice, solid, safe neighborhood that runs the gamut of age groups would be perfect, preferably somewhere that neighbors are friendly to each other and that is reasonably quiet.

I think if anything, we probably prefer a slightly older home to a newer one (back to the character thing) but we don't know what we don't know about San Diego, if that makes sense, so we're keeping open minds.

3) proximity to the beach unless there is good reason to avoid it.

4) easy drive or taxi to legitimately decent dining options, nightlife (not hardcore clubbing), upscale shopping, that sort of thing. She has a...problem...with shoes and purses. I mean it's like a disease, really, but she likes boutique stores generally. Not strip malls.

5) somewhere at least walkable, even if it's just for a stroll in the evening.

6) a yard. I can't stress this enough. I don't mean a wide swath of green, I just mean that I can't see us living in a place like Manhattan beach or Hermosa. Not sure what the equivalent area would be in San Diego...Ocean Beach maybe? We love to garden, care for the yard, and landscape (not hire it out, but do it ourselves) so a postage stamp yard that's been paved over or covered with a deck isn't going to work. That said, we are fully aware that lots in SoCal are smaller than what we're accustomed to in the Midwest. Just need some room to grow stuff.

7) a view would be nice but it isn't a deal breaker. Mt. Helix appears to have that in spades. I would imagine lots of other areas of SD do as well.

8) proximity to parks and/or running/biking paths. We intend on taking full advantage of the lack of cold and the lack of hot.

So if you're us, to where would you consider moving in San Diego?

From what I have gleaned so far, it seems that some of our better options are:

La Jolla
Del Mar
Solana - Cardiff - Encinitas but probably not Carlsbad or Oceanside
Point Loma - looks perfect but jet noise?
Mt. Helix in La Mesa
University Heights?
Coronado maybe?

Hope this wasn't too long winded but I wanted to be as concise as possible up front. Thanks in advance for any responses and advice you can provide.

Last edited by DirtMagurt; 12-31-2010 at 01:12 AM..
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Unread 12-31-2010, 01:22 AM
 
Location: San Diego
2,125 posts, read 2,544,116 times
Reputation: 771
Sounds like you've done your homework. That's great. San Diego is a very complex city.

My #1 rule is don't buy anything till you've lived here for a while. My wife and I rented for over 2 years when we first got here. Renting wasn't easy for us but it was the best decision we ever made.

My #2 rule is don't use a realtor to show you rental properties. There are plenty of online resources to help you find your first rental property.

You seem to know what you're looking for and how much you can afford. Rent something that meets 80% of your needs for about a year. Then spend that year getting to know the area.

We finally bought a home in Bay Ho (NW Clairmont) and really like the area. We are close to the beaches and have easy access to anywhere in San Diego. We would've never bought in this area if we had not spent a few years living and exploring San Diego first.

Also, here's where the local Viking fans hang out: http://www.guava-beach.com/
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Unread 12-31-2010, 02:22 AM
 
Location: Edina, MN
333 posts, read 337,307 times
Reputation: 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by cruitr View Post
Sounds like you've done your homework. That's great. San Diego is a very complex city.

My #1 rule is don't buy anything till you've lived here for a while. My wife and I rented for over 2 years when we first got here. Renting wasn't easy for us but it was the best decision we ever made.
That could be a tough pill for us to swallow, just to be brutally honest. We were not considering renting again but I'll talk to the girl and give this some more thought and research. Thanks for the suggestion.

Quote:
My #2 rule is don't use a realtor to show you rental properties. There are plenty of online resources to help you find your first rental property.
Honestly, this would never have even occurred to me. In the past, we've always dealt with renting on our own.

Quote:
You seem to know what you're looking for and how much you can afford. Rent something that meets 80% of your needs for about a year. Then spend that year getting to know the area.

We finally bought a home in Bay Ho (NW Clairmont) and really like the area. We are close to the beaches and have easy access to anywhere in San Diego. We would've never bought in this area if we had not spent a few years living and exploring San Diego first.
Now that is interesting, because I've looked at a few homes in Clairemont and they seem to fit the bill generally, and it seems to be convenient to a lot of what we're after not to mention that prices are very reasonable. But nobody really seems to talk much about Clairemont. Is there some obvious drawback to that area that I'm missing?

One other question, and it's completely out of left field...say somebody wanted to build and fill a pool. Are there unique requirements for water rationing and that sort of thing?

Quote:
Also, here's where the local Viking fans hang out: Guava Beach Bar Grill
lol, they might all be driving up to games in L.A. in a couple years if things don't pan out in Minnesota.

I'm not a Vikings fan myself but I did figure out that the University of Iowa alumni game watch location is the Pacific Beach Ale House.
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Unread 12-31-2010, 08:35 AM
 
Location: San Diego
2,125 posts, read 2,544,116 times
Reputation: 771
Many parts of Clairemont (zip 92117) can look a bit trashy. Most of the area was built in the 50s and 60s. Curb appeal is not the strong point of many Clairemont houses. Also, Clairemont has lots of rental homes. Renters don't usually maintain a home like an owner.

The nicest Clairemont homes are near Mission Bay on the west side or border the canyons on the north side. We live near Mission Bay behind the Costco on Morena Blvd.

Unlike Phoenix or Las Vegas, pools are not very common in the mid-priced coastal areas of San Diego. The air temps seldom get hot enough to heat a pool. You'll need a pool heater pretty much year 'round. Also, water is expensive. We are billed on a graduated scale. The more we use, the higher the cost per gallon.
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Unread 12-31-2010, 03:46 PM
 
52 posts, read 76,521 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruitr View Post
Many parts of Clairemont (zip 92117) can look a bit trashy. Most of the area was built in the 50s and 60s. Curb appeal is not the strong point of many Clairemont houses. Also, Clairemont has lots of rental homes. Renters don't usually maintain a home like an owner.

The nicest Clairemont homes are near Mission Bay on the west side or border the canyons on the north side. We live near Mission Bay behind the Costco on Morena Blvd.

Unlike Phoenix or Las Vegas, pools are not very common in the mid-priced coastal areas of San Diego. The air temps seldom get hot enough to heat a pool. You'll need a pool heater pretty much year 'round. Also, water is expensive. We are billed on a graduated scale. The more we use, the higher the cost per gallon.
Now that's informative. I def. want to stay away from 50's rentals and neighborhoods that are high rent. My guess, is the $1800 range will be necessary. I hate apt.'s cause of smells (cigarrettes, strong detergents, certain foods). This was good info for my inquiry also.
I don't like the fact that water is expensive. Boy, we have our work cut out for us.
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Unread 12-31-2010, 03:49 PM
 
52 posts, read 76,521 times
Reputation: 56
My #2 rule is don't use a realtor to show you rental properties. There are plenty of online resources to help you find your first rental property.



Yes, never be enticed by a realtor!!! Never rent a house, townhome or condo unless you go through the landlord!

We ended up with a slumlord thanks to the corrupt realtor who lied to us about the landlords agree-ability to a repair that was a must. It never happened.
Do not go through a management company either. My personal opinion.
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Unread 01-01-2011, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Sandy Eggo - Kensington
3,455 posts, read 6,107,932 times
Reputation: 1470
Given what you are looking for, I'd suggest you look into the downtown (although no yards) and the surrounding neighborhoods. Some that might be a good fit are Mission Hills, Bankers Hill, University Heights, Hillcrest, South Park, North Park/Morley Field and Kensington. Those areas are most comparable to the Uptown area of Minneapolis. You might want to look at Coronado, as well.
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Unread 01-02-2011, 12:59 AM
 
Location: Edina, MN
333 posts, read 337,307 times
Reputation: 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurbanite View Post
Given what you are looking for, I'd suggest you look into the downtown (although no yards) and the surrounding neighborhoods. Some that might be a good fit are Mission Hills, Bankers Hill, University Heights, Hillcrest, South Park, North Park/Morley Field and Kensington. Those areas are most comparable to the Uptown area of Minneapolis. You might want to look at Coronado, as well.
I'll look into the rest of the neighborhoods you suggest (not downtown). Thanks for the response. Taking a look around University Heights and Hillcrest, those are absolutely viable options. Proximity to Balboa Park is a huge plus and the craftsman homes usually mean a neighborhood with some character.

edit: I'm starting to get a feel for what you meant by being comparable to Uptown (where I would never consider living, frankly, though I like some of the adjacent neighborhoods). Mission Hills, North Park, South Park, Hillcrest remind me a lot of Fulton, Kenwood, or maybe Linden Hills. Excellent. Thanks for the guidance.

Last edited by DirtMagurt; 01-02-2011 at 02:18 AM..
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Unread 01-02-2011, 01:28 AM
 
Location: Edina, MN
333 posts, read 337,307 times
Reputation: 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by cruitr View Post
Many parts of Clairemont (zip 92117) can look a bit trashy. Most of the area was built in the 50s and 60s. Curb appeal is not the strong point of many Clairemont houses. Also, Clairemont has lots of rental homes. Renters don't usually maintain a home like an owner.

The nicest Clairemont homes are near Mission Bay on the west side or border the canyons on the north side. We live near Mission Bay behind the Costco on Morena Blvd.
Thanks for the breakdown. Definitely will look into the Mission Bay area, otherwise Clairemont maybe isn't what we are after given the high proportion of renters. I've looked at some homes in the area and understand what you mean by lack of curb appeal. Nice yards, though.

Quote:
Unlike Phoenix or Las Vegas, pools are not very common in the mid-priced coastal areas of San Diego. The air temps seldom get hot enough to heat a pool. You'll need a pool heater pretty much year 'round. Also, water is expensive. We are billed on a graduated scale. The more we use, the higher the cost per gallon.
I can't fathom an unheated pool, honestly, even in Phoenix or Miami. Half the year it's going to have to be heated anywhere, but I understand that it never gets hot in coastal areas of SD. I don't know whether Escondido Municipal Water's site was accurate in regard to prices in other areas of the SD County water authority, but the estimate I tracked down was $70 to fill an average pool.

In any event, it's something I at least wanted to get a handle on, particularly if we were to land in an area like Mt. Helix.
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Unread 01-02-2011, 02:01 AM
 
Location: Edina, MN
333 posts, read 337,307 times
Reputation: 184
Golden Hill looks good, too.

What's the story with the neighborhoods directly adjacent and just across 15 and 94? They don't look so good, or do home prices not tell the whole story?
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