- Preferred price tag.
- Desired space.
- Your family situation.
- The things you look for in a neighborhood, such as restaurants, shops or nearby attractions.
Your broker may not be able to legally warn you about gang activity in a certain area, he or she can at least help you find a place that meets your personal qualifications.
A Rush Hour That Lets You…Rush
Chula Vista's city planners actually did their job when it comes to traffic management. The average commute from most neighborhoods is 30 minutes. You can thank the six-lane boulevards, Interstate 5, Interstate 805, California 54, and California 125. Did we mention the two rail services and the San Diego Trolley? Those are pretty sweet too. The trolley actually provides light rail through Chula Vista.
West Side Story Meets West Coast
While your broker may not admit it, many residents will tell you the line drawn in Chula Vista is the 805, with the neighborhoods on the West Side being something you might see on an after-school special. Otay, Haborside and Feaster all have their fair share of gang issues. If you like well lit areas, avoid Castle Park, where the streetlights are lacking in a few key areas, like lightbulbs.
The West Side does have two attractive benefits though: the beach and the price. Most rentals are just a short drive from the coast, and it's possible to find ocean-view rentals. You can also find an inexpensive rental in the West Side, sometimes called the Old Side, but you'll need to take extra precautions. For starters, look for areas that may have more police patrols, such as schools or hospitals. Just make sure you don’t make a habit of speeding out of your driveway.
Streets Paved of Gold
Okay, so you won't find any roads paved with precious metal, but you'll see plenty of million dollar homes on the East Side. The newer development in this area will put you in communities where most residents have been married for more than 15 years and have kids under the age of 18. Welcome to the burbs, where a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom rental will cost you around $2,300 per month.
Several of the neighborhoods, such as Bonita Long Canyon and Lynwood Hills, provide easy access to the natural activities in Chula Vista. Hike, bike or hit the water. Communities like Eastlake actually border a nature preserve.
On the East Side, most apartments will cost you the same price as a single-family house over on the West Side. You can find studio apartments in areas like Otay Ranch for under $1,000 per month.
Chula Vista – Land of Opportunity
Sure, Chula Vista has its problems. It's like any other city out there. Some areas are great, others less desirable. If you fall into a lower-income bracket, consider finding an affordable rental complex. Most of these will be in the West Side, but you can find a few east of 805. The qualifications for the complexes vary from one to the next, so contact several to get an idea of what your price range can offer.
Chula Vista also has Section 8 vouchers available under the County of San Diego's Housing Authority. Your income can't exceed 50 percent of the area's median income, but the program may be just what you need to find a rental in a better part of town.
If this option will help you find the right place to live in Chula Vista, plan extra time for your search. The better options tend to have more competition, and you may have more steps to complete during the application process than traditional renters.
Nosey Neighbors Know All
Don't be afraid to talk to potential neighbors or local businesses before you sign the lease. Mention your concerns to locals and you’ll most likely get an honest response. It's better to have people laugh at you for a mistaken first impression rather than learning it was correct after you move into a building.
Use your own detective skills, too. After all, you may prefer to live in an area where siding covers housing rather than creative graffiti. If you see families out for walks or people jogging, you should feel confident that you're moving into an area that won't require you to carry a Taser.
Over 230,000 people find Chula Vista safe enough to call home. The area has everything from one extreme to the next, but what city doesn't? By knowing what you prefer to have in a rental apartment and neighborhood, you can find the right location. So gather that list we mentioned earlier and prepare yourself for some awesome views and great lemonade. Your new apartment awaits!