Insight on neighborhoods for prospective home-buyer - Clairemont, Bay Ho/Park

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Submitted by Bogey18 on January 11, 2018 - 4:53pm

Hello Piggingtonians,
My wife and I are currently looking at 3 BD/2 BA SFHs in the Clairemont,Bay Ho and Bay Park areas. We have lived in San Diego (primarily North Park) for 10+ years and are familiar with these areas, but have never actually lived in the above neighborhoods.

I was wondering if I could get some first person insights as to the pros and cons of these areas. We are drawn to the location (this would be a nice central location for both of our current jobs, as well as for other SD amenities), and (relative) bang for your buck of the area. We have no children, but it's a possibility going forward, so any insight into the schools and general livability for young families with kids would be great.

We have also looked at La Mesa, but I think the location alone crosses that option off our list.

Additionally, does anyone have any experience working with CrossCountry for a loan? Good, bad, other?

Thank you in advance for your responses, it is much appreciated.

Submitted by bewildering on January 11, 2018 - 5:55pm.

I live in Bay Ho. My wife and I lived there for a year before finding a place to buy. The location is amazing. Our commute is really short, and I can pop in to surf at Scripps in 10 minutes. The traffic is not bad, the shops are close by. The area is very safe and you get a nice sized lot with a backyard for kids. Bay Ho and Bay Park seem to be improving. A few nice developments like Tavara Ridge. A few new restaurants/coffee places. I imagine that will accelerate when they complete the Trolley to UTC/UCSD in 2020. The owner of this site lives here...

The parks are pretty nice, with Alcott being open for kids to cycle/play around.

We have two kids and I do not like our assigned school at Cadman. But the reason is that the principal and half the staff retired last year (I think the district offered a retirement package?). So the school seems to be in flux at the moment. Plenty of our neighbors 'choice' into the University city district. Spreckels/Curie Elementary, Standley middle, and University high are 5-10 minutes drive. Plenty of Daycare places are available in Bay Ho/Bay Park as well, along with preschools.

Some cons are pretty much standard Clairemont complaints. Bay Ho/Bay Park are not walkable at all. Especially compared with North Park, although that might prevent the homeless problems you see in North Park. You find houses that look like bombsites right next to rebuilt houses. It is suburbia, and boring for some. I do not mind that problem after living in PB for 6 years. After having kids I like the peace and quiet. The houses stock is old, built in the 50s. Make sure you get a good inspector. Get your sewer lines scoped, cast iron pipes have a lifetime of 75-100 years but if someone poured acid to relieve a blockage then that shortens the lifespan.

I used whatever mortgage place my realtor suggested, it made the buying process easier. We then refinanced.

Let me know any more specific questions.

Submitted by Bogey18 on January 11, 2018 - 8:22pm.

Thanks so much for the thoughtful response, much appreciated!

What made you choose Bay Ho over some of the surrounding communities? Is there much of a difference that you noticed between them that can’t necessarily be found by viewing listings or visiting properties, as far as intangibles are concerned (vide, feel, etc.)?

Also, the properties we’re looking at are primarily flips, curious if you went this route as well. The non-flips we are looking at aren’t priced much differently from the flips, I’m not against a flipped house, but trying to get opinions on the matter.

Thanks again for the response.

Submitted by bewildering on January 11, 2018 - 11:42pm.

I work at UCSD and like to surf. Bay Ho is really close to 52 for both the beach and the University. Also, I would say that Bay Ho and Bay Park have some really nice areas. It really came down to available properties. We also would have taken a place in North Clairemont but west of Genesee.

We checked a few places out. There were two flips that were actually cheaper than the house we bought. Both were on the small side. Our house was a weird but sort of typical Clairemont story. A contractor had owned it in the 90s and substantially remodelled/rebuilt the place. It is big and our realtor called the layout 'quirky'. For instance, the master bedroom is as big as my old 1 bedroom apartment in PB. For these reasons, we got a good deal and flippers were not interested.

I think you will do better getting the non-flips.

Submitted by DataAgent on January 12, 2018 - 12:23am.

Another Bay Ho resident here. Bought our house in late 2007. Our house was sort of a flip. The prior and only owner of 35 years bought a new home in Ocean Beach and then remodeled our house for two years. We found it just as he was finishing up. When we bought it, it looked just like a brand new home with standard upgrades. Nothing fancy. Just a clean slate. Exactly what we were looking for.

I agree with 'bewildering' on pretty much all comments. I will add another good benefit of Bay Ho: because we are a little farther from the beach, we are hardly affected by the Airbnb or vrbo problems. People either buy in Bay Ho or they lease. Minimal weekly rentals.

A friend of the family lives in PB. He tells me he has new neighbors every week and sometimes every day. He meets a lot of interesting people but most are just noisy tourists.

If you really want the inside scoop of the area, attend a CTC meeting. The next one is February 1st at Clairemont High School. Here's the website: https://clairemontonline.com/

Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 12, 2018 - 8:09am.

I live in Bay Park, where we moved in early 2012.

We just wanted to live somewhere central, and I've always thought this general area was pretty good bang for the buck. We looked in Clairemont, Bay Park, Bay Ho, and University City. We also looked, just for kicks, in a couple places in more far flung areas (University Heights and Hillcrest, where I've lived before, and which I like), as well as PB, but those were never huge contenders.

I will note that we specifically targeted places that are NOT known for their good school systems. People pay a huge premium for areas with good schools, and since we don't have kids, that would be wasted money for us. If we had kids, the calculus might have been very different.

Another thing to note is that I, personally, put a huge premium on being central. I just hate sitting in the car and consider it wasted time. But I know that's not the case with everyone. Just worth noting that my "centrality premium" is higher than average.

Anyway, like Bewildering, for us it just came down to finding the right house/neighborhood among the ones we were looking in. That happened to be in Bay Park (the second place one was actually in University City).

As far as living here, I love it. It's a great house and neighborhood*, at a price we could afford (back then anyway!), and extremely convenient.

It's convenient both externally and internally:
- it's very central and close to freeways, so quick to get pretty much anywhere within SD
- but also internally, there is pretty much everything you need here in terms of stores, etc.

* The "hit or miss" nature of this general area has been noted. Some neighborhoods are nice, some pretty dumpy, and then there are some that are quite mixed (nicely remodeled houses right next to ones in pretty bad shape). It doesn't bother me, I kind of like the variety. But expect to see the whole spectrum here.

Regarding Bay Park in specific, since I've moved here it's become a better place to live as better businesses/restaurants have been opening nearby, including a lot on south Morena.

Also worth noting, they are putting in a trolley... it's worth considering whether that directly impacts the property you are looking at.

Good luck!

Submitted by DataAgent on January 12, 2018 - 9:01pm.

Rich Toscano wrote:

Also worth noting, they are putting in a trolley... it's worth considering whether that directly impacts the property you are looking at.

Rich,
Do you think the trolley is good or bad for our area? I'm a bit concerned about the Balboa stop being the gateway to PB for thousands more SDSU and UCSD kids. Morena and Balboa could turn into a congested nightmare with buses, cabs, shuttles, limos, uber stops etc.

I've been attending the trolley meetings since they started in 2013. The original ribbon-cutting date was supposed to be 2018. Now we're looking at 2021. Next stop... Ivanka inauguration? :)

Submitted by bewildering on January 12, 2018 - 11:23pm.

DataAgent wrote:

Rich,
Do you think the trolley is good or bad for our area? I'm a bit concerned about the Balboa stop being the gateway to PB for thousands more SDSU and UCSD kids. Morena and Balboa could turn into a congested nightmare with buses, cabs, shuttles, limos, uber stops etc.

I am all for the trolley. Development will completely revitalize Morena Blvd. Great news for Bay Ho/Bay Park. Although if you read some guy (HJ) on Nextdoor all our houses will be demolished to make way for a Miami beach landscape.

I am confused by the idea that the Balboa stop will be a gateway to PB. How are people meant to get to the Trolley from PB? The station is across the 5 and far away from most of PB. They are not building a bridge across the 5 (although it is mentioned in the plans). Apparently, the cycle route will be via the 'In and Out' road and Santa Fe street.

People will take forever to walk and that Mission Bay Drive/ Balboa junction is hideous. I used to live in Crown Point and it took me 7 minutes to cycle only to 'In and Out'. And Crown point is closer and easier to cycle to the Balboa station than most of PB. Otherwise, you have to use Garnet. No way I would cycle on Garnet or Grand.

At any rate, i think car driving commuters from PB will be much more negatively impacted by the Trolley stop than folks from Clairemont.

Can you tell me how they imagine people getting from the apartments on Diamond street to the Balboa station?

Submitted by DataAgent on January 13, 2018 - 12:09am.

"I am confused by the idea that the Balboa stop will be a gateway to PB. How are people meant to get to the Trolley from PB? The station is across the 5 and far away from most of PB. They are not building a bridge across the 5 (although it is mentioned in the plans). Apparently, the cycle route will be via the 'In and Out' road and Santa Fe street."

buses, cabs, shuttles, limos, uber stops etc.

I have a link to a very detailed visual plan of the latest rendition of the Balboa station. Lots of bus parking and pick up points. I need to find it.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 13, 2018 - 11:08am.

bewildering wrote:

I am all for the trolley. Development will completely revitalize Morena Blvd. Great news for Bay Ho/Bay Park. Although if you read some guy (HJ) on Nextdoor all our houses will be demolished to make way for a Miami beach landscape.

Haha. That was funny. The trolley getting built in San Diego is slower than glaciers melting.

Submitted by DataAgent on January 13, 2018 - 1:52pm.

Here's the latest info on the Balboa station trolley plan. It's dated: December 2017.

http://www.balboastationplan.org/draftplan

Submitted by DataAgent on January 13, 2018 - 1:54pm.

Has anyone noticed this new in-fill development?

http://hallmarkcommunities.com/index.php...

Submitted by bewildering on January 13, 2018 - 6:18pm.

Thanks for the links. I was wondering what was being built in the new development on Morena. I had assumed apartments but these houses are huge.

I am reading the report. It is odd that there seems to be no connection between the rose creek trail and Damon avenue for bikes. It is a pain having to cross mission bay drive.

I am still unconvinced how many people will get to PB to the station.

Submitted by DataAgent on January 13, 2018 - 7:04pm.

The original plans for the Ticonderoga project called for 9 houses. But it looks like House #1 now has a big back yard. The real problem with Ticonderoga is the shared driveways and the noise off Morena.

If you want to hear what's going on and help shape the Clairemont business world, join the CPG (I'm a member):
https://www.sandiego.gov/planning/commun...

Submitted by bewildering on January 14, 2018 - 9:28am.

DataAgent wrote:
The original plans for the Ticonderoga project called for 9 houses. But it looks like House #1 now has a big back yard. The real problem with Ticonderoga is the shared driveways and the noise off Morena.

If you want to hear what's going on and help shape the Clairemont business world, join the CPG (I'm a member):
https://www.sandiego.gov/planning/community/profiles/clairemontmesa/agendas

Yes, also being next to a freeway would be tough. Although modern houses can have great soundproofing.

I read the minutes of the CPG when they are posted online. Maybe I'll pop along at some point, but I have two young kids and I prefer to get some time with them.

Submitted by DataAgent on January 16, 2018 - 1:16am.

"I read the minutes of the CPG when they are posted online. Maybe I'll pop along at some point, but I have two young kids and I prefer to get some time with them."

The guy who writes the CPG minutes doesn't attend the meeting. You really need to attend the CPG meeting to get the facts.

It's only once a month. Your kids won't miss you.

John

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