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Old 05-23-2011, 12:57 PM
1 posts, read 1,757 times
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We're very likely moving to Sonoma Country / Santa Rosa area from Olympia, WA (just sound of Seattle). Was curious about the areas, schools, weather in Santa Rosa / Sonoma County area. One of the main reasons for the move is weather-related, we need sun and sometimes we don't get it here for months on end. We have a 2 year old son and another on the way in December, so any information on the schools, safety (heard gangs is a problem), neighborhood, climate. We're very into outdoorsy activities, camping, hiking, etc. We're taking a bit of a paycut to move but still be netting about 180k/year. I read that it's very expensive to live there and cost of living it high. All pointers (both pro and con) will be much appreciated. Thanks so much!
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:36 PM
Location: Portland, OR
127 posts, read 295,969 times
Reputation: 182
SR's really nice with very affordable homes. It's like the 'new' Puyallup nowadays. A newer suburb with good neighborhoods that's become very busy, with few bad areas to steer clear from. Gangs only mess with each other. Raising kids? No problem. Raising teens? Problem. Typical California teen culture. Good California-born parents know from their own teen experience to watch their kids like a hawk to make sure their kids aren't going the wrong way. I know a regional sales manager who used to buy/sell/do drugs in Calif long ago when he was a teen. He said a kid in Cali simply cannot avoid that culture even if he wanted to because its at school and it's 'hella easy, dood.'

I used to live in Marin-San Anselmo a decade ago living rich, very quiet and safe, met a few celeberties, but a very expensive place. I liked SR but didn't want to do the drive. You'll make a lot of fun trips to Russian River, Marin headlands, Pt Reyes, even Corte Madera Village (the yuppie mall) instead of the usual malls in SR which are more like Tacoma Mall or SouthCenter.

For investment purposes, I suggest stretch it out & buy a home in Marin if you can. That county will rise in price quicker than Sonoma when economy bounces back, also very easy to rent out in the future as a cash cow as more people choose a Marin County lifestyle. The home prices in Marin used to be downright evil, like Mercer Island kind of evil, now it's actually possible. A big reason why new homes sprouted up all the way to SR so much so fast is because nobody could qualify for a decent Marin home anymore. Hope this helps!

You can get an idea of Santa Rosa through local news:
Santa Rosa Plaza wants to charge for parking | PressDemocrat.com
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