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Old 12-17-2011, 06:54 PM
 
29 posts, read 115,525 times
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Where would you prefer to live and why?

I have 2 separate job offers in Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa, similar pay, simillar hospitals. I would probably live in Petaluma if I choose Santa Rosa and Aptos/Capitola if I chose Santa Cruz.

My priorities in order of preference are affordable housing, single family home, 3bed min, preferably with a yard/garden, good schools, low crime, no crazy traffic, proximity to ocean/surf etc.
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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What's your rental budget?
Or are you buying?
If the hospital that you'll be working in is in Santa Cruz county, traffic won't really be an issue.
Though the commuter traffic on hwy1 is very heavy heading north (and then onto 17 going over the hill to San Jose, etc.) in the a.m. and south in the p.m. you won't really have to deal with it as there are alternatives to the freeway and even if you did use it, it would only be for a short bit.
Some areas of Santa Cruz proper get congested during commuter times and during the summer months but it's manageable.
If you'll be working at Dominican Hospital on Soquel Drive (that's the main hospital that comes to mind) you'll be o.k. no matter where you live in the county ... just some stop and go on Soquel Drive at commuter times but it's really not that bad .... it moves quickly and people are mellow about it which makes a world of difference.
It's rare to even hear a car horn honking in the county.
Affordable housing doesn't exist in Santa Cruz county although "affordable" is a relative thing.
Look at craigslist to get an idea of rental costs in the county.
Santa Cruz County apt/housing for rent
And if you're interested in Aptos or Capitola, include Soquel as well.
I don't have kids but it's just my sense that the Soquel schools are good relative to other communities in the county.
But don't quote me on that.
All 3 towns are close to the ocean.
Scotts Valley is another good option with commuter traffic going in the opposite direction as you'll be going again assuming that you'll be working in the coastal area of the county and Scotts Valley is a super easy commute to the coast.
If you're into surfing then Santa Cruz county is the better (much) option.
It's also on the Monterey Bay which is and there's easy access to mountain biking and hiking in the redwoods and it's a very friendly road biking place as well.
Being relatively close (close enough) to San Francisco is a plus and San Jose is about a half hour drive (during commuter times).
I'm a single woman who usually lives along and i've lived in S.C. county for years (Aptos, Capitola and Soquel) and never felt threatened.
There are certain areas of Capitola and Santa Cruz itself that are best avoided but other than that, it's not really an issue that should prevent you from living where you'd like to be.
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:44 PM
 
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thanks for the response. very helpful.

we plan on renting for the first year until we find an area that we are set on. for me affordable budget would be mortgage around 500k-600k which doesn't seem to go very far in california.

we have young children and would really like to have somewhat of a garden/yard to work with. there are a lot of nice homes in the area of santa cruz but then you look at the yard and it is basically a porch and a tiny garden with some plants. i would prefer a little space. it looks like maybe aptos, corralitos, watsonville areas might fit that bill.
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jklmnop View Post
thanks for the response. very helpful.

we plan on renting for the first year until we find an area that we are set on. for me affordable budget would be mortgage around 500k-600k which doesn't seem to go very far in california.

we have young children and would really like to have somewhat of a garden/yard to work with. there are a lot of nice homes in the area of santa cruz but then you look at the yard and it is basically a porch and a tiny garden with some plants. i would prefer a little space. it looks like maybe aptos, corralitos, watsonville areas might fit that bill.
You'd want to go more rural than the sub-urban locations of Santa Cruz proper.
There is so much gardening and small farming all over the entire county ... you have many options.
I lived on a property in Soquel that was a gardeners Eden ... 2 acres of the most beautiful mix of flower and food i've ever seen.
Of course the owners have lived there for 35+ years so they've had a long time to make it what it is.
I imagine that their property would sell for quite a bit over a million but they're in a prime, prime location.
It's hard to imagine that 5-6K can't get you a nice little property.
If you choose Santa Cruz county you may just have to be a bit farther away from the ocean as you'd ideally like.
I'd just be open to the entire county and see what's available.
I'm surprised no one has come along to talk about Santa Rosa although the forum is a bit quiet lately due to the holidays.
Good luck.


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Old 12-21-2011, 06:15 PM
 
Location: South Korea
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Santa Rosa: suburban exurb at the northern edge of the Bay Area. Petaluma is a bit older and funkier I think but still pretty suburban. You wouldn't be super close to the beach but it's not too far out.

Santa Cruz: beach town and college town with ties to San Jose which drives up real estate prices. The hills to the north and northwest of Santa Cruz have a lot of rustic and somewhat remote houses--places like Bonny Doon and Ben Lomond etc.

You'd really have to visit to see which one you like better.
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:03 PM
 
Location: Near L.A.
4,114 posts, read 9,735,006 times
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I've yet to go to Santa Rosa, but I already have an inclination I'd rather live there than Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz just does not "bowl me over," and I find the people I've encountered there very surly and snobby. Sure, it's on the ocean, has a cool beach, it's close to SF, it has UCSC, yada yada yada. Guess what? Santa Rosa is closer to the more laid back and prettier (IMO) Marin County; you can still be at Point Reyes and the ocean, in San Francisco or in wine country all in an hour. The scenery is spectacular up that way...not that it isn't around Santa Cruz, I just like North Bay scenery better.

You can always to go to the beach on the weekends. As mayorhaggar said, visit both cities, get a feel and determine which one you like best. But if it were me, and I'd have to visit Santa Rosa first, I'd likely still choose Santa Rosa.
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Old 12-22-2011, 01:37 AM
 
Location: Springfield, Ohio
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By your criteria, I'd say Santa Rosa. Santa Cruz would be better if you were single, in your 20s and/or had a preference for a beach. Otherwise, you'd probably find it too expensive an area to raise a family.
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:11 PM
 
2,147 posts, read 4,591,768 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EclecticEars View Post
I've yet to go to Santa Rosa, but I already have an inclination I'd rather live there than Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz just does not "bowl me over," and I find the people I've encountered there very surly and snobby. Sure, it's on the ocean, has a cool beach, it's close to SF, it has UCSC, yada yada yada. Guess what? Santa Rosa is closer to the more laid back and prettier (IMO) Marin County; you can still be at Point Reyes and the ocean, in San Francisco or in wine country all in an hour. The scenery is spectacular up that way...not that it isn't around Santa Cruz, I just like North Bay scenery better.

You can always to go to the beach on the weekends. As mayorhaggar said, visit both cities, get a feel and determine which one you like best. But if it were me, and I'd have to visit Santa Rosa first, I'd likely still choose Santa Rosa.
I totally agree with this! re: SC-it has never done it for me. I think it's a place that tries to rest on it's past laurels, before it became overgrown, overpriced and yuppiefied. I have lived in missoula and boulder, and i wanted to like SC: I really did! But everytime I've visited, and we've stayed with family or friends, etc. I've ended up agitated and hated it there.

Santa Rosa: I have visited numerous times and also lived there for a few months, after living two years in SFO. I LOVE Sonoma county. Santa Rosa is not just an 'exurb'-it has a highly regarded junior college, sonoma state univ. is in rhonert park, and SR has many older areas of town; it has it's own history and some funkier areas. Plus, the best parks: Annadel, etc. and proximity to sebastopol, sonoma town and easy drive to marin or the city, wine country, if that's your thing, etc. I would choose SR in a heartbeat over SC. The people in Sonoma are amenable, as well.

Also, I personally LOVE Healdsburg-just north of SR. It's small with great schools and an absolutely gorgeous spanish plaza that is now the hub of wine tasting shops, boutiques, great food. Seriously, the food i've had in SR north to geyserville and sonoma as a whole, made me realize i never need to drive to SFO to eat. So, you could consider healdsburg or at least visit. I would live there over Petaluma, as it's not as spread out and suburban development, etc. lower crime, better schools, and still with alot of charm. We visited last spring and had car trouble; the local tourist office employee called her mechanic and sent us over; the guy did a temporary fix so we could use the car [nothing unsafe], charged us a nominal fee and recommended things to do in the area. Honestly, it's like small town charm with the best of urban, high quality amenities.

NE santa rosa suburbs of larkfield/wikiup and rincon valley are said to have great school districts, as well.

Your budget of 500-600k will go further in SR than healdsburg, I believe. But both are doable. And Windsor is located in between the two, and schools are also said to be great.

I'm sure you can be happy in either place; they have some of the same amenities/vibe. I just find Sonoma more amenable in certain key ways. cost, people, location, etc. good luck and as my husband would say: It's a good problem to have.
[deciding between those two places=you are very lucky!(:]
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Santa Cruz can agitate ... it's actually the whacky and chaotic energetic "swirl" but most people, unaware of that truth, blame it on the people.
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, WA
6,258 posts, read 13,628,001 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaijai View Post
Santa Cruz can agitate ... it's actually the whacky and chaotic energetic "swirl" but most people, unaware of that truth, blame it on the people.
Jaijai, what does this mean? It this like some kinda cosmic swirl force or something? Lol. I've been visiting Santa Cruz for 30 years and never noticed it. Maybe I'm just uninformed.

My wife and I were were actually married in the SC mountains. I generally like SC County. But it has gotten more crowded over the years, especially duuring rush hour. Much of the nicer parts near the coast have become gentrified with higher RE prices than most families can afford.

There are some beautiful inland surrounding areas such as Scotts Valley with better overall public schools for families. I also like Aptos. Check out school ratings here: California School Performance Maps

Based on the OP I tend to agree with Santa Rosa as a better overall fit unless living near the beach is a higher priority. I have family in Santa Rosa and the love raising their children there. Although they like visiting the coast on ocassions they aren't nuts about it (like me ).

Derek
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