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Old 05-30-2011, 05:08 PM
 
1 posts, read 5,318 times
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Hi everyone:
We are trying to relocate to San Diego North County and I ended with 2 options. My first one is 4S Ranch, in Rancho Bernanrdo the main reason being the Poway School Distric (I have 2 Kids going to Elementary School). The only back is the commute for my husband. He will be working in downtown Chula Vista. Would any of you please tell me how bad is the traffic on the I 15? I have heard very bad things but also heard about Express lanes under construction. If we decide for Carmel Valley, wich also has very good schools, will that significantly change his commute? (using the 5 and 805 instead of 15 freeway?) I found the house of my dreams in 4S Ranch but also don't want my husband to do all this driving every day. I would be very grateful if any one could help. Thanks!
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Rolando, San Diego CA 92115
8,147 posts, read 25,634,705 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mafatao View Post
Hi everyone:
We are trying to relocate to San Diego North County and I ended with 2 options. My first one is 4S Ranch, in Rancho Bernanrdo the main reason being the Poway School Distric (I have 2 Kids going to Elementary School). The only back is the commute for my husband. He will be working in downtown Chula Vista. Would any of you please tell me how bad is the traffic on the I 15? I have heard very bad things but also heard about Express lanes under construction. If we decide for Carmel Valley, wich also has very good schools, will that significantly change his commute? (using the 5 and 805 instead of 15 freeway?) I found the house of my dreams in 4S Ranch but also don't want my husband to do all this driving every day. I would be very grateful if any one could help. Thanks!
Either way the commute sucks and there is no relevant difference, IMO 4S Ranch is the nicer community.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:39 PM
 
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Are you sure that you won't consider Bonita or Eastlake? They're right next to Chula Vista and have very good schools. I got into Cornell from Bonita Vista High, and there were kids going to Harvard and Princeton my year, too.
Janine
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:39 AM
 
Location: 92037
4,631 posts, read 8,583,185 times
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mafatao,

IMHO from a housing perspective there is literally no difference between the master planned communities in 4S and Otay Ranch. This goes from infrastructure layout to quality of homes. Most of the same 4 or 5 builders built the homes here anyway, so the models are all essentially the same with different names.
Given the fact that your husband will be working in CV, then it seems like a no brainer to live in based on that alone.

janineg makes a totally valid point about schools which I think apply in general and in SD. Just because you dont go PUSD or San Dieguito doesnt mean a child will have less of a chance of succeeding in life (isnt that the point?)
However if its demographic issue or fear of some potentially perceived bad social element that you dont want your children to be around, then thats another story.
What I am not fond, especially in CA is teacher layoffs all over the place and just how common it has become. I am aware that its in other states, but the epidemic is truly systemic here. Regardless of school district, its happening all over and no kid will find that settling having to see and deal with.
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Old 06-02-2011, 04:29 AM
 
Location: Santaluz - San Diego, CA
4,484 posts, read 7,874,431 times
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I just spent the past week looking at houses. Several hours per day every day. We drove around a ton. We mainly looked at homes in Santaluz, Santa Monica, Verrazzano, and Carmel Valley. We drove around 4S Ranch but to be honest we cancelled the home showings after driving around in the area some.

Don't get me wrong...it looks like 4S Ranch is desirable for young families. Some neighborhoods were better than others. We drove around a new community and it didn't look like anything to write home about and even the new homes looked kind of cheap and poorly constructed. I can't imagine what it will look like in 10-15 years. Then other areas were nicer but I couldn't see the rational of paying $700,000+ for a house that didn't look all that well built.

I mean it would be one thing to pay that kind of money and avoid Mello Roos taxes but from what I could see looking at listings, they all have high Mello Roos taxes. True, the HOA in some of them are low but it doesn't look like you get a lot.

I saw more value in spending another $200,000 to $300,000 and buying in Verrazzano or Santaluz. We REALLY loved Verrazzano near Santaluz as the community is really great, lots of manicured parks, low HOA fees. You still have the Mello Roos but the homes look MUCH nicer than 4S Ranch IMHO. I just wish there were more homes for sale in that community as we really loved it but not much on the market there. We loved Santaluz even more. Yeah, the HOA fees are high at $450 a month but it's a gorgeous community and well planned and thought through well. All are in a great school district of Poway so that's a huge advantage.

We looked at several in Carmel Valley. I disagree with some that say all homes in Carmel Valley are 'cookie cutter' houses. Yeah, lots are but there are some beautiful homes. The killer for us was the density of Carmel Valley. Most of the homes are piled on top of one another. Plus all of the apartment complexes there adding to the density.

We looked at some homes in Pacific Highlands Ranch and they have some beautiful homes. But the problem is that they are all on top of another. Case in point, we looked at a home on Aster Meadows and there was literally NO privacy. You had 3 neighbors on the back of the house that all could easily look into your backyard and house. Plus both sides had neighbors that could also look into your house. Who wants to pay $1 million + for no privacy??

We also looked at a house in the gated community of Collins Ranch in Carmel Valley. These are big homes. Some are very nice. We looked at one that was about 4,900 sq. ft. Gorgeous house but even there your neighbor could look into your house and back yard (and you into theirs). But it wasn't so bad like other areas. However, the deal breaker was that there was significant traffic noise from Highway 56. That really surprised me as on a map Highway 56 isn't that close but the way the community is positioned, I guess sound echos and you can really hear the traffic noise.

I agree with Sassberto that you're going to have a drive no matter if you decide Carmel Valley or 4S Ranch. The one thing you should also consider is much of Carmel Valley doesn't have Mello Roos or if they do it's not as much as 4S Ranch. Some houses in 4S Ranch had as much as $7,500 a year in Mello Roos taxes so keep that in mind.

I don't know much about Chula Vista other than driving to the mall out there. But I don't have any desire to live out there.

I think overall, prices in 4S Ranch and Santaluz and probably even Carmel Valley are set to fall for at least another 1 to 2 years. How much more I'm not sure. But we're buying for the long haul and buying to live in so we're prepared to buy this year after waiting on the sidelines for 6 years waiting for prices to fall.

One thing I was really surprised at is that the beach isn't that far from areas like Santaluz. I read about some people saying they could make it to the beach in 15 minutes and thought that had to be an exaggeration or lie. We timed it one afternoon and we made it from Santaluz to La Jolla Shores in 25 minutes. Fortunately there was not much traffic but I was really surprised it didn't take long at all.

I'd really see if your husband is up for the commute time but if you really found your dream house it might be worth considering if you are buying for the long term and it's where you will live. But also be ok with the realization that property prices will fall for at least the rest of 2011. The schools out there we keep hearing over and over from people that have kids are excellent out there. That's one of the main factors for us deciding to move to that area.

Good luck.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Rolando, San Diego CA 92115
8,147 posts, read 25,634,705 times
Reputation: 4161
Quote:
Originally Posted by earlyretirement View Post
The killer for us was the density of Carmel Valley. Most of the homes are piled on top of one another. Plus all of the apartment complexes there adding to the density.
I think that is the big downside to Carmel Valley. Trying to get in and out of the shopping centers there, during the middle of the day is a nightmare. There are office park campuses packed in with condos and elementary schools all in the same few square miles. There is more density in the west end of Carmel Valley than in most of the neighborhoods around downtown San Diego. There are really nice custom homes on the south side of 56 but if you are looking at tracts, at least 4S has some green space and parks and is not just all crammed together.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Santaluz - San Diego, CA
4,484 posts, read 7,874,431 times
Reputation: 1960
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassberto View Post
I think that is the big downside to Carmel Valley. Trying to get in and out of the shopping centers there, during the middle of the day is a nightmare. There are office park campuses packed in with condos and elementary schools all in the same few square miles. There is more density in the west end of Carmel Valley than in most of the neighborhoods around downtown San Diego. There are really nice custom homes on the south side of 56 but if you are looking at tracts, at least 4S has some green space and parks and is not just all crammed together.

Well, I think much depends on which community of 4S Ranch you visit. We drove by this community in 4S Ranch and the homes are all close together and look like they were quickly thrown up. The quality of the construction, IMHO doesn't look all that great. And these were brand new houses!

10445 Galena Canyon Rd, San Diego, CA 92127 | MLS# 110026694


We did see other communities at 4S Ranch that weren't as bad. But just keep in mind the various communities. Last year we did tour some homes in Carmel Valley that weren't as bad and close to parks which were nice but those sold very quickly.

The thing that worries me in 4S Ranch is the high # of distressed properties. I've noticed many more foreclosures and short-sales there vs. other areas. Seems like a far greater amount of people bit off more than they can chew there and bought more house than they could afford compared to other areas.

Also, in Carmel Valley we saw many more for sale signs while driving around. In most of the listings we went to, we found out from the realtor or in some cases, someone was in the house and we asked them....and their parents were leaving California for work reasons.

Definitely if you can, rent for a while so you can see the various areas day in and day out and drive around hours and hours in the area at various times of day including rush hour. Have your husband simulate his work drive both coming and going and see how he handles it.

I know as a father and a husband, I'd sacrifice and make the trip if you really loved the house and it makes sense school district wise for you. Driving would be a pain but one that I'd be prepared to do for my family.
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