Home Buying in San Diego>Question Details

Rebecca, Home Buyer in Pleasanton, CA

Which are the best areas to live near San Diego?

Asked by Rebecca, Pleasanton, CA Thu Apr 4, 2013

We are relocating to San Diego in a few months. We are planning to rent for a while and then buy a house there. Here are what we are looking for:

1. Good school. We have two kids (6 and 2) and the older one will be first grade in the fall. We want a good school district from elementary all the way to high school because we prefer not to have to change school when we buy a house.
2. Price range between 700K to a Million. at least 4 bedrooms, around 2000 sq ft - 2500 sq ft. Doesn't have to close to the beach but prefer newer homes with open floor plan.
3. The new company is located at 92121. Prefer easy commute with no more than 30 miles from the office.
4. Close to tennis facility because my whole family love tennis. We need to find a tennis club with childcare facility.

Please tell us which area do you think is the best fit, and pros and cons.

We may also want to meet one of the realtor here to show us around during our scouting trip. Thanks for the advice in advance.

Help the community by answering this question:


The best area largely depends on your priorities. Do you like the desert and hot arid climates? City (urban) lifestyle? Do you surf, want to learn to surf, bicycle, walk, jog? Maybe anywhere along the beautiful SD Coastline from Imperial Beach to Oceanside. Or do you like private and gated exclusive upwardly mobile communities with lots of social activities?

Lot's of questions. Lot's of answers. Balls in your court. But we're here to help you if and when you're ready. Please feel free to contact us or visit any of our very user friendly websites. We're a one stop, turnkey family owned and operated real estate broker, general contractor, architectural and interior design company.

760 815-6977 onthelevel@cox.net
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 6, 2013
Hi Jenny,

You'll be interested in areas like La Jolla, Del Mar, Carmel Valley, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad along the I-5 corridor. If you don't mind being more inland you have Scripps Ranch, Poway, Carmel Mtn, 4S Rach, Rancho Bernardo, and a few others!

You wouldn't have trouble finding a home that suits your parameters in any of these area.

Poway School District is one of the most sought after, but many of the schools in the above towns are highly rated!

I'd be honored to take you on a scouting trip, to acclimate you to the local market, and get you prepped for your home purchase!

Royce Kemp
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 4, 2013
Edit. Chula Vista west of 805 is very gang infested
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 13, 2013
You do get what you pay for here. In LaJolla you can borrow a cup of sugar from your hedge fund neighbor named Mitt. Del Mar and Encinitas are very nice, laid back, and chill places to be. UTC is very nice and very pricey... but you might afford it, if you are a scientist working in one of the area labs.

Mission Valley is spendy, but in the middle of everything. ( you can always ask the daily dumpster divers for the most recent prices on recyclables in MV too )

Santee, A.K.A Klantee ( as in Klu Klux)

El Cajon - fry an egg on the sidewalk, fry your brain on meth. Anything valuable is already owned by the Caldeans

Eastlake- No Dave Ramsey dreams of low cost ownership here. Say Hello to Mello Roos and obscene monthly fees over four hundred bucks. Plus property taxes too ! Oh Joy...

Best rule of thumb for San Diego county. Always live north of the 8 ... unless you earn your money from gang banging, drug dealing or prostitution.

If you enjoy gang warfare in the streets... move to: National city, Escondido, Skyline, Encanto, Imperial Beach, Vista, Linda Vista, Oceanside ( back Gate has the heavy artillery version of gang banging) Chula Vista ( west of the 5 is very gang infested )
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 13, 2013
Hi Rebecca,
I have a new home in escrow in Carmel Valley that is much like the one you specified. Since we searched for several weeks before finding this home, I know the inventory very well and would be happy to show you around. My clients have middle and almost high school aged children and they moved into this area specifically for the schools (in particular Westview High School). If you haven't already selected one, I would be happy to be your Realtor and help find you perfect home!

Sinead McAllister-Clifford
Real Estate Broker/ Realtor®

McAllister Homes Real Estate
Residential Sales & Property Management
License 01366009
858-205-5215 CELL
brokermcallister@gmail.com EMAIL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 12, 2013
You may visit www. homefacts.com .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 11, 2013
Hi Rebecca,
It seems you have decided on your area and you would want to live. "Great choice". Carmel Valley is a fabulous area. I have lived here for about 10 years now and we love it. There is a neighborhood in Carmel Valley with no Mello Ross but most of the homes do have it. Also PAC is a wonderful family sport resort. http://www.pacsandiego.com/
You can also enjoy Torrey Pines State Park to go hiking, swimming, surfing or simply walking on the beach.
Best wishes with your move. You would love and enjoy living in Carmel Valley.
Raana Jamshide
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 11, 2013
Thank you for all the valuable input. Some of the information is really useful. Benjamin, thank you for the information about Poway, I think we are going to pass that. So far Carmel Valley seems to be the best fit for us. Is there any neighborhood there which has low HOA and no Mello Roo?

Also, what is the property tax rate there?

The new company is going to pay for our rent for a while so that we can take time to look for a house. We want to keep our son in the same school if possible and therefore, our goal is to rent and buy a house in the same school district.

We are going to check out Pacific Sport Resort. We cannot live without a club membership, so finding a nice club is just as important as finding a good school. We also want to live close to both.

Any other insight about that area is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 6, 2013
A good rule of thumb for property taxes is 1.1% -- 1% to the state, and the .1 for local bonds and other taxes.
Flag Sat Apr 6, 2013
I know several teachers in the public school systems in the San Diego area and from what they say I would suggest considering private schools. With that said Carmel Valley (92130), which is north of 92121 would be close and has newer homes and the public schools there are good. Many of the homes there have HOA and Mello Roos fees, which is about $400 a month.

Another area to consider is Point Loma (92016) and Bay Park (92110); for Point Loma you will probably want to avoid being under the flight path of Lindberg Field. I feel this area will be ideal for you because it is near a private school (Francis Parker) and a tennis club (San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club); they have a childcare.

Another area to consider that is closer to 92121 is UTC (University Town Center, 92122). There are both good public and private schools there.

I noticed Poway was mentioned by some people and the people of Poway recently approved a $1 million bond to improve their schools. The drawback is the loan will accumulate interest for 10 years before the residents start paying it off, which by the time it is paid off will cost the residents about $1 billion. A rough estimate has the number of homes in Poway at 15,467, which means each property's share is around $64,500. Something to consider.




Benjamin Altman
Tidal Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 5, 2013
I notice you listed schools first, with regard to setting up your new residence. You can do some homework online first at http://www.greatschools.org/ . This should help you narrow the areas you'd like to live in. Next, contact a Realtor thats familiar with those areas and get their input. A few minutes online can save you a lot of time.

Chris Francis
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 4, 2013
Your best school districts are several...so I would start there.

Poway School District - this serves the communities of Poway, Rancho Bernardo and Rancho Penasquitos communities, Your commute should be under 30 minutes from most of these areas.

The other commnunity that comes to mind is Carmel Valley which has an award winning school system. This is close to the coast and the prices reflect that...but should be no more than 20 minutes to work.

Please feel free to call me for additional assistance. I have lived in San Diego for 21 years so know it very well.

Cindy Davis, Broker - 619-379-8616
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 4, 2013
Hello Jenny,

I have a brother who currently lives in North Carolina and loves it there, so I'm sure it's tough to be moving away from all that Southern charm. Please bring plenty of that with you as San Diego can always use more friendly people. Fortunately, you are moving to a place dubbed "America's Finest City" and there is a valid reason for that. With miles upon miles of coastline, sunshine pretty much year round, great school districts, and tons of great attractions for families with kids (Legoland, Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly Wild Animal Park), Sea World, Balboa Park, major league sporting events, organized youth sports leagues, you can't go wrong.

There will definitely be areas that match your needs. Most likely, the responses on here would be biased towards the areas the agents work in. As a product of the Poway Unified School District, I do believe it is a tremendous system from elementary all the way up through high school Having said that , there are great schools that are for those living near the coast. Honestly, I could spend hours writing about the various areas, but a real live phone conversation with a REALTOR who knows the proper questions to ask will be a lot more efficient.

As a native San Diegan and product of the Poway Unified School District, I'd be delighted to share additional insight and provide you all the important information you would need to make the best decision. As an added bonus, I am a competitive tennis player (used to instruct back in the day) who currently belongs to a club and would be happy to share my insight into the various tennis facilities throughout San Diego.

Best of luck in your move out west and feel free to contact me directly for additional information. If you'd like to see some testimonials from my clients, please check out the web link.


Chad Basinger, REALTOR®, CPA, CFP®
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 4, 2013
Hi Jenny,
As a Realtor, I cannot steer you to a specific neighborhood - it's prohibited. We all have our opinions about the areas in which we live. I live in Scripps Ranch (92131 zip code) and it's a great place for all types of people; families, singles and couples. The schools have high API rankings, there's a very connected sense of community feeling here, there is the Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club with men's and women's tennis, plus swimming, day camps, day care and many other activities.
It's convenient to many zip codes for work commutes a lot of folks commute to Sorrento Valley from Scripps. It is inland - not many whitewater ocean views, but some peeks from the highest elevations.
Many other communities offer similar home prices and great schools, too. Detached homes in Scripps range from the $500's to over $1 million. There are homeowner's association fees with many of the newer homes, plus some have an ad valorum tax called Mello Roos. It's an additional property tax to pay for bonds for roads, schools, libraries, and services in the newer neighborhoods. Those bonds are usually retired 20 to 25 years after issuance, so some will retire soon, others are just starting.

I'd love to meet you and help you find the right home for your family in the right neighborhood.
Feel free to see listings on my website and I will be glad to help you with any other questions you may have.
Thank you and best of luck!
Mary Lawler, Realtor
Realty Executives Advantage
Web Reference: http://www.MaryLawler.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 4, 2013

I'm sure that within a few minutes you will have plenty of answers from many Realtors. Best bet is to speak with two or three, and make your decision based upon who you feel the most comfortable with after speaking with them.

That said, to be fair, select one, and let them do the leg work for you. Based upon your request for good schools and access to tennis, you might do a Google search as well, getting details on school statistics, as well as tennis clubs. Although, Carlsbad, Ranch Bernardo, and Poway might be a good fit. La Costa Tennis and Golf club is in Carlsbad, and a very nice resort.

Good luck, and let me know if you would eventually like information on financing.

Best Regards,

Wayne L. Brown
Mortgage Banker
Security National Mortgage Company
NMLS Lic. # 343946
Company NMLS Lic. # 3116
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 4, 2013
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