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Old 06-26-2014, 05:50 PM   #41
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I don't mind paying the surtax. But I don't want my kids to struggle to get into UC. I might move back after kids going to college. And a lot might depends on where they choose to live.
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Old 06-26-2014, 05:54 PM   #42
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I fire'd recently and did exactly what rob is thinking about -- sold our home in san jose. Staying in San Jose would have meant several more years of building up our portfolio to pay for mortgage and property tax.

In hindsight, I think a more optimal path would have been picking up a "retirement" home during the recession. We could have afforded the extra mortgage and could have made a large down payment (we'd have downsized from a SFH to a condo). Given that ER is still a ways off for the OP, this may be another option (downsize in place).

Food, gas, services all somewhat more in CA than you would expect in middle america. But for the most part this was irrelevant to us as they make up a relatively small part of the budget. In addition, heating/electricity is also very small due to the moderate climate so that helps as well. The killer of course is housing costs and property tax (if you didn't buy years ago and have a low basis). Depending on where you fall on the income scale, CA income tax may not be too bad.

However I wouldn't leave CA unless (assuming you enjoy it already) unless the extra home equity would make a *substantial* difference in the quality of life.

Regarding the CA wage differential. I have a few younger friends (new phd grads) that had offers at the big tech companies in both silicon valley and seattle. It seems that the salaries are comparable but this might be due to seattle (and the tech companies there) being less desirable -- thus they need to pay more to attract the talent.
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Old 06-26-2014, 06:06 PM   #43
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In spite of some stellar companies starting here San Diego has always been a bit of a backwater in the tech area compared to places further north in Irvine and especially the Bay Area. I realized in the 90s that there was maybe 10x the number of tech companies I could work for in Irvine as in San Diego, but IMO the lifestyle of the coastal communities in northern San Diego County just couldn't be beat by more money or an ungodly commute. I gladly took the hit in my wallet to live a much less hectic lifestyle. It can never be all about the money.
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Old 06-26-2014, 06:23 PM   #44
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California living can involve some tricky timing questions. Particularly when looking back!

I lived in the SF Bay area for quite a few years and sold my house in 1999 prior to moving to Oregon. The proceeds from the sale allowed me to buy a nice property with acreage in Oregon free and clear to realize both of our dreams - my wife's dream of acreage with plenty of critters on it and my dream of giving a nice raspberry to the work world. The tricky timing issue is that if we had remained in the bay area for another five years or so that same house would have sold for a cool million dollars instead of the $400 K I got for it. Oh well - easy come easy go.
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Old 06-26-2014, 06:55 PM   #45
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In spite of some stellar companies starting here San Diego has always been a bit of a backwater in the tech area compared to places further north in Irvine and especially the Bay Area. I realized in the 90s that there was maybe 10x the number of tech companies I could work for in Irvine as in San Diego, but IMO the lifestyle of the coastal communities in northern San Diego County just couldn't be beat by more money or an ungodly commute. I gladly took the hit in my wallet to live a much less hectic lifestyle. It can never be all about the money.
How far north, like Oceanside?

How's the hiking away from the beaches?
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:31 PM   #46
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Obviously there are a lot of factors in deciding where you might move to but remember that once you leave CA you probably will not be able to return for the same reasons you are considering moving out.
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:43 PM   #47
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Obviously there are a lot of factors in deciding where you might move to but remember that once you leave CA you probably will not be able to return for the same reasons you are considering moving out.
I hear that statement frequently yet the census info below says ~500,000 people per year move from other US states to California. Maybe it isn't the one-way trip it appears to be?

Restless America: state-to-state migration in 2012
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:51 PM   #48
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I hear that statement frequently yet the census info below says ~500,000 people per year move from other US states to California. Maybe it isn't the one-way trip it appears to be?

Restless America: state-to-state migration in 2012


The article says that "there are more people leaving California than there are arriving there. 566,986 people left the Golden State in 2012, for states like Texas, Nevada, Washington, and Arizona, presumably for the lower cost of living."
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:54 PM   #49
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I think it's the jobs.

Anyone with an engineering or business degree from top schools can get jobs at glamorous companies out here.

But even before tech boom, CA economy was a powerhouse for decades.
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:59 PM   #50
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How far north, like Oceanside?

How's the hiking away from the beaches?
I am referring to the coastal "surfer" funky, laid back feel of the communities from say about Solana Beach, through Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside.

There you never know if the old guy surfing on the beach next to you is a burned out hippie, a musician, a physicist, an electronics genius or or all of the above.

Generally the further north and further inland you go, the less expensive the homes.

Probably the best hiking info is in the book by Jerry Schad, Afoot and Afield, San Diego County.
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:06 PM   #51
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The article says that "there are more people leaving California than there are arriving there. 566,986 people left the Golden State in 2012, for states like Texas, Nevada, Washington, and Arizona, presumably for the lower cost of living."
Yeahbut 493,641 moved to the Golden State in 2012 - that's a huge number. Wish we knew how many of those were rebounds...
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:12 PM   #52
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More need to leave and the traffic congestion to get a lot better before I even consider living there, even if money is no object.

Sure, it has a lot of attractions, but takes you an entire day of breathing exhaust fumes to get there.

And while I am at it, there are so many other cities that I feel the same way about. However, naming them all will not leave me with too many friends here.
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:17 PM   #53
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California living can involve some tricky timing questions. Particularly when looking back!

I lived in the SF Bay area for quite a few years and sold my house in 1999 prior to moving to Oregon. The proceeds from the sale allowed me to buy a nice property with acreage in Oregon free and clear to realize both of our dreams - my wife's dream of acreage with plenty of critters on it and my dream of giving a nice raspberry to the work world. The tricky timing issue is that if we had remained in the bay area for another five years or so that same house would have sold for a cool million dollars instead of the $400 K I got for it. Oh well - easy come easy go.
The cycles in the real estate market are interesting...

I owned three homes in San Jose, California. On two I made money, the other I lost money on. It all depends on when you buy/sell in the cycle.

My first home was a one bedroom condo. Lived there a couple of years and made about 20% on it. I sold at a peak.

Next up was a family sized townhouse. When we moved out of that one (into a larger house for our larger family) we had to write a check at closing to pay off the mortgage. Yes, after a buying at a peak and selling at a trough, we lost all our downpayment and mortgage payments. Luckily I was able to do some serious consulting work to make enough money to get a downpayment for the next house. I was motivated.

The last house we sold to move away from California. On that house we made almost 50% - and it was moderately expensive house to begin with.

By moving we could buy a much nicer house on a good size lot in an outer suburb of Columbus - nice area with excellent schools. AND we had enough profit left over to finance most of one of the kids' college expenses.

Ups and down. Time it right and good things happen. Time it wrong and you lose money. Ain't life fun!

(14 years later, we still live in and love the house outside of Columbus)
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:53 PM   #54
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I hear that statement frequently yet the census info below says ~500,000 people per year move from other US states to California. Maybe it isn't the one-way trip it appears to be?

Restless America: state-to-state migration in 2012
Of course people move here but they take the financial hit.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:42 PM   #55
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No argument from me about traffic. One of my reasons for retiring was traffic. My 6.5 mile commute went from 20 minutes 10 years ago to 40mins/1hour of late. Qualcomm expanding, freeway construction, more banking/traffic in the UTC area made for a nasty 805 south commute out of Mira Mesa. My boss lived in Otay Mesa for part of my tenure - it sometimes took him 2 hours to go the 20 miles... if he missed his teeny window of "good" traffic.


I do *not* miss my commute.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:47 PM   #56
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When I worked in California 35 years ago I lived in La Crescenta and worked in Garden Grove....I would hate to think what that drive looks like now.....but as I sat in traffic I remember that my boss lived in Thousand Oaks....from Ventura County, through LA County into Orange County, now that is a morning and evening commute!
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Old 06-26-2014, 11:19 PM   #57
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I think part of the equation is also home appreciation. Zillow shows a house we once owned in Texas valued at only 50% more than we sold it for decades later, so the home value has not kept up with inflation. Our house here cost twice as much initially, but has increased in value at double the rate of inflation. And property taxes on both houses are almost identical currently because of Prop 13 in California.
Zillow is all wet, as far as I am concerned. Especially when it comes to putting fair market value on Texas homes. I started reviewing two of our houses last year to see what they would predict (ours and DD's newer house). First matter of business is that home sales prices in Texas are not made public to anyone who does not have a RE license. So, presumably, Zillow is shielded from that data. (I guess they are, anyway)

Case; DD bought a 2000 sq.ft. tract home in Spring, Texas in a very nice subdivision of ~100 homes, surrounded by homes up to a couple million dollars (Creekside, The Woodlands and Augusta Pines.

Her home is one level built in 2007, brick and hardi on the outside, granite counters, fireplace, indoor laundry, etc. She paid $127,000 in late 2012. A nice home for a starter family (which she has not started BTW ).

In the last 6 months, Zillow has priced that home from mid $130K to $212K. Then after the $212K valuation, they dropped it to $156K. Now how can anybody in their right mind deal with that crazy data?

Oh, the Zillow valuation on our house was 15% less than what we sold it for in March of this year. And we sold it in one day.
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Old 06-27-2014, 01:53 AM   #58
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Average physician salaries in California are lower than just about every other region in the country. Definitely a factor in keeping us from moving there to work.
Being a doc is hard enough without taking a salary cut-- however, retiring to California- with downsizing expected, etc-, is definitely a possibility.
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Old 06-27-2014, 03:16 PM   #59
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It's not just housing. Food and gas cost more here in California. But I wouldn't live anywhere else.
While the COL here is and likely will remain high, we were pleasantly surprised by:

  • Being a 1-car family - light rail and walking meet 90% of our routine transportation needs and our condo provides shuttle service to SF weekly. Immediately saved thousands on insurance, maintenance, gasoline.
  • Property tax is high but comparable to the last two states we have lived in it is minimally more (desirable older neighborhoods).
  • Leisure activities, the free or inexpensive kind, are close, and we can make day trips for the next 20 years without running out of ideas.

Comparisons between dissimilar areas are difficult to make - figure out the weather, lifestyle and financial impact of your choices. There are a lot of ways to enjoy where you live.
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Old 06-27-2014, 03:39 PM   #60
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Zillow is all wet, as far as I am concerned. Especially when it comes to putting fair market value on Texas homes. I started reviewing two of our houses last year to see what they would predict (ours and DD's newer house). First matter of business is that home sales prices in Texas are not made public to anyone who does not have a RE license. So, presumably, Zillow is shielded from that data. (I guess they are, anyway)

Case; DD bought a 2000 sq.ft. tract home in Spring, Texas in a very nice subdivision of ~100 homes, surrounded by homes up to a couple million dollars (Creekside, The Woodlands and Augusta Pines.

Her home is one level built in 2007, brick and hardi on the outside, granite counters, fireplace, indoor laundry, etc. She paid $127,000 in late 2012. A nice home for a starter family (which she has not started BTW ).

In the last 6 months, Zillow has priced that home from mid $130K to $212K. Then after the $212K valuation, they dropped it to $156K. Now how can anybody in their right mind deal with that crazy data?

Oh, the Zillow valuation on our house was 15% less than what we sold it for in March of this year. And we sold it in one day.
However the assessed value of homes in Tx is online. Further the law does say that the assessment districts should keep up with full value. It does seem from some observation that the assesment districts do get sales prices. (In my neighborhood one vacant lot sold and the land value on vacant lots nearby went up that year). When I lived in Houston, I saw the assessed value drop in the late 1980s and recover by 2005 (to a bit more than I got for the house when I sold it). So you can use the assessed value to cross check with Zillow.
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