Home Buying in Orange County>Question Details

Momrocks, Home Buyer in Orange County, CA

We are considering moving to Orange County from Texas for a great job opportunity. The housing costs are significantly higher in Orange County but

Asked by Momrocks, Orange County, CA Sun Dec 6, 2009

it seems like there are deals to be found all over and we have time to wait as we'd have to sell our house first.
We are interested in newer/NEW construction, family areas, great schools (3rd grader & 5th grader), sports programs, etc. Not sure of our budget yet, but ballpark of $1,000,000, give or take a few $. Lots of foreclosures, some new construction a little high ($1.2 which we hope will drop in spring time). Also, we are Jewish, reform but would like our kids to have some other Jewish kids in class/school unlike they have now and not too far from their religious school classes. There are so many synagogues spread out but don't know if some areas are more "Jewish" than others. We like some houses in Ladera Ranch (but there is SOOO much foreclosure), San Clemente but most other areas are a bit pricey for what we really want. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Mom, you are getting lots of good information. The San Joaquin tract is gated and nice but not much flavor to it. Pretty basic tract. Many foreclosures there as well. For every bank owned home or foreclosure that pops up in this tract, there will be 4-8 people making offers on it. The demand is extremely high right now in OC and the supply of good homes way down. Portola in Irvine is another nice area but very very new and kind of quiet there as well. You can probably get a deal on a new construction but how are you going to feel paying say $1.1M and 2 months after you move in, someone moves in down the street for $850,000? It could easily happen. Coto is very nice but rather out of the way from civilization so to speak. Trabuco Canyon is OK too but it is kind of out there. Laguna Niguel is a great choice depending where you are. You can find a deal in almost any city if you look hard enough. Ladera Ranch is another great area especially if you have kids. It makes no sense to live there if you don't. As I said earlier, the amenities are through the roof, schools are great and you are just a hop skip and a jump to the synagogue for hebrew school or whatever else:) You can find a rental in Ladera Ranch less than a year. I have recently found 2 people leases there for less than 1 year. I would put off buying a home and concentrate on finding a good rental. Here is a good read on the Jewish population here: http://www.ocjewishlife.com/stories/july05_3.html , and this for more local info: http://www.universitysynagogue.org/ . Irvine, Newport Beach and Mission Viejo / Ladera Ranch will be your best bet. Check here for everything Ladera Ranch: http://www.LaderaRanchLife.com .
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
Good Morning Momrocks,
Did you know that the highest rated schools in Orange County are in Irvine, CA?
I am sending you addresses to a few Jewish Organizations in Irvine.
A beautiful city ranked the #1 safest place to live in the USA!! Really # 1. I would be happy to help you if you whould you like to see this area this weekend.


Hope this helps you,
Connie Bramble
Prudential CA Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
007, this thread was from last year at this time:-)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 24, 2010
Hi Momrocks,
You shoud consider a Neighborhood called Stoneridge In Lake Mission Viejo ,CA! South OC!!!!!!!
Stoneridge houses are built in 1998-2001, 3 to 7 Bedrooms, 2.5 to 6 Bathrooms, 2 to 4 Car Garages, & Multiple Stoneridge Homes have a third level Bonus Room w/ over 500 Square Feet! Right Now there houses that have dropped from 1.0 Million to 1.7 Million in 2004, 2005, & 2006! Now $550,000 5 Bedroom, 3 Bathroom, 3 Car Garage, Pool, & tons of upgrades galore to $1,010,000 5 Bedrooms 4 Bathrooms Beautiful Views of Lake Mission Viejo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Consider
Web Reference: http://stoneridgehoa.org
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 24, 2010
Hi Momrocks!

You stated what you would like to live around but didn't say anything about style, number of rooms, house size, yard size or any other specifics about the house you desire. There are many wonderful areas in OC but what you are expecting in a home is also a very important factor.

There is an area, not far from Ladera Ranch that is called Dove Canyon. It is located right next to multimillion dollar homes in cota de caza. It is beautiful, highly desireable, has less forclosures and is a guard gated community. If you name is not on the list, you do not get in. You can give people a one day pass, a month pass or always on the list. Everytime you enter you must pass through the guards with verification. I would be happy to send you a list of available homes if you like.

The reason that Ladera Ranch is underwater with foreclosures is due to the timing of the purchases. It was built and developed partly during the period of the height of the market. Thus, homes purchased during that time frame are going to have a high rate of foreclosures. Irvine is great and centrally located and has a more estabished area. Orange Hills have some beautiful homes with breath taking views. Really... so many wonderful areas with much to offer. To come and visit the entire area will give you a better idea of what appeals more to you.

Also please keep in mind the newer construction here have a much higher property tax rate. This is also an important consideration to many so please be aware, they can vary greatly. Here is a blog regarding property taxes if it is a concern to you, just click the highlighted section http://www.trulia.com/blog/dianne_hicks/2009/07/buyer_beware…

Best of Luck to you and let me know if you need assistance..

Kindest Regards,

Dianne Hicks
Tarbell, Realtors
(951) 514-5709
Web Reference: http://www.di4homes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
Thanks for all your input in selling my house in Texas and I have an amazing realtor here who has been helping me for years and I have complete trust in her to market and sell my house.

After a little more research (without seeing the area yet - we are going this weekend for a quick trip), we are thinking as top contenders so far (subject to change): Ladera Ranch (based on community feel, lots of kids based on school numbers, newer construction options), Mission Viejo, Trabuco Canyon, maybe Laguna Niguel if prices come down a little. While Coto seems nice, some of the houses are a little older and it maybe a little far east for commuting and from other things. There is also some new construction in Laguna Niguel (Summit at San Joaqin Hills- Shapell homes) and in Irvine -- (Portolo Springs, Standard Pacific Homes). A little too much $ but hoping maybe they will come down.

Also, LOTS of short sales out there, especially Ladera..how does that effect pricing of those who just want to sell their house?
Schools are very important as my kids will be in public elem. and middle school next fall.

I know there are a bunch of reform synagogues in Irvine and Tustin (and 30+ of them scattered in the county) but how far are they in relation to the above areas and but does anyone know anything more specific about Jewish population of Orange County?

Thank you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
If prices have been falling in your area in Texas, check sales comps in your neighborhood from this time last year to now. To get the most out your equity, you should sell your Texas home ASAP, I don't mean give it away at a fire sale price, but you need to price it right to sell now, or it likely could end up selling for a lot less in the summer.

You could sell your home by the end of Jan. or mid Feb. & RENT it back from the new owner until you move out here. I know Texas has been hit hard & I fear you will be cashing out a lot less by waiting to close escrow in Texas by next summer. This way, you'll have your Cash & you can shop with confidence in CA & move when the kids are out of school!!

562-430-3053 cell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
Hi There,
OK; so you will most likely know the area by the time you are moving. Sounds like you will have plenty of opportunity to check out all the areas near work. I have found greatschools.com to be very helpful for people new to the area. Where are you going to be commuting to? Which city specifically? How exciting for your family!
Connie Bramble
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
Most of Irvine is a bit pricier due to slightly higher rated public schools. Also, make sure a property isn't too close to a major street, freeway, or a toll road.

One poster suggested that prices are going up, but in the ranges over $800k that is not likely to be the case. There is, and in my opinion, will continue to be, great negotiability in the higher ranges through next summer.

One problem with renting for a while is that most rental properties want a 12 month lease. There are some large apartment complexes that are perfect for interim occupancy, unless your family is too large for them.

Personally, I have 33+ years serving the South Orange County area, with experience in all the communities you've mentioned.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
I forgot to include some important information -- if we go ahead with this move it wouldn't most likely be until the summer so my kids can finish school, their activities and we can take the time to look at all the communities to see which suits our family needs best. My husband would be commuting to CA during the week and we could go out on long weekends to check out the areas which he can also do during the week. We do want to take our time and sell our house by then. Please keep your comments/suggestions coming as they are very helpful.

Any comments on Standard Pacific Homes? They seem like a smaller version of Toll Brothers but with new homes in eastern part of Irvine (a little $ but hey, you never know) Thank you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
Eric is right, come rent for a while to find out what areas suite you. Join a synagogue and make some friends then find out where they live and where the children go to school. Mission Viejo isn't as new as Ladrea and San Clemente but there is a synagogue near Lake Mission Viejo and many sport parks. Check out housing in Mission Viejo neighborhoods like Stoneridge and Canyon Crest.
Good Luck1
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
If you are not familiar with the areas, now is the time to explore--check out all that is important to you and your lifestyle--drive around, look at shops, dine at local eateries, parks, etc. then take it from there. As mentioned by Eric a short term rental may not be such a bad idea.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
It might be best for you to come and rent for 6 months rather than buy. There are too many good areas and if you just immediately buy a home in one area, you could find out that you like other areas better. There are foreclosures everywhere especially high concentrations in the newer areas such as Ladera Ranch and Talega (San Clemente). My advice would be to rent for 3-6 months in an area like Ladera Ranch. That area is the Disneyland for children and an area very misconceived. It's 4.5 miles from the ocean and 2 miles from the freeway. Their amenities are through the roof unlike any other area. There are over 10 pools which 4 are heated year round and you can use all of them, a waterpark, skatepark, dog park, shopping, restaurants, great schools and miles and miles of hiking and biking trails. Would be a great place for you to rent and to get to know the area. Very close to Mission Viejo and the temple http://www.chabadofmv.com/ . You will be much better served to come and rent for 6 months to get a very good understanding of the area first rather than just come out and plunk down $1.0M on a home in a neighborhood that you may grow to dislike. Visit this website for more information on Ladera: http://www.laderaranchlife.com and I can easily help you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
Hello Momrocks,
Like your Trulia name! There are many great places in Orange county. There are beautiful homes in the million dollar range that are forclosures; or standard sales that are very good deals. Are you prepared to move without selling in Texas if you have to? I know you said you have a home to sell but is that a neccessity? If so, be prepared to sell under what appears to be market! I know so many people including my own brother who have been trying to sell in Texas for a very long time. Remember everything sells for a price! Is the price in Texas more important or is the move to California more important?
Also I would not count on a better deal in the Spring out here. Our prices have begun to edge up! Not a huge amount but they are on the upward side. If you have to move I strongly suggest you price in Texas to sell now and allow yourself the opportunity to buy here while we still have the great deals with the great interest rates.
Also comming from Texas will be a lot diffrent when commuting to and from work. Keep that in mind. I know from visiting Texas that everything seems to be 15 to 30 miles away and my brother thinks nothing of that drive. Here during rush time, and I will not say rush hour cause itis more like rush 2-3 hours! It can take well over an hour to go what would normally take you 15 minutes no traffic. Keep that difference in mind when looking. Where exactly will you be driving to for work? Try to stay close!!!
I think California is the greatest place to live, and you will be very happy for the move! Best of luck to you!
Connie Bramble
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
I think based on our preliminary research, we'll be focusing on the southern part of Orange County, some of the areas we are thinking of (but not sure if we can afford) are San Clemente, Ladera Ranch, maybe Coto, Alizo Viejo, Laguna Niguel etc. My kids would go to public school but we'd like to belong to a Reform Synagogue where they will also attend religious school. My husband would be working in the Santa Ana area. Any other input would be great!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
There are two great temple communities near the north OC area - one in Fullerton is Temple Beth Tikvah and one in La Mirada is Temple Beth Ohr. The one is Fullerton is just up the street from Troy High School, a nationally ranked high school listed in Newsweek as among the best in the country. We're a very eclectic community, and my friends have never found any problems with having friends for their kids who share common values. There is always Hebrew school., The education in Fullerton is wonderful - which would mean a lot to you and your kids. There is also a Hebrew Academy in Westminster, where my 16-mo-old grandson takes swimming lessons. I can check with an agent in our office who is Jewish, and she can give me more guidance. However, a lot will depend on where your husband will be working. South OC also has some great areas. If you would like me to do some research, please write back and I'd be happy to investigate. Bonnie Scribner, Century 21 Discovery (we're in top 1% in nation of C21 offices), cell 714.296.0513, Bonnie@BonnieTheRealtor.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
Hi Momrocks, all of South Orange County is mostly newer. One thing to look out for is higher taxes which most of the newer communities will have - unfortunately the two - new and higher taxes - pretty much go hand in hand, with just a few exceptions.

Below is link to a venue for conducting your searches, directly from the MLS, but allowing you ti tweak criteria to your heart's content. Good luck in your search, and to a successful transition.
Web Reference: http://tr.im/FreeMLSSearch
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
Are you moving from Austin?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 6, 2009
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