California Dreaming???

Old Apr 8th, 2003, 05:27 PM
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California Dreaming???

My husband and I were talking about where we would like to retire, and over and over California came up.

I was horrified, though, when I checked real estate prices for the state. I live on the East Coast (north of Boston) and thought prices were high here!

We're not looking to live in Santa Barbara, but it doesn't seem we can live ANYWHERE in the state unless we live in a mobile home!

I'd love to be close to the coast since we both hate the heat, but it seems out of reach. We've looked at Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, and Santa Rosa. Our price range is @ $350,000 - $400,000. We'd easily settle for a townhouse as long as the town had something going for it, the neighborhood was nice, and it wasn't a "garden-style apartment" condo.

I did a search in surrounding areas and Santa Maria, Cloverdale, Ukiah, Dixon, Fairfield, and Suisun came up as cheaper places, but we really don't want to buy in a town we're not crazy about - what's the saying - location, location, location.... We'd rather have a really little place in a great town - can get away with @ 1,200 sq. ft.

We don't want to be as far North as Mendocino, Eureka, etc. Are we crazyfor trying to find something in CA, or is there hope?????
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Old Apr 8th, 2003, 06:14 PM
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You should be able to find a nice place in any of Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Pismo Beach or San Luis Obispo, all nice little communities in the Southern part of the state. You might also head even further south to San Juan Capistrano or Dana Point, where there's medium priced homes along with very expensive ones.
Good luck! You will LOVE the weather!
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Old Apr 8th, 2003, 07:28 PM
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Try Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Santa Maria or Orcutt for towns on the central coast. Your post made it sound like Paso Robles was out for you, but the price range you are quoting would do well there according to our local real estate magazines.
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Old Apr 8th, 2003, 11:58 PM
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Be sure to look at the income tax rates in California, as well as the property tax rates for cities/towns you are considering. I think you will find both of these fairly high as well. This is a real consideration for those not earning income but living off retirement savings and plans
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Old Apr 9th, 2003, 03:37 AM
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Have you looked at a mobile home lately? Or a mobile home community in California? Don't reject this idea until you do. You can buy a fantastic, brand new "mobile" home with 1500 to 2000 square feet for around $75,000. There are some beautiful mobile home adult communities in California. My personal experience is Sherwood Lake in Salinas and I can't wait to retire there!
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Old Apr 9th, 2003, 05:26 AM
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I'm from Paso Robles, and I think you should be fine finding something within that price range! BUT ... San Luis is definitely expensive with prices rising every year due to the lack of university housing (the parents buy the homes and the kids live there). You should also check out Templeton and Atascadero (right by Paso) .. along as the other suggestions like Morro Bay and Pismo Beach (although on the beach it gets expensive).
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Old Apr 9th, 2003, 07:20 AM
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wandere,

" since we both hate the heat". In that case, you would want to avoid the following towns that have been mentioned: Paso Roble, Atascadero, Santa Rosa, Dixon, Fairfield and Suisun.

For what you are looking for, probably Morro Bay, Cayucus or Cambria would fit.

Curious
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Old Apr 9th, 2003, 07:49 AM
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Income tax in California is not any higher than most other states, not including Texas, whose income tax we all pay when we buy gas, and Nevada, whose income tax is generously paid by the people who gamble there. Property taxes in California are low, one of the reasons our schools are underfunded.

There are homes in your price range available all over the State, even in San Diego where I live.In some areas you just have to look harder and you will get better information from a realtor in a specific area than the internet.A lot of less expensive property never shows up on the internet.

Have you visited all the areas you mention?
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Old Apr 9th, 2003, 08:11 AM
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I agree that there are definitely homes in your price range all over the state - esspecially if you are interested in a townhome. Even in San Jose, which is one of the most expensive places in the country, you can buy a nice townhome in that range.

Check out yahoo real estate and realtor.com if you haven't already.

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Old Apr 9th, 2003, 08:30 AM
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Hi Wanderer: I live in San Luis Obispo County (Arroyo Grande), and we also have an architecture firm in Pismo Beach so we keep a close eye on the local real estate market. The mean in the county has been around 350k-370k this past year. Not to be discouraging, but $350-400k will get you a starter home/fixer-upper or maybe a condo. Seriously, we have both condos and MOBILE homes in that range and even higher. A mobile home over Avila Beach closed escrow at around 500k in the past couple of months. Yes, its a drop-dead gorgeous location, but I knew the real estate market had truly gone ballistic when a mobile home could sell for that much! If you are the type of people that likes to do home improvement for a hobby, I would say you definitely could find something that would fullfil that need. For something "Ready to Go" you will definitely have to settle for something small, but that maybe ok with you. It IS a very nice place to live and near perfect weather if you don't require well-defined seasons (average on the cast is 60's-70's year'round). P.S. Although Santa Maria is not too far away, living there would be FAR different than living in San Luis Obispo County. If you come out here and check it our personally and spend some time you will know what I mean......It doesn't have the same character that SLO Co. is famous for, and there is pretty much unrestricted growth (i.e. it is like you are in Anytown USA).
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Old Apr 9th, 2003, 07:35 PM
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We are semi-retiring to Ventura and have found it to be surprisingly affordable given its superb location. You can find homes in your price range, but they will likely be modest 2-3 bedroom ranches or bungalows. I'm also fairly certain you could buy a townhouse that's close to the ocean in Oxnard in that range. The prices in this area are escalating quickly though...no surprise, as it's near LA and on the ocean (next stop south is Malibu!)and Ventura is a great town -- funky, artsy, with beautiful ocean setting and views of the Channel Islands from the hills.

As for property taxes, we found them to be about 1% -- much better that the 2% we pay for our current suburban Chicago home! We also won't miss those $200-$600 monthly gas bills for winter heat! Temperate climates save a bundle in energy costs and wardrobe expenses...
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Old Apr 10th, 2003, 07:03 PM
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Gosh I almost hate to tell any one- In your look at Santa Rosa check out Windsor, Rohnert Park, Cotati and Petaluma all in Sonoma County just North of SF
in the wine the country-Local paper is Press Democrat. Property taxes are legislated to 10% of appraised value at purchase. Your price range IS here. Happy Hunting!
 
Old Apr 10th, 2003, 07:17 PM
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Correction on the property tax-I meant to write 1%!
 
Old Apr 10th, 2003, 11:07 PM
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Thank you. What is the state tax in CA at?
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 01:01 PM
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Wanderer-Try this link for CA tax info-
http://www.ftb.ca.gov/law_legis/index.html
 
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