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10 Things to Know Before Moving to California

Many people consider moving to California the ultimate dream. Seen as a land of movie stars, sunny beaches, delicious food, and thriving culture, California has a major impact on perception of the US as a whole.

Are you looking for jobs in California and considering moving to the golden state? If so, take a look at this list of 10 things you should know before moving to California.

1. You’re Most Likely Going to Need a Car

If you’re planning on living in California, you are most likely going to need a car to get around. That is, unless you plan on living right in San Francisco.

California is an enormous state and many of the cities and towns have limited public transportation options and are low density communities.

Depending on where you’re moving to in California, traffic may become a big part of your life. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco rank in the top 10 US cities with the worst traffic.

Transporting your vehicle to California is something that you are going to have to consider. If you are moving over 500 miles to California it is most likely worth it to ship your vehicle.


2. It’s the Second Most Expensive State to Live in the United States

There is no getting around the fact that California is an expensive place to live. Both the taxes and the cost-of-living are comparatively higher than many other US states.

Hawaii is the only US state but it’s considered more expensive than California.

You will find that housing cost in California are higher than in other places in the country. Depending on what state or city you are moving from you might find the prices shockingly high. Course, the cost of housing will depend greatly on where you are looking for California homes for families.

If you are trying to buy a house in San Francisco, it will cost you a pretty penny. On the other hand, if you are planning on living in a smaller city or town, the price will not be nearly as astronomical.

The food costs in California are also more expensive than in other parts of the United States. You will find that this is particularly true in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Transportation can also be more expensive than in other states. Gas prices are more expensive in California than in any other US state. California also has the sixth-highest average annual premium when it comes to car insurance rates.

You will find some of the highest income taxes in the US in California. It also is home to the highest base rate for state sales taxes. On the other hand, the property tax rates are below average for the country.


3. Living in California Is Perfect For Nature Lovers

If you are an outdoor enthusiast or a nature lover, California is a wonderful place to live. There are a number of state and national parks that are breathtakingly beautiful. You’ll also find beaches, hiking, mountains, skiing, and even the desert nearby.

If being in the great outdoors is one of your favorite past times then you will likely never run out of stunning places to explore and engage in outdoor activities.


4. You’ll Need to Obtain a Driver’s License Within Ten Days of Moving

I number of things you want to consider when moving to California in regards to your vehicle. Firstly, your car will have to pass a smog inspection before you’re able to register your vehicle unless it was manufactured before 1975. There is a stricter standard when it comes to emissions in California than in most other states.

Once you have gotten your smog inspection and passed it, you will then have to have your car reviewed by an insurance adjuster in order to buy an insurance policy. You will then be able to register your vehicle. You are required to register your vehicle within 20 days of moving to California.

There is a very short timeline when it comes to getting your driver’s license in California. You only have 10 days in order to get your driver’s license once you have moved to the state.

The most efficient way to go through this process is to get the smog inspection first and then find an insurer. At that point, you can go to the DMV in order to obtain your registration and license at the same time.


5. Northern California and Southern California Are Two Different Worlds

As stated earlier, California is a very large state. What this means is that Northern California and Southern California have two noticeably different cultures and there’s even a bit of a light-hearted rivalry between the two regions.

When you think of California, you might think of sunny beaches and movie stars. However, depending on where you live in California, the weather in culture can vary greatly from that. The weather is very different in Northern California than it is in Southern California.

When it comes to food, in the north you will find Wine Country and the location of the birth of the farm to table movement. In the south, you will find authentic and amazing Mexican food as well as many popular fast-food chains.

There are beaches in both Northern and Southern California. However, Northern California beaches are more unkempt and rugged. On the other hand, Southern California beaches are likely more what are you imagine when you think of California. These are beaches located by resort towns that are sunny and well-maintained.

If you are looking to live close to celebrity culture then you are likely more interested in living in Southern California. That is where Los Angeles and Hollywood are located. However, in Northern California, you will be near other influential individuals like Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.


6. The Weather Is Unreal

The weather in California will depend on what part of California you moved to. That being said, California frequently tops list of the US states with the best year-round climates. In fact, California has some of the nicest weather in America.

The beautiful climate does come with its risks, however. In California, there are hazards including mudslides, wildfires, and earthquakes. While these events aren’t necessarily worth changing your plans to live in California, they are well worth knowing about.


7. Some Parts of California Are Pretty Crowded

Depending on what you were looking for in terms of a community to live in, you will want to take note of how densely populated certain regions are. If you are looking to live in a peaceful, small-town with little traffic then this is something that you should consider seriously. There are parts of California that are quite crowded and if this is not something that suits your needs you’ll need to do your research ahead of time.

This is particularly true when it comes to things like visiting the beaches. When you imagine living in California you probably pictured your own private oasis on the ocean. However, popular beaches can be incredibly crowded, and depending on what your preferences are this might not be ideal.

How crowded certain areas are also has a big effect on traffic. Certain parts of California are known for having nearly constant traffic issues.


8. California Is a Huge State

It’s worth repeating, that California is a very large state. This is true both in its area and in its population.

California is the third-largest state in the country after Alaska and Texas. When it comes to population, California has the largest population in all of America.

This is worth noting because depending on where you’re moving from it might be hard to imagine just how big California is. If you are moving from a small New England state you might not even be able to visualize how much land California takes up.

This means that if you live in San Diego, you are not going to take a quick and pleasant day trip to the northern coast.


9. There’s a Lot of Economic Opportunity

I just economy in the whole United States. To give you a sense of just how big California’s economy is, if California or it’s own country, it would be the fifth-largest economy in the entire world.


10. Fewer People Are Moving to California Now

While the growth of the Californian population is still positive, fewer people are moving to California now than in the past. Many California residents have left the state for other US states such as Idaho, Texas, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington.


Moving to California: Is It Right For You?

Like most things in life, there are major pros and major cons of moving to California. Ultimately, whether or not moving to California is the right thing to do depends on your specific circumstances, needs, and desires.

If you’re moving to California, you’ll likely want to ship your vehicle to your new home. Contact us today to get an instant car shipping quote for shipping your vehicle.

Dave Armstrong
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