Welcome to San Diego, you'll love it here!
Normally, I'd say rent until you get acquainted with the neighborhoods, but prices are rising due to low inventory. So, it depends on if you know where to buy, although your budget may end up guiding you.
What I do suggest right now is to have some listings sent to you in your price range, even if you're just going by monthly payment right now. Or you can get pre-qualified to see what you're price range actually is. You'll start to see what's available where, and soon you'll have already narrowed down your neighborhoods.
A couple of questions to ask yourself are, do you have money set aside for closing costs? You can ask a seller to pay them, but we're in a really competitive market now, and sellers are looking for the highest and cleanest offers.
What sort of down payment do you have? This will let you know what type of loan you'll have, and your loan will tell you what properties you can buy (some loans are more restrictive).
Do you know your credit score? This will also help you with a loan type, and will also dictate your interest rate, which affects your monthly payment.
A lender will want to see documents like W-2's, tax statements, bank statements, etc.
When you're ready to go out and look at homes, I can let you know what your monthly payments will be before you even write an offer. The more you understand, the less stress you'll feel.
Feel free to contact men anytime with questions, I'm here to help!