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So ... Why San Diego?

September 25th, 2008 at 08:15 am

After all of the effort to relocate to a lower cost part of the country (from Seattle to Austin), why are we now planning to pack up and move yet again to San Diego?

Short Answer: Becaue we can, so why not? If you have to ask, you probably haven't ever been to San Diego! It's gorgeous. We both love it. And for the first time in our married life, it is "comfortably affordable" for us.

Longer Answer: When we got married, DH was not instantly enamoured with Seattle (to put it mildly). We married in the spring, and Seattle unfortunately had a very wet summer that year. It wasn't long before he started talking about moving to California. Keeping an open mind, we discussed that. He was okay with San Diego and LA; I was okay with San Diego and the Bay area. San Diego was the one area we both liked...in fact, it was the first choice for both of us. But at that time, it was just too expensive for us (as were SFO and LA, frankly). So, we stayed in Seattle, and DH learned to like it. But he never cared for the rain or occasional snow. After we sold our house and started thinking about relocating to another area, a warm climate was important, as was a lower cost of living. We spent months researching and thinking about it, and finally settled on Austin. (At that time, we did not really think about San Diego because real estate prices there were still so high.) I like it here, but DH has never really felt like he fits in. Knowing DH wasn't really loving it here, while we were house-hunting, we continued to keep an eye on the markets in other parts of the country (especially on the West Coast). As everyone knows, the market in Southern California has really plunged. One day I just looked at DH and said something like "You know, I think we could move to San Diego now" ... and that was it. Within a day we had decided to go, and it felt absolutely right. No need to do months of research this time. It's just that it is now feasible to live someplace we both have always wanted to live, so why not?

Our expenses are going to go up. They will be much more than they are here in Austin, and because of the state income tax will even be a bit higher than they were in Seattle.

DH thinks being back on the West Coast will help his business a bit, and it probably will, but we can't plan on that. So our income will basically be the same as it is now and bit less than it was in Seattle (because I don't have my business anymore).

But we will both be happy ... and DH much more so. That is worth a lot.

The temperate climate will mean DH can get out and golf much more often, and the dog and I can take longer walks (and on the beach to boot).

I have a friend from college who lives in San Diego, DH has a couple friends who live in the LA area, and I have family in LA. (LA's not San Diego of course ... but it's a heck of a lot closer than Texas.)

All of our family wants to come visit us there! What's not to love about being a tourist in San Diego?

So, in spite of the higher cost of living, Sand Diego just has so much going for it that it makes perfect sense for us.

The move is going to be so easy, since we sold off so much before moving to Austin, and have held off on buying any new furniture until we had a house. I think this will be my easiest move since I was a college kid heading off to the dorm.

As easy as it will be, that doesn't mean I look forward to it. I look forward to the destination, but moving is indeed a pain. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this really will be our last move until we make that final move (condo, retirement home, nursing home, or hereafter).

House hunting has been very interesting. Bank owned foreclosed properties, short sales, trustee sales ... We're seeing it all. I've looked at several houses (on-line) where the home was foreclosed mid-renovation ... flooring torn up, kitchen counters off, interior doors lined up in the garage, etc. For anyone willing to put in some time/effort/money, there are some real bargains out there!!! We will spend less than what we sold our house in Seattle for ... it will mean a smaller and probably older house, but we will still come out ahead as far as we're concerned.

Thank goodness for the internet. It makes house-hunting so much easier. We are working with an agent this time (since we are on a strict time table for making a purchase and we are commiteed to buying) ... He sends me new & updated listings everyday, and I look them over. If they look interesting, I can Zillow them, and look on Mapquest to see where the nearest grocery stores are. Smile

We have already purchased our tickets, reserved our rental car, and book our hotel room for our house-hunting trip out to San Diego (in early December). We also have our game plan. The only things I still have to do, in addition to continuing to house hunt, is to buy a digital camera and make a boarding reservation for the dog (I have narrowed my choices on both down to just a few, but am waiting to pull the trigger).

Ideally, we'll move late-Feb or early-March. But we have been warned that if we buy a short sale, the negotiation stage can take months. So, we are "hanging loose" about the move date. If need be, we can extend our lease here on a month-to-month basis.

And do we regret having moved here to Austin just to have to pack up and move again? Absolutely not. When we made the original decision to move away from Seattle, San Diego just wasn't a good option financially. Austin was, and it was the right choice at the time. It has been really, really, really nice having such low expenses, even if it was just for a brief period of time. And it's a great town.

P.S. - Did you notice my updated Cool Quote in my "About Me" column? I guess a bit of Texas has rubbed off on me.

11 Responses to “So ... Why San Diego?”

  1. gamecock43 Says:

    Yeah! you are talking my language! Moves cross country just to "see what it's like" is my whole story! I have not been to San Diego but a high school friend of mine moved there about 7 yers ago and has never looked back. And he is not doing so well in the 'life catagories'...he would be much more sucessful elsewhere in the US- but he has never considered leaving the area.

    Keep us updated- I love fresh perspectives of new areas- it's always very different from locals opinions. And I love stories of moving...it's such an exciting challenge, it really kind of changes mindsets. LOVE IT! I want to move now! I just moved to FL 2 weeks ago LOL...but I cant wait to move again!

  2. homebody Says:

    After "living" in NC for 6 weeks, I am happy to be home, but DH and I have a silly idea of someday living in different cities for 6 months to a year at a time to be able to explore what different parts of the county have to offer. San Diego is a good choice for a home base! (I'm at the opposite end of the state).

  3. Ron Says:

    I moved to Northern Nevada 33 years ago from San Diego. Visited there to see one of my grandaughters graduate from high school. Could hardly wait to get the heck out of there. Too crowded and "too much highway gridlock." My wife and I love to hike in the mountains, ride our mountain bikes on new trails, kayak on a different lake every week, photograph wildlife in the high-mountain desert and in the Sierra's, and shop and dine out at some fabulous spots. No Thanks San Diego. Oh, and Nevada has no state income tax and a much lower cost of living.

  4. homebody Says:

    Ron, my two older daughters live in Reno and love it for many of the reasons you state. Plus skiing is 45 minutes away. We may retire there actually.

  5. scfr Says:

    homebody - Your idea sounds fun, although I've had enough of moving around for the time being! DH's dream is some day living out of an RV, travelling the US, visiting all of the top golf courses. Me? A comfy chair, a glass of iced tea, and a view of the ocean (even if it's in the distance) and I'm in paradise.

    Ron - Congrats, sounds like you found the right place for you. You're right ... life in or near a big city is definitely not for everyone. Just because it's my idea of the perfect place to live does not mean everyone would feel the same, as hard as that may be for me to accept. Smile Nor does being further out work for all. We couldn't imagine living where there weren't at least 3 good quality public golf courses and 5 low-cost and decent Asian restaurants (Japanese, Vietnamese, or Chinese) within a 7-mile radius, where we couldn't get to a supermarket without driving, and where a 24-hour emergency vet is more than 10 minutes away. As far as freeway traffic, yes working from home (as my husband does) has real advantages, and not having to deal with that is right at the top of the list.

  6. monkeymama Says:

    I was wary to see your original post on this topic, scfr. I honestly think your trip out to SD will be very different than your online searches. & as I mentioned beware of the home insurance - it will be insane with all the fires. (Stay away from the hills!!!!!)

    I just want you to be careful is all.

    & I do wish you all the luck in finding a home. I certainly understand why you want to move to San Diego. It sounds like the market has certainly changed a lot.

    When I think SD all I think is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. LOL. (& I come from Bay Area - which is probably one additional dollar sign).

    If it goes well for you, I have to say my ears will perk up. Big Grin I might have to start talking dh into it. I just wrote it off as "we can never afford it" long ago. Would actually be my #1 choice to live as well.

    (I have just seen a few too many people move to the pricier areas of California, think they could afford it, and flee quickly. But I think you are the type who will think it through and ask the right questions. I don't want you to be one of those people! But I think the odds are you won't be.)

  7. merch Says:

    I heard SD is real nice. I also heard a lot of supply on the real estate side. Hope you get a good bargain.

    Me? I live outside Boston. If I moved to Cali I couldn't complain about the weather. My wife won't let me move. I had a few job offers in NYC. One was for Lehman.

    Guess I am glad I listened to the boss.

  8. scfr Says:

    Thanks, MonkeyMama. The final call had to be my husband's, because the one thing that we had to put a bit "up in the air" for now is his plan to try out for the senior golf tour when he hits 50. We still hope to make that work, but he knows the move will make that more challenging ... We will be spending more on a house in SD than we would have in Austin, and our costs will be much higher. The first thing I did when we started thinking about making this move was check income tax rates; I figured if anything would make him change his mind, that would be it. But when I told him we'd be paying 9.3% in state income taxes (having never paid them before ... neither Washington nor Texas have state income taxes), I saw just the slightest hesitation on his face, but he did not blink or waver. Not that he won't spend the next 50 years complaining about all of the taxes he pays ... But he does that already. Big Grin

  9. scfr Says:

    Merch - Thanks for the well wishes, and I'm also glad you listened to your "boss"!

    Boston, eh? Oy, then you know all about traffic congestion! I visited Boston once, and the traffic was horrendous, to put it mildly.

  10. katwoman Says:

    Only 9.3% tax? Welcome to Cook County where it's 10.25%. The highest in the USA.

    Can't blame you in the least for wanting to live in SD. Especially if you've EVER experienced a Chicago winter!!!

  11. Maismom Says:

    I love San Diego, too. When I visited there first time, I told my DH, "I want to live here." He said "Do you have a million dollars?" LOL We ended up settling in Nor Cal.

    Anyway, good luck on your house hunting and keep us posted.

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