A Tale of Three Cities
Updated: Jun 5, 2018
My tale begins with a buyer that’s relocating to California from the East Coast. She has family in San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles and she asked me where she should live. This got me thinking about these three beautiful cities. Same coast line, same weather but just about everything else is different.
In short, LaLa Land is where things are getting done or you’re trying to get somewhere that’s different from where you are.
San Diego is where you go when you’re there. There isn’t much hustle and bustle down here and if you aren’t in the medical, real estate or Navy field, you I’m not sure what else you’re doing to afford housing here. It is filled with and perfect for the work from home person who travels to the larger cites occasionally. Probably why the craft coffee shops are packed! The lifestyle literally feels like vacation.
And that brings us to the good old Orange County, which is either no-man’s land or the most perfect place on the planet, I can’t decide.
And they all have difference issues too. San Diego, it’s the lack of companies based here. LA it’s the traffic and OC it’s the fact that it’s not San Diego and it’s not LA.
San Diego wins for the city you should be in if you want to leave all the time. I love it for the same reason I hate it; it’s consistent. The airport cannot be beat. It’s so close to most of the city and it’s never busy. You can literally waltz onto your flight with 30 minutes till take off. Like I said, the best thing about San Diego is that it’s easy and the worst thing about San Diego is that it’s easy ( bordering boring ). If you are where you want to be in life, this is the place. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies-BLOW, where he narrates, “And the livin was easy.” Well that’s how I feel about SD. You can pull up and park right in front of just about anywhere, even in the “downtown” which is a cute little mini city that for all intensive purposes is still developing. I sold a few condos in the newest ( and most expensive ) Bosa building called Pacific Gate and the salesman said it was like buying over Central Park before it was Central Park. That may be true with the plans “Papa Doug” ( Doug Manchester ) has to redevelop the entire harbor laced with high end dining and shops. But at $1,000/square foot it’s hardly getting in that early. But I see you Nat Bosa and I like your style. The point is that there's still opportunity here and it's growing.
LA takes the cake when it comes to making money. It has that New York hustle but you can live in a city such as Santa Monica and it’s as calm as it’s equinox yoga class. It’s hustle with a side of beach. You find your bubble in the big city and you hardly leave – you can’t get anywhere fast anyways! I also find Beverly Hills less expensive and much more tranquil than you’d originally think. But bloom where you’re planted or plant where you want to bloom because commuting is NOT the life. If it’s opportunity or growth you’re looking for, you almost have to look in LA if you’re on the west coast. Everywhere else on this coast is just chilin haha.
But the OC. Oh, who could forget the shows that put it on the map like ‘The Hills’ and we have to mention ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ whether we want to or not…but we can’t discount the OC because I can’t figure out it’s issue. Suburbia with a view. And it’s airport is international now too! I mean yeah, it’s not a major city but you’re in between two, which gives you the best of both worlds without the down side.
Now if you're talking price, don't. They aren't cheap and you won't find a good deal. But this is prime real estate and it will not lose you money. Dana Point ( in OC ) is my pick if we're talking bang for buck and living experience. I couldn't call it "up and coming" but with San Juan Capistrano boasting the cutest Spanish Style to the south and Laguna Beach boarding the north end, it's really a city sitting amount it all. Oh and Irvine isn't far and many companies are based there. Something about the way the land is there, it's like God set it up to give everyone an ocean view. It's the most picturesque coast line I've ever seen and driving the wide winding roads feels calming- and I never say that about driving. With the ocean viewable from more of the terrain, you're getting an ocean view for a bit less just because more homes can see it. Supply and demand, etc.
So, all in all, can you really go wrong in SoCal real estate? Not really. Will your home appreciate? Most likely. Where should you live? You should find out where you will spend your time and then live as close as humanly ( or financially ) possible to that spot. Find your little bubble and live in it. Don't kid yourself and say you'll drive 3 miles to the beach if you're a surfer who wants to be in the ocean every day. You won't. It is that far. Parking does suck. You won't be happy.
So here's what you do. Make a list of 5 things you would do on a weekend if you have nothing at all you had to do. Bike, hike, swim? Movies, gym, coffee shop? Whatever it is, write it down.
Now write 5 things that annoy you about where you currently live. Smog, traffic, homeless? Be specific.
Now plant where you bloom. haha. I know the saying is bloom where you plant but not when finding real estate. You need to live where 75% of you likes are satisfied and your dislikes are not affecting you. I've done the math on this over and over again and it needs to be at least 75%. Making a list is helpful because when you see a property that's a little less than another and you start to talk yourself into it you can look at the cold, hard facts. You can remind yourself. And with prices so high it's easy to forget what you came for. SoCal living is all about location. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! If you can't afford it, get as close as possible. Trust me, the biggest regret in SoCal home buying isn't the higher sticker price. It's taking the less expensive option, realizing that's still expensive and you don't enjoy any of the reasons you wanted to live here to begin with. That's the buyer's remorse.
So where did I advise my relocation client to buy? Well one of her sons goes to UCLA and the other will go to UCSD. Their father lives in LA and she likes new homes so.....
drum roll please...
Orange County for the happily ever after!
They have the most new builds and they are in better locations than San Diego new homes. She's smack dab in between her two sons making it easy to see both of them and for them to see her by train. Her home will be ready in a few months and she could not be happier. A tale of three cities - The End.
Until next time, may all your assets appreciate!