Monday, March 21, 2011

Escape From California If You Can

The threat of earthquakes aside, as a native Californian I weep for a state that greedy politicians have clearly ruined.  Many Californians have been catching on that the golden state isn't anywhere near what it used to be and have headed out in the droves slowing down its population growth considerably.  See California No Longer a Magnet - SFGate.com.

Based on the deterioration of public services the golden state once offered, tax payer support of an illegal immigrant population, poorly ranked public education (ranks 49th of 50 states!), disproportionate property values compared to the rest of the country, and extremely high taxes, it's a no brainer.  Perhaps the only thing that makes California worthwhile these days is its tolerable weather conditions in certain areas.
"California is becoming an anchor more than a magnet, sort of like New York. It's a center of power and wealth, but a place middle class folks have been moving out of to more affordable parts of the country," said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution in Washington. - California No Longer a Magnet - SFGate.com
The continual threat posed by the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant in San Luis Obispo doesn't help either.  The plant's had 14 near miss accidents and wasn't required to meet earthquake specifications when it was built in 1985. See Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant 'Near Miss' in Report - SFGate.com  Should an accident ever occur at this plant that sits on a fault, it would be disastrous for Southern California in particular.  
Even before last week's earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the proposal to relicense the 26-year-old facility was controversial. Updated seismic studies planned by PG&E are not expected to be completed before 2014. In 2009, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger vetoed a law unanimously approved by the Legislature that would have compelled PG&E company to undertake specific seismic studies recommended by the California Energy Commission.
The studies are needed in part because the U.S. Geological Survey announced in 2008 the discovery of previously undetected fault line, the 15-mile Shoreline Fault, which runs within 330 yards of Diablo Canyon. Without those studies, PG&E cannot say for certain whether an earthquake along that fault or others nearby would result in a nuclear meltdown. - Seismic Uncertainty at Diablo Canyon - The Bay Citizen
On the bright side of things, this is really a great time for Californians to pluck up properties in other states such as Florida where there are now 20% unoccupied homes in the state.  See Nearly 20% of Florida Homes are Vacant - CNNMoney.com.  As a loan signing agent I've come across many in San Francisco who are selling their investment properties such as in Arizona and Nevada taking a huge loss while the buyer get's a phenomenal deal.  I've also come across those who are leaving California because they couldn't ignore the tremendous deals on properties in other states that have a huge inventory of foreclosed homes.  


This news story clip shows Florida offers some of the best deals due to their 20% unoccupied home crisis.  There are nice condos selling for as little as $26,000 and people from all over the world are buying up the properties. Don't worry it's not too late, there are plenty to go around.

I had a signing a couple months ago where a man living in Marin County, California said his rent was so high it made no sense especially since his place wasn't that impressive.  He decided to pluck up a property in Nevada for $65,000 that would allow him to live like a king. He described the place as if it were a palace with a hot tub, granite top kitchen, fireplace etc.  His job in the print industry enabled him not to have to be in San Francisco.  There are also no state taxes in Nevada, quite a savings over time.

Believe it or not, there are some full time employed people who don't really live in California, but on the other side of the country who commute on the weekends and rent modest apartments.  At one of my recent signings I learned a director at an up and coming pharmaceutical company had a full time job and flew back to his home to be with his wife each weekend.  I was amazed.

In considering whether to leave California also consider the state's legal system has become transparent on many levels as nothing more than a scam.  Many in the legal community are actually actively seeking to entrap people into their system to "play them like a piano" for financial gain and the judges are in on it.