My husband has been offered a job in Northridge CA. We've been told that many people who work there live around Simi Valley. They have a relocation specialist who should be contacting us in the next few days. We don't yet know what the relocation package is but we now know the salary offer so I can start doing some math. We live in Southern NV now so we'd be moving from a low cost of living/low tax area to a high tax/high cost of living area. We want to make sure this is at least a horizontal move lifestyle-wise if not a move up. We wouldn't be buying too soon since we'd want to get to know the area first but we'd eventually want at least 3bd 2bth house. Is this a reasonably priced area to live in? If it helps, the base pay is $110,000 with a possible bump to 132,000 if he gets a full bonus. We'd count the bonus as a down payment and not as a means to pay regular bills. Is that a decent income in that area?
I grew up in Simi Valley and I still drive there at least once a week to see my family. I also work in Northridge sometimes and have a few friends who live there. Is there a reason you don't want to live in Northridge if that's where your dh would be working? Simi and Northridge are in two completely different counties and everything about the two cities/counties is so different. One is a smallish town and one is a decent sized city in the Valley of Los Angeles. It's a 20-60+ minute commute back and forth between the two cities (depending on the time of day and traffic, but this is Southern CA traffic...so not pretty). I can help you with the pros and cons of either city if you have any questions.
Houses are cheaper right now in Simi, but apartments are cheaper in Northridge I believe. Car insurance and parking prices will be much more money in Northridge (you have to pay to park almost no matter where you go). But when you live in Simi you do a lot more driving in and out of the Valley which can eat up a lot of gas (and gas money). Food and all that stuff is cheaper in Northridge. Not sure what kind of schooling you do? But that could also largely effect your decision financially. I've done public, private, and homeschooling here. So if you have any questions about that, you can also feel free to ask. :)
Obviously everything here is very expensive compared to where you are coming from. You can definitely get by on the kind of income that you mentioned though. I see people do it everyday on much less. You might have less room in the budget for extra's depending on how you're used to living, but it should still be very do-able.
I used to commute from Simi to Northridge for my kids' school. It wasn't too bad, using the carpool lane (about 25 minutes into the heart of Northridge from E. Simi) so if your husband can set up a carpool it'd work out well. If you are looking more towards W. Simi it will take quite a bit longer. If public schools are a concern there are a lot of Charter schools in LAUSD in the Valley (Northridge, that is, it's in the San Fernando Valley aka The Valley), but I wouldn't plan on using LAUSD without some research. People seem to like SVUSD schools, but I suppose it all depends upon what you are used to. Congrats on the job offer! That is why we left - no jobs, but of course it depends upon your industry. Good Luck to you!
Another place you might want to consider is Porter Ranch. It's a relatively new 'developement' but closer to Northridge.
Check crimereports.com and greatschools.net and city-data.org forums for more info to help narrow down your search...
Thanks for the info ladies! The only reason we were looking at Simi Valley was because my husband was told that a lot of employees live there. We were also looking at the Santa Clarita area. It doesn't look too far away. When I was searching on realtor.com to get a feel for the housing prices it seemed that Northridge was the most expensive of the area but the part of Northridge that we drove through last week looked pretty nasty. I wish we had more time to explore while we were there. We'll be in an apartment or rental house for awhile until we save up for a downpayment. The rental houses look awfully expensive too...around $2000/mo for a very small 3bd 2bth. I just started looking at apartments briefly so I'm still getting a feel for that. An apartment is just going to be so weird for DD. She's 2 and loves to jump and run around. So, until we buy we should check out preschool and elementary schools. We were thinking of homeschooling. The schools here are horrible and there is a HUGE homeschooling community.
The company has a great relocation package but we'll take a nice hit on selling our house in this market. I guess we have to weigh the short term financial ouch of that with the long term benefit of a great job. It sounds like such a good match for my husband and we both really hate his current job. Another upside to moving there is that there seems to be a lot to do especially compared to where we live now. Plus, this time of year we're stuck inside pretty much all day since it's so hot. It's rough on small kids to be out and about in the heat and it's rough on me to be stuck inside! I only wish the offer was higher. It'd make the decision much easier. We were expecting more $$.
I guess I also need to ask about lifestyle of this area...
farmer's markets? Whole Foods-type stores? No-Vax friendly pediatricians? VBAC/natural birth friendly OBs or hospital midwives? (We're expecting #2) Park and Rec activities? Community pools? decent parks?
I just responded to your other post, but thought I would to this one too. You'll find farmers markets in nearly every town/city in the area. Some are better than others, but they will all have a selection of organic produce. There is a decent Whole Foods in Porter Ranch that we do our grocery shopping at (we live in eastern Simi Valley, and it's about an 8 minute drive).
I'm also surprised at past posters estimate on commute time between Simi and Northridge. I live off of Yosemite Avenue in Simi Valley and I used to commute between CSU Northridge and Simi Valley several times a week, and it never took more than 20 minutes. The 118 has considerably less traffic than the 5 which I assume your husband would use to commute between Santa Clarita and Northridge. In any case, I think that getting an apartment first so that you can get a feel for the area and find something that works for you is a great idea.
Kelly: Mama to a spunky, joy-filled DD (10/04/10), and a loving wife to a music-making DH (07/14/07) We and , and are just starting to TTC#2
For the areas you've mentioned, here are some active homeschool support groups:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Homeschooling_Explorers -- Santa Clarita area and beyond
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VC-LIFE_Homeschool_Network -- Ventura County and beyond
http://www.meetup.com/Santa-Susana-Homeschool-Community/ (not free but not expensive; a new group with great energy)
A couple more group mentions... these may help in finding further information about natural/alternative resources. There are also Holistic Moms Network chapters around.
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