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Uncategorized Archives | OFF THE 56
Best Neighborhoods for Singles in San Diego

Best Neighborhoods for Singles in San Diego

Where should you live if you’re single in San Diego? We talk about families a lot on Off the 56 because we both have families here and both haven’t been single in quite a while, so we’re probably the least qualified people to answer this question! However, we’re going to try on today’s episode of Off the 56 where we cover the best neighborhoods for singles in San Diego.

Downtown San Diego should probably be at the top of the list. There are lots of fun neighborhoods downtown like the East village, the Gaslamp District, which has the most vibrant nightlife in all of San Diego, and Little Italy. Little Italy also has some really fun restaurants and bars, and they’re all very walkable. The average rent in downtown San Diego is around $2,200 a month. So not the most expensive, not the cheapest, but they have a lot of options.  A one bedroom will probably cost you around $1,700-1,800 a month and it goes up from there. 

Next on our list is Pacific Beach, which is probably the mecca of single people here in San Diego. Let me just preface this by saying that families live there, singles live there, everyone can live there! But if I was single or if I had moved to San Diego when I was in my early twenties, I probably would have moved to Pacific Beach. It’s close to the beach, it’s got good nightlife, good restaurants, bars, it’s super walkable, and it’s one of the more affordable beach towns. It seems to have a sort of vibe of like, ‘I just got out of college. I’m not really ready to buy my first house yet. I just am sort of in between’. It’s one of those in between kind of places. Not that you can’t live there your whole life. It’s lovely! The median home price is around $734,000. So not super cheap, but by beach standards, that’s actually not terrible, and the average rent is just over $2,000 a month. 

Next on the list is Oceanside, not to be confused with Ocean Beach, which we’ll talk about in a little bit. The median home price in Oceanside is about $565,000, which is more affordable. Median rent is just below $2,000. So, it’s a beach town beach that you can live in where the cost is a little bit lower than La Jolla or Del Mar or something like that. Oceanside also has some nice restaurants, nice beaches. There’s one restaurant, Stratford at the Harbor, which is a really cool place to go on like dates and that sort of thing too. Oceanside is actually located on the very tip of North County, San Diego. So that’s probably one of the reasons why it’s a little bit more affordable. It’s a little bit tucked away. But if you’re looking to be by the beach, Oceanside is a good, slightly more affordable place to be here in San Diego. 

Next up, we have Hillcrest which is so cute. It’s Northwest of Balboa Park. The homes are really different and neat. There are little bungalows, small Craftsman-style homes, and larger homes too – overall it has a really neat vibe. It’s not a community of tract homes. It’s got so much character! The median home price is about $500,000. It can go much higher than that though. There are a lot of townhomes and condos in the area, too. Hillcrest has some really, really cute little spots, great restaurants, shops, and boutiques. They also have a lot of breakfast places like Breakfast Republic, Snooze, and more. Overall, it’s a highly walkable community and super popular with single people.

Last, but not least on our list is Ocean Beach, which is located near Point Loma and Mission Beach. If you’re familiar with Los Angeles and the Venice Beach area, that’s the kind of vibe Ocean Beach has. If you’re looking to live somewhere that’s a little more artsy and Bohemian, you’ll love Ocean Beach. Most people that move to Ocean Beach stay there. It’s not a jumping off point or an in-between move. People fall in love with that community – and for good reason. They have a lot of good restaurants and you’re right near the beach. There’s even a dog beach there. The median home price in Ocean Beach is around $707,000 and rent is about $1,900 a month. So, it’s fairly reasonable, especially as a single person, to live there and be so close to the beach. 

Before we wrap up, it should be said that if you’re single and a bit older, you might also enjoy life in Del Mar or Carmel Valley. They’re both wonderful communities, though home prices and rent are a little bit more expensive. They both have decent nightlife, but it tends to cut off by 10 o’clock. It’s not really for the 21-year-old as the bars and the restaurants close down. However, if you want to live in a friendly community with great community amenities close to the beach, definitely check out Del Mar and Carmel Valley.

So that’s our list of the best neighborhoods for singles in San Diego! Hopefully you guys found that useful and if you’re ever moving to San Diego, we’d love to help you find your next home!

Best Places to Live in San Diego

Best Places to Live in San Diego

Today, we’re going to talk about the best places to live in San Diego. I know there’s a lot of wonderful communities to talk about, but I picked three and Courtney picked three to give us a total of six of our favorite neighborhoods to talk about today on Off the 56!

One of my favorites which we don’t talk about very often is Del Cerro. It’s a little further east and down near San Diego State University. It’s actually very close to Lake Murray. It’s a really cool neighborhood and I love the architecture. Most homes in Del Cerro were built between 1950 and 1970. So, there’s a lot of mid-century modern homes in the area, which I love. A lot of those homes are single story, too, which you don’t always find here in San Diego. Every home has its own personality, they aren’t tract homes, and they’re on pretty good-sized lots. You can get a little more yard for your money than you can in other parts of San Diego. You’ve also got great local schools and are in a great location near Lake Murray, which is a really cool reservoir where you can fish. You can jog, hike, or bike around it, too. Del Cerro is a cool neighborhood and I just think it has a lot of character. 

Next on our list is Carlsbad Village. It’s a very walkable area near lots of great beaches. You’ve got Beacon’s Beach and Tamarack Beach, just to name a few. Lots of a good surfing and parking is actually pretty good at some of those beaches. Plus, it has one of the top-rated school districts in all of San Diego. Not to mention there’s plenty to do. Great restaurants, breweries, and Legoland. If you’re ever looking to do a staycation here in San Diego, they actually have a lot of family-friendly hotels up in Carlsbad. Another cool spot is the Flower Fields, which start blooming usually in March. It goes on for about eight weeks so it’s definitely worth checking out. Carlsbad is at the North end of San Diego County, which means it’s a bit further from Downtown, Balboa Park, and other areas of San Diego. But if you have to commute for work up to LA or Orange County, Carlsbad is a really good option because you’re closer. You can also jump on the Coaster over there in Oceanside and shoot up to LA on the train.

Another of my favorite neighborhoods is one we’ve actually done a video about, Solana Beach. It’s not a huge community, but it’s a great neighborhood and it’s got good schools. Obviously, the home prices are a little higher because you’re close to the beach, but it’s just a really cute little part of town. They have Fletcher Cove, which we’ve told you about before. They’ve got good restaurants and Cedros Design District, which is like their arts district full of boutiques and furniture stores. It’s a good place to see a show as well at the Belly Up. You can get really close to some of your favorite artists because it’s a very small venue. Solana Beach also has some great surfing of its own, while also being close to some of San Diego’s best surf spots in Del Mar, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Encinitas. There’s also a Coaster stop in Solana Beach which makes it easy to get up to LA, Long Beach, Santa Barbara, or to make your way to Downtown San Diego.

Next on the list is Carmel Valley, which is just west of where we live in Torrey Highlands. Carmel Valley is known as one of the most central spots in all of San Diego, sitting at the border of North and South County. It’s also got some of the best schools in all of San Diego, making it a great choice for families. The price points are a little bit high since you’re about five minutes to the Del Mar beaches and have such excellent public schools. Carmel Valley also offers new construction opportunities, particularly around Pacific Highlands Ranch. There’s a lot to do in the area like the shopping at One Paseo or visiting every one of the twenty-two neighborhood parks. One downside about Carmel Valley though is that it doesn’t have a big nightlife scene. It’s definitely a suburb so most things close around by about 10 o’clock at night.

Another neighborhood I love that’s close to Torrey Highlands is Del Sur. Del Sur offers residents apartments, condos, townhomes, single family homes, and luxury estates all within the same community! That makes Del Sur pretty cool since you could live there in whatever type of home you can afford. It’s a master-planned community that is highly walkable with lots of usable space. There are also community pools, playgrounds, lots of parks, hiking trails, and more. You always see people walking their dogs and riding bikes. Plus, there are tons of community events throughout the year and great local schools. Del Sur is a little more expensive than some areas of San Diego, though, as they have higher property taxes and higher Mello-Roos fees. 

Last, but not least is the neighborhood of South Park. What I like most about South Park is its location. It’s super close to Balboa Park, you can easily get to the museums, the Zoo, or over to Downtown within minutes. South Park has really good restaurants and is also a super walkable neighborhood. It’s not too busy and is a little bit quieter than nearby North Park or Hillcrest. South Park has a lot of coffee shops, boutiques, and even some tasting rooms popping up. The only downside of living in South Park is that the schools are not that great. So that tends to be why people don’t always stay there forever, but it’s definitely a good place to start or a great place to live if you don’t have kids. The 1920’s Craftsman-style home is one of my favorites and you can find a lot of these in South Park. The whole neighborhood just has great character. 

So that’s our list of the six best places to live in San Diego! There are many more amazing neighborhoods to discover, but if we had to narrow it down, those would be our top choices. If you’re planning to move to San Diego or already live here and want a change of scenery, we’d love to help you find your next home. Reach out to us! We’d love to help. 

East Coast vs. West Coast Living

East Coast vs. West Coast Living

One of the questions I get all the time is, what’s the biggest difference between living on the East Coast and living on the West Coast?

I grew up on the East Coast. I moved out to California when I was twenty-two and have lived here ever since. So, I have a little bit of experience living in both areas. In today’s video, I break down the differences I’ve noticed about life on both coasts.

First one, I would say is that the jobs are pretty different out here on the West Coast. On the East Coast, I feel like everyone’s like a lawyer, doctor, accountant, or a nurse, those types of jobs. On the West Coast, people tend to have multiple jobs, they consult, or have more creative jobs. I feel like that’s kind of the biggest difference. Also I noticed people tend to not care as much about what job you have. If you go to a party out here on the West Coast, people don’t really ask you, “Oh what do you do for a living?” I mean they do, but not quite to the extent they do on the East Coast. 

Another big thing is that I find the West Coast to be a little bit more entrepreneurial. Forbes Magazine came out with a list of all the top states for entrepreneurship and California was Number Five. Then they had the worst places for entrepreneurship and six out of the top ten were on the East Coast. Places like New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut.

Another one of the big differences between the West Coast and East Coast is the food. Both places have good food, but they’re different. Anything bread related I find to be way better on the East Coast. Like pizza, bagels, sandwiches, even just the rolls they have there. I’m from Philadelphia. You have some great Philly pretzels there in Philadelphia, and we just can’t get anything similar to that out on the West Coast. But if you’re on the West coast, Mexican food is a lot better, sushi, seafood, that sort of thing. So again, both places have great food; they just have different things that are better in my opinion.

Another obvious one is the weather. The East Coast you have more seasons. So you’ll have spring, fall, summer, and winter. On the West Coast, you’re not really going to have that big of a difference between the seasons. One thing I do miss about the East coast is the thunderstorms and just like an occasional rainy day. Out in California, we just don’t have that many rainy days and we rarely have a thunderstorm. Do I need them every day? No, but I wouldn’t mind the occasional one. It might sound crazy, but I miss a good thunderstorm.

Here’s another thing that’s different about the two coasts: I think there’s a quote that says: “Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in California once, but leave before it makes you soft.” That’s from Mary Schmich’s book, Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life. So people tend to think that those on West Coast are a little bit softer and people in New York, or just the East Coast in general, it makes you a little hard. I kind of agree. I have gotten soft when it comes to weather at least! 

One of the big differences between the coasts that I really enjoy is that the dress code out in California is much more casual. On the East Coast, people are more into shirts, suits, and ties. Although my East Coast friends have told me that it’s started to ease up a little bit in the last five to ten years or so. California is definitely way more casual than it is on the East Coast. I’m more of a t-shirt or polo shirt and jeans type of guy. On the East Coast, you don’t get away with that as easy. For example, Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Facebook, I think he wore a hoodie to his IPO. So I think if it was someone on the East Coast, like a big bank went to their IPO, I don’t think they’d be wearing a hoodie.

So another big thing I noticed is that I think people tend to be friendlier out here on the West Coast, but on the East Coast people are more direct. So on the East Coast if they like you, they’re going to let you know they like you. Or if they hate you, they’re going to let you know they hate you. On the West Coast they’re going to be friendly to you, even if they like you or don’t like you most of the time. So they might be a little bit behind your back, but at least they will appear to be friendly. On the East Coast, they’re going to tell you what it is and how they feel. So take that for what it’s worth. 

Another difference between the coasts is that the infrastructure and transportation seems to be much better on the East Coast. They have better public transportation like subways, trains, and buses, which is funny because the East Coast is much older than the West Coast. So you would think the West Coast would have been more on top of their transportation, but some of the car companies bought up some of the train tracks so people would have to buy cars. Over time, I’m hoping the West Coast can pick up with their public transportation. I like riding the subways, occasionally at least, but on the West Coast, it’s very hard to do. LA and San Francisco are a little bit better, but overall public transportation, infrastructure, and even the history I find to be a little bit more exciting on the East Coast. Just like how the United States started, the Declaration of Independence, and the Liberty Bell. You can take tours of all these different cities that have a lot of history like that on East Coast.

If you’re ever looking to move to San Diego, I’d love to help you find your next home. Whether you’re moving locally or coming from the East Coast, I can help. Let’s connect!

Buying a Home During a Pandemic in San Diego

Buying a Home During a Pandemic in San Diego

So you decided to buy a home in San Diego during a pandemic. We’re going to break down the best ways to do that but first, you should watch all of our videos. We have some excellent content on San Diego. We have great neighborhood tours, what it’s like to live here, pros and cons, and more. Anything you needed to know about San Diego, you can find it on our YouTube channel. 

Now that that’s out of the way, we can move on to our best tips for buying a home during a pandemic. We’ve been helping people buy and sell safely since the early days of COVID-19. As we prepare to head into the spring buying season, here are our best tips for buying a home in San Diego right now.

NARROW DOWN YOUR OPTIONS

When you’re starting your search, you need to figure out what type of neighborhood you would like to buy in. San Diego County is really large so you’ve got to narrow your search. Is there a certain school district you’d like your kids in? Is there a particular program at a school you want your kids to do? Did you just accept a new job? If you’d like to, or can afford to be in a beach town, what type of beach town? Would you like to be in a more Metro area? Would you like to be downtown? Something more walkable? Just do your research and try to pinpoint a general, but specific area. 

NO OPEN HOUSES

The days of open houses in San Diego are over, at least for the time being. During the pandemic they’re not doing open houses because they don’t want a hundred people on top of each other and not socially distancing. So now you have to schedule a time. In the early days of the pandemic, agents were doing private open houses every thirty minutes. Since there are usually people living in the home, you only have a two-day period typically to see the house. A lot of times you’ll see appointments happening on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm. So if you don’t schedule your appointment early, they’ll fill up. That’s happened to me a couple of times and you won’t even be able to see the home before they accept an offer.

Lately they’ve actually changed things a little bit. Now agents are doing almost like makeshift open houses where you show up some time between 10 and 3, and then you just wait in line until it’s your turn to go inside. We just did it this past weekend with a couple from Chicago and we waited outside the house for a good 20-30 minutes probably before we got it in.

COVID-19 SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

Agents are still taking a lot of precautions to keep everyone safe and socially distanced. You have to use hand sanitizer, you have to wear masks, there can only be one person in the house or one family in the house at one time, etc. They also have you sign a form that states that you have not been having any COVID symptoms. You have to sign it before each tour, every showing that you have, which is a little bit annoying, but you know, better to be on the safe side! On certain listings, some agents are requiring that you have a preapproval letter ready to go because they only want serious buyers walking through the home. They also tell you to try not to touch anything in the house, if at all possible. You can also wear gloves as an extra precaution as well. Some of these things will probably stick around after the pandemic actually.

BE READY TO ACT FAST

Homes do go quickly in San Diego. If a particular home is really in great demand, it’ll sell within four days max. They’ll list it on a Thursday, just have showings Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and then it’ll be sold by Tuesday!

We’ve had people from Chicago, New Jersey, Northern California, even people from Italy contacting us and wanting to move to San Diego. But you can’t always get here to see every house that comes on the market. So if you’re really, really interested in a home we can do a virtual walkthrough with you either through FaceTime or on Zoom. People have actually bought houses without walking into them. I’ve had three people buy houses here in San Diego without seeing them in person! Between all the videos we do, the neighborhood tours, and the 3D tour that’s usually available of the home, some people feel confident they’re going to love the house and put an offer in. 

If you are able to make the trip out here and can stay for 48 hours or three days to see some homes, we will try to get you into as many homes as we can. Even if you don’t totally fall in love with one of the homes that you see that day, it may just help narrow down your search for a neighborhood or a general area. It’s kind of hard to get out right now to do touristy stuff and really get the full San Diego experience because a lot of things are closed, but you can still get a feel for the area. You can drive around and just see generally what’s nearby. I always tell my clients to just focus on the neighborhood you want to be in, and then the house will hopefully follow suit. 

SELLING SAFELY

If you’re looking to sell your home here in San Diego, don’t think it’s impossible to do so during a pandemic because a lot of people are doing it these days. There are a lot of safety precautions in place for sellers. Some people will even leave for the weekend, like stay in a hotel or Airbnb while people see the houses. When you come back, we can disinfect the entire house. If you want to leave for just a few hours, we disinfect all of the common touch areas after each showing like the door and the countertops. Anything that people will touch! 

That’s our blog on buying a home during a pandemic in San Diego! If you guys ever have questions about trying to buy or sell a house right now, please feel free to reach out! It can seem daunting, but it’s not really that scary. Sellers, know that there are people out there that want to buy your home. So don’t be afraid to list! We could definitely use more available homes as buyers are struggling with the super low inventory.
If it’s your first time on our blog, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. We post new videos every week. If there’s ever a neighborhood or topic you guys really want to see on here, feel free to put it in the comments or just send us an email or a text and we’ll be happy to make a video for you. We do read those comments! Thanks for reading and catch us next time!

What’s the Best Neighborhood in San Diego?

What’s the Best Neighborhood in San Diego?

There are a lot of great neighborhoods in San Diego. After all, when you’re within driving distance of the beach and have seventy-degree weather all year long, you really can’t complain no matter where you end up. However, this pandemic helped Courtney and I realize just how much we love living in our own neighborhood, Torrey Highlands

In this video, we take you on a little tour of Torrey Highlands and what makes our neighborhood so great!

One of the best things about our neighborhood is the location. Torrey Highlands is located just off the 56 freeway in North County San Diego. We are just twelve to thirteen minutes from Torrey Pines State Beach and super close to the 56. The 56 freeway is kind of like the center of San Diego, it pretty much divides North County and South County. And we’re in between the 5 and 15 freeways, too, which gives you access to the airport and downtown on either freeway. Torrey Highlands is so central to everything San Diego has offer, it makes our neighborhood one of the best places to be in our opinion!

We also have this big grassy space in the middle of the neighborhood where people hold block parties for Memorial Day, Labor Day, 4th of July, etc. You can also have movie nights here in the park, birthday parties, and all kinds of things. Next to the park, there’s also a canyon which is so pretty and fun to explore.

Torrey Highlands is comprised of four separate neighborhoods. We have Cabrera, San Lorenza, Avalon Point and Montellano. To the west of us, we have Carmel Valley and to the east of us, we have Rancho Peñasquitos.

One reason we both chose to buy in this neighborhood is the school district. We’re in the Poway Unified School District, which is an excellent public school system. You can also choose which elementary school you want your kids to go to. You can either go to Willow Grove Elementary or Park Village Elementary. Courtney’s kids have gone to all the schools here so she can tell you about all of them. Just reach out if you have questions!

Another interesting fact about the little pocket of neighborhoods where we live is that it’s home to just one office building. That is Intuit TurboTax and they employ a lot of people here. It’s a really nice campus. They’ve got volleyball courts and basketball courts back there. It generally seems like a really nice place to work, plus you’ll have time to go home for lunch!

Another cool thing about our neighborhood that you don’t get everywhere in San Diego are the views. A bunch of the homes in our neighborhood, Avalon Point, Montellano, Cabrera, all have some really good views. On a clear day you can actually see the ocean in the distance, looking off toward Torrey Pines State Reserve.

The hiking and mountain biking trails nearby are one of my favorite things about this neighborhood. It’s very secluded, quiet, and beautiful in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon. The canyon encompasses over 4,000 acres and even features a waterfall! When you’re in the canyon, you can’t see your house or any buildings nearby, so it just feels like you’re out in the wilderness. You can bring your dogs out here, too, but keep them on a leash because people do come through on horseback.

Also, make sure you don’t go out at sunset because you can easily get lost in the dark back here. There are mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, and rattlesnakes living in the canyon, so just be aware of them and be smart.

We hope you guys enjoyed that quick tour of our neighborhood here in San Diego. This was our last video of 2020 and we want to say thank you to everyone who’s watched, read, or subscribed to our YouTube channel and blog. We also want to say thank you to all the people we’ve helped buy or sell a home in 2020. Truly, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you! We appreciate all of you. If you’re thinking of making a move this year, just reach out and let’s get started. Here’s to a much better 2021!

Living in Solana Beach in San Diego

Living in Solana Beach in San Diego

Today we’re taking you on a tour of Solana Beach, a laid-back beach town in North County San Diego! Sandwiched between Del Mar and Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Solana Beach is an awesome community to consider calling home.

We start our tour at one of Solana Beach’s most recognizable landmarks, Fletcher Cove. Where Fletcher Cove Park is now used to be all one big cliff. But thanks to some committed San Diegans, the cliff was opened up in 1924 to create an access point down to the sand. That paved the way for Solana Beach to become the beach town we know and love today.

Next on our list, we head up Highway 101 to check out some of the restaurants, bars, and shops that line San Diego’s coast highway. Solana Beach is very walkable and possesses a laid-back beach town vibe – no wonder it’s been named one of the best places to live in the US! The local schools are also excellent. Though if you have high school students you should be aware that Solana Beach high schoolers actually go to Torrey Pines High School, which is just a few miles away in Carmel Valley. Solana Beach also has a train station just off the 101, where you catch the Coaster to go down to the city of San Diego or head up the coast toward Los Angeles.

Cedros Avenue, sometimes called the Cedros Design District, is the next stop on our tour. It’s a cute little street just off the 101 that’s filled with art galleries, boutiques, home décor shops, antique stores, and the famous San Diego music venue, the Belly Up. The Belly Up hosts events year round and has welcomed some famous musicians and bands like the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, and more. There are also two great coffee shops on this street we love to check out whenever we’re in Solana Beach, Lofty Coffee and Barefoot Coffee Roasters. Culture Brewing is a cool outdoor brewery in the area as well.

So what’s it like to live in Solana Beach? Similar to other beach towns we’ve visited on Off the 56, Solana Beach has a bunch of different types of homes from little beach bungalows to condos and apartments all the way up to large single family homes. But no matter what you’re hoping to buy (or rent) in Solana Beach, know that it’s going to be pretty pricey. The median home price in Solana Beach is $1,288,000. Thinking of moving to Solana Beach? Be sure to reach out to get your real estate journey started. I’d love to help you buy (or sell) a home in Solana Beach or anywhere in San Diego County!

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