I lived in Saratoga, right next to Los Gatos. The traffic was taking up half my life. It took me an hour to get to work, which was 9 miles away!!! You have to shell out $800 thousand for 2 bedroom cottage with one bathroom. Taxes are nose-bleed in California. Portland? It never STOPPED raining. I'd rather be hot 5 months out of the year than wet for 10 months.
At least we have choices here in America.
I grew up in Saratoga! Small world.
Traffic there can get nasty. The trick is no rush hour, and then its not bad at all. I was just there a few weeks ago, and compared to most big cities that have traffic all the time, it was delightful. I took "17" from SJO to Santa Cruz at about ten am, 70 mph the whole way.
Well, everyone's idea of top quality is different. I know that generally, in the construction cost range of $95/sq.ft., you can get hardwood floors, Brick or Hardy Plank (which is a concrete type siding that looks like wood, but without the rot or upkeep), fireplace, unfinished and floored full walk-up attic, tile kitchen and baths, dual HVAC, built in closet shelving and drawers, 30yr shingles, plywood sheathing (as opposed to gypsum), granite kitchen counters with lots of cabinets, etc. If you have any specific things in mind, let me know and I can tell you if they'd be considered standard or an upgrade.
Of course, if you go with a non-custom builder like KBH or someone, you can get a lower/sqft price (like $75-$80), but have corian as opposed to granite, vinyl siding as opposed to Hardy Plank or brick, etc. Oh yeah, and be stuck on a postage stamp lot of a 1/3 of an acre or less!
Thanks, that's interesting. I'm not planning on building anything. It would drive me crazy.