A Texan and a Michigander move to Southern California (Inland Empire)...
March 30, 2019 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Mr. Getawaysticks and I are likely moving to the Riverside, CA area in 6-12 months. There is an amazing job opportunity for me that will last a minimum of two years. Please help us with locations to target in our search for a new home!

While we have visited LA proper and stayed in Glendale, we didn't make it to this area at all and are trying to start our research before we are able to fly out. The area I will be working in is near UC-Riverside. We are early 40s with two cats and no kids. We aren't sure yet where Mr. Getawaysticks' job will be.

I assume because the housing market is crazy and will probably continue to be crazy that we will be renting for at least the first year. We prefer to rent a house over an apartment or townhome, and prefer to have a garage (but that's not a deal breaker like it is in the midwest).

1) Where are the nice areas to live where we won't be out of our mind with traffic, given a normal work schedule (8-5 maybe)? Is there a nice, relatively safe area that is still pretty inexpensive? Are there any areas to avoid?

2) Here in Michigan (And also where we moved from in Texas) renting a house is just a little bit more than an apartment. Is that the same in the Riverside area? If that's a given then we will always choose a house.

3) Renting in general - is "pet rent" a thing in California? How are tenants' rights? We are in a position where we could buy, but would rather wait for the market to dip a bit. My job there is a minimum of 2 years but will probably go indefinitely.

4) Probably some of this is a judgment call, but we've seen some mobile home parks on Zillow that look decent in the Corona area. Is this not really an option for people who enjoy peace and quiet and a lack of barking dogs?

5) Generally, is this a terrible idea? We are dying to get out of Michigan (previous ask), and this job is just so cool. But this AskMe answer from a decade ago has scared me a bit :) We don't believe by any means that this area will be a cultural mecca nor do we think we will retire here - just live here for 2-5 years and then go somewhere else.

FWIW, We are introverts who will mostly stay home but will occasionally want to go to LA for a comedy show or San Diego for the zoo. We don't care much about concerts or nightlife and would much prefer solid libraries or museums (and a Costco within a reasonable distance =) ). The cost of living adjustment has been factored in (coming from a suburb of Detroit).
posted by getawaysticks to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hi there. I’m a Texan who now lives in the Inland Empire (Redlands, to be exact). Don’t let that last answer from 10 years ago freak you out. Riverside is a great place to live and there’s been a ton of interesting developments downtown (arts, lots of restaurants and a few chill bars, breweries). We have a good library system and have been working on the Metrolink, which is the regional rail system (it’s more for commuters, but there is a train to the beach in the summer!). We also have some nice regional trail systems, lots of hiking opportunities in the San Bernardino mountains, and the desert or beach is only an hour away.

Negatives of the Inland Empire: we are becoming a warehouse based economy out here (not just Amazon, but a lot of stuff that gets shipped to the Ports of Long Beach and LA gets trucked out here for further distribution. This means lots of truck traffic and smog in the summer. Air quality is pretty bad here. Some people view the area as an extended bedroom community for LA county, as housing gets scarcer and more expensive there. Homelessness is a huge problem in general in California as well.

I can’t give specific advice on where to live in Riverside, but generally, our housing market isn’t quite as inflated as LA. I would stay away from Moreno Valley and San Bernardino unless you visit the neighborhood first. How long of a commute do you want? Redlands is about as far out as I would go on the 10 East. You could also probably go as far west as Rancho Cucamonga and still have a reasonable commute.

Pet rent is a thing, plus deposit. California tenant laws are pretty tenant friendly, from what I understand.

posted by topophilia at 2:47 PM on March 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh yes, for a commute we'd like to keep it under 30 minutes if possible. Thanks for the helpful info, topophilia!
posted by getawaysticks at 4:11 PM on March 30, 2019

I spoke to a friend for Riverside-specific advice. She said to try Canyon Crest, Magnolia Center, or Riverside Plaza.
posted by topophilia at 7:33 PM on March 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

I am a grad student at UCR, and a transplant to the area. Don’t be worried about that ten year old assessment of the Inland Empire. 2nding that Riverside has a lot going on and continues to develop, especially in the downtown area which serves as a hub for the surrounding towns.

Close to campus, you would probably enjoy Canyon Crest as a neighborhood. I also like Wood Streets, though it’s a little further away. A friend owns a house near the Box Springs Preserve and it’s very nice and beautiful over there—a bit more remote, and you will hear owls and coyotes at night, which personally I find to be a plus.

I would also look at Redlands, which is about half an hour away and has a very low key cool vibe to it, with lots of nice housing stock.

I would not recommend Corona, because there is no real downtown to it—it has a very suburban “all strip malls all the time” thing going on. It is closer to LA and the beach, though, so if you’ll be doing that commute regularly might be worth considering.
posted by nancynickerson at 2:02 PM on April 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the helpful responses! It's great to have some ideas before we're able to fly out.
posted by getawaysticks at 5:22 PM on April 24, 2019

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