Home Buying in San Diego>Question Details

Anna Cota, Home Buyer in Petaluma, CA

What area can I still buy a home for under 450,000 in San Diego and live safely and happily with a small child? I am a single mother

Asked by Anna Cota, Petaluma, CA Wed Apr 24, 2013

I am planning to move there and looking to buy for under 450,000... don't need anything extravagant... just 1200 sq feet and up... but want it in fairly good area- with decent school and above all safe. I am aware no-where is perfectly safe.. of course- but a good place to bring my little one and provide a nice life for her.
Any advice on areas would be great. we are down to earth people-

Help the community by answering this question:


Hello April,

Good old Petaluma. My college roommate was from Petaluma and one of my good childhood friends is in law enforcement up there (hopefully, you haven't come across him!!). That is very exciting that you will be moving down to America's Finest City with your little one. Although prices have risen year over year about 20% in San Diego, there are still plenty of opportunities to be had and great places to live given your price point. Not only that, but with interest rates being near historical lows, the cost of borrowing money (especially if you take the tax benefit into consideration) is incredible and should be taken advantage of.

Any REALTOR worth their weight in gold will ask YOU a bunch of questions to figure out exactly what you are looking for (of course, bearing in mind that buying a place often involves some degree of compromise.) This list is rather lengthy, but a few critical questions include 1) how old is your child and what type of educational experience would you like him/her to have? 2) how long do you foresee yourself staying in this place and what items (outside of the obvious issue of safety) are most important to you? 3) What are you "must have" items and which are merely things you would like, but could do without? 4) What kind of activities do the two of you enjoy doing, as this may be a critical factor in deciding which place is best for you. Keep in mind, San Diego is a great city, but with that being said, traffic can sometimes get a little backed up and that is why I always advocate given your eventual commute a trial run at various times. These are a few questions of the many that should be asked.

I have tried to stay away from giving specific areas as I do think more information would have to be gained in order to give you a concrete answer. However, as a native San Diegan, who was born and raised in Rancho Bernardo, and went through the Poway Unified School District and currently lives in Poway, I can safely say these are great communities. The statistics, whether it be scholastic or criminal, support this. Another thing to consider is whether you want to be on the coast or inland? Generally speaking, the almighty dollar has greater purchasing power the further inland you go.

Either way, the correct agent for you will have a thorough conversation, and then take you around (while explaining the areas in the process) to various parts of San Diego. You should be able to get a really good feel if the agent is doing their job correctly.

All the best in your move to America's Finest City April & little one.


Chad Basinger, REALTOR®, CPA, CFP®
Web Reference: http://www.chadbasinger.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Lot's of bang for your buck in North County inland area i.e. Parts of Oceanside, Vista, Fallbrook, Escondido, San Marcos and even Valley Center. A lot depends on your personal preferences. Do you want to live in a single family home, in a development/tract, in a metropolitan, rural, semi rural environment?

In that price and square footage range you can really get some good deals in the semi rural setting of Northeast Vista (Buena Creek area). I've had a home here for 33 years and would never sell. Most of the folks in my neighborhood have been here for generations.

We'd be happy to show you around. Feel free to call or email us anytime. 760 815-6977 onthelevel@cox.net. Feel free to check out our very user freindly website:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 26, 2013
Hi April,

No shortage of agent responses here!! In this price range, I always recommend Mira Mesa, La Mesa, Serra Mesa, San Carlos, Poway, East County, College Area, or South Bay...those are your best bets.

Are you relocating to San Diego? Please give me a call - I would love to help you.

Cindy Davis
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
There are areas of RB and poway where you can get a smaller home under 1500 sq ft for this price. It is one of the best school districts. I also recommend Escondido right north of San Diego. many quality areas in Escondido it is a quaint small time town. Very intergrated. I am a realtor and I just purchased a home in this area. it is over 2500 sq ft with a pool and jacuzzi and city lights view and a little over a half acre. It is older and needs some work but it has great bones. Fruit trees and a private road. Would you like me to set up a search for you in any of these areas.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Hi April,

Most agents are going to tell you the areas that they serve and live in are "safe". I would advise you to look at different websites such as Zipskinny.com, regarding area crime rates, and Greatschools.com for individual school ratings. Once you've narrowed your city/area choices then talk to a Realtor regarding price range for those particular areas.
I chose the area that I serve and live in because of the schools, lower crime rate, and overall family community. Please feel free to contact me with questions or help with your home search. I've been a San Diego Native since 1971, born and raised, with lots of area knowledge! I can also introduce you to Mortgage Brokers to get you started.

Best Wishes and Happy House Hunting!

Christa Curtin
Realtor, SFR
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Hi April...make sure you get a referral to a Realtor...they can help guide you by speaking with you directly. I'm a licensed loan officer in CA and would be happy to work with you to get pre-approved for a loan.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Hello April,

I just got home from the voulnteer Police recognition Day at Balboa Park, you see I am a volunteer at the police dept. as well as a Broker with my own company. I know the areas because I help fight crime. I have been a broker and have sold Real Estate for 39 years. I also know the areas you should look for and I do agree with most here that Poway, La Mesa, San Carlos, Del Cerro and there are a few more that would be great for you and your daughter. Yes, you can buy for around 450,000 or less in these areas, Poway will be the hardest find because that area is pricey.

My daughter and I work together and we would be honored to help you when you give us the word. All I would need is your email and maybe a phone number and you can consider it done. Chech us out @ http://www.danaleerosas.com Thank you, Dana & Eva 619-631-0188 or 888-408-4888
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Hi April,
San Diego is a very big city and there are a lot of good places to live. Like one other agent said, if you are planing to work here then you may want to save time from comuting and nerow your search to be close to your office. I love to helpe you to find that great location to enjoy San Diego.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Hi April,

Sounds like you're also in the market for finding a Realtor to work with! I'd love an opportunity to showcase my services and be on your shortlist of potential agents you'd consider working with!

I have great insight into the local real estate market and am confident we can find you a home you'd feel safe and secure for your daughter within your price parameters!

Please consider me as you begin to evaluate potential Realtors! Thanks and best of luck on your move! San Diego welcomes you.
Web Reference: http://www.roycekemp.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Hi April,

I live in La Mesa near San Carlos, where you can buy more with your money than some other areas of the county. Homes here can go for less than $450k depending on the size. If it were me buying with your budget, I'd head to La Mesa, San Carlos, Del Cerro/Allied Gardens, Poway or Chula Vista.

The best place to start though, would be with where you want to be, or the commute time you'd like to have if you commute, from where you'd be working.

I can send you all of the available listings under $450k based on your criteria. Just let me know off forum, and I'll be happy to get them to you right away.

Warm Regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Hi April,

Poway is known as “the city in the country” – for a good reason. Family-friendly parks abound in Poway, and it has a fantastic school system that draws students from all over San Diego. It’s also home to Lake Poway and the Blue Sky Ecological Preserve. The best part? It’s just a short commute from downtown San Diego.

There are some great communities in San Diego area to raise children, San Marcos is also a great area depending on if your looking to purchase a single family residence or condo it can vary in your price range.

You can take a look at look at different areas on our website, and once as a single mother raising my children I had faced the same challenges so with that experience,and as a Realtor I can help you out. We also offer financing with pre-approvals within 24 hours.

Kathryn Clark
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Hello April,
With the budget and space you mentioned, you will have a lot of options in San Diego. But, trying to figure out which one is right for you would be like walking into Baskin Robbins and asking which flavor you would like the best. There are a lot of options and so much more to know before an area should be suggested.

Like others have mentioned, job location, school districts, and lifestyle activities play a large role while considering a community.

Post a few more details about the type of area you are seeking and I am sure you will be rewarded with a wealth of information. Or, you can all me to discuss the many options San Diego holds. As a 43 year old native San Diegan, I am useful resource.

When it comes to selected an agents, take time to interview a few by phone. Purchasing a home is a significant transaction. Selecting an agent who is experienced, aggressive, and provides you with the highest level of comfort will provide for a fun and productive house hunt.

Robert Boerner
Gecko Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
hi April,

I have family in Rancho Bernardo and have lived in Chula Vista & Bonita area most of my adult life and I really love and recommend both areas. As REALTORS we cannot comment on schools or how safe an area is because it is considered redlining.

Hector R. Gastelum
Realty Executives Dillon
REALTOR #01382940
efax 619-270-2516
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Hi April, congratulations on your move to San Diego. You'll find this city has so much to offer and will be a fantastic city to raise your little one. Being in Real Estate for over 13 years I have worked with numerous first time buyers and new families and one of their main concerns is neighborhoods and school districts for their children. If you have young children Poway school district is more valued than others by most parents. So Poway, Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch maybe where you would want to look for homes.To find this out you can get a free detailed report of any zip code . You can search by max price, bedrooms baths, square footage. It will give you crime and school stats too. It is a property profile, you'll find it is really helpful. If you'd like more information feel free to give me a call. Happy house hunting.

Chris Boudreau, GRI, ABR, SFR
Broker Associate
Website: http://www.SanDiegoKey.com
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/Chris.A.Boudreau
Cell: (858) 736-5393
Email: Chris@SanDiegoKey.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
April, I forgot to mention I have one in Poway that will be available in a couple days just under 400K Original owner could use some updating but that is a great price.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013

You will have several options here in San Diego. The most desired places are Poway, Del Cerro, San Carlos, Fletcher Hills all of which you can find nice communities and schools. Tierrasanta, Santee, and La Mesa are a few other options as well. I am an experienced buyer's agent here in San Diego and would love for the opportunity to earn your business. I offer all of my clients free access to the MLS and also access to homes that are not yet on the MLS, which eliminates competition.

Please don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your real estate needs and to get you started! I look forward to hearing from you soon!


Rashard Scott
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
I would highly recommend La Mesa. I just helped a first time buyer purchase a 4 bedroom 2 bath home on a quiet street in a great neighborhood for $405K. Poway and Rancho Bernardo are great, and have good schools, but your money won't go quite as far. I have lived and worked in the area for years and would be happy to send you some more information if you would like.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Hi April, There are many areas that with good school districts and nice neighborhoods in San Diego. My questions would be, are you going to be working, if so, where? I am sure you'd like to be living close to your so you don't have to spend too much time on the road commuting which will take time away from being with with your little one.

Feel free to contact e directly and I'll be happy to help you find the right place for you to live in.

Best regards,
Fay Yates
HomeSmart Reatly West
CA DRE#00853913
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
I would suggest Poway. Poway Unified School District is known for its schools. I live, and work in Poway. I have grown up in San Diego and I reside in Poway.
In that price range though you will have multiple offers on anything in Poway. I actually have a couple listings coming up though that I could slip you into.

Email me if you are interested: BrandonLong@regionalrealty.org
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
Hello April,

We are about to list a newly remodeled home in Rancho Del Rey in the East Chula Vista area for around $430,000. It is a great neighborhood with amazing parks and schools. Email me at jc@isellthecity.com if you are interested. Thanks
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
I'd push you in the direction of Clairemont for that price point and for location to parks and schools. That being said feel free to call or e-mail direct and I'll be happy to assist in your property search. All the best and chat soon!

David R. Rose
DRE #01878451
(P) 619-497-2999
(F) 619-294-3009
(C) 858-750-9087
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 24, 2013
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