Moving to the Sierra Foothills Area

Parent Q&A

  • 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. 

    I think wildfire risk period is a big consideration for the sierra suburbs, including smoke, panic traffic, etc. I would also think very carefully about access to high quality medical care, ability to age in place or in the community at large, higher education and career paths for your children's generation, political climate (especially at the County Board of Supervisors and town council levels), and racial/class diversity.

    Do yourself a favor and do a drive through Murphys, Angels Camp, and down to Sonora.    Well worth the day trip to look at that community.  

    I grew up in/near Placerville.  It's a great place to raise kids!  Schools are great- there is a great downtown with good restaurants, coffee, shopping to some of the best Bay Area neighborhoods.  On off hours, the drive is easily 2.5 hours.  EASY access to amazing outdoor activities.  Weather is great!!  It's def a different political scene than the Bay Area and less diverse but you can compensate for those things in other ways!  My family that still lives in the area hasn't had issues with insurance based on fire risk- even with recently purchased properties.  If you are living close to town, the risk is probably equal to many parts of the Bay Area/North Bay.  Also, easy access to very good healthcare- locally and reasonably close to UC Davis for specialty care. Happy to answer any other questions.