Why Ukiah?

As a real estate broker, I follow trends on why people buy and rent homes in Ukiah, and whether more people are coming to town or leaving. Lately things have been changing.

Until recently, about 80 percent of new rentals in our property management department related to people moving within Mendocino County, but starting in June, things took a dramatic turn. People began coming here from out of the area.

People move for lots of reasons, often employment, but also to get a new start—either for themselves or their children. If I were starting over, I’d certainly give Ukiah a look. Sometimes we take our peaceful, quiet little town and the ease with which we get around, for granted. I love that I can drive home for lunch, door-to-door, in five minutes flat. I love that I only have to allot ten minutes for travel if I’m going all the way across town, and that includes parking time. I love that I consider traffic to be a problem if I have to wait more than a few minutes at a stoplight.

We forget that people in the city just can’t do as much in a day because they spend so much time in their cars. When was the last time traffic brought you to a stop on Highway 101 in Ukiah? Um, never?

Sometimes people move to provide their children with a safer atmosphere. For most of us, it’s rare to hear gunshots or sirens, so much so that they’re the talk of the town the next day. And, the air we breathe is clean and fresh and it’s easy to see the stars sparkle at night (unless there’s been a recent fire).

Of course, there’s the weather. It’s so temperate and mild that we can spend time outside year round, if we want to.

We can also get to a wonderful variety of places in less than half a day’s drive. Our proximity to the coast, the mountains, the redwood forests, and the Bay Area make Ukiah a central location for boating or waterskiing at Lake Mendocino, snow skiing in Tahoe, mountain biking or hiking on local trails, fishing in Lake Mendocino or off the coast of Fort Bragg, hunting in our beautiful wilderness areas, or enjoying a night on the town in San Francisco.

Since I’m not a big fan of travel, I tend to enjoy the activities available right here in town, and I know friends of all ages find lots for their families to do, as well.

The performance arts are well represented by the Ukiah Symphony, Ukiah Players Theatre, and the Mendocino College theater and dance programs. Kids can learn performance skills at SPACE, Mendocino Ballet, and the Ukiah School of Music, among others. And all you have to do is take a trip to the Redwood Empire Fair to see a sample of the more traditional arts from cooking to quilting to painting.

If sports are your thing, we have soccer leagues, softball and baseball leagues, disc golf, trails for running, hiking, and biking, city basketball leagues, youth football, and more. We have a beautiful municipal golf course and a really nice municipal swimming pool, as well as health and fitness clubs and yoga studios. We have a thriving Farmer’s Market and if I want to shop, we have great local merchants

With good health care, many schools to choose from (public and private), and telecommuting becoming commonplace, why wouldn’t people move here?

I suppose, if I were a teenager, I might have an answer for that one…no anonymity. Ukiah is a community. People know each other. It’s actually easier to meet people in Ukiah than in a city with twice as many people. As a teenager, this is problematic. If you want to get away with something, it’s tough. There’s almost always someone who knows your family around to report inappropriate behavior. In my own experience, on more than one occasion, friends have called me to report my child’s propensity for driving too fast.

So, if you like anonymity, Ukiah’s not such a good place. Otherwise, to my way of thinking, it’s hard to beat.

Next time I’ll write about how to hire a realtor. If there’s something you would like me to write about or if you have questions about real estate or property management, feel free to contact me at rselzer@selzerrealty.com or visit our website at www.realtyworldselzer.com. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 35 years.

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