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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Santa Maria, CA

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Located in the Santa Barbara Valley, Santa Maria's beautiful wine country and year-round mild, sunny weather make it a pleasant place to call home. If you are planning or considering a relocation to this peaceful and laidback city, read on to find out more about its schools, neighborhoods, recreation and living costs to ensure that it is the right place for you.

Santa Maria Climate

The city has a Mediterranean climate, characterized by warm, dry summers and cool, mild winters, with little variation of temperature between seasons. Precipitation is scarce, with only 14 days of rainfall a year, and snow is virtually non-existent. The last recorded flurry was actually January 1949!

Sunny days, cool oceans breeze, and fog are common in the city.

Santa Maria Neighborhoods

One of the most popular neighborhoods in the city is Orcutt, an upper-middle class residential area with low crime, decent walkability, and newer homes--most built in the 1970s or later.

Another safe and family-friendly neighborhood is Rosemary. A popular place for retirees, the neighborhood has reasonable real estate prices compared to other California cities, and a diverse culture with a higher percentage of Portuguese or Ukrainian residents than any neighborhood in the country.

However, some parts of the city are known for being unsafe with high rates of crime. Be sure to thoroughly research any potential neighborhood prior to relocating.

Registering Your Car

Upon moving to the state of California, you have 20 days to register your vehicle. You will need an Application for Title or Registration signed by all registered owners as they appear on the out of state registration and/or title, your previous registration certificate, and smog and weight certifications if applicable. You will also need to pay the appropriate fees and have your vehicle inspected by the state DMV.

You have will have just 10 days to obtain your California driver's license, so make sure you get this out of the way as soon as possible after your move. You will need to complete the DL 44 application form, provide your Social Security number, show proof of identity and legal presence, pass vision and traffic law tests, give a thumbprint, and pay the appropriate fees. This process can be completed at any California DMV location.

Santa Maria Schools

If you will be moving to the city with your young school-aged children, you will be enrolling them in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. This system operates the primary and intermediate education in the city, with 15 elementary schools and four junior high schools educating a total of 13,700 students. Besides residents of Santa Maria, the district's schools are attended by children living elsewhere in the county.

If your son or daughter is in their teenage years, they will attend a school in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District. It is the oldest high school district in the state and operates three public high schools in the area--Santa Maria High School, Pioneer Valley High School, and Ernest Righetti High School.

If you opt to send your children to a private school, there are several options to choose from--the Catholic institution St. Joseph High School, the Valley Christian Academy, and the Pacific Christian School for grades K-8.

For higher education, notable institutions include the Santa Barbara Business College and Alan Hancock College, which was rated one of the five best community colleges in the state and among the top 120 best in the nation.

Santa Maria Employment

The city's economy is driven by the agriculture industry, with numerous vineyards, and wineries located in the region. The city is situated directly in the center of the Santa Ynez and Foxen Canyon areas of Santa Barbara County's wine country, and Edna Valley-Arroyo Grande wine country. Other prominent crop cultivations include strawberries, wine grapes, celery, lettuce, peas, squash, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli and beans. There are also a number of cattle ranches in the area.

Other major sectors contributing to the city's economy are aerospace, communications, research and development, energy production, military operations, and manufacturing. Oil has a huge presence in the city, with 1,775 oil wells operating in the Santa Maria Valley.

Top employers include Vandenburg Air Force base, Marian Medical Center, Santa-Maria-Bonita School District, Allen Hancock College, Santa Maria Joint Union High School, City of Santa Maria, Bonipak, C & D Zodiac, DenMat, and VTC Enterprises.

Living Costs in the City

If you are considering a move to a new city, it is always important to make sure you will be able to live within your means. Costs of living in the city are somewhat high--17 percent greater than the national average. Utilities and grocery costs are about 10 percent greater than the typical American city.

About 46 percent of residents in the city are renters. The average one-bedroom apartment in the area goes for about $ 1,180 a month, and two-bedrooms typically rent for around $1,420 a month. The median home price is listed at $275,000.

Santa Maria Moving Resources

There are many moving and storage companies located in Santa Maria that are waiting to help you relocate to your new home. Be sure to do your research and obtain estimates from several different services before choosing one for hire. You can compare online quotes from many different moving companies and other services to aid you in your move, whether you are coming from the next city or overseas. Visit the following pages here at Movers.com to get fast quotes for the following services:

Santa Maria Transportation

Local public bus transportation in the city is operated by Santa Maria Area Transit (SMAT), and is provided by both city and county-run lines. There are eight routes, and a weekday commuter service known as The Breeze, which transports passengers to Los Alamos, Buelton and Solvang. For further travel, Greyhound operates long-distance inter-city bus service in the area.

If you want to catch the train, Amtrak provides bus service to its nearest station in Guadalupe. For air travel, the nearby Santa Maria Public Airport is served by two airlines, for flights to Las Vegas, Honolulu, and Los Angeles International Airport.

Culture and Contemporary Life

Besides enjoying the lovely weather and scenic landscapes, wine, BBQ and theatre are among the favored pastimes of Santa Maria locals.

Enjoy beautiful views, rolling hills and delicious wine at a number of family-owned wineries and tasting rooms in the city, located in Santa Barbara Wine Country-- one of the nation's largest wine-producing regions. The complex soil conditions and diverse microclimates make for the perfect atmosphere to cultivate wine-grapes-- the influence of the ocean is particularly beneficial for the region's trademark varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Santa Maria is also known for famous variety of barbeque, often made with tri-tip steak--a tender cut from the bottom sirloin that is rubbed with salt, pepper and spices and cooked on a rotisserie or grilled over red oak wood. It is then served with garlic bread, fresh salsa, and pinquito beans. This trademark dish can be savored at a variety of BBQ joints in the city, such as the aptly-named Santa Maria BBQ, Skip Gibson's BBQ, and BBQ Land.

The city is also home to the well-known Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, an acclaimed theatrical school and production company. Get tickets to a variety of elaborate performances, including classics such as Shakespeare's Macbeth and more modern works like Hair Spray and Legally Blonde: The Musical.

Santa Maria Relocation Tips

  • Change your address! Be sure to notify the post office of your forwarding address four to six weeks before your move to ensure that you don't miss any important mail.
  • Make a moving checklist of everything you will need to accomplish before you make the trek to Santa Maria to stay better organized and be prepared! Things to include are: researching movers and comparing quotes, packing, making airline arrangements, and hooking up utilities.
  • Research the neighborhoods before relocating. Some places in the city, such as the Tanglewood area, are known for increased rates of crime. Look up crime statistics or call the local police to find out more about the safety of any area you are considering for your move.

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on June 13, 2013

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