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Old 03-05-2010, 11:01 PM
 
Location: so CA
11 posts, read 27,717 times
Reputation: 13

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I know there have been many posts inquiring about and responding to life on the Central Coast of CA but please bear with me for one more . . .

Retirement is looming just around the corner. For some time the plan was to pack up me and the (very willing to go) teenage daughter and move from Orange County to the south east, particularly coastal North Carolina. However, as the date looms closer the pressure from family, friends etc is building to reconsider and relocate somewhere closer.

My goal in looking towards NC was the cost of living (particularly housing) and the abundance of small town life, friendly neighbors etc. I am wracking my brain trying to figure out if such a thing exists in California within a reasonable driving distance but worlds away from Orange County.

Our ideal would be a small town (max 50K but more like 25K or even less is better), nice neighbors and affordable. We know if we stay in CA we will not be buying a house so reasonable rental costs on a single family home would be great. School is not an issue since my daughter is now in college (JC) but we want a safe neighborhood nonetheless.

We have been on Craig's List, City Data Forum, City Data Compare, various online Central Coast newspapers and at this point are leaning towards Nipomo, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Guadalupe . . . which all look good on paper. We ruled out Orcutt because it seems a bit higher priced for the very same thing you can get in other towns for far less. I note that a lot of the nice but still reasonably priced rentals are in the very northeastern part of Santa Maria just before you head out of town on the 101. I wonder is that a dicey area or is it as nice as it looks? What about the older section of SM around Orange? And what about the southern part of Lompoc below Ocean Avenue? Nipomo seems pretty nice and has led the list as our first choice but it looks like you have to be quick to luck into a nice rental house at a good price so we may need a back up plan?

Thank you for indulging my lengthy post, just wanted to make sure I got the relevant information out there so hopefully we can get some good guidance from the people who know the area best.

Thank you.
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Old 03-06-2010, 01:40 AM
 
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 18,888,576 times
Reputation: 1922
There was an MSN Money article today about retiring and specifically mentioned CA as a place to avoid. You may want to read up on it before you let your family pressure you in to doing something you don't want to do after working your whole life towards retirement.

Anyways, you might want to check out somewhere like Buellton. Easy drive to OC(compared to the others), meets your needs for city size, and I think should be in your cost range(guessing here based on what I know about the area and the other cities you're mentioning).
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:28 PM
 
2,147 posts, read 4,826,621 times
Reputation: 1666
Yes,this is a tough one...what about something out of CA,but closer than the east coast? plus,unless you are flying out of nyc,atl or boston,for examples,you will not get a direct flight to visit so cal,and costs for flights will be higher,as well.
IF you have lived in OC/CA for your whole life,you may find you wish to visit more than you'd planned,at least at first.

I wonder if one of the communities in OR or AZ would do the trick? Where is the question,of course. Have you checked out the sierra foothills communities in CA? Or,nevada city just across the border? Lastly,Ashland,oregon,where home prices are high but just outside the city may be more affordable? These are just initial ideas....
then again,NC coastal area is very nice...not sure i'd go for mid coast CA for retiremeont,personally,unless my finances were really solid/abundant.
there are also some nice communities in CO that might suit your needs,and CO is frequently a touted retirement destination...
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:33 AM
 
4,144 posts, read 3,286,740 times
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Anywhere on the CA coast is not really going to be "affordable", of course everything is relative.

The cities you mentioned are less expensive then others for a reason. They're not the most desirable places to live. All those cities are surrounded by agriculture, and are the housing centers for the migrant workers who work in the fields. Have you read the thread on this forum about Santa Maria? You will need to speak spanish to live in any of those cities.

If you want to retire, and are on a budget, I recommend you leave CA.
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:11 PM
 
Location: So California
8,707 posts, read 10,294,952 times
Reputation: 4785
^^^thats BS
You'd be happy in any of them. If you are a native of California and are retiring, I think it could be a shock for you to move to the east coast. I would predict that after a couple year honeymoon you would start to regret it.
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Old 03-09-2010, 04:37 PM
 
Location: California
2,196 posts, read 2,402,398 times
Reputation: 2087
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axxlrod View Post
Anywhere on the CA coast is not really going to be "affordable", of course everything is relative.

The cities you mentioned are less expensive then others for a reason. They're not the most desirable places to live. All those cities are surrounded by agriculture, and are the housing centers for the migrant workers who work in the fields. Have you read the thread on this forum about Santa Maria? You will need to speak spanish to live in any of those cities.

If you want to retire, and are on a budget, I recommend you leave CA.

That is a gross exageration, you don't need to speak Spanish to live in Santa Maria.
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Baywood Park
1,634 posts, read 6,460,511 times
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Have you considered Los Osos? It's similar to Nipomo, but more scenic and away from the Santa Maria and Guadalupe element. I'd avoid SM, Guadalupe and Lompoc. Unless you're seriously considering purchasing a home, then Lompoc my be an option. RE has fallen there big time and it's probably the best buy for coastal propety in CA considering it's location.. Look into north SLO county. Atascadero may be a good fit for you. The downtown stinks, but the neighborhoods and people are nice. You'll be very close to Paso and SLO shopping. They have nice downtowns, and Morro Bay and the ocean is 25 minutes away, SLO is 15 minutes away, when you want to beat the summer heat. Which is dry and tolerable, not like NC.
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Baywood Park
1,634 posts, read 6,460,511 times
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Oh, and I don't mean to offend you. I was recently in Anaheim and L.A. People down there are different. A lot were rude and pushy. I don't blame anyone there who would like to move up here. It's nice here. Just leave the OC L.A. attitude down there. It doesn't fit here. The only place it might fit is the city of SLO.
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:20 PM
 
Location: so CA
11 posts, read 27,717 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CA central coast View Post
Oh, and I don't mean to offend you. I was recently in Anaheim and L.A. People down there are different. A lot were rude and pushy. I don't blame anyone there who would like to move up here. It's nice here. Just leave the OC L.A. attitude down there. It doesn't fit here. The only place it might fit is the city of SLO.
No offense taken. My carefully worded statement about someplace "worlds away from OC" was meant to imply just that. Which is what we love about NC, the people are genuine and friendly, family and community are everything. Is the Central Coast CA's version of that which is good about the south?
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Old 03-10-2010, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Baywood Park
1,634 posts, read 6,460,511 times
Reputation: 704
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomoOC View Post
No offense taken. My carefully worded statement about someplace "worlds away from OC" was meant to imply just that. Which is what we love about NC, the people are genuine and friendly, family and community are everything. Is the Central Coast CA's version of that which is good about the south?
If you still want to look up here, come to Los Osos. It's next to the beach, sits on a bay. Go out to Montana de Oro, this place is nice. I also like the fact that it is one of the only cities up here without a highway running through it. Morro Bay is only minutes away, but it has always been a bit more expensive there. Visit Atascadero too. It's very forrested, a ton of trees. It's unlike any other town up here in that respect.
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