To Move Or Not To Move

You all are going to think I'm crazy. Didn't I/we just barely complete a big home update? Well, yes, we did, but it didn't cure me of my decades old itch to live closer to the coast than we do now, meaning 4-5 miles inland vs 22 miles as we do now. A difference of 15'ish miles doesn't seem like much, but from a lifestyle standpoint it's a world of difference.

  • Temperatures: 84 currently in my town, 73 in Laguna Niguel, the town we are eyeing for relocation. Generally closer to a 12-15 degree difference in the summer. (I know because I looked up the differences constantly last summer!)
  • Ability to access the beach: About 25-30 minutes from where we are now, vs 5-7 minutes in Laguna Niguel. Additionally, we have to think about traffic patterning every time we go down currently, which would be a non-issue if living in Laguna Niguel because we'd take surface streets.
  • Amenities: Pretty much a draw for things like restaurants, shopping, banking, entertainment. Our current community includes an HOA pool and spa, plus tennis courts. Most of the communities we are looking at in Laguna Niguel would appear to afford the same if not even more.
  • Cost of Living: Identical, other than the difference in housing prices. We can mitigate this by purchasing a slightly smaller home.
  • Property Tax: It depends. If we stay under, at or within 5% over our current home's selling price when we sell here, we can transfer our current property tax base under two California provisions established to help seniors move within high property value counties. If we elect to buy up then we could potential pay up to $5,000 more a year in property taxes, which while not necessarily desirable, is not a deal breaker.
  • Quality of Life: It's is wonderful where we live currently - good schools, low crime, plentiful parks and outdoor areas, well-funded city government. It appears to be very similar in Laguna Niguel, but with apparently even lower crime statistics.
  • Lifelong Learning programs: We have a terrific Lifelong Learning program within four miles of our home at a cost of $550 a year for two people. Laguna Niguel has an equally robust, though slightly more spread out senior learning program, in that it holds classes in a variety of facilities around south Orange County. And the Laguna Niguel program is completely free, to our surprise.
  • Impact on our current array of activities and clubs: Negligible, other than the time needed to build new friendships within the activities. Many of our activities are already countywide (hiking, biking, running, wine club), so no impact there. Every other activity - religious/spiritual, gym, service organizations - have counterparts in or near Laguna Niguel.
  • Suitability of homes: Similar to what we have, though slightly newer, and I am happy to do the same sort of updates to a new home as we just completed here. Additionally, there are lots and lots of view homes in Laguna Niguel because of the town being located along a series of rising hills, and that would be a definite improvement from what we have currently.
  • Ease of exiting: Key when towing out with our travel trailer, our current town has the advantage when it comes to exiting out of greater-LA for parts north or inland. However, Laguna Niguel would have much greater ease of access to San Diego county, another of our preferred RV'ing spots.
  • Where I Could See Myself Living Out The Rest of My Life: Hands down a coastal community like Laguna Niguel - I can already see my 80 year old self taking a careful walk along the beach each morning, then stopping for coffee at a beachside shack, before heading back up the hill to my home.
I had a realtor in a few days ago, and advised I wanted a realistic sales price, not a wouldn't-it-be-great price. I have that in hand, and we have an appointment the week after next to tour single family dwellings in our targeted price range. If I can get my husband to see the magic in lifestyle change this move would generate, we are both setting our sites on Fall of 2018 to make this change - I need to give him time to wrap his head around this, I would like to enjoy our newly updated home for just a little while, and we'd rather not be looking to buy during the spring and summer rush. 

To Be Continued . . .


  1. Looks like you've studied Laguna Niguel and have a plan with supporting facts. I'm sure you'll be successful when you decide to carry it out.

    1. Thanks Natalie. We've discovered it's a lot easier to move when your employer tells you to, vs moving on your own because, well, you just want to!

  2. I would say your last two bullet points pretty much hit hte nail on the head with your lifestyle. My only thought, looking at this list (and I am an East Coast beach girl who moved inland), is you say you would keep the same activities but with new participatns. My experience is that making those new participatnts friends is sometimes easier said than done, one. And two, even though it's only fifteen miles, what about those local relationships. Would you want to keep them? Drive back and forth? I'm now looking at California as a possible snowbird alternative, but the traffic scares me more than any cost, frankly.

    1. Interestingly to us, most of our day-to-day social connections revolve around people and activities that came to us after retiring. This leads me to believe we'd experience same in a new community, particularly one as attuned to retirees as Laguna Niguel is (their senior center/club has a great list of activities, not to mention nearby Laguna Woods, formerly a Leisure World community and now an incorporated city of 18,000 seniors with their own mayor, would you believe?).

      And most of our family and longtime friends live in SoCal in general, not in OC, so no change there.

      Traffic? Yes, we have it, but if you understand the patterns, it can be avoided or minimized. Google Maps does a great job of that BTW - it will reroute to avoid upcoming traffic if alternate routes are available.

  3. Hey you are moving to my neck of the woods. I love it out here, and yes it is much cooler on this side, then even the other side of the 5, like 5-10 degree difference between here and Mission Viejo even. And there is less traffic on this side of the freeway. I full heartily agree with you moving to LN! Good luck with the realtor and all that goes with it. Fingers crossed that the numbers work out.

    1. We are seeing lots of gorgeous homes online in our price range, some just 2 and 1/2 miles from the beach so, yes, yes, yes I am excited! This may occur well before 2018 if I have my way. ;-)


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