Things You Should Know Before Moving to Richmond, CA

It was the backdrop for scenes in Forever Young and Patch Adams films and was founded and incorporated in 1905. Located in the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay area, the 53 square-mile California city of Richmond offers history, many different types of wildlife, sunshine, and various activities for a new resident.

Is Richmond a top city on your potential relocation list? If so, take a look at the following guide for helpful information and tips to help make your decision on whether or not to move to this exciting western city!

Overview of Richmond, CA

Richmond Climate

Richmond is located on California’s East Bay near San Francisco and enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot, drier summers and mild winters. Temperatures generally range from the mid-50s to high 70s year-round, but Richmond’s climate is not consistent in all parts of the city due to some parts are further inland while others are closer to the bay.

September is usually the hottest month, with higher temperatures inland, and the sun shines for approximately 10 months collectively out of the year. October through April is when the most rain occurs, averaging about four inches per month.

Richmond Neighborhoods

Richmond is divided into smaller areas like Northern Hilltop/El Sobrante, Eastern Central/East Richmond, Downtown/Iron Triangle and Southern Point Richmond/Marina Bay.

The Iron Triangle, which gets its name from the nearby railroad tracks that form a triangle around the neighborhood, is mostly residential but includes Richmond’s downtown business district. Iron Triangle is the city’s center in Richmond’s downtown area, which has many commercial and retail stores and upscale homes, bungalows, and villas for those wishing to cut their commutes working in the city.

For more upscale living options, check out Marina Bay, with apartment complexes, condominiums, townhouses, and single-family houses on the waterfront and protected by Richmond’s Inner Harbor. Homes in the area are currently priced anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000.

To experience a small-town feel, head out to Point Richmond, more commonly known as “The Point,” filled with many historic buildings and retail shopping, including surviving mom-and-pop stores.

Registering Your Car

To avoid any penalties after you’ve moved to Richmond, you must register your vehicle within 20 days of entry or residency, according to the state of California’s DMV website. You will need an application for Title or Registration signed by the owner as they appear on the out of state title, the last issued out of state title, smog and weight certification (if applicable), and money for any fees or taxes. The DMV must also inspect the vehicle.

Upon moving to California, you have 10 days to acquire a California driver’s license. You will need to complete the application from DL 44, give a thumbprint, take your picture, and provide your full name and social security number. You must also pay the application fee, pass a vision exam and pass a traffic laws and signs test.

Richmond Schools

The West Contra Costa Unified School District serves the city for public education. It is comprised of 68 schools in total, with four high schools, six middle schools, one K-8 school, almost 40 elementary schools, and several charter schools.

There are no colleges or universities directly in Richmond. Still, some notable colleges in the area include Contra Costa College (San Pablo), California College of the Arts (Oakland), University of California, Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and the San Francisco Art Institute.

Richmond Employment

The economy in Richmond is fueled by several different industries from petrochemicals, education, health care, and government. Recently, the city has made a name for itself in the retail industry with additions like the McDonald’s 80 Shopping Center, Hilltop Mall, Costco, and various other department stores. Some of the largest employers in 2012 were: Chevron, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Social Security Administration, Kaiser Permanente, Dicon Fiberoptics, and the City of Richmond.

The unemployment rate as of March 2013 was at a high of 12.8%, but lower than the 14% rate in previous months. Check out your employment opportunities before packing up and heading straight out to the city.

Living Costs in the City

No matter where you are in California, the cost of living is usually significantly higher than the national average, and Richmond is not much different, so be prepared for your bills to increase. The overall cost of living is over 30% higher than the national average, while housing costs can be close to double that. Sales tax is 9%, and the average house price ranges from $250,000 to $700,000, but many homes exceed $1 million in the area.

If you rent, expect to pay upwards of $1,000 per month for a single bedroom apartment, not including utilities. As of early 2013, the city has adopted an initiative to supply green energy and replace its current electrical company, so you should expect to see a slight increase in your energy bill.

Richmond Moving Resources

Moving and storage companies can prepare you for your move to Richmond, whether you’re moving from out of state or from another county in California. Make sure you get estimates from multiple moving services before you commit to hiring any (at least three estimates). Check back our guides for tips on choosing your moving service wisely with essential questions to ask, differentiating between types of estimates, and mistakes to avoid. 

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