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Why We Moved

Three San Diego couples share why they moved to a new neighborhood


Dustin Stanton, 37, Jeremy Dutson, 36, and Perrin, 1

Moved from:

Mira Mesa house; 4 bed, 2 bath; 1,800 square feet

Moved to:

Scripps Ranch house; 4 bed, 4 bath; 3,200 square feet

How long were you in your previous neighborhood, and what made you move?

Two years. We were looking to get into a better school district.

Why Scripps Ranch?

It has great schools, a quiet and peaceful neighborhood, and lots of charm in the more established area; it’s near Lake Miramar, with an easy commute to downtown, but still close to family in Mira Mesa. The schools in Scripps Ranch are known to be pretty good. Jerabek Elementary, for example, has a 10 out of 10 GreatSchools rating. The teacher-to-student ratio is 17 to 1. The Mira Mesa school our son would’ve gone to scored 6 out of 10 and had a ratio of 27 to 1. Diversity plays a role as well. It’s important to us that he go to a school that has a mix of ethnicities and cultures. 

How did you find this house?

We had a plan to move in about five years, but after seeing that we had enough equity in our home in Mira Mesa and a rental condo in Mission Valley, we jumped into the market again. The pending interest rate hike played a factor, too. We were only casually looking, so we didn’t feel pressured to find the right house right away.  

What are your commutes?

Jeremy works in Bankers Hill, so the commute is about 25 minutes. I commute out of the airport to New York once a week. 

The real estate market here in SD…

Seems to move pretty fast. We’ve purchased a total of four homes here. We were very pleased that the sale of our condo in October went so fast. One day on the market and we had offers significantly higher than the asking price. I would attribute that to the low availability of entry-level homes. It’s so expensive here that it’s tough to get in the market. It was also in Mission Valley, which is a hot location for young adults.

Buying tip?

We try to find houses that’ve been on the market longer than others, so we can have a better chance at negotiating.

Any nightmare stories?

Four days after we were supposed to close on our Mira Mesa home, the lender decided not to fund the loan. Everything was in order prior to that, and we never found out what happened. We ended up finding another lender and closed a month later. Unfortunately, we had renters moving into our other house, so we had to stay with Jeremy’s mom and dad for a month.

Thiago Batista, 35 and Becca Batista, 30

Moved from:

Bay Ho condo; 2 bed, 2 bath; 900 square feet

Moved to:

Encanto home; 2 bed, 1 bath; 1,100 square feet

How long were you in Bay Park? What made you move?

Thiago had lived in the condo for going on 10 years! I’d been there with him for seven. We were ready for outdoor space and to buy our first home. It has been a dream of both of ours since we were kids.

Why Encanto?

Encanto found us. We looked in Logan Heights, Barrio Logan, City Heights, and were open to go as far as La Mesa, but ended up loving Encanto when we saw the potential for larger yards and space between neighbors. 

How long did you look?

We were in escrow on a home a year ago and got cold feet and backed out. We started looking again this summer and closed on this place January 14.  

What do you love about your new place?

Thiago and I are so excited to renovate and put our stamp on our first home together. The plan is to make the half acre of land into a sustainable, party-friendly hangout. We’re definitely homebodies, but we love the outdoors, so there will be plenty of yard work on the weekends. We’ve already met our neighbors, all of whom are incredibly cool and have been living in Encanto for years. Apparently, our street has twice yearly block parties and you can feel that the sense of community is strong. We are also in love with how quiet it is at our place—it feels a little bit country. 

What are your commutes?

When I’m not working from home, Encanto is 10 minutes to downtown. Thiago works in City Heights, so his commute is about 10 minutes each way as well. Our longest commute is to the beach.

Any tips for the potential buyer?

Our biggest frustration was that there were always cash offers along with several other offers on the table competing with ours. In the end, we believe you end up in the house that you should be in. It’s good to just trust in the process—and have a great agent who can negotiate their socks off. We couldn’t be happier with our own little fixer upper.

Doug Ament, 58, and Debbie Ament, 59

Moved from:

Point Loma; 4 bed, 3.5 bath; 3,500 square feet

Moved to:

Jamul; 4 bed, 4.5 bath; 3,600 square feet on 3 acres

What made you move?

We lived in Point Loma for 30 years, 17 in the last house. My business shut down in 2009, and we did not want to have as much money tied up in a personal residence. Our last child was heading off to college and we felt it was a good time to sell.

Why Jamul?

We can be in Rancho San Diego in 10 minutes and are close to gas stations, food, and groceries. We are also on a quiet street and have city water, not well water.

How did you find this house?

I was talking with a good friend who lived in Alpine, and he mentioned what a home was selling for in his neighborhood. It had 3 acres and was selling for 20 percent of what we’d just sold our Point Loma home for. That was a Wednesday. On Thursday I went online looking for homes in Alpine and didn’t see anything that interested me. I called my Alpine friend and asked him where he would live if it wasn’t Alpine, and he said, “Jamul.” I said, “Where’s that?” I found five homes to look at in Jamul that Friday. We actually ended up buying the first house we saw on the following Monday.

What are you excited about in your new place?

The price was 40 percent of what we sold our Point Loma home for. So it helped us reach our financial goal and allowed us to invest the other 60 percent. Also, the house was built in 2006, so it’s fairly new construction, well built and single level, very well insulated, and landscaped. It’s also low-maintenance compared to our 1936 Point Loma home. All the landscape irrigation is set up on timers, so we can lock it and leave it. I’ve also really grown to love the drive out into the country and the quiet of where we live. We have space on the 3 acres, peaceful country living, and great neighbors. We have very little fog and the temperature is usually only 10 degrees different from the coast.  

What are your commutes?

It’s 35 minutes to Point Loma. Rush hour can add 15 to 30 minutes.

Neighborhood perk?

A wonderful horse named Buzz. I visit him three to four times a week, and we have adopted each other. In truth it’s my neighbor’s horse, but I tell everyone I have my own horse. Fortunately, I don’t have to pay any of the vet bills, feed him, or clean up after him. My neighbor does all this, and still lets me call Buzz my horse. That doesn’t happen in Point Loma!

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