Are you thinking of moving to California, the land of movie stars and tech billionaires? It is a place with glorious views, a temperate climate, and access to coastal beaches. It also has high property prices, which means that unless you have a fat trust fund or are a high-paid Google employee, it’s probably not affordable to live there unless you are willing to make sacrifices. A recent study found that median home prices in California have risen so sharply that in some regions they now exceed the cost of renting an equivalent property. In other words, it is cheaper to rent than buy almost anywhere in California. However, if you are serious about moving there because you love it and have no plans to leave again anytime soon perhaps because your partner has landed a great job up there then here are some useful tips on how you can afford it financially.
How To Afford To Live In California?
Earn More Before Moving to California
First, make sure that you can increase your income before you move to California. If you’re already there, you’re probably stuck with the same salary. However, if you’re planning to move there in the near future, it may be possible to negotiate a higher salary with your current employer. If you’re going to work in a specialized field, you may be able to increase your salary by taking additional education. This may involve a considerable time and financial investment, but it may be worth it in the end. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a higher salary even if you aren’t changing jobs. If your employer has a good profit margin, they may be willing to pay you more as a result of having lower turnover and higher productivity.
Don’t Expect to Buy Right Away
Before you get too excited about moving to California, make sure that you aren’t expecting to buy real estate right away. There are some areas of California where the median home price is over $1 million. If you have a budget of $300,000 or less, you’ll have to shop carefully to find a property that’s within your budget. If you are renting, you can take advantage of California’s rent control laws. Landlords can’t raise your rent without just cause, and you can dispute a rent increase if it isn’t justified. However, keep in mind that if you sign a lease for a year or less, you can’t use rent control to protect you from a rent increase.
Move Somewhere Cheaper
If you simply can’t afford to live in California, you can consider moving to another part of the state that is less expensive. This doesn’t mean that you have to live in Bakersfield. Instead, consider moving to a city such as Santa Cruz or San Luis Obispo that is still within commuting distance of your job. Before you make a decision, make sure that you research the cost of living in the area. In some cases, a seemingly cheaper area may actually have a higher cost of living due to higher taxes or other factors.
Consider Living With Family
California has an excellent climate, but that might not be enough to make it a good place to live if it’s simply too expensive. If you’re a single professional who can’t find a way to afford to live there, consider living with family while you’re getting started in your new career. You may be able to get a head start on your career by moving to California, but you need to make sure that you don’t get too far ahead. While it’s not necessary to finish your career before making a move, it’s also not a bad idea to stay within reasonable commuting distance of your current job if you can.
If you’re in an area of California that has a high cost of living but that isn’t an easy commute from your job, you can consider staying in a short-term rental. These are rentals that people use for vacation purposes, but that are available on a more regular basis. These can be very expensive, but they are a good alternative if you have the money but don’t have the time to hunt for a place to live and sign a lease. You can search online for short-term rentals in your area, and you can also find them through sharing economy apps like Airbnb.
Commit to an Exercise Program
Before you move to California, you may want to make sure that you’re in good enough shape to handle the climate there. California is a coastal state with a mild climate most of the year, but it still has high temperatures in the summer. While it’s not necessary to be in world-class shape to live in California, you should be committed to maintaining a regular exercise program. You don’t want to be the guy who always wears shorts and a t-shirt even when it’s cold outside. If you’re not in shape now, moving to California won’t magically get you into shape. If you don’t want to be the guy at the beach in a sweater, you’ll have to put in the effort to stay fit.
Best Place To Live Cheap In California
1. Merced, California
It’s a place with a low cost of living, but the quality of life is still high. The cost of living is 26.5% lower than the U.S. average, and the median home price is $147,800.
2. Fresno, California
Fresno has a very low cost of living and a great quality of life. The cost of living is 23% lower than the national average, and the median home price is $153,700.
3. Modesto, California
Modesto has a very low cost of living and high quality of life with an excellent job market and many affordable homes for sale in Modesto CA
4. Bakersfield, California
Bakersfield is a city with a low cost of living and high quality of life. It has the lowest cost of living in California, and the median home price is $192,200.
5. Vallejo, California
Vallejo is a great place to live with a very low cost of living and high quality of life. The median home price is $297,900 and the cost of living is 12% lower than the national average.
6. Riverside, California
Riverside is a city with a low cost of living and high quality of life. The cost of living is 15.7% lower than the national average, and the median home price is $270,500.
7. Oakland, California
Oakland has a very low cost of living and high quality of life. The median home price is $486,100. Oakland has the second lowest cost of living in California behind Bakersfield and the third highest income per capita in the state of California at $39,838 per year.
California is a lovely place to live, but it isn’t cheap. If you can’t afford to live there now, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to afford it when you move there. Before you make the leap, make sure that you have a plan for increasing your income, cutting back your expenses, or finding a cheaper place to live.