The Benefits and Drawbacks of Living in Southern California
I have lived in Southern California for over 10 years now and have come to appreciate and love where I live. In this blog post, I’m going to go over the pros and cons of living in Southern California and be as upfront as possible. Living in Southern California is not for everybody, but if you can look past a few flaws, it’s still a beautiful place to live.
Personally, we have lived in many different areas of Southern California, from the beach to inland, and we have experienced it all. Let’s figure out if Southern California is right for you.
First and foremost, before I get into the pros and cons, if you are a family with children, you must be very strategic and conduct extensive research before deciding where to live.Personally, I don’t have kids at home anymore, but there are areas of Southern California that are great for couples but not to raise a family or have children.
A perfect example is where we just moved from. The town is called San Clemente; it’s the lowermost city in Orange County. There are areas east of the 5 Freeway that could work, like Talega or Forster Ranch, that have good schools, parks, sports, etc. for kids. It is a different story down by the beach. Although you might think that would be a great life for kids, it really isn’t.
First, it’s very crowded, and there aren’t a lot of places for kids to play or get involved in extracurricular activities, except the beach. If they want to surf all day, that’s great, but football fields, large parks, and green space are just not there.
Second, the overall living conditions are not conducive to raising children. The beach has become a breeding ground for homeless people, drugs, and petty crime. I lived on the beach for three years and saw it every day. We would walk the beach trail every morning and frequent the beach at night. Personally, I always felt safe, but I’m a grown adult. I personally would not want my children to be around that every day.
Please, please, please, before you make any decisions, give me a call. I would be happy to give you detailed information on many parts of southern California. If I haven’t lived there, I’ve spent time there on either day trips or weekend getaways. I can provide you with some valuable insight that will really help you. GUARANTEED! Ok, let’s get into the pros and cons of living in southern California.
By the way, if you are interested in the Temecula area, here is a blog post and video on the Top 10 Communities in Temecula.
This is most likely the most compelling reason to relocate to Southern California. Personally, I like the weather more inland than at the beach. Although the temperature does get higher in the summer and lower in the winter inland, there is more sun. The beach has June Gloom, and there were years when the sun hardly came out for a month or two. The beach is also more humid in the summer. Even though the temperature only gets to 80–85 degrees, it sometimes feels like it’s 120. That being said, nothing beats being at the beach on a sunny Saturday or Sunday in the summer. It’s a great vibe, with lots of people swimming, surfing, and taking advantage of the amazing restaurants.
The one thing that is truly amazing about Southern California is that you literally have everything within 50 miles, regardless of where you live. Whether you’re vegan, an electronics geek, fix Polaroid cameras, or like collecting original Nintendo games, there seems to be a store for absolutely everything. Google Maps is your best friend, and you can usually get to any place you’re looking for within half an hour.
Southern California is foodie that heaven. The competition is so fierce, finding great restaurants is easy. From Indian food and vegan food to authentic Italian and Mexican cuisine, great restaurants are everywhere. Whether you’re planning a night out or just want a pick-up, it’s just around the corner. Another thing we absolutely love about Southern California is the number of happy hours. Being able to sit on a patio, have a drink, and have something to eat for under $40 is a nice change during your busy week.
If you are a golfer, of course, Southern California is going to be one of the best places in all of the United States to live. Now, if you are on a budget and plan to retire or relocate, be very careful where you move. When I lived in Orange County, even though I love to golf, I played it a lot less than where I live now in Temecula. Golfing in a place like Orange County is going to run you anywhere from $80 to $120 on average for a decent course on the weekend. Here, in Temecula, I can routinely play beautiful golf courses for under $50 any day of the week.
opportunity to make money
People always talk about the cost of living in Southern California. Yes, it is going to cost a little more to live here, but the opportunities are endless in regards to building a successful business. If you have the drive to succeed and are willing to be better than 80% of the people in your field, you will thrive. Just compare a town of 30,000 to an area with 20 million people. It is simple math: more people equals more opportunity. If you’re good at what you do, where do you think you have the best chance of making money? That extra $1,000 in rent you’re paying will mean nothing with a thriving business in Southern California.
If you enjoy weekend getaways, Southern California has so much to offer that it’s mind-blowing. Let’s take where I live right now, in Temecula, California.
Mountains (Big Bear & Lake Arrowhead)
Within two hours, I can either be skiing in the winter or at two beautiful lakes in the summer. Big Bear is more of a ski community, but both have a ton to offer. It is a very relaxing time, especially in the summer, to go up and mountain bike, hike and visit all the shops and restaurants. Big Bear has more of that community feel, while Arrowhead has that high-end shopping resort type of field.
Palm Springs is about an hour from us and is an amazing place for relaxation, great restaurants, and nightlife. We especially like going on a Thursday, as they close down Main Street and have Market Night. This market night is so fun to walk up and down looking at all the art, eating food, and listening to live music. The overall vibe of Palm Springs is total relaxation. If you’re in this area, I highly suggest taking a weekend to rent a room downtown with a pool, sit back, and relax. There are some great restaurants, it’s safe, and the nightlife is vibrant.
San Diego and Coronado Island
This is a whole blog post on its own, but what can you say about having San Diego and Coronado Island within an hour’s drive? Personally, I prefer taking the bridge over to Coronado and spending the day at the Coronado Hotel, walking on the beach, and grabbing a bite to eat. Coronado Island is stunningly beautiful, almost like Utopia, haha.
San Diego is a beautiful city with endless possibilities and things to do. I’m not going to go into detail in this blog post because it’s simply too much. Expect sunshine, tons of restaurants, museums, golf, nightlife, and history.
From Temecula, I have three or four beaches within an hour’s drive. All beaches are unique and have something that separates them from the rest. The great thing about living anywhere in Southern California on a hot summer’s day is that, within an hour, you’re sitting on the beach, swimming in the ocean, and ending your day with a drink at a beautiful restaurant.
There you have it—a few pros of living in Southern California. Of course, I am not able to talk about absolutely everything, or this blog post would be 20,000 words long. All I can say is that if you look at the positives and have a great outlook on life, there is no better place to live, in my opinion, than Southern California.
Traffic and Employment
Everybody knows that Southern n California traffic can be brutal. Depending on your employment situation, traffic can go from bearable to insane. If you work 50 to 60 miles away from home, getting out of bed every morning and sitting in your car for hours can be a daunting task. The best advice I could give is California traffic can be brutal. Depending on your employment situation traffic can go from bearable to insane. If you work 50 to 60 miles away from home, getting out of bed every morning and sitting in your car for hours can be a daunting task. The best advice I could give? Move as close to employment as you possibly can.
For me? Being a real estate broker, I really try to schedule my appointments around traffic. If I can leave anywhere from 10 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, I am usually okay. Weekends are always pretty easy to get around. If you want more specific information on traffic, call me! I worked in Los Angeles and spent a lot of time on the 5 Freeway, the 91 Freeway, the 111 Freeway, and the 57 Freeway. You name the freeway, and I can give you some information on it.
cost of housing
This is where sticker shock kicks in, and it’s probably the biggest con of living in Southern California. Home prices are going to range anywhere from half a million to three million dollars for the average home, depending on where you live. I feel incredibly lucky that we found the Temecula community. It’s probably one of the most affordable communities in all of Southern California, with the most to offer both singles, couples, and families. Safety, schools, extracurricular activities, people, and amenities—you name it, Temecula has it. I’m going to include a Temecula home search at the end of this blog post. Cities like Fallbrook, Murrieta, Menifee, and Bonsall are all safe, affordable communities that I would suggest taking a look at.
Once-beautiful cities are now places I wouldn’t live.
Regardless of the reasons, California has changed a lot in the past 20 years. As many great areas as there are in Southern California, there are just as many bad ones. I mentioned this earlier in the blog post, but you really do need to do your research before making a move anywhere in Southern California. A city that you visited 10 years ago and thought was great might not be like that anymore. I’m not going to blow up any specific cities in this blog post; if you have specific questions about certain cities, contact me and I will be happy to share my opinions. Just be aware that petty crime, drugs, and homelessness have all crept into too many of these communities, some way worse than others. One example that I will talk about is Los Angeles. The only time you’ll catch me in that city is when I go to LAX on vacation. The traffic, cost of living, safety, and downright filthy living conditions of many of the areas are embarrassing. I can take you to communities in and around LA that have home prices in the $750,000 range, and you wouldn’t walk down the street at sunset.
Depending on where you live, gas prices are going to range anywhere from $3 to $5, depending on the economy and time of year. As I mentioned previously, the opportunity to make money in Southern California will alleviate this expense if successful, but if you are on a fixed income and have to drive miles to work, it can really eat into your pocketbook. Personally, I have one car for extensive driving to and from jobs that gets great gas mileage and another car for enjoyment.
So there you have it, some of the advantages and disadvantages of living in Southern California. Overall, if you do your research, and have an open mind, and a positive personality, California is going to be a great place to live for you. If you’re the type of person who looks at life as a glass half-empty, California is going to get to you quickly. Within a year, you’re probably going to hate it here. You have to roll with the punches, realize all the good things Southern California offers, and brush off the negatives. I plan on living here in Temecula for a long time. It has everything that I want. Golf, wineries, Old Town Temecula, a casino, and plenty of restaurants and nightlife If you have any interest in making the move to southern California, please reach out. I’m the owner and broker of Greenleaf Real Estate, and I’d be happy to help you buy a home. Not only do I have vast knowledge in the real estate industry, but I have also lived in many of these local markets and understand the pros and cons of each. If you tell me your situation, I can point you in the right direction.
Below, I have attached a home search that this home searches updated daily straight from the local MLS and can be customized in regards to city, beds, baths, zip code, or lot size.