Five Reasons I Moved to San Diego

Five Reasons I Moved to San Diego

Welcome back to Off the 56! Today I’ll be talking about the top 5 reasons why my family and I moved to San Diego. But first, I’ll give you a little background about myself and how I made it to Southern California.

I grew up in South Philadelphia and went to Penn State University. After graduating in 2004, I moved to Los Angeles to kickstart my career and ended up living there for about 10 years. I worked in the entertainment industry during my time in LA, but eventually became burnt out from the long hours. I decided it was time for a change and decided to get my real estate license. After getting married in 2010 and having our first child in 2014, my wife and I decided it was time to buy a home. But after looking at real estate in Los Angeles, we quickly noticed we would not be getting the home we had in mind with our budget. After some debating, we realized San Diego was the city for us and we bought a home in the same neighborhood as my wife’s sister! Here we are in 2020 and we are still loving living in San Diego!

Now that I’ve got you caught up, check out my top 5 reasons we made the move and are still living in sunny San Diego:

Family-Friendly San Diego Neighborhoods

San Diego has some great family-friendly communities, especially in North County! Many of the neighborhoods in North County San Diego are newer and offer playgrounds for children, block parties, and other annual community events. There is also plenty of open space and parks in North County. Where we live in Rancho Peñasquitos, there is a beautiful 22-mile canyon behind us, which is great for exploring with the whole family.

Great San Diego Schools

I have mentioned this before on my channel, but I’ll say it again: San Diego has awesome schools! In fact, North County San Diego is home to some of the best school districts in the state of California! Some of these school districts include Poway Unified School District, Carlsbad Unified School District, San Marcos Unified School District, and San Dieguito Union High School District. If you’re searching for a great school district for your family, San Diego has it!

San Diego is More Affordable Than Los Angeles

Although San Diego is not “cheap”, it is more affordable than other Southern California cities. Los Angeles is 8% more expensive than San Diego! In San Diego, you’ll likely get more for your money when it comes to real estate. The job market and opportunities may not be as big in San Diego, but every year our job market is increasing due to people leaving big cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles in search of more affordable living.

Beautiful San Diego Beaches

This one might be more a personal preference, but it is much easier to get to the beach in San Diego! The parking is exponentially better here than in Los Angeles, making it easier and more enjoyable to pop by the beach to watch the sunset or go for a quick walk. Who doesn’t love that?

Plenty of Things to Do in San Diego

This one ties back to my first point, but it’s an important one! San Diego is such a family-friendly city! There are plenty of activities to do with your kids like visiting LEGOLAND, the Birch Aquarium, SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and the Safari Park. Disneyland is only a 90-minute drive away and San Diego is also driving distance to Mammoth Mountain, Big Bear Lake, and many other unique towns to explore.

Excellent Quality of Life in San Diego

San Diego can be expensive, but I personally think it is worth every penny! My wife and I both work to accommodate our life here, but we have had great experiences living here in San Diego for the last 7 years and wouldn’t change a thing!

I hope you found today’s video helpful. If you have any questions or would like to see me do a video on a certain topic, please reach out! And if you’re looking for someone to assist you through buying or selling a home in San Diego, you know who to call.

Walkable Neighborhoods in San Diego

Walkable Neighborhoods in San Diego

Want to learn more about living in San Diego? Then you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’re talking about the most walkable neighborhoods in San Diego County.

Downtown San Diego

The first one on my list is an obvious one, it’s downtown San Diego. Downtown San Diego has a work score of 99/ 100 and encompasses several smaller neighborhoods, including Little Italy, Cortez Hill, and Gaslamp Quarter. If you’d like to learn more about living in this area, I’ve covered it all in my Living in Downtown San Diego video tour.

Normal Heights

Normal Heights has lots of great coffee shops, restaurants, and lots of antique shops in its very own Antique Row. This neighborhood is just outside of Downtown San Diego, so you can have the best of city living without being in the thick of it.

Sherman Heights

This area may not be very well known now, but I have a feeling it will be popular soon! Sherman Heights is not the nicest neighborhood in San Diego, but it has been going through a renaissance in the last few years. Keep an eye on this neighborhood if you’re a first-time homebuyer! It’s super close to downtown and Balboa Park so it’s a great option if you’ve been house hunting in these areas.

North Park/ South Park

North Park and South Park are both metropolitan neighborhoods that are just outside of downtown San Diego. Both areas are very walkable with great restaurants, tasting rooms, and local boutiques that are a must-visit if you’re in the neighborhood! Some of my favorite spots include Waypoint Public In North Park and Buona Forchetta in South Park!

Hillcrest

Hillcrest is located just Northwest of Balboa Park, in a location very central to the city. You’re just minutes to downtown as well as freeway access and beaches. Hillcrest is very walkable and has lots of great coffee shops, bars, unique stores, and of course the famous Farmers Market! This is one of the largest farmer’s markets in San Diego so it’s worth checking out at least once; just make sure you get there early to beat the crowds!

Liberty Station

Liberty Station used to be a naval training base but has recently been renovated into a large multi-use area with an open-air market, beer garden, and event space. Local favorites include Stone Brewery, The Lot Movie Theatre, and in the winter, they have an ice rink, too! This is a great family-friendly area to hang out at year-round and there are many nice neighborhoods surrounding Liberty Station, too.

Coronado

Coronado is neat place to live or visit! Many San Diegans visit Coronado for day trips and staycations because of its vacation vibe. It is easy to feel like you’ve left San Diego when visiting the Hotel Del Coronado or simply walking around and enjoying the ice cream shops and restaurants.

La Mesa

La Mesa is a very walkable town that strives to stay that way! They have lots of crosswalks, wide sidewalks, and they even regulate new businesses to ensure that they’re all pedestrian-friendly. It’s also only about ten miles out of San Diego

Oceanside

With a walk-score of 86, Oceanside has slowly become a very walkable beach town in San Diego. There are many new developments being built in this area and the neighborhood has continued to grow. This is also one of the more affordable beach communities in San Diego!

Carlsbad Village

As with most North County beach communities, Carlsbad is a very walkable neighborhood. Carlsbad Village has some awesome restaurants, tasting rooms, and shops to explore.

Encinitas

Encinitas is another great beach community in San Diego. Downtown Encinitas has great local restaurants, breweries, and shops to explore and is growing every year!

Solana Beach

Solana Beach is another neighborhood we’ve mentioned before, and for good reason! Solana Beach has a walkable district called the Cedros Avenue Design District, full of unique shops and art galleries. They also have a small farmer’s market every Sunday that is definitely worth a visit!

Escondido

Escondido is located in the North County Inland area of San Diego County. Although it is a quiet part of the County, Escondido has a historic downtown district that has slowly become more modern and pedestrian friendly over the years. It is a great place to raise a family, with many fun attractions located nearby like the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum.

Which neighborhood do you want to live in? If you’re thinking of moving to San Diego, give me a call today!

Downtown San Diego

Downtown San Diego

Today we’re talking about all of the great neighborhoods in downtown San Diego! Keep reading to check out what each area has to offer and if you’d like to take a look at any available properties, just reach out.

Little Italy

Little Italy is one of my favorite areas in downtown San Diego. This neighborhood has grown over the last few years and has become a very walkable, trendy area with some of the best restaurants in San Diego including Kettner Exchange, Juniper & Ivy, and The Crack Shack,  just to name a few. There are also great breweries, wine tasting rooms, and coffee shops to visit in Little Italy. It’s also home to Waterfront Bar & Grill, which is one of the oldest bars in San Diego! Legend has it that Wyatt Earp himself was a frequent guest at Waterfront Bar & Grill.

Local parks include Amici Park and Waterfront Park, which host concerts and other events throughout the year. Little Italy is a great neighborhood for younger people as there is a good nightlife presence and it is very centrally located in downtown. Forbes Magazine even ranked it one of the best places for Millennials to live in the US!

Columbia District

This area is mostly a commercial district, but in recent years it has expanded to include residential housing and other amenities as well. Savina is one of the new luxury condo buildings in this area that has become popular as the Columbia District continues to grow.

Marina District

The Marina District is home to the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego’s Embarcadero, and Seaport Village. Seaport Village is a large attraction for this area, with fourteen acres of walkable cobblestone streets lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes to enjoy.

Looking for a great view of the city? Be sure to stop into the Manchester Grand Hyatt in the Marina District for a panoramic view of the city! Then visit Café 222, one of my favorite breakfast and brunch spots in the area. It’s a mustptry! And if movie nostalgia is your thing, you’ll want to stop by Kansas City Barbecue, which is where many bar scenes from the movie Top Gun were filmed!

Cortez Hill

Cortez Hill is another great area of downtown San Diego! Mostly residential, it has more of a cozy, neighborhood feel than other areas of downtown. It’s also a very historic area, with beautiful architecture including the St. Joseph’s Cathedral and the California Western School of Law, which has been in Cortez Hill since 1973. Also, because Cortez Hill isn’t in the heart of downtown, parking isn’t as difficult to find in this area.

Core District

This area is home to many government buildings, the San Diego Civic Center, and the Symphony Towers. Keep in mind there is not much, if any, residential space in this area of downtown. On any given day, you’re likely to see lots of business professionals rushing out for lunch during the day and theatre lovers heading to the Civic Center in the evening. Horton Plaza also used to anchor this neighborhood of downtown, but we’ll have to wait for the revitalization work to be done to see what will go up in its place!

Gaslamp Quarter

The Historic Gaslamp Quarter is probably the most popular area of downtown San Diego. This area is frequented by many tourists and is often the place to be on any given weekend. Because of this, there are plans underway to turn the busy 5th Avenue into a pedestrian-only street, making it an even more walkable neighborhood. There are many restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, and more to enjoy year-round here. We also host San Diego Comic Con every year, along with other seasonal events that turn Gaslamp into a hub for both visitors and locals alike.

East Village

East Village is another one of my favorite neighborhoods in downtown San Diego! This neighborhood is home to the beautiful Petco Park, which opened in 2004. Since then, the area has grown and expanded because. You can even live in a condo that has a birds-eye view right into the ballpark from your balcony! How cool is that? I would love to own one of these one day.

East Village is also home to some unique restaurants, art galleries, and coffee shops, with more popping up each year. This is a very walkable neighborhood that is great for people of any age or lifestyle!

That concludes my living in Downtown San Diego tour! Which neighborhood would you like to live in? Let me know in the comments below. And thanks for stopping by!

The Best Suburbs in San Diego

The Best Suburbs in San Diego

Today we’re diving into the best suburbs in San Diego. If you’re thinking of making a move to San Diego County like my recent clients, Amy and Mike, be sure to keep reading and watching for help deciding which suburb is right for you!

Poway

Known as “the city in the country” Poway offers something for everyone. Be sure to visit the charming Old Poway Park that has an old train you can ride, beautiful trees, museums, and shops that can make for a day of family fun. Poway is probably best known for the Poway Unified School District, which is an award-winning school district not just in San Diego, but in the State of California. Poway homes can range from small two-bedroom homes to huge estates, so there are a variety of real estate options in this area!

Rancho Peñasquitos/ Torrey Highlands

This is the suburb that I live in and we love this community because there is a ton to do outside! We have lots of hiking and biking trails all over the place, but in particular the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve is great for exploring. Rancho Peñasquitos/Torrey Highlands is a really great place to raise kids if you want to keep them active year-round. Homes are also affordable by San Diego standards; you can find a single-family home starting in the $700,000 range. This community is also very centrally located; it is about a twenty-minute commute to Downtown San Diego and about fifteen minutes to the beach. If you’d like to learn more about this area, click here to watch my Rancho Peñasquitos Neighborhood Tour.

Scripps Ranch

Scripps Ranch has a similar feel to Rancho Peñasquitos. It’s a newer neighborhood with great schools, restaurants, and many families living in this area. If you are a military family making the move to San Diego, Scripps Ranch is also close to the Miramar Military Base. Miramar Lake is also close by, which is a fun area to explore with kids, too.

Chula Vista

Fun fact- Chula Vista is the second largest city in San Diego County! Located just nine miles southeast of downtown, Chula Vista is a great place to live if you work in Downtown San Diego or Little Italy. Chula Vista is very family friendly with lots of attractions, like the North Island Credit Amphitheatre that hosts many concerts throughout the year and Aquatica Waterpark. This is probably one of the most affordable suburbs in San Diego – the median home price for a single-family home in Chula Vista is just $550,000.

Carlsbad

Carlsbad is one of my favorite areas of San Diego. They have some awesome restaurants in the Carlsbad Village, beautiful beaches, and an outstanding school district. If you’re into the brewery scene, head just a little east of Carlsbad to Vista, which is home to some of San Diego’s best breweries like Mother Earth and Belching Beaver. Legoland California is also located in Carlsbad, which is a great place to check out with kids.

Santee

This is a suburb I haven’t mentioned often on Off the 56, but it’s another hidden gem in San Diego County. Santee is located just eighteen miles east of Downtown San Diego. It’s a very outdoorsy community due in part to the 190-acre Santee Lakes Park that has seven recycled water lakes stocked with fish year round! You can go camping, rent boats, and of course, fish. In addition, Santee also has some small farms and equestrian facilities, which makes it perfect for this who want to lead an active lifestyle. It has a small-town feel, with lots of locally-owned businesses and family-oriented activities. Like Chula Vista, it’s also one of the more affordable areas of San Diego. Santee’s median home price Is about $535,000 for a single-family home.

Carmel Valley

Carmel Valley is a suburb known for its great school districts and beautiful homes. Cathedral Catholic, Torrey Pines High School, and Canyon Crest Academy are always ranked in the top thirty best schools in California. Due to the great school district and the central location near the beach, the median home price is around $1,000,000. If you’d like to learn more about Carmel Valley, watch my Carmel Valley Neighborhood Tour here.

That concludes my list of the best suburbs in San Diego! Other areas to mention that I didn’t cover in this video are all the beach communities, San Marcos, La Mesa, Del Sur, 4S Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, and so many more! If you’re making a move to San Diego, contact me today! I would love to help you find the best neighborhood for you and your family.

Cost of Living in San Diego vs Los Angeles

Cost of Living in San Diego vs Los Angeles

Oh the great Southern California debate! No, we’re not talking about which taco shop is best, we’re talking about whether it’s better to live in San Diego or Los Angeles! Specifically, we’re talking about the differences in the cost of living in these two cities, which is an important consideration if you’re deciding which city to call home in Southern California.

Population

Let’s start with some population stats. The City of San Diego is home to about 1.4 million people and the entire county of San Diego has around 3.38 million people. The City of Los Angeles has 3.9 million residents and the county of L.A. has 10 million people, making Los Angeles about three times as big as San Diego! (Keep this in mind as we go through each factor that differentiates these two cities!)

Cost of Living

Los Angeles is about 8.2% more expensive overall than San Diego. The median home price in Los Angeles is 6.8% higher than it is in San Diego. This may not sound like a huge difference, but it can certainly add up in the long run! If we take a look at housing rental prices, San Diego averages $2,393 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment vs. $2,820 for a comparable unit in Los Angeles. Sales tax is also a little higher In Los Angeles, especially in certain areas of the city, while property taxes are about the same.

Childcare

The average cost for childcare in San Diego is slightly higher than its northern neighbor. The average cost in San Diego comes to $1,119 per month vs. $1,064 per month in Los Angeles. These prices can vary depending on the neighborhood and what kind of childcare option you choose.

Transportation

Keep in mind that both cities are very car-centric, so gas prices are something to keep in mind while budgeting. Although gas prices change from week to week, the average gas price in San Diego is $3.53 a gallon and Los Angeles’ average price is $3.64 a gallon.

Internet Prices

We all need WiFi! The average internet price in San Diego is $58 a month, and L.A. is slightly higher at $63 a month.

Entertainment

If you’re a moviegoer like me, you’ll appreciate this stat! In San Diego County, movie tickets cost on average $14.12 per ticket and in Los Angeles County prices average $ 16.10 a ticket. Again, this can vary depending on what theatre you choose or the time of day. But you could save about $2 a movie in San Diego!

Job Market

The job market is another important topic to cover. The average salary in San Diego County is $83,000 a year and Los Angeles’ average salary is $70,000. Obviously a lot depends on your profession and industry, but living in San Diego means you could actually be taking home more money than if you lived in Los Angeles.

Generational Stats

This one came as a bit of a surprise to me! San Diego is ranked #3 in the United States for the size of its millennial population; that’s 27% of our overall population in San Diego County! Though Los Angeles is not far behind us, with 25% of their population being Millennials.

Entertainment Industry

If you’re looking to work in the entertainment industry, Los Angeles is the obvious winner! In fact, Los Angeles is ranked the #1 entertainment location in the United States. San Diego, not so much.

Commute Time

Traffic is a hot topic here in Southern California! The average commute time in San Diego County is 22 minutes while Los Angeles has an average commute time of 29 minutes. I thought this gap would be larger, but take it from me- Los Angeles definitely has the worst traffic by far!

Walk Score

Another surprise is that the walk score in Los Angeles is actually higher than in San Diego! San Diego scored a 53 and Los Angeles scored a 68. Walk scores are based out of 100. These numbers of course depend on the neighborhood you live in, but both cities are trying to improve their walkability and public transportation to cut down on those long traffic commute times!

Have you lived in both Los Angeles and San Diego like me? Leave me a comment below and let me know which city you prefer and if any of these stats surprised you!

Things to Know Before Moving to San Diego

Things to Know Before Moving to San Diego

If you’re thinking of moving to San Diego there are definitely a few things to know before taking the plunge. Today, we’re sharing some common misconceptions, facts, and maybe a few secrets about living in San Diego!

The Weather

Many people from other parts of the country believe that San Diego is sunny all the time – which is not true! In fact, we have two months that have special names just to prove it; May Grey and June Gloom. Thanks to our location on the coast, the marine layer brings a heavy layer of clouds during this part of the year, causing many days with gloomy weather and cooler temps. Surprisingly, the warmest time of the year is usually in the fall!

More Weather

San Diego has a reported 260 days of sunshine per year. Pretty awesome, right? But we recommend investing in some good sunglasses before you move here. In fact, investing in sun protection for your whole body is a great idea; think sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and lightweight long sleeve shirts. You should also be prepared to send your kids to school with sunblock as most schools in San Diego are outside and the kids get to play under the sun all year long.

One More Thing About the Weather!

It doesn’t rain a lot here, but when it does rain, people tend to forget how to drive. Even if it’s just a light drizzle, be prepared for extra traffic and a few accidents along the way. We recommend staying home on these rainy days if you can!

Laid Back San Diego

Life in San Diego moves a little slower. Generally, people are more laid back here and not in a rush like in Los Angeles or some of the major cities on the East Coast. This is something to keep in mind if you’re coming from one of those big cities! Service might be a little slower and people may conduct themselves in a more relaxed way than you’re used to. It’s best to just mentally prepare yourself and go with the flow.

Not a Sports Town

This may come as a surprise to some, but San Diego isn’t a big sports town. The San Diego Chargers recently left us for Los Angeles, but we do still have The Padres! However, you’ll quickly learn that most of the Padre’s fans are just going to enjoy Petco Park and have a beer!

Military Life

San Diego is a big military city! In fact, 7.6% of our population consists of military personnel. We are home to many military bases including Camp Pendleton, Coronado, and Miramar. This brings people from all over the country which gives San Diego an awesome mix of backgrounds and cultures.

Food

We might not be on par with New York City, but we have some awesome food here in San Diego County. Our Mexican food in particular is really something special! But we’ve got more than just great Mexican food. Yelp ranked San Diego the #5 city in the US for foodies! And we have over hundred craft breweries in San Diego – Thrillist actually ranked us the #2 Beer City in the US.

San Diego is Spread Out

Before you visit San Diego, you might not realize how big and spread out San Diego County is. The city of San Diego is home to about 1 million people, but the county itself is home to about 3 million people! So before you move or visit, consider what things you want to be close to or what lifestyle you prefer. If you’re a beach person, you might want to be closer to the water. But if you love nature and hiking/biking, you might be happy living more inland.

We hope you enjoyed our Thing to Know Before Moving to San Diego video! Did you learn anything today? Let us know in the comments! And as always, if you’re thinking of making the move, reach out to us. We would love to help find the perfect home in San Diego for you!

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