Yeah cost of living is high out there. And so is housing, so I cannot help with real estate advice as I buy 300k homes and rent for 1500 to 2000 per month. Your area is 600k+ and rent is probably well over 2.5k.
My personal goal is earn $10k to $15k /month cash flow from passive income when I retire. I have no plans on selling my properties.
I also have no interest in 100% retirement, I will work as a hobby that pays me (semi retire). I can not not work... I have to stay busy or I'll go nuts.