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Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

Old Sep 11th 2014, 8:05 am
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Default Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

Hi all,
we are due to take a trip over the CA next week to look at a few areas/houses to see where we want to settle when we move in October.

We know Irvine is a new build town, very safe and good schools etc but we can get so much more for our money in Orange/Tustin/Santa Ana.

Question is - is Irvine really that much better?

We are a married couple with a 1y old and a 3y old so not school age yet but we want a good nursery to send them too.
My wife wont be working so she would like somewhere easy to make friends and spend days out with the kids.

Thanks!!
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Old Sep 11th 2014, 12:06 pm
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Default Re: Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

We are on the same boat planning a big move to SoCal. There is a website called "neighborhoodscout.com", which I think is helpful. All the best with the move!
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Old Sep 11th 2014, 4:39 pm
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Default Re: Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

Some random thoughts...
- Re "safe" areas - for us, a big difference between here and home is that "unsafe" means guns rather than knives...which made us naturally much more cautious. We lived in London in an area that certainly had sketchy bits but when we moved here we totally played it safe. Other people do differently and I think in retrospect we might have gone too far in that direction, but by the same token, i certainly don't regret it and I would rather make a mistake of playing too safe rather than the other way round - at least at first.
- People here are so friendly. You certainly have to make an effort (like anywhere) and I think that some people get disappointed when people who seem overly friendly at first turn out not to be long term friends but...if you make an effort it will be reciprocated and I've been blown away by the real depth and strength of friendships we've built here.
- Think "more for your money" vs "what we really value" - easy to get carried away by the size of the lot, pools etc - maybe that's what makes you happy, but likely the local amenities, types of shops there are, how comfortable you're going to feel in the neighborhood etc is super important.
- Places with good schools are places that people with families move to (i know durr right) sites like schooldigger and greatschools are good to compare. I know you're 2-3 years off sending a child to public school in CA but moving to an area that people move into for schools means that you are prob more likely to meet other people in a similar situation and there are going to be good provisions for preschools etc.

Good luck on your adventure - great opportunity for you and your little ones! Always a challenge for the "trailing spouse" but if you make the effort I'm sure you'll be rewarded by a very warm welcome.
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Old Sep 11th 2014, 6:34 pm
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Default Re: Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

Originally Posted by snj_2000 View Post
Hi all,
we are due to take a trip over the CA next week to look at a few areas/houses to see where we want to settle when we move in October.

We know Irvine is a new build town, very safe and good schools etc but we can get so much more for our money in Orange/Tustin/Santa Ana.

Question is - is Irvine really that much better?

We are a married couple with a 1y old and a 3y old so not school age yet but we want a good nursery to send them too.
My wife wont be working so she would like somewhere easy to make friends and spend days out with the kids.

Thanks!!
Where will you be working? I work in Irvine but live in Lake Forest. Out of the cities you mentioned I would avoid Santa Ana.

We moved to Orange County in 2008 and moved to Mission Viejo. Earlier this year we moved to Lake Forest and are members of the Lake Forest Sun & Sail Club (you are automatically a member if you live in certain areas of Lake Forest). We have meet more people in the past 5 months than we did in 5 years living in Mission Viejo.

Let me know if you have any questions about the area. Do you have a realtor helping you out?
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Old Sep 11th 2014, 7:24 pm
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Default Re: Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

Yep, where are you working is going to dictate a lot of the answers

We're in Orange County and looked at a lot of the places you mention before settling in Anaheim Hills. Irvine is more expensive, Tustin a little less so but both "nice" areas. We found in Irvine you get a lot less for your money and it's quite a bit sterile.

South OC is worth a look as well, but if you're in the north country Anaheim Hills and Yorba Linda worth a look. Check out GreatSchools - Public and Private School Ratings, Reviews and Parent Community for school area info.

Our youngest is still in daycare (4) and oldest just started first grade. Daycare is expensive but variable. Highest cost doesn't equal best by any means from what we've seen.

Let me know if you've any questions.

A.
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Old Sep 11th 2014, 7:41 pm
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Default Re: Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

I work on the edge of Irvine. Irvine itself is very flat and quite crowded. I don't personally like it as it reminds me of a concrete version of the Fens where I used to live!

The schools get top ratings mainly because of catchment and the background of people that move there. Irvine has a dominant Far-Eastern population.

A friend of mine from work lived in Irvine and his child in elementary was the ONLY white kid in class. Every other was of Chinese descent. I work with another guy who is South Korean and he wont live there because "there are too many Asians" (his exact words - cracks me up.

There are loads of good (8+/10) schools in all of the surrounding places including Lake Forest. Your money will go further in Lake Forest too.
Santa Ana.. always seems to have a shooting in the news once a week.

One thing to watch for is realtors particulars... they are sometimes wrong on the school catchment. If there is a good school in the area they will list it, whether the house is eligible or not! So do your research yourself by looking on the school district websites. You can put in an exact address and it will tell you the allocated school.
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Old Sep 11th 2014, 10:58 pm
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Default Re: Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

Originally Posted by snj_2000 View Post

Question is - is Irvine really that much better?

Thanks!!
Better? No its worse! Just about everybody I know who *used to live* in Irvine has moved from there. Its urban sprawl at its best
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Old Sep 11th 2014, 11:35 pm
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Default Re: Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

Tustin and Orange both have a little bit more charm and have older "downtown" areas, both of which are cute. I don't know about schools as I don't have children, but both cities are nice to visit.

I probably wouldn't live in Irvine either, seems a little sterile to me with many "planned communities".

I too would avoid Santa Ana, it's definitely an older more run down area of OC, although I'm sure it has it's nice parts.

I live in Lake Forest and work by the John Wayne airport and commuting up the 405 each day is not too bad, around a 30 -40 min drive each way.

But it depends on where you'll be working and what sort of a commute you can stand.

Dawn

So I have to ask are any of the posters on this thread the driver of the big red truck license plate Bollucks, that I see driving through Lake Forest in the mornings?

Last edited by limeynus; Sep 11th 2014 at 11:36 pm. Reason: Question
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Old Sep 12th 2014, 12:03 am
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Default Re: Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

I'm Dana Point.
Gorgeous place..paradise..
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Old Sep 12th 2014, 1:06 pm
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Default Re: Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

Thanks for all the posts so far people!! really helpful

I am going to be working near John Wayne airport but will also be spending time in Riverside and Chino so Tustin seemed like a good mid way point.

I will also check out Anaheim hills and Yorba Linda.

Would lake forest be a pain to get t riverside/chino?
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Old Sep 12th 2014, 1:14 pm
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Default Re: Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

Originally Posted by snj_2000 View Post
Thanks for all the posts so far people!! really helpful

I am going to be working near John Wayne airport but will also be spending time in Riverside and Chino so Tustin seemed like a good mid way point.

I will also check out Anaheim hills and Yorba Linda.

Would lake forest be a pain to get t riverside/chino?
All depends on timing. If you're going against the traffic then you should be fine. You also have the option of using the toll roads which bypass a lot of the heavy traffic on that route, but with the downside of having to pay about $4.50 each way (not sure of the exact amount).

A good idea would be to pull up Google Maps and take a look at the traffic flow. Rush hour is getting started and should be in full flow in about an hour.

If you do make it to Anaheim Hills feel free to give me a shout.
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Old Sep 12th 2014, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin - pros and cons!

Originally Posted by snj_2000 View Post
Thanks for all the posts so far people!! really helpful

I am going to be working near John Wayne airport but will also be spending time in Riverside and Chino so Tustin seemed like a good mid way point.

I will also check out Anaheim hills and Yorba Linda.

Would lake forest be a pain to get t riverside/chino?
You could use the 241 toll roads to get to the 91 and out to riverside Chino. It can be bad if you are heading out that way at rush hour, we routinely head up to Arrowhead and find that if we leave around 8pm after rush hour traffic is much better.
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