Job Opportunity to Leave Bay Area to Sacramento

Hi Everyone,

After reading a few boards on moving out of the Bay Area due to high cost of living, I decided to reach out to everyone to get thoughts on relocating from Oakland to Sacramento. My husband and I have two daughters. One who is turning 3 soon and a 4 month old. We have been living in Oakland for over a decade and have truly made it our home. We have so many beautiful memories here and absolutely love how accessible we are to everything.  While we have loved it, we have realized now more than ever that we simply cannot afford living here. We currently live in a large 1-bedroom apt by the lake and have stayed here for the mere fact that it’s rent control and to justify renting a two bedroom for less square footage but at a higher cost would be crazy. Now that we have beyond outgrown our 1- bedroom with two kids, we are looking to relocate to the Sacramento area. I was offered a job with a very good salary that could absolutely make our dream of getting a home very attainable. My husband is a teacher for OUSD and will need to get a teaching job out there which doesn’t seem to be an issue but now that this thought/idea of moving out there is becoming more of a reality, it’s freaking me out! We have a few friends out there who have loved living there and I follow a lot of ig Sacramento pages that make sac a cool place at live, which puts my anxieties more at ease but I am incredibly nervous of all the change. The idea of having to create this new life/new community is scary because let’s be honest, making friends in your later 30’s seems like a daunting task. Times I have went out there as well, I’ve done nothing but compare it to the life we have in Oakland which makes me not like the sac scene, but our life in Oakland will never be the one where we can afford a home. So what do we compromise on? It’s all leaning towards relocating.

It would be great to hear others thoughts on this decision and any similar experiences about relocating (specifically Sacramento) from the Bay due to the high COL. Any recommendations on areas to look for housing would be great too. Job would be in Folsom but we do like the east sac area. 

Thanks friends!

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I don't have much to say on Sacramento except that friends who've made the move have been happy with the decision, but I will say that we struggle with similar debates, and really regret not making the move when our kids were younger (now 4 and 7). The longer we stay, the more entangled the kids become in friendships and school and activities, and the more daunting it is to leave...and so we're still stuck here. We can't afford to move to most of the other cities we're interested in without jobs in hand, and moving two at once has proven very challenging. You already have that piece of the puzzle solved, so I'd say--go for it, and don't look back!

Hi there,

My husband and I are from the Sacramento area ( we both grew up and lived in a few areas in Sacramento). It's a great place to raise a family, but be prepared that is a much more quiet area then Oakland. Over the last few years I've seen a number of new restaurants go into the downtown area, and now that the new arena is there, that should help liven things up a bit. I would say accessibility to the downtown area is key (in Sacramento terms, that means a ~20 min drive) so that you feel connected to that stuff. Finding good food downtown had never been struggle, but because you have to drive just about everywhere, it's got a different feel. 

Do you know what area of Sacramento you address looking to move to? Happy to give you any tips I can if it would be helpful!

Maybe try getting an airbnb for a short trip to "try out" the neighborhood?  I knew people who did then when relocated from SF to East Bay and it helped in their decision making.

Hi,  I think Sacramento has a lot to offer.  I work for a company that helps families find their right town when they are ready to leave SF and I recently expanded to Sacramento (so I could help families find a more affordable place to raise their kids).  I was really surprised by Sacramento, in a good way.  There are great areas of the city as well as suburbs.  You should also consider the Land Park neighborhood if you like the East Sac neighborhood.  If you'd like to discuss (the good and the bad) about the area, you can email me at pamela [at] suburbanjunglegroup.com.

Don't worry about starting over.  I've found that it's a really friendly area.

I think it is relatively easy to make friends with the kids are as young as yours. There will be plenty of opportunities to meet people at school and at activities. Change is always hard, but it seems that the job in Folsom could work out well for you and your family. 

Sacramento is a great place. There are attractive neighborhoods, the airport is great, the downtown thriving and as you've noticed the cost of living is more palatable. I personally find the summers too hot, but that is just me. There are lots of opportunities for outdoor activities and you will meet people from all over. I haven't lived in Sacramento but based on my experiences there I think it is friendlier, less competitive and more relaxed than the Bay Area. Moving is never easy but it seems like you have all the right reasons. Good luck!

Regarding making a new life/new community - I would say your timing is actually perfect!  You have a child that will be starting kindergarten in just a few very short years, and if you choose to move to a location with neighborhood elementary schools that you plan to attend, that will be a great way to meet neighbors and make new friends!  I'm sure that school quality was already on your radar, but given your concerns, I'd recommend you also consider whether other kids from the neighborhood will go the same school, and whether you're likely to make friends with the other parents (for example, will there be lots of other families with two working parents?  Or predominantly stay-at-home moms that will exclude you?). You're more likely to make friends in schools with heavy parental involvement or with lots of community social events on the calendar.  Good luck on your adventure! 

Pre kids, my husband and I relocated to Davis for 2 years while he finished grad school. I'm a Bay Area native and thought I'd hate it - but we were very happy. I agree with the poster who said moving is MUCH easier with young kids ... ours are now in MS and even moving through the tunnel would be incredibly disruptive to their friendships and our lives. Move now. It's definitely better timing. Sac and Davis are HOT in the summer and colder than you'd expect in the winter. But they have some lovely neighborhoods and IMO it's a good (and much more affordable) life. There are tons more restaurants and fun things to do now than when we lived there - we stop there all the time on travels around CA. I don't think you should worry, especially since you have work lined up. I will also say, not only housing is cheaper - your whole life is cheaper there. It makes a massive difference.

I was amused by your comment about how hard it is to make friends in your late 30s - it's really not ... We moved cross country twice at your age and older, and with kids especially, it's easy. Just know that you'll be hosting the first few dinners and gatherings. Get a dog, you'll meet everyone :-) I have had to start all over with new friends 3x in my adult life, twice older than you, and we have made FANTASTIC lifelong friends each time. Go for it.

FWIW, I did the opposite and lived in Sac/Davis before moving to the East Bay. You are right, Sac is a far cry from The Bay when you look at all of the amazing nature, activities, restaurants, art, etc available in the Bay. Sac is also incredibly, incredibly hot in the summer. However, the cost of living is really pretty great in Sac, and it's come a long way in terms of restaurants and nightlife. Though I never lived in the regions along the river, I hear there is a bit more natural a/c that makes the summer a little nicer!

i did this move 20 years ago so I know my help is outdated. But I too moved from a cute 1 bedroom apartment on near the lake in Oakland on Perkins Ave (the cute apartment building next to the gas station) to downtown Sacramento. As I read your question I was hoping to be able to tell you how utterly charming downtown Sacramento is now, how lovely the nearby neighborhoods are for families but you mention Folsom which I don't know. 

So instead I will just comment on the idea of leaving, and how this can hold us back in life from making change. I think everyone wishes they could live multiple lives, holding on to that old one but getting to move on to the new one. I know i have felt that almost every single time I have moved. Oakland is a lovely place BUT it has significant drawbacks. You actually are at the perfect time to move, you will make a ton of friends through your kids. You may find that some of the friendships you have now in Oakland aren't as stable as you hope as those people move, or their children end up at different schools and so on, so don't think that the lovely community you have built will continue to be as it is. The other thing is the untenable situation with a one-bedroom - what will you do when you need 2?  Will you be willing to live in a small 2 bedroom rental for the next 20 years because you can't afford a nice house, all because of friendships, some of whom have moved away?  Or the crime and crowdedness of Oakland, the crowded parking lots at the stores or the crowded grocery store aisles, the fear of walking at night or when your kids become teenagers and want to be more independent, will you feel comfortable with them going around on their own? I don't know the answers to that, I just wanted to throw out there that what will you think of Oakland 10 years from now?

With a good job lined up, your kids at the right age, your chance to own a home, I would say your main problem is discomfort with change, even when it appears beneficial, and maybe a counselor will help with that or maybe just knowing that this is a common response, there is a mourning for the old life, there is a wish that that life could continue in a way that was sustainable but there is a lot of change in life, it's important to accept that constructively, especially when this one seems so utterly beneficial.

Trulia is useful in seeing where the schools are in relation to homes for sale or rent - on the map section, select schools, then hover over each school, it will show you that school's boundary (this is in case you want a specific school, of course call the school district too about how they handle it). https://www.trulia.com/for_sale/38.606819139246,38.722090328528,-121.22787044125,-121.06453464107_xy/#map-school-elementary-middle-high  I'd say, take a deep breath, accept change is always both a letting go of the old and an excitement for the future and take the plunge!  Honestly if I were in your situation, I would be so excited right now, I quite envy you and wish your family a lot of fun in this new life!