02-27-2012 08:49 PM
My husband and I are currently renting on OC (Santa Ana), but we can't afford to buy a SFR there in a safe neighborhood, let alone one of the house and lot size that we would like. I work on the Ortega, so we considered buying in the Lake Elsinore area, but we've pretty much ruled that out due to the much longer commute on the Ortega from that direction.
The other area that was suggested by coworkers was Oceanside, but I'm not seeing much there in our price range. At least the commute is similar to my current commute, and it's closer to my husband's family (who are all in OC). I do see more in our price range (under $300,000, preferably more like $200,000 to $250,000) in Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido, some of them with lot sizes of 10,000sf or more.
What are these areas like to live in? We do not want a homeowner's association or gated community, but we don't want to live in a slum or a trailer park, either.
Thanks for any information.
02-28-2012 03:40 AM
I have lived in Escondido just about my entire life and currently looking to buy in that same price range and lot size (ironically enough). The trick is to stick around the outside perimeter of Escondido and keep an eye on the school district. Escondido is kind of a circle so if you can stay east of Bear Valley Pkwy, North of El Norte Pkwy along Via Rancho or west of Valley Pkwy in South West Escondido you should be alright. If it is in the felicita or central elementary school's my opinion/advice would be to stay away. Miller, L.R. Green, Bernardo, North Broadway or Orange Glen elementary.
Vista has the highest sales tax in the area, not that this effect your house directly but I believe it is 9.75%. One area in Vista that I will not even go look at anymore is by Townsite Dr and Los Angeles Rd.
San Marcos: If you can be near either college (CSUSM or Palomar) you will probably be alright. Be leery of being right next to Mission Blvd in certain parts
I hope this helps!
02-28-2012 07:59 AM
Single family houses in the 200k-250K range in Vista are going to be short sales, major fixers, or in a not-so-great area. You might have better luck in Escondido
02-28-2012 09:16 AM
I still don't see an answer to the question--"What's it like to live in..." I'd like to add the beautifully scenic Fallbrook into the mix. I especially want to leave the extreme conservatism and facade of OC behind me, but would want to know more about how a moderate independent with real "love thy neighbor" values would be accepted.
Can anyone out there tell us more about what it's like living there?
02-28-2012 03:58 PM
I've lived in Vista for 6 years. It's a nice spot but better on the south side of the 78. North of the 78 is a bit rougher. And if you have kids (or want any) watch out for the schools. There are some really great schools in Vista, but also some pretty bad ones. Just check school district before you buy if this matters to you at all. Good luck!
02-28-2012 04:45 PM
My family moved from Boston directly in a nice section of O'side over 15 yrs ago. We only lasted there for less than 5yrs and my Dad pulled us from the schools and went south to a better neighborhood. I think Vista is comparable to Santa Ana. Some areas of Oceanside are better than others for sure and schools are "okay" up until High School. If you are looking for a decent place to raise kids and have easy access to freeway I would consider Shadowridge area of VIsta or some areas in San Marcos.
02-29-2012 07:50 AM
I think it depends on what type of housing you want. South of the 78 is nice but it is all tract homes. There are some really nice houses north of the 78 (92084 zip) with huge lots. There are nice homes by Brengle Terrace Park, the Alta Mesa neighborhood and off of a Foothill. It has more of a country feel then the Shadowridge neighborhoods.
02-29-2012 09:14 AM
We don't have kids living with us, so schools aren't a direct concern. My husband is an artist and a tailor and amasses a rather surprising amount of "stuff". I love wood floors, raised foundations, and older homes in general, so tract homes aren't my first choice, but in the right neighborhood (can't define it but I'll know it when I see it), with a large enough lot and no HOA, they can work. We live in a tract home now, that we like, but we're renting.
The toughest thing is moving outside of OC will instantly double our gasoline costs even if my commute doesn't increase, because my husband will be driving to OC and occasionally LA for his art and to see family. Arrgh.
02-29-2012 09:23 AM - edited 02-29-2012 09:23 AM
Rebeccah - It's obviously an individual choice - to some people the area is way more important than the house and to others, like me, the house is way more important than the area. In San Diego we would only be able to afford a shack but out here east of Temecula we have a beautiful house that gives us plenty of room to spread out in - something we've never had in almost 30 years of marriage. The commute for my husband is not pretty - it's a big sacrifice of time and a very big expense - but so far it's still worth it to us. I ask my husband all the time how he's holding up with the commute and after almost 3 years he still says he's okay with it. Will he still be saying that 3 years from now? I don't know - we'll cross that bridge when and if we come to it.
I have friends who would rather live in a 400 sq. ft. studio apartment just so they can live close to the beach - to me that sounds crazy but to each their own. It's funny to me how low the housing expectations are of people who are looking to buy in big cities like LA or New York.