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Old 09-23-2016, 07:52 PM
 
9 posts, read 17,300 times
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Hi! I have a possible job opportunity in Healdsburg and am looking for more affordable places to live within an hours commute. I happened upon Lake County and the surrounding areas. Absolutely beautiful! But why are they so affordable? Is it dangerous there? Are the schools awful? What is it that makes it so affordable for such such pretty areas? Any guidance or thoughts are much appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 09-23-2016, 08:47 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
102,188 posts, read 107,809,412 times
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It's a good idea you have, to use it as a cheap place to live while commuting to a job in Healdsburg. It's cheap because there aren't many jobs there, so there are retirees and people who can work from home moving into the area. There are also a couple of Native American communities there.
Have you checked out Hidden Valley Lake, as well as the Clear Lake area? Also check out seasonal temps, to see if you can handle the summer heat there. The area may be growing, as more people like yourself discover it for the cheap real estate, and wineries expand into the area. You can do a search on this site for threads about Lake County and Clear Lake; there have been a couple in the last two years.

About Ukiah, people complain about a lot of homelessness there, and meth activity. Parts of Mendocino can be expensive, depending on the area. Your best bet would be to tour the areas you're interested in, to get a feel for them, and observe for yourself. There have been wildfires in those areas in recent years, be aware.

Last edited by Ruth4Truth; 09-23-2016 at 09:29 PM..
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Old 09-23-2016, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,813 posts, read 32,484,481 times
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The Clearlake area, overall, is just kind of creepy to me. Did you drive around in the neighborhoods at all? Most areas are a real mix of junky falling down trailers and some decent homes and businesses all kind of mixed together. And there were developments that got started and never got finished. So, there will be one home on a block, with dirt roads all around it. With street signs, where you can see they intended for it to be a developed neighborhood.

The area also can flood badly. And the hillsides have been known for bad mudslides.

I looked long and hard at buying in that area about 10 years ago, as I was working in Woodland and couldn't afford to buy in that area at the time. I just couldn't make myself buy up there, even if it meant I'd have to keep renting. It just feels poor and depressed.

The thought I had at the time, was that it would eventually become a suburb of Santa Rosa, basically, as things get built out. But, it's been 10 years, and it's still weird up there.

Maybe someday. But, I think it just doesn't have enough of a draw to get it turned around. I think there will always be the creepy trailer mixed in with the nicer homes.

Plus, the commute would really get old to Healdsburg. That highway from Clearlake past Hidden Valley and Cobb Mountain is 2 lane and really curvy with cliffs on one side some of the way. It's pretty to be sure, but man, I wouldn't want to do that every day.

You might love it. But, I really don't.
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Old 09-23-2016, 10:53 PM
 
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The big problem with commuting from Lake county is there is no quick or easy way in or out. It's a long, windy drive any way you go and it will take you a long time. As far as living there it is very scenically beautiful with a warm Mediterranean type climate but it is also rural and run down in many areas. There is everything you need to survive and do basic shopping there but not much else, a lot of the area is open space and back woods.
Lake port is probably their nicest town but it's not as cheap as you would think, Kelseyville is decent too.

Ukiah has a lot more amenities and is a much faster and easier commute down the 101 about 45-60 minutes or so to Healdsburg. Ukiah is semi rural and is limited in a lot of ways too but there is plenty there and you would be able to drive south to Santa Rosa for anything else. Ukiah is definitely cheaper than Heladsburg but is very overpriced for being out in the sticks, it is also more expensive than Lake county but the weather, location and local amenities are better.

Neither place is "dangerous" but there are a lot of drugs around in both areas, huge marijuana scene, random tweekers and meth heads scattered all over but overall pretty mellow and peaceful safe places to live compared to most of the US.
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Old 09-23-2016, 11:03 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
18,980 posts, read 32,631,650 times
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Ukiah is fine, nothing too terrible or great. Just an average Northern CA small town; lots of weed, hippies, some meth, and some homeless would be the downsides. Most people I know who grew up there turned out fine. It has some small town charm though.

I would not want to commute on the windy roads from Lake County, 101 is a much easier drive.
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Old 09-24-2016, 07:26 AM
 
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I once looked at a lodge for sale in Mendocino County, I would rather make minimum wage in SF than 7 figures there. If you are fine with remoteness, small rundown towns, people without ambition... Then it's fine.
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Old 09-24-2016, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Oregon
689 posts, read 972,939 times
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I live just outside of Healdsburg and was recently up in Ukiah while visiting a nearby winery. Found it rather run-down and depressing. There are much better choices. Why not look at other small towns within Sonoma County? Guerneville, Geyserville and Windsor all have a good sense of community and may offer more reasonable rents. If you truly don't mind a 45 min-1 hr commute there are many charming little towns to choose from.

Cities of Sonoma County | Sonoma County (Official Site)


Best of Luck!
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Old 09-24-2016, 11:41 AM
 
24,396 posts, read 26,936,812 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaylaM View Post
I live just outside of Healdsburg and was recently up in Ukiah while visiting a nearby winery. Found it rather run-down and depressing. There are much better choices. Why not look at other small towns within Sonoma County? Guerneville, Geyserville and Windsor all have a good sense of community and may offer more reasonable rents. If you truly don't mind a 45 min-1 hr commute there are many charming little towns to choose from.

Cities of Sonoma County | Sonoma County (Official Site)


Best of Luck!
this
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Old 09-24-2016, 11:51 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
102,188 posts, read 107,809,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaylaM View Post
I live just outside of Healdsburg and was recently up in Ukiah while visiting a nearby winery. Found it rather run-down and depressing. There are much better choices. Why not look at other small towns within Sonoma County? Guerneville, Geyserville and Windsor all have a good sense of community and may offer more reasonable rents. If you truly don't mind a 45 min-1 hr commute there are many charming little towns to choose from.

Cities of Sonoma County | Sonoma County (Official Site)


Best of Luck!
Perhaps surprisingly, or perhaps not, for long-time Bay Area dwellers, some of those towns are expensive. If the OP is finding Lake County to be within his budget, places like Bodega Bay would be out of the question. And towns like Guerneville and Cotati have already been "discovered" by people working in SF looking for cheaper RE; so the prices have already been driven upwards years ago, as the definition of "SF suburbs" has expanded ever northward. Still, for the sake of leaving no stone unturned, it's worth a shot for the OP to go down the list there, and see if he can find something workable.
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Old 09-24-2016, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Oregon
689 posts, read 972,939 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Perhaps surprisingly, or perhaps not, for long-time Bay Area dwellers, some of those towns are expensive. If the OP is finding Lake County to be within his budget, places like Bodega Bay would be out of the question. And towns like Guerneville and Cotati have already been "discovered" by people working in SF looking for cheaper RE; so the prices have already been driven upwards years ago, as the definition of "SF suburbs" has expanded ever northward. Still, for the sake of leaving no stone unturned, it's worth a shot for the OP to go down the list there, and see if he can find something workable.
True, all of Sonoma County is pricey compared to other areas around the country. BUT, it's pretty much on par with all of the more desirable areas all along the west coast now. Portland, Seattle and some of the first ring suburbs have home prices that are now equal to this region. Gas is a bit higher, but many every day resources are actually lower (remember it's still quite small town/rural here). We know this because we relocated from the Seattle area and have children in Portland (where we considered before choosing CA).

I assume that the OP is balancing the pros and cons of relocation and assessing whether the job offer is worth the cost. The quality of life here is outstanding and we know lots of long-time residents who survive just find on a middle class income. The challenge, of course, is home ownership. But, again, this is becoming a west coast issue in general.
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