Berkeley Art…, Home Buyer in San Diego County, CA

I am a portrait painter looking to move from Berkeley to sunnier and warmer year round climate, My budget is 250 to 400 K I would like a single

Asked by Berkeley Artiste, San Diego County, CA Wed Sep 15, 2010

family house 1200 sf or more not a condo, and would like also a pool. Chula Vista and Oceanside seem to be the only. possibilities near the coastal breezes where it doesn't get too hot in summer. Are there other places I should look at and what are best neighborhoods where there might be a little cultural interest?I don't think I can afford Laguna which has a big artist community.

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Berkeley Artiste....some great answers here! I'm a Berkeley grad myself and was just up there in June for a reunion, so I am very familiar with the type of atmosphere you are coming from. The communities that have that eclectic artistic feel and are relatively cool in temperature (Encinitas, Leucadia, Point Loma/Ocean Beach, Mission Hills, Hillcrest, North Park, South Park) are going to be at top end of your price range for a detached house. But there are definitely some nice condos and townhouses in those communities in your price range. I'd recommend you rent for awhile and check out the various neighborhoods to see what you like.

You can also find a house (it will be small) in the high $300k's in the part of University Heights north of Adams around Antique Row (92116). That neighborhood has an increasingly artistic feel to it and prices are lower than in surrounding North Park, South Park, and Mission Hills.

Another area that is in your budget and is a little warmer is La Mesa. You could purchase a house for around $400K and possibly find one with a pool. I sold a condo in La Mesa to a client who is an artist and she loves the area. There is small downtown with antique stores and a few restaurants, a health food store and a weekly farmers market. There is also a trolley stop so it's easy to get to downtown or other places. If you must have a house, I'd definitely recommend you check out La Mesa.

Coming from Berkeley, I do not think you will like the newer areas of Oceanside and Chula Vista as they are more suburban and homogeneous in style, You won't get that eclectic Berkeley feel in those communities.

Congratulations on your move to San Diego. There are tons of artistic and cultural activities here and you will love it. Best of luck!

Beth Roach
"Creating Happy Endings - One House at a Time"
Willis Allen Real Estate
619 300 0389
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
Dear Berkeley Artiste,

San Diego does offer a wonderful climate year around. In fact our worst weather is usually May Gray and June gloom.

I would consider what Jill has to say and consider a condo, both for a pool and your price range. It will open up your options quite a bit and there are some nice twin homes or PUD's that almost feel like a single family home.

One thing to think about is getting a bit off the coast for better year around weather. Coastal areas tend to be cooler and sometimes foggy. I like the Village Park area of Encinitas, and you might be able to find something in your price range. Encinitas offers lots of diverse interests and Old Encinitas and the Design District in Solana Beach are fun. Some older neighborhoods between Encinitas and Carlsbad might have something too. Leucadia is probably the most affordable of the coastal towns which is part of Encinitas.

Beyond that you might look in North Park, South Park, Hillcrest, or Mission Hills. These are mostly more expensive areas but a smaller fixer might pop up. North Park is a very trendy area with smaller older homes, hard to find a pool.

BTW a lot of people don't use pools here because it does not get that warm.. Most end up using solar heat to get them comfortable.

Ocean Beach and Point Loma are another area that is really interesting. Downtown Ocean Beach looks much as it did 30 years ago with Antiques, art, and small business. Again older homes are unlikely to have pools.

My best advice is to check out zip codes that are in your price range and spend some time in each of the communities - maybe even rent something first to make sure you like the area. Find a good agent that can spend some time with you to find the perfect fit - most of the homes that are priced good in this price range sell very quickly.

I assume that you will not have to commute to a workplace, but if you do this is a huge consideration on where you will want to live since commuting is a big consideration.

Good luck, Berkeley is a wonderful town but like you the weather is just too chilly for me.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
I would have to see your pot folio of portraits prior to advising you on choice of residence or accomodations.
Perhaps moving out of Ca. altogether and becoming a snowbird would do it all for you.
Canada and Florida ...The group of seven Loved it !
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 9, 2011
Clairemont, 5 miles from the Ocean, affordable single family residences.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 9, 2011
The City of Encinitas is the closest place we have to an artists community down here in San Diego and it is beautiful, although a bit pricier than Chula Vista and Oceanside. Oceanside however is a short commute north of Encinitas by approx. 15 mins. and has very affordable rentals. Oceanside is a military town, but is currently going through a renewal with new parks, restaurants, hotels and other businesses coming in. You will undoubtedly get more for less in the City of Oceanside and will be able to live near the beach if you wish. The Oceanside Pier plays host to a multitutde of cultural events and concerts, as well as an array of art festivals other outdoor events. Oceabsude has a small artist community near the City Hall area, complete with brand new Museaum of Art http://( Chula Vista is much too far south and doesn't have nearly the amount of cultural events as Oceanside, although it is closer to Downtown San Diego and the Mexico Border.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions.

Good luck with your search!

Pia Tripline
Prudential California Realty
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 21, 2010
Dear Berkeley Artiste,
You didn't mention in your post whether you needed studio space and how much. Oceanside would definitely have some single family detached homes in that price range, and has a thriving arts community. Chula Vista has lots of bargains and perhaps has the more "emerging" end of the arts spectrum.
How often would you want to be San Diego (the city)? Chula Vista is in closer proximity to other activities.
or if you would rather head north to Laguna Beach than Oceanside is the clear choice.
All of San Diego county has a rich and very active arts community. There are scores of diverse arts associations all within close proximity. Depending on your interests the opportunity exists for teaching or taking workshops. Come for a visit and once you see the neighborhood that suits you, the right property will be there when you see it.
Lisa Thorik
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 21, 2010

My Dad lives in Laguna and does Impressionist Art. He's done work with other artists such are Richard Shmid and Scott Burdick. Living in Oceanside you'd be closer to that scene which I'm sure you want. It's only a 45 min drive. From Chula Vista it's an hour and 40 mins.

I can already see that there are some good prospects in Oceanside.
Shoot me an email and send them over to you.

Joe Rennick
Cal DRE # 01871454
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
Consider the charming country town of Fallbrook. At the norther most reaches of San Diego County, Fallbrook offer some great buys right now. There is a thriving artists' community in FAllbrook. There is an art education center that offers classes for all mediums, a beautiful art center in the downtown area and numerous art galleries, including the Brandon Gallery, which is an artists' co-op. Also, Fallbrook is convenient to Orange County as well as San Diego. It is very attractive to artists. The scenery is magnificent. I will be glad to send you some listings. You should have no trouble staying within budget.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
There are plenty of locations throughout San Diego where you can find what you are looking for.
I would suggest calling different agents on this forum and speaking with them and asking them what they have or what they can do for you. (We all have pocket listings for great deals we would love to double end) Every agent on this forum is a good agent and obvioulsy working here to help buyers like you.

My contact info is
Brandon Long Broker / Owner
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
Isn't the flow of information wonderful! In the past you would not have had access to such and the effort involved in trying to find a place that would be suitable would be enormous. Moving to sunny San Diego is a smart idea. I specialise in a community which is not coastal per se but has coastal access in twenty minutes. It has many elevated sites and so coastal breezes are a common factor. And of course the affordablity factor is great. Rancho Bernardo is a charming town which many artisits make their home. Access to down town is half an hour. I could send you property information in an email program called gateway that would give you an idea of what we have to showcase and sell. Let me know if that is someting that would interest you. Barbara Momsen CRS Remax Ranch and Beach
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
Berkeley Artiste,

Well, we definitely know you are not moving down here because of the Chargers or the fading Padres (it's certainly not easy being a San Diego sports fan.) Fortunately, the tag line America's Finest City couldn't be more accurate and we welcome you with open arms down here. When it comes to real estate, it is all about compromise. Just pulling up a search with your parameters of a detached home with a max price of 400k and minimum sq footage of 1,200 yielded over 2200 properties. Of course, that amount will dwindle when you focus on particular areas. You are correct in stating that you will most likely be able to find more for your money in Oceanside or Chula Vista. However, you need to figure out what kind of lifestyle you'd like because it will not be great if you are in an area that is not conducive to what you enjoy doing. I gather you may do a bulk of work from home, which would alleviate potential traffic issues (the one downside to San Diego, or any big city for that matter.) As with any buyer/real estate decision, write down your must have's and the things you'd like and that will narrow down the search. Whatever you decide, make sure to spend quality time in various neighborhoods and speak to residents/businesses in the area to get a feel for the people/vibe. Best of luck and welcome!

Chad Basinger, REALTOR®, CPA, CFP®
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
Good day to you, there are many coastal areas throughout San Diego that could work for your particular needs and wants; the challenge will most certianly be the price range you've indicated. Now that being said, Aubree, Jill and Jeffrey had some very great thoughts for you to consider.

At the risk of being bold, but also trying to save you both time and money, I'd suggest choosing an agent you're comfortable with and then allow them to assist you in locating the best possible property based on your price bracket and specific needs.

If you'd like to see what homes are available in any area and/or zip code in San Diego County, please visit my website and on the left hand side you can click on "Home Search". This will allow you to freely search for homes in your price range and see colored pictures of them right from your computer. Then you can easily let you're agent know which of them you'd like to go see and then be ready to make an offer on the best one for you.

I hope this was helpful!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
Check out Vista's climate...92084...and air quality. Not too far from Escondido which is a quiet artist community and has the center for performing arts. There is one home in Cardiff 92007 and some in Carlsbad
East for that price range. One in Encinitas..sq. footage 300 ft less than you requested. Clairemont in San Diego has that price range..convenient location. Imperial Beach if you want to be South.

Laguna Hills about 6 miles from Laguna Beach has about 5 homes and Dana Point has one...San Juan Capistrano might have a few as well as Lake Forest.

Call or e mail with any questions
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
Wow! Berkeley Artiste,
You have received so many good responses!
So many good agents and so many beautiful areas to choose from.....
I especially enjoyed - Jeffery Douglass 's respond from San Diego, extremely informative.......... ;-)
Good luck with your home search.....
And Oh, can I ask you a question? Are there any other Real estate sites you visit...that you find are similar to this thread ?
Jaz Cook
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
Berkeley Artiste,

There are artistic and cultural areas all throughout San Diego County especially Chula Vista. If you are interested in receiving more information please do not hesitate to contact me.


Michael Harris
Realty Executives Dillon
DRE# 01884541
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
North/South Park and University Heights are very popular with local artists and have as close a feel to Berkeley as SD offers, there may definitely be some opportunities for you there. I live there and can tell you all about it if you'd like. I also grew up in Chula Vista and I'm very familiar with that area as well. Give me a call or shoot me an email and we can chat, no obligations.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
Hi Berkely Artiste, just out of curiosity, what is too hot for you?

In San Diego, one community you may love would be Mission Hills (92103) or Northpark (92104), or Southpark (92102), right around the Balboa Park area (near the Zoo). That has a very artistic feel to it. If you insist on a house, you can try Clairmont (92117) (it's not the same feel), but it's still west of the 15 freeway and you could find homes for under $400k. Oceanside you could definitely get more for your money, and it has a nice beach feel to it.

In Orange County, have you considered San Clemente? It;s on the beach, and borders San Diego and OC, and it is one of the more affordable areas in Orange County...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
You may want to consider the Temecula Wine Country! It is approximately 45 minutes to Oceanside and 90 minutes to Laguna. We have a small artist group and our prices are definitely in your range of $250,000 to $400,000 for single family pool homes!

Our temperatures are warmer than Oceanside but in the summer we have a very cool breeze every evening.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010

If you are interested in south Orange County I may be able to help you. But you have to be a little compromising on the location and the pool. You can check my website for single family home(bankown) at $400K. Please email if you have any questions if you see something that interest you.

Thank you,

Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010

You should look in West Clairemont. My team has found homes for several clients in this area of San Diego. West Clairemont homes that fit your discription except it's really not considered artsy. Not to worry though. Clairemont is very central to many areas of culture, including Balboa Park, North Park and beach areas. The easy freeway access allows you to freely move in San Diego. If you need more info or a list of homes in this area contact me at any time. Good luck!

Alex Saavedra
Century 21 Award
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
Hi Berkeley Artiste,

Though not coastal, additional options for a single family with a pool in that range would include La Mesa, El Cajon, Spring Valley, and Lemon Grove, to
name a few. While true warmer the closer you get inland, the 8 freeway will
bring you west to the beach anywhere in under a half hour.
I realize you would prefer not to do a
condo but your options will increase ten fold (not to mention some will have a community pool) and will get you to the
coveted coast including areas such as Encinitas, Leucadia and Cardiff, all of which have thriving artist communities
Food for thought and best of luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
You may want to look in Bay Park 92110, Clairemont 92117, every once in a while there are bank owned properties that come on the market in Point Loma 92106,92107 or Pacific Beach in the mid-400's. These communities are all fairly close to the coast. Oceanside is a great bet as well. The pool is going to be the challenge as well. I would be glad to help you find a great property. I work in all areas of San Diego and specialize in Coastal Areas. You can also search on my website Goodluck in your search. Have a great evening.

Tony Francoeur
Coldwell Banker Residential - La Joll
DRE #01377623
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
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