Advice about moving to sierra foothills area
I so appreciate all the wonderful information people share here. We are feeling priced out of the Bay Area (hoping to buy at some point) and over the traffic/congestion/noise/stress. We would like to move to a less crowded, more rural area with easier access to outdoor activities and more affordable home prices. We would also ideally like to be within a 3 (4 hour max) drive of the Bay Area as we have family here and my husband could keep his job and do a long distance commute down here for a few days every week or two.
We're thinking about Grass Valley or Placerville and surrounding areas but open to other ideas. We would love to be within a few minutes of a town of some size (not super rural) and in an area where there are other families. Our budget would probably be around 400k (max) and we would love to afford some property or at the very least have a yard where we can garden.
Does anyone have recommendations for other places/towns to look that might fit the bill, or things to consider as we dream about this possibility? I am aware that culturally it will be a big transition. What other considerations should we be thinking about? Does anyone have friends or family who live or have moved to these areas and have insights? One question I have would be about fire insurance and how that affects home prices + affordability, especially with fires getting worse every year. We would even be interested in realtor recommendations so we could potentially start a conversation with someone. Thanks so much.