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Moving to Sacramento from NYC

My partner and I will move to Sacramento at some point in the Spring of 2014. He is in Medicine and I am in Meeting/Event Planning. We are not familiar with Sacramento, but we have to find a place to live within the next several months. We currently live in NY (Brooklyn Heights) and we both enjoy the "city living scene" and the accessibility to stores, supermarkets, movies, restaurants, bars etc. Of course we know that Sacramento in not NY and that we will have to readjust to a new lifestyle, but we are not ready to live in an isolated area either. 
Are there specific areas where we should start looking? I have read tons of reviews suggesting to avoid South Sacramento, West Sacramento etc etc
Are there any areas where we can do a "rent to own" sort of thing? Is this even an option in CA? Since we are not familiar with the city, initially we would like to rent and then we would like to buy something within the first 6 months.All suggestions and feedback will be highly appreciated.
Thanks :-)

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December 23 2013 - Sacramento
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Answers (6)

I wouldn't suggest the rent to own option. It's more advantageous for the seller and not the buyer. Plus there are plenty of homes for sale and to rent (about 60% more homes listed for sale compared to last year).

I agree that it's a great idea to rent first to get a better understanding on where you would like to buy. I've lived in Sacramento for about 30 years and I'm still finding new cool areas. If you want to live close to movies, restaurants, bars etc. in an area that is more lively, check out Midtown, parts of East Sacramento, Curtis Park and Land Park. All of these areas have positives and negatives of course.

Contact a local Realtor to help you with your home search. Also, they should be able to recommend a loan officer if you aren't already working with one. It's very important to get pre-qualified for a loan before you start your search.

Here are some links you may find useful:

- Events in Sacramento: http://www.sacramento365.com/
- Sacramento farmers' markets: http://www.california-grown.com/Market-times.html
- American River Bike Trail (the jewel of Sac as far as I'm concerned - a 32 mile bike trail that goes from Old Sacramento to the foothills of Folsom): http://www.americanriverbiketrail.com/about/

Thanks,

Jason Walter
REALTOR® - lic #01923240
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) - lic #103885
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December 27 2013
Hello,

Midtown is likely the best spot for you based on your post. It is filled with restaurants, galleries, bars, and is walkable. The area is mostly young professionals. There is a great mix of properties. You can find 700 sq ft bungalows, brand new loft condos, and very large 130 year old Victorian homes. If a condo is an option downtown will work well. If you want to be very close to the city I also suggest McKinley Park, Land Park, Curtis Park, and East Sacramento. I am currently working with four buyers in the Midtown area. Once you get out of these neighborhoods the quality of life and safety drops until you start hitting the suburban areas like Roseville in Placer County and Elk Grove in Southern Sacramento County.

Take a look at what Midtown has to offer. I think it will be a good fit. Here are a couple websites with info.
http://www.exploremidtown.org/
http://sacramento.downtowngrid.com/
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December 24 2013
Forget about Rent to Own. Benefits the seller and you, little. Second, find an area you like. Midtown has drawbacks as well as positives.  Look at Land Park and Curtis Park. When you are ready to buy, hire the most experienced agent you can find. Make sure you want to live in Sacramento long term before buying.
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December 23 2013
First and foremost welcome to Sacramento. Based on what you have told us so far I could only really recommend midtown Sacramento. That is basically where the action is in the city and a lot of midtown actually looks like parts of Brooklyn Heights with Brownstones, turn of the century-era Victorians, a few 100+ year old mansions, etc...

This is where the vast majority of Sacramento's restaurants are. They are almost all locally owned and there are almost no chains or fast food/drive thru places. This is where Sacramento's bars are for the most part too. There isn't too much in the way of grocery stores here (out in the suburbs there are way more grocery stores per capita), two Safeways on opposite borders, a co-op (which may not technically be in midtown, but it is close enough), and there are also farmers markets during the week. As for movie theaters the only IMAX in the area is about 1 block west of midtown as is the Crest, which is an independent that shows mostly indie flicks and things that don't get wide releases. These are actually considered to be in downtown Sacramento but are a 5 minute walk from the heart of midtown. Although there are plenty traditional theaters that show wide-release movies within a mile or so in every direction. 

Rent to own is very hard to find. Finding one is hard enough, having it be a home you actually want to live in and be the winning bidder is much harder. But they do exist.

Hope that helps a little bit. Please let me know if I can help in any other way. 

Sincerely,
Greg
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December 23 2013
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"rent to own" is an option in CA, but it may not work the way you are hoping it may work.   Some people are hoping "rent to own" is a "try before you buy" option with little risk for the buyer.     It tends to be best for people who are flush with cash but need a bit of time to work on their credit scores.   Plan on options being slim to none.  Plan on a down payment of 10% to 30% - not refundable if you decide not to buy or aren't qualified for financing.    Still interested?  There are many other risks.

May your  move go smoothly.   Plan on some culture shock.   Sacramento has many good things going for it, so look for the adventures you enjoy rather than just replacing your current lifestyle.


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December 23 2013
Midtown & downtown would be a great fit based on your description. FYI, West Sacramento is fantastic, so don't believe everything you read. Rent to own is very rare here. You can check out some of the big property management sites to get an idea of rents in the area. www.homepointe.com
 Good luck! Let me know if you need help with purchasing. Cari Hendricks, Broker [contact information deleted by Zillow moderator.  Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]
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December 23 2013
 
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