Buying a vacation home in San Diego

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tsukune
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Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by tsukune » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:36 pm

I am considering buying a home in San Diego over the next few years, initially as a second/vacation home and eventually to be used as a primary home. Most important aspects are great schools, SFH with 3 bedrooms or more, at most 15-30 minutes from beaches, decent outdoor space, possibly a pool, budget 750k-1.5m. I know the market there is very hot, but of course could get hotter and perhaps may cool down over the next year or few. I live in NYC and eventually I hope to exit the rat race and FIRE in a low-key, family friendly place with good weather, some access to culture, diversity (ethnic and socio-economic), access to an urban environment, close to universities. I've always wanted to live in CA, but the Bay Area although much nicer than NYC has a similar rat race problem, LA is too much of a sprawl, Central CA is nice is very nice in places but might be too isolated and possibly boring. I'm looking for specific advice on areas in SD to focus on. So far I've come up with Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Carlsbad. Any other suggestions? Is my budget unrealistic? Am I crazy to buy in this market? I would consider renting out the home for most of the year perhaps VRBO or Airbnb, but perhaps not if it doesn't make much difference financially.

Cruise
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by Cruise » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:23 pm

La Jolla

SandDollar
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by SandDollar » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:53 pm

Since you mention 15 mins from beaches and your budget, while generous by most standards, won't be sufficient for beach towns but there are great inland spots 20 minutes from everything. Del Cerro for example is close to lake/reservoir, golf, mission trail hikes and isn't too hot yet avoids marine layer that keeps coast socked in much of the year. We love it and feel grateful we already live in our retirement community. Schools great too.

mega317
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by mega317 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:00 pm

Encinitas and Cardiff a little east of the 5 have three BRs with outdoor space and good schools at the upper end of your range, 5-10 minutes from the beach. Obviously if you're willing to go further from the coast you can get more. I think Solana Beach and Del Mar will be tough with your budget, and I think something that would be attractive as a VRBO will be tough as well.

freebeer
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by freebeer » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:05 pm

SandDollar wrote:Since you mention 15 mins from beaches and your budget, while generous by most standards, won't be sufficient for beach towns but there are great inland spots 20 minutes from everything. Del Cerro for example is close to lake/reservoir, golf, mission trail hikes and isn't too hot yet avoids marine layer that keeps coast socked in much of the year. We love it and feel grateful we already live in our retirement community. Schools great too.
+1 to considering just a bit inland if you want more house for the dollar ... HOWEVER ... in San Diego there's a very thin line between the coastal strip and outright desert. The former does get foggy, although I wouldn't go so far as "socked in much of the year", and it does burn off... there's something to be said for foggy mornings and sunny afternoons. But to me Del Cerro is out there in desert-land - anything east of the Stadium. For the ideal climate (pro tip: if avocados do/did grow there you're in the sweet spot) you want to be east of I-5 but significantly west of I-15. Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, East Carslbad, Vista - have the best climate, hands down. But for vacation home purposes I think you may want to be closer to the beach... 5 minutes not 15 minutes... especially if that's 15 minutes that turns into 30 with traffic.

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Pajamas
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by Pajamas » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:35 pm

Those seven hour or so flights coast to coast are not much fun. Seems like an odd place to buy a vacation home given where you live now. To me, it would make more sense to buy a house there when you are ready to move there and just rent a place for vacations. That way you can vacation in different places if you want to and it would be a lot less expensive. You could probably rent a place for a month somewhere every year for less than just the property taxes on a house in the San Diego area.

bloom2708
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:12 am

Pajamas wrote:Those seven hour or so flights coast to coast are not much fun. Seems like an odd place to buy a vacation home given where you live now. To me, it would make more sense to buy a house there when you are ready to move there and just rent a place for vacations. That way you can vacation in different places if you want to and it would be a lot less expensive. You could probably rent a place for a month somewhere every year for less than just the property taxes on a house in the San Diego area.
+1 buy a little bungalow in the Florida Keys (Marathon or Key West). Easier flight in. Much better relaxation/weather/water temps.
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

Kababayan
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by Kababayan » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:54 am

I grew up in Encinitas and have lived all around San Diego. If I were in your situation, I would buy in Encinitas. To me, it's a great balance of all of the places that you've listed. It's not as expensive as Del Mar/Solana Beach, but is also considered a "higher end" place to live. Carlsbad, closer to the beach, is nice as well. Your budget is fine. You'll find something. If you are ok being about 10-15 minutes from the beach, Village Park in Encinitas is a great place to look. Luecadia or La Costa might be good places to look, as well. They are right between Encinitas and Carlsbad. I would not look in Vista or Oceanside if you are trying to find a vacation home (sorry locals.) You can PM me if you'd like me reasons why. I currently live in the Fallbrook/Bonsall area, which is beautiful, but is 35 minutes from the beach. If you'd like my opinion on certain areas, please PM me so that I am not just writing a bunch of info here that you are not interested in. Good luck. You'll love it here.

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gunn_show
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by gunn_show » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:44 pm

Pajamas wrote:Those seven hour or so flights coast to coast are not much fun. Seems like an odd place to buy a vacation home given where you live now. To me, it would make more sense to buy a house there when you are ready to move there and just rent a place for vacations. That way you can vacation in different places if you want to and it would be a lot less expensive. You could probably rent a place for a month somewhere every year for less than just the property taxes on a house in the San Diego area.
+1 was my first thought, how often are you really going to make these bi-coastal flights? If not, do you really want to be a landlord from 3000mi away in a city you have never lived in and have no connections currently? (connections being friends, property managers, maintenance people, contractors, etc., all things you will need if you own an expensive property in this town). I would also take a few months out here in a VRBO to check out the area first. There was another recent thread from a CHI guy looking to do the same thing, you will find a lot of good feedback there.
Kababayan wrote:I grew up in Encinitas and have lived all around San Diego. If I were in your situation, I would buy in Encinitas. To me, it's a great balance of all of the places that you've listed. It's not as expensive as Del Mar/Solana Beach, but is also considered a "higher end" place to live. Carlsbad, closer to the beach, is nice as well. Your budget is fine. You'll find something. If you are ok being about 10-15 minutes from the beach, Village Park in Encinitas is a great place to look. Luecadia or La Costa might be good places to look, as well. They are right between Encinitas and Carlsbad. I would not look in Vista or Oceanside if you are trying to find a vacation home (sorry locals.) You can PM me if you'd like me reasons why. I currently live in the Fallbrook/Bonsall area, which is beautiful, but is 35 minutes from the beach. If you'd like my opinion on certain areas, please PM me so that I am not just writing a bunch of info here that you are not interested in. Good luck. You'll love it here.
+1 in terms of the original question, you listed a lot of good neighborhood that you can get a 3br SFH for $1.5m or less. Encinitas is the current hot spot. Solana Beach. Leucadia is great but pretty expensive akin to Del Mar. I would also look a little south in Bay Park, Mission Bay, Pacific Beach, Windansea, Bird Rock, La Jolla, South Mission Beach. Vista / Oside / Escondido are all too inland, too hot, and too suburban.

I'm biased in that I've lived here my whole life and love it and would never leave, and basically live in a home matching your exact parameters minus the pool (and wife wants one). I can see why you would want to move here from NYC, and wish you good fortune in doing so.
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

tsukune
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by tsukune » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:27 pm

Cruise wrote:La Jolla
Too expensive!
SandDollar wrote:Since you mention 15 mins from beaches and your budget, while generous by most standards, won't be sufficient for beach towns but there are great inland spots 20 minutes from everything. Del Cerro for example is close to lake/reservoir, golf, mission trail hikes and isn't too hot yet avoids marine layer that keeps coast socked in much of the year. We love it and feel grateful we already live in our retirement community. Schools great too.
Thanks will check out Del Cerro
mega317 wrote:Encinitas and Cardiff a little east of the 5 have three BRs with outdoor space and good schools at the upper end of your range, 5-10 minutes from the beach. Obviously if you're willing to go further from the coast you can get more. I think Solana Beach and Del Mar will be tough with your budget, and I think something that would be attractive as a VRBO will be tough as well.
Encinitas and Cardiff also seem more demographically compatible with us. East of the I-5 definitely looks like a better value, West of the I-5 looks expensive and perhaps noisier/denser/crowded. Del Mar looks nice, but if its a posh neighborhood, not sure we'd like it anyway.
freebeer wrote: +1 to considering just a bit inland if you want more house for the dollar ... HOWEVER ... in San Diego there's a very thin line between the coastal strip and outright desert. The former does get foggy, although I wouldn't go so far as "socked in much of the year", and it does burn off... there's something to be said for foggy mornings and sunny afternoons. But to me Del Cerro is out there in desert-land - anything east of the Stadium. For the ideal climate (pro tip: if avocados do/did grow there you're in the sweet spot) you want to be east of I-5 but significantly west of I-15. Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, East Carslbad, Vista - have the best climate, hands down. But for vacation home purposes I think you may want to be closer to the beach... 5 minutes not 15 minutes... especially if that's 15 minutes that turns into 30 with traffic.
Thanks for the pro-tips! Desert does not sound as nice to me as coastal, even better is the middle ground as you suggested. I'll add Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, East Carslbad, Vista to the wishlist.
Pajamas wrote:Those seven hour or so flights coast to coast are not much fun. Seems like an odd place to buy a vacation home given where you live now. To me, it would make more sense to buy a house there when you are ready to move there and just rent a place for vacations. That way you can vacation in different places if you want to and it would be a lot less expensive. You could probably rent a place for a month somewhere every year for less than just the property taxes on a house in the San Diego area.
I'm pretty locked in on CA. FL doesn't do it for me. Everyone's different. I don't want a vacation home close to me. The point of this vacation home in CA/SD would be so that I'd eventually move into it for the summers and eventually full time FIRED (trying for less than 5 years max).
bloom2708 wrote: +1 buy a little bungalow in the Florida Keys (Marathon or Key West). Easier flight in. Much better relaxation/weather/water temps.
As noted above, the point of this RE purchase is initially for vacation, then longer stays, then full time. Timeline is flexible and dependent on finances and other life events.
Kababayan wrote:I grew up in Encinitas and have lived all around San Diego. If I were in your situation, I would buy in Encinitas. To me, it's a great balance of all of the places that you've listed. It's not as expensive as Del Mar/Solana Beach, but is also considered a "higher end" place to live. Carlsbad, closer to the beach, is nice as well. Your budget is fine. You'll find something. If you are ok being about 10-15 minutes from the beach, Village Park in Encinitas is a great place to look. Luecadia or La Costa might be good places to look, as well. They are right between Encinitas and Carlsbad. I would not look in Vista or Oceanside if you are trying to find a vacation home (sorry locals.) You can PM me if you'd like me reasons why. I currently live in the Fallbrook/Bonsall area, which is beautiful, but is 35 minutes from the beach. If you'd like my opinion on certain areas, please PM me so that I am not just writing a bunch of info here that you are not interested in. Good luck. You'll love it here.
Thank you so much for great local advice. I'm going to PM you. From my other research the top place I came up with was Encinitas followed by Del Mar and Solana Beach although those are too expensive, followed by Carslbad seems great but not as urban for lack of a better word as Encinitas. I'll add Luecadia and La Costa to my wishlist. I am certain that I will love it in SD. I've visited all over the US, but it's the only place that sticks out to me as where I'd want to settle.
gunn_show wrote: +1 was my first thought, how often are you really going to make these bi-coastal flights? If not, do you really want to be a landlord from 3000mi away in a city you have never lived in and have no connections currently? (connections being friends, property managers, maintenance people, contractors, etc., all things you will need if you own an expensive property in this town). I would also take a few months out here in a VRBO to check out the area first. There was another recent thread from a CHI guy looking to do the same thing, you will find a lot of good feedback there.

+1 in terms of the original question, you listed a lot of good neighborhood that you can get a 3br SFH for $1.5m or less. Encinitas is the current hot spot. Solana Beach. Leucadia is great but pretty expensive akin to Del Mar. I would also look a little south in Bay Park, Mission Bay, Pacific Beach, Windansea, Bird Rock, La Jolla, South Mission Beach. Vista / Oside / Escondido are all too inland, too hot, and too suburban.

I'm biased in that I've lived here my whole life and love it and would never leave, and basically live in a home matching your exact parameters minus the pool (and wife wants one). I can see why you would want to move here from NYC, and wish you good fortune in doing so.
How often will I visit? I don't know the answer to that. I'm hoping that buying a place will force me over time to visit more often and eventually move my life there sooner rather than later. I feel like if I don't do this now/soon I'll just be talking about it for the rest of my life and never actually do it.
Thanks for your input on the neighborhoods. My concerns with Bay Park, Mission Bay, Pacific Beach, Windansea, Bird Rock, La Jolla, South Mission Beach would be quality of schools vs. other options. Despite what I've been told, I see plenty of listings in many of those areas under 1.5m that look great to me. Remember, in NYC/Manhattan, 1.5m barely gets me a 1000 sq ft 2 bedroom co-op with few amenities, prewar illiquid strict board co-op and the pleasure of $2000/mo maintenance, OK/terrible public schools, don't ask about parking a car in a garage. I'm glad you clearly see why a young family like mine in search of a better lifestyle would move from NYC to SD! And thanks much for the luck, I'll need it!

Carefreeap
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by Carefreeap » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:46 pm

Kababayan wrote:I grew up in Encinitas and have lived all around San Diego. If I were in your situation, I would buy in Encinitas. To me, it's a great balance of all of the places that you've listed. It's not as expensive as Del Mar/Solana Beach, but is also considered a "higher end" place to live. Carlsbad, closer to the beach, is nice as well. Your budget is fine. You'll find something. If you are ok being about 10-15 minutes from the beach, Village Park in Encinitas is a great place to look. Luecadia or La Costa might be good places to look, as well. They are right between Encinitas and Carlsbad. I would not look in Vista or Oceanside if you are trying to find a vacation home (sorry locals.) You can PM me if you'd like me reasons why. I currently live in the Fallbrook/Bonsall area, which is beautiful, but is 35 minutes from the beach. If you'd like my opinion on certain areas, please PM me so that I am not just writing a bunch of info here that you are not interested in. Good luck. You'll love it here.
Could you please elaborate about no Oceanside? We had some similar thoughts about a spending retirement phase in San Diego as the OP and bought a house in the Fire Mountain area of Oceanside. Loved the house and area but realized we prefer our town in coastal Bay Area. We're pretty isolated from major traffic problems which is a concern in San Diego's North County. We sold last July after 11 years of ownership.

As background I grew up and lived in University City (originally built to serve the needs of UCSD). Family oriented area literally across the tracks from La Jolla. I would have bought in that area but I wanted to be mid-way between Mom (La Jolla Shores) and Dad (near Escondido).

Carlsbad was about 20% more expensive and didn't have the quality or character of house we wanted.

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gunn_show
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by gunn_show » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:46 pm

tsukune wrote:
gunn_show wrote: +1 was my first thought, how often are you really going to make these bi-coastal flights? If not, do you really want to be a landlord from 3000mi away in a city you have never lived in and have no connections currently? (connections being friends, property managers, maintenance people, contractors, etc., all things you will need if you own an expensive property in this town). I would also take a few months out here in a VRBO to check out the area first. There was another recent thread from a CHI guy looking to do the same thing, you will find a lot of good feedback there.

+1 in terms of the original question, you listed a lot of good neighborhood that you can get a 3br SFH for $1.5m or less. Encinitas is the current hot spot. Solana Beach. Leucadia is great but pretty expensive akin to Del Mar. I would also look a little south in Bay Park, Mission Bay, Pacific Beach, Windansea, Bird Rock, La Jolla, South Mission Beach. Vista / Oside / Escondido are all too inland, too hot, and too suburban.

I'm biased in that I've lived here my whole life and love it and would never leave, and basically live in a home matching your exact parameters minus the pool (and wife wants one). I can see why you would want to move here from NYC, and wish you good fortune in doing so.
How often will I visit? I don't know the answer to that. I'm hoping that buying a place will force me over time to visit more often and eventually move my life there sooner rather than later. I feel like if I don't do this now/soon I'll just be talking about it for the rest of my life and never actually do it.
Thanks for your input on the neighborhoods. My concerns with Bay Park, Mission Bay, Pacific Beach, Windansea, Bird Rock, La Jolla, South Mission Beach would be quality of schools vs. other options. Despite what I've been told, I see plenty of listings in many of those areas under 1.5m that look great to me. Remember, in NYC/Manhattan, 1.5m barely gets me a 1000 sq ft 2 bedroom co-op with few amenities, prewar illiquid strict board co-op and the pleasure of $2000/mo maintenance, OK/terrible public schools, don't ask about parking a car in a garage. I'm glad you clearly see why a young family like mine in search of a better lifestyle would move from NYC to SD! And thanks much for the luck, I'll need it!
I would reconsider those neighborhoods and schools. Bay Park for example, where $1.5m buys you a lot of house (developer just built 2 mcmansions next to me, each sold for $1.5m [unusual for this hood], and both are 3000+sqft, elevator, 3 level, huge wrap around bay view deck on middle living level, huge 400sqft rooftop viewing deck, high ceilings, 2 car garage with gated back entry, you name it, super custom home), has a great grade school and the closest high school (Clairemont High) has vastly improved over the years. You could also go private (Cathedral Catholic, Saints, High Tech High) and then it doesn't matter where you live other than the drop-off commute. Unfortunately the options are fewer and less quality in the beach neighborhoods, I would not want to send my kid to Mission Bay High. But as you noted, despite what you read or hear, $1.5m can buy you a lot in this town, outside of being on the bluff in Del Mar or sharing a wall with the Hotel Del Coronado. Do more searching in 92110 zip. It is the Encinitas of the south, but without the Highway 5 traffic issues (if you live up north, and work south, good luck on the 5 during rush hour).

Del Cerro is very inland, very suburbia, but very nice. But does not sound like what you are looking for.
Rancho Santa Fe is a top 3 zip code by cost in the USA, akin to Coronado or Del Mar or prime La Jolla. Would not look there, that is NYC level cost.
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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Watty
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by Watty » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:22 pm

One thing to check on is to see if having a second home in California will cause you to be considered a part year resident of California and file California income tax returns.

I don't know much about that but I recall posts mentioning that California can be aggressive in trying to tax people that they think might be able to tax.

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Cosmo
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by Cosmo » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:37 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Pajamas wrote:Those seven hour or so flights coast to coast are not much fun. Seems like an odd place to buy a vacation home given where you live now. To me, it would make more sense to buy a house there when you are ready to move there and just rent a place for vacations. That way you can vacation in different places if you want to and it would be a lot less expensive. You could probably rent a place for a month somewhere every year for less than just the property taxes on a house in the San Diego area.
+1 buy a little bungalow in the Florida Keys (Marathon or Key West). Easier flight in. Much better relaxation/weather/water temps.
If you don't mind sweating like a farm animal nine months out of the year from high humidity.

Cosmo

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Pajamas
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Re: Buying a vacation home in San Diego

Post by Pajamas » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:00 am

Cosmo wrote:
If you don't mind sweating like a farm animal nine months out of the year from high humidity.

Cosmo
No, Floridians mostly go from air conditioned building to air conditioned building in their air conditioned vehicles.

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