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Old 01-28-2008, 02:10 PM
Location: South Bay
327 posts, read 784,081 times
Reputation: 190


I'm sure this board is bored sick of questions like this, but I have to ask.

Our scenario:

I'm a software engineer in Seattle. I make a pretty decent living and so does my wife. However, we're still priced out of owning a home in the neighborhoods we like, but owning a townhome is still doable. The biggest downer is the weather. Sheesh..it's miserable 6 months out of the year. We love the natural beauty and water in Seattle, but we can rarely enjoy it. We're expecting our first child this year, so the race is on to make a decision on where to plant some roots (Cali or Seattle).

We've been considering San Jose, L.A., and San Diego. The biggest problem we find with these locations is it looks down right impossible to own a decent home (more so in San Jose). We're first time home buyers with a limit of $500K.

I've done some homework in salaries in Silicon Valley, and it looks like I'll only be looking at a 10-15% increase in pay. Calculating in the 9.3% state income tax, it seems like my pay will pretty much remain the same while everything else is more expensive. Although the opportunity for more career advancement is potentially higher in San Jose.

The biggest thing my wife and I are looking at is improving our quality of life. We want more sunshine, a better lifestyle, good schools, and good income stability. If we stay in Seattle, we pretty much know our careers will be great and we'll eventually own our dream home, but the weather will always bring us down.

Has anyone else on this board been in this situation of wanting to improve their lives in California but not knowing if it'll ever be financially viable? Has anyone made the plunge from Seattle to San Jose? What are your experiences and advice?

Thanks for your time!
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:36 PM
16 posts, read 88,510 times
Reputation: 18
I can relate, I moved to the Bay Area to get away from a rain-soaked climate. Now that I have a little one I am so glad I did. It is invaluable to be able to get outdoors when you have kids.
I can understand your nervousness about the financial end of things. IT is expensive here. You might be able to buy something with your budget, possibly not your dream home but it will get you started.
TO answer your question I'd say a good chunk of folks living here did so because of "wanting to improve their lives in California". The "not knowing if it'll ever be financially viable" is something you have to work at. There are lots of young parents in the same boat though.
Nothing ventured nothing gained, if it turns out that you feel too stressed about the finances you can always pack up and move to where the living is cheaper.
Good Luck!
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Old 01-28-2008, 04:03 PM
Location: Northern California
3,588 posts, read 12,021,401 times
Reputation: 1619
Check out housing in other areas near San Jose such as Morgan Hill or Gilroy. This will involve a commute but the housing might be cheaper outside San Jose. There are some houses going into forclosure in the area and I have started seeing ads on TV for upcoming house auctions. Maybe you can snag a deal.
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Old 01-29-2008, 04:16 PM
Location: South Bay
327 posts, read 784,081 times
Reputation: 190
Thanks for the reply. I guess California is always a risk financially. If you look at it in terms if dollars, you can always talk yourself out of moving there. It comes down to how much are you willing to sacrifice for weather and lifestyle for your kids.

Door #1) Rainy weather and beautiful home in Seattle.
Door #2) Great weather and _______ home in California?

Unfortunately I don't have the answer just yet. It's something I'll have to chew on until we know for sure what we want.
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:32 AM
Location: San Jose, CA
7,620 posts, read 23,155,390 times
Reputation: 3446
You could always buy a starter house in Redwood City or San Jose for under $350K and spend money on fixing it up - upgrading water heaters, furnaces, appliances, bathrooms, electrical systems, etc. Long term that is my plan as well, but I'm not going to get that done on a $30K salary!!
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Old 01-30-2008, 06:27 PM
2,652 posts, read 7,180,161 times
Reputation: 1855
Where is there even a STARTER/fixer for under $350K?? Unless you are talking about a townhome or condo.

I just moved to Tacoma from San Jose. While I know I will enjoy my two year tour here, I don't see myself staying put here. I'm originally from Iowa so I know what you mean by 6 months of crap... November-March cold as heck. April and May nice. June, July and August 90-95 with 90% humidity.

Not good for outdoors family activities.

On my drive up to Tacoma, I passed through Redding. I think they get some rain but not quite as bad as Seattle. You might check that. I don't think prices are too bad there. Seemed kind of remote to me though.
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Old 01-31-2008, 10:34 AM
Location: San Jose, CA
7,620 posts, read 23,155,390 times
Reputation: 3446
Nope, there are houses in that range. Check the MLS. I'm talking major fixers though, which might need work before you can even move in. See 1499 Ford Ave, San Jose, for example, or 141 Nottingham Ave, Redwood City.
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:51 PM
15 posts, read 49,079 times
Reputation: 12
Hey there.

I am originally from Vancouver, BC and have been here in San Jose for the past 10 years. Funny thing is that we are now looking at moving to Seattle (Eastside) to raise our family and build our dream home.

I hear you on the Pac NW weather, and it is great here. However I am just plain tired of the nice weather. You lose the appreciation of those sunny days, and you end up sitting in the house, or doing indoor items because you know that tommorrow will bring more sun. Also there are no seasons here... there is Sunny and Hot, Sunny and Mild, Sunny and Colder, and occasional sprinkling of rain. Speaking of Sun, SJ can reach 95 and 100 degrees, albiet rarely. That kind of weather is not fun. Also, you need to make sure that you apply sun block all the time to your kids as well as you. You get alot of UV exposure here!

Also you have to factor in the schools here. I know that there are school issues in some places in Seattle, but they are here as well. In fact if you are on a budget, then you will be buying in a poor school district, unless you can luck out and get a good deal on a good school district.

Crime.... San Jose is relativley safe if you live in a nicer area...... However like all big cities it does have its crime issue. Of course nothing like Richmond or Oakland.... or to a lesser extent San Fran.

However, we will miss the weekend trips to Santa Cruz, the coast hwy, marin napa, the small boutique downtowns, etc........

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Old 02-29-2008, 10:02 PM
17 posts, read 75,672 times
Reputation: 14
Really, you will make more money in the bay area. Maybe some professions are like that. We have tried to hire product managers from out of state (to the Sunnyvale area) and we can't get anyone to bite. Basically we are going to pay them the same amount they currently make (~$100k), but they live in a huge house on a huge lot and don't want to come here and live in a condo.
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:56 AM
Location: San Jose, CA
1,294 posts, read 2,641,380 times
Reputation: 737
Originally Posted by sonarrat View Post
Nope, there are houses in that range. Check the MLS. I'm talking major fixers though, which might need work before you can even move in. See 1499 Ford Ave, San Jose, for example, or 141 Nottingham Ave, Redwood City.
Interesting not about 141 Nottingham Ave, and 131 Nottingham Ave, they were both sold by a 'Stello Trust' to a 'S. Saatchi' in Jan of 2005 for $320,000 and $480,000 respectively, then they were sold by S. Saatchi to somebody and to C. Ortega for $587,000 for $717,500 respectively on July 2005, and June 2005 respectively. It looks like both properties must have been flipping targets, and then targets for creative financing, or maybe just the latter by a very enterprising individual. Netting 267 + 237.5k in 6 months isn't pocket change for sure.

Both properties are either in foreclosure or a short sale today. Listed $325,000 and $495,000 respectively. The properties may not be in as bad a condition as expected.
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