Davis is reluctant to talk about East County as a single entity because she believes a stereotype exists of the "East County boy in a cowboy hat and a pickup truck," which is erroneously applied to the whole region. "That's a Lakeside boy," she says. "People out there might favor that description. But do you know how many houses I sell a year to horse people? Hardly any. Still, some people think of East County as nothing but horse properties, and labels stick. Thirty years ago, El Cajon used to be filled with horse ranches. That...was... 30...years...ago!"
The misconception, Davis figures, is largely due to many of the unincorporated neighborhoods in East County having El Cajon addresses. "The El Cajon address encompasses three zip codes and covers so many parts of East San Diego County. The city of El Cajon had quite a lot of pride 25, 30 years ago. But all of those grandpas are gone or dead. It hit bottom a few years back and became a little inner city. Now they're redeveloping it, but there are still people who have El Cajon addresses who never set foot in the city of El Cajon because there are so many beautiful areas that all get labeled El Cajon: Rancho Vista Grande, Fletcher Hills, Granite Hills, Monarch Ridge, Rancho San Diego. But people don't know that; they just go, 'Oh, you live in El Cajon.' And they have no idea that East County has many wonderful neighborhoods filled with quiet money. They're not flashy people, they're not fast-laners, they're people with quiet money."
Another group buying high end homes in East County is North County refugees. "I've had several clients," Davis says, "transfer themselves and their families to East County because they were fed up with North County traffic. It's just like anything; new is always better in people's minds. So when all the new homes were built in North County, people moved to the new house until they got so overpopulated, and they started saying, 'Well, maybe new isn't better,' and started looking toward East County. Now, they're rediscovering East County because it's such a great value and it's so convenient. It's like San Diego's best-kept secret. My North County transfer clients have told me, 'I've so had it with the North County thing and all of that traffic.' They're saying, 'I want more quality of life and less time on the freeway.' "