Moving to any new city can be nerve wrecking and stressful. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead by at least a month, if not 6 weeks. Figure out the size of home you want versus what you need. If the two are the same, that's fine, just be prepared to be a little flexible if you need to. Gather your documentations in one easily accessible place so you can refer to it when you are with your agent. That's right, if possible, get a local realtor to help you find your new home or apartment. If you are already a local, you can skip this as you already know the neighborhoods. However, if you are moving in from another city, this will save you time, stress and headaches.
So, have your credit history, rental history, identification and employment verification ready to hand over. You will also need to have your security deposits ready just in case you find that must-have-now place you've been searching a month for! Don't shoot yourself in the foot by coming unprepared to a rental hunt. Someone, more eager, and possibly more savvy, will quickly swipe your dream spot right out from beneath your confused nose. You have been warned!
Pajaro: Butted up against Monterrey Bay, this coastal suburban neighborhood is surprisingly affordable given the location. Small to medium sized homes (think 1-4 bedrooms) and some small apartment complexes make up the bulk of housing in this neighborhood. Most people drive their own cars to and from work, but the neighborhood is beautiful and right on the Bay, which brings the locals out in droves for a walk, a bike ride or a jog. When you live so close to the water and in such a temperate climate, it's just a given that you want to be outside! $$$
La Selva Beach: Stretched from Sunset Beach to La Selva Beach, just south of Seascape Park on Monterrey Bay is the stunningly affordable La Selva neighborhood of Watsonville. Many of the homes in this coastal area were built between 1940-1969, while others are a bit more modern, having been built between 1970-1999. The local flavor is relaxed, outdoorsy, environmentally conscious and it must be said, retirees love it here! $$$
Via Del Sol Rd/Echo Valley Rd: Positioned a couple of miles east of Moss Landing State Wildlife area and Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, this suburban neighborhood is not only beautiful, but affordable, with a low vacancy rate of 3.3%. The locals in this neighborhood drive their own cars to and from work, but a few can be seen riding bikes or taking the bus. $$
Moss Landing/Las Lomas: This charming neighborhood sits right on the Monterey Bay and stretches back just beyond the Pajaro Valley Golf Club. Its location makes it a perfect spot for those who love to be right next to the water for an easy trek down to the beach, and the cost of living in this area can attest to that fact. It is slightly more expensive than the Via Del Sol and Echo Valley neighborhood. Gotta love the cost of moving closer to water! $$$
Chittenden: This somewhat rural neighborhood is furthest from Monterey Bay, but it's just as beautiful! The median home value is very expensive in this area, but rental prices are very affordable. With a good mix of locals who rent and locals who own, the average vacancy rate is at 7.8%, making this neighborhood a good candidate for available homes if you are looking to rent in Watsonville. The commute is slightly longer, depending on where you work, and most people would agree that driving yourself or carpooling with co-workers is the best choice if you live in the Chettenden neighborhood.$$
Amesti: A tiny neighborhood snuggled around Pinto Lake County Park, this area of Watsonville tends to attract an affluent crowd. The rental prices are generally moderate to high and the vacancy rate is currently at a low 2.9% so you'll have better luck hunting elsewhere. $$$
Aptos Hills/Larkin Valley: Located a couple of miles back from Manresa State Beach, this upscale Watsonville neighborhood will set you back a pretty penny each month in rent. The vacancy rate is higher here than in the rest of the city, and at 8.9%, you just might be able to find the perfect place without too much of a search. This well educated neighborhood of mostly executives, managerial professionals and some farmers commute to work in their own vehicles each day. The commute is, at most, a half hour each way, but again, that depends on where you work. Because of the quiet solitude of the neighborhood, you will never hear a complaint about the drive! $$$$
E Lake Ave/Brewington Ave: Situated in the center of Watsonville, this affordable neighborhood is populated with mostly medium to large homes, apartments and row houses. This urban area is very trendy and easy to walk around. There are plenty of cute shops and local businesses and restaurants, so it's easy to see why more young, up and coming professionals and college age locals choose to call this neighborhood home. $$
Interlaken: Interlaken is a gorgeous neighborhood with Kelly Lake resting in the southeast corner, Lake Tynan just south of that and Pinto Lake County Park to the west. This is an area for those who love the outdoors, can afford moderately high rent and enjoy sophisticated evenings followed by quiet weekends. Don't forget, pinkies up!$$$$
Lincoln St/Freedom Blvd: This small but urban neighborhood offers relatively affordable rental prices in a swank, contemporary part of town where people enjoy walking everywhere from work, to the grocery store and out to dinner. Mostly young professionals and new families, just getting started enjoy this area of town for its affordability and close proximity to businesses, restaurants, parks and the center of town. $$
Only 95 miles south of San Francisco, a quick weekend getaway is an easy task to accomplish, especially when the Giants are playing! The Watsonville Wetlands are another type of escape with miles of hiking trails and a nature center to educate the curious and blossoming environmentalists. Did I mention the parks in this city? There are 28 parks in Watsonville alone! These include a skate park, an indoor soccer field, a lake with boat rentals and RV camping, BBQ areas, handball courts, and tennis and volleyball courts as well. Oh, and an art gallery that is considered to be a part of the city's park system! How amazing is that for one small city? The feeling, aside from bliss, at being next to the Pacific Ocean, is one of positive energy and outdoorsy adventurousness: a community that knows the benefits of keeping it's citizens busy, healthy and happy.