10 Best Places to Live in California

Thinking about moving to California?

There’s a reason 38.8 million people call California home. For some, it may be the lure of Hollywood or the desire to chase ocean waves. For others, California may mean big opportunities with one of the state’s many tech companies. Whatever the reason, one thing is clear – the Golden State simply has the size, beauty and opportunity other states seem to lack. If you’re thinking about living in California, one of these 10 places might be the perfect spot.

What are the best places to live in California?

These Californian cities, listed in no particular order, are some of the best places to call home.

1.      San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA is a great place to live in California

This photo perfectly captures a daily view of the San Diego Bay.

Population: 1.356 million

Average Temperature: the annual high for San Diego is 69.8°F and the annual low is 57.5°F.

What it’s known for: beautiful beaches, Mexican food, the U.S. Navy (largest naval fleet in the world), proximity to Tijuana, major attractions (San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, Legoland, Balboa Park), Comic-Con, craft beer and the Gaslamp District.

Who should move there: beach goers, young families, college students and health enthusiasts.

You’ll find locals: outside – the weather is always great!

Fun fact: San Diego produces more avocados than any other place in the United States.

2.      Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, CA is a great place to live in California

A stunning photo of the downtown Los Angeles skyline

Population: 18.55 million

Average Temperature: the annual high for Los Angeles is 71.7°F and the annual low is 55.9°F.

What it’s known for: Hollywood, Beverly Hills, ethnic diversity (more than 140 ethnicities in the city), fashion, business, manufacturing, Santa Monica Pier, museums and pro sports teams (Lakers, Dodgers, Clippers and Kings).

Who should move there: creatives, singles, fashionistas and sports fanatics.

You’ll find locals: at the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market. You can bargain shop, people watch and maybe spot a celebrity or two. Plus, it’s usually tourist-free.

Fun fact: the city’s original name was “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the River Porciúncula.”

3.      San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, California

A picturesque view of the houses in San Francisco, CA

Population: 837,442

Average Temperature: the annual high for San Francisco is 63.8°F and the annual low is 50.8°F.

What it’s known for: the San Francisco Bay, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Chinatown, Lombard Street, pro sports (49ers and Giants), coffee, fog, cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Chocolate and steep hills.

Who should move there: techies, fitness fanatics and nature lovers.

You’ll find locals: at the parks – there are more than 200 in the city.

Fun fact: San Francisco was built on 43 hills!

4.      Berkeley, CA

Berkeley, CA

The UC Berkeley Sather Tower overlooks the San Francisco Bay

Population: 116,768

Average Temperature: the annual high for Berkeley is 67.8°F and the annual low is 48.4°F.

What it’s known for: the University of California at Berkeley, diversity, progressive government, locally-owned shops, San Francisco Bay views, Berkeley Rose Garden and Tilden Regional Park.

Who should move there: college students and teachers, bicyclists and outdoor enthusiasts.

You’ll find locals: at the festivals. The city hosts many festivals throughout the year including the Arts Festival, Kite Festival, Juggling and Unicycling Festival and even a “How Berkeley Can You Be” festival.

Fun fact: since 2000, Berkeley has gained more than 4,470 trees along streets and in parks. This movement is part of the city’s goal to improve air quality and reduce local air temps.

5.      Irvine, CA

Irvine, CA

A photo of the Ferris wheel in Irvine, CA

Population: 236,716

Average Temperature: the annual high for Irvine is 65°F and the annual low is 47.5°F.

What it’s known for: good public schools, notable company headquarters (Taco Bell, In-N-Out Burger, Kia Motors and Toshiba), Irvine Spectrum Center, the University of California at Irvine, filming, bike trails and the Irvine Museum.

Who should move there: families, bicyclists, actors and college students.

You’ll find locals: at the parks, on the beach or on the trails.

Fun fact: There are more than 44 miles of bike trails and 200,000 acres of parks and preserves for outdoor sports and recreation.

6.      San Jose, CA

San Jose, California

A photo of beautiful downtown San Jose, CA

Population: 998,537

Average Temperature: the annual high for San Jose is 59.8°F and the annual low is 42.3°F.

What it’s known for: the Capital of Silicon Valley, The Tech Museum, Winchester Mystery House, Santana Row, festivals, educated workforce, parks and San Jose State University.

Who should move there: tech whizzes, college students and families.

You’ll find locals: cheering on the Sharks (NHL), the Giants (Minor League Baseball), the Earthquakes (Major League Soccer) and the Spartans (San Jose State athletics).

Fun fact: San Jose was the state’s capital before the switch to Sacramento in 1854.

7.      Fresno, CA

Yosemite National Park is close to Fresno, CA

Fresno, CA is close to Yosemite National Park

Population: 509,924

Average Temperature: The average annual high for Fresno is 76.7°F and the average annual low is 51.9°F.

What it’s known for: Close proximity to Yosemite National Park, lower cost of living, California State University at Fresno, fine arts and community parks.

Who should move there: Outdoor explorers, budget-conscious people, farmers and independent performers and artists.

You’ll find locals: in the Tower District. It’s the spot in Fresno for dining, arts and entertainment. Most restaurants and retail shops are locally-owned, too.

Fun fact: Fresno is known as the Raisin Capital of the World.

8.      Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara, CA
Palm trees dot the landscape in Santa Barbara, CA

Population: 90,412

Average Temperature: the annual high for Santa Barbara is 69.9°F and the annual low is 53.5°F.

What it’s known for: beautiful scenery, Spanish architecture, wine, The Channel Islands National Park, hiking, the University of California at Santa Barbara and State Street.

Who should move there:  wine connoisseurs, people who love the community, college students, shopaholics and hikers.

You’ll find locals: exploring the outdoors. With about 300 days of sunshine per year, the hardest part of living in Santa Barbara is staying inside.

Fun fact: the city is often referred to as the “American Riviera” because its climate feels Mediterranean.

9.      San Mateo County, CA (includes San Mateo, Palo Alto, Redwood City, and Half Moon Bay…just to name a few).

San Mateo County, CA

Flowers and shoreline in San Mateo County, CA

Population: 747,373

Average Temperature: the annual temperature for San Mateo County is 57.4°F.

What it’s known for: close proximity to San Francisco and San Jose, friendly people, Coyote Point Park, Pillar Point Harbor, low unemployment rate, technology, Stanford University and the Filoli Gardens.

Who should move there: job seekers, students and those who want a short commute to San Jose or San Francisco.

You’ll find locals: on the golf course. The county is located on a 60-mile peninsula that features beautiful views and outstanding, year-round conditions on the area’s many courses.

Fun fact: YouTube originated in San Mateo.

10.  Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, CA

A photo of the Sacramento, CA skyline at dusk

Population: 479,686

Average Temperature: the annual high for Sacramento is 73.6°F and the annual low is 48.3°F.

What it’s known for: being the capital of California, California State University at Sacramento, the UC Davis Medical Center, festivals, Crocker Art Museum, locally-grown food, the Kings (NBA) and its proximity to Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and Yosemite National Park.

Who should move there: bicyclists, outdoor adventurers, families and college students.

You’ll find locals: at one of the many restaurants in the city. There are more than 1,200!

Fun fact: Sacramento is known as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” because many restaurants get their food directly from local farms.

 

By Brittney Lee / UPack

 

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7 Ways to Help New Agents Succeed

7way

When prospective agents come into Matt Schwind’s office, he asks them why they want to get into the real estate business. Many say they love houses or HGTV, but those answers are red flags, says Schwind, managing broker for the Bettendorf, Iowa, branch office of Ruhl & Ruhl, REALTORS®.

“The real estate business isn’t about houses. It’s about people. And if you can’t communicate with people — not by text or e-mail, but face to face and on the phone — then this isn’t the right business for you,” he says.

A big part of Schwind’s job is to recruit and coach new salespeople. Unfortunately, a high percentage of new agents barely make it through their first year.

Schwind and other brokers have some tips on how owners, managers, and team leaders can help newbies buck the trend and make it through year one:

1. Emphasize to them that they’re starting a small business. “I explain to them that if they were going to open a coffee shop, they wouldn’t expect to make money for the first three to six months,” Schwind says. “Real estate is the same way.”

Saving enough money ahead of time or having another source of income (like a spouse’s salary) is the only way to actually make it through those lean times.

The top 10 percent of earners in real estate made $178,770 in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual wage was $43,430 in May 2014. But the lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,880.

“It’s a tough business. New agents have to be realistic. They probably will go backwards a little financially before going forward,” Schwind says. “You will give up about two years of your life to enjoy the next 10.”

2. Be realistic about prospecting. David Bracy meets with his new agents every Tuesday. They talk about prospecting methods, and he offers advice and ideas for staying on track.

“If they come in and tell me they only had three appointments that week, I already know what is going to happen to them in six months: They won’t be in the business anymore,” says Bracy, vice president and managing broker of the Koenig/Rubloff Realty Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Magnificent Mile and Gold Coast offices in Chicago.

New agents need to understand that they’re not going to get paid if they’re not producing, says Eric Bramlett, broker-owner of Bramlett Residential in Austin, Texas.

“They see the TV shows and are looking for a quick buck in real estate,” he says. “But you actually have to pound the pavement and make lots of cold calls.”

3. Endorse office presence. As much as technology allows agents to do business outside of the office, there is a huge disadvantage if they aren’t involved in the synergy of the office atmosphere, Schwind says.

“If they stop coming into the office, they aren’t engaged in the business,” he says.

Schwind encourages his new agents to come to the office at least 40 hours a week and attend all the company trainings his brokerage has to offer.

4. Consider setting up mentorships. By officially placing new agents side by side with senior agents, they’ll not only get on-the-job training but also connect with an established pro. Rookies can go out on home tours, assist at open houses, and tag along on listing appointments before they do it on their own, Schwind explains. Make sure the mentors are rewarded for their time too.

5. Value customer service first. Schwind doesn’t hang photos of his top salespeople in his office lobby. Instead, you’ll find pictures of his company’s top-rated agents in customer satisfaction.

“It’s one of the things we value highly,” he says. “Those rewards are given quarterly, and they can’t be bought.”

New agents are eligible for the award, which are based on customer surveys and feedback, and Schwind finds it motivates his team.

6. Teach them the ins and outs of open houses. An open house is an opportunity to meet potential clients, so tell your new agents to invite the neighbors, Bracy says. “Eighty-two percent of those who walk into an open house buy real estate in the next 12 months,” he adds.

Don’t talk about the dishwasher; instead, coach agents on how to get open house guests to talk about themselves, Bracy says. He gives his rookies a script and series of questions for interacting with open-house guests.

“They need to create the condition where that person is talking twice as much as they are,” he says. And for safety, Bracy always has multiple agents at every open house.

7. Help newbies connect with an experienced closing team. A new real estate agent and a new mortgage broker are a bad combination, says Bramlett. Ideally, a new agent should be paired with a closing team that can answer questions or quietly step in if they see a potential mistake.

“A good closing team will typically know more than their role in the transaction,” Bramlett says, adding that it’s a key part of giving new agents the tools and resources to stay on track.

“I can’t make a new agent be committed,” he says, “but I can show them the way.”

 

Credit to Lee Nelson

Lee Nelson is a freelance journalist from the Chicago area. She has written for Yahoo! Homes, TravelNursing,  MyMortgageInsider, and ChicagoStyle Weddings Magazine. She also writes a bi-monthly blog on Unigo

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