We currently live in Carmel Valley. My husband has a new job in Irvine, right off I-405. We have decided on Laguna Niguel or San Clemente/Talega area.

Asked by Paula, Dublin, CA Wed Aug 1, 2012

The Laguna Niguel home is smaller but in a gated community, 14.5 miles to my husband's new job and close to great schools. The Talega home is bigger, newer, close to great schools but 28 miles to his job. Lease price is the same for both. We're having a difficult time making a decision since we are not very familiar with either cities. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Audra M. Smith’s answer
Audra M. Smi…, Agent, Dana Point, CA
Thu Aug 2, 2012
Hi Paula,

San Clemente resident and Realtor here! I deal with a fair amount of leasing and corporate relocation; the feedback I get most often (from my relo placements) is that the slightly additional commute to live in San Clemente/Talega is well-worth the exchange for living close to the beach and the incredible amenities Talega has to offer. It is a funny exchange between husband and wife where the wife is "functioning" Monday through Friday (kids, school, extracurricular activities, shopping, doctors appts, and the list goes on....) so the husband will tell me that in light of that, he is happy to add an extra 10-minutes to his commute. They are always pleased to have selected Talega, and these are relo's that originally were searching in areas like Irvine, Aliso Viejo, and Laguna Niguel with the intention of being within close proximity to the Irvine 5/405 split. Talega has super amenities, great parks, water park, trails, and a Talega Bus that will take you from Talega to the Pier, and back. Everything is a short walk, bike ride, or drive away. Vista Del Mar is an award-winning, California Distinguished school, and Talega is a GREAT family community with kids galore! Either way, you can’t go wrong. Laguna Niguel is great as well, but being a resident here, I’m a bit partial to a beach town! ;)

Good luck with your decision, and your move! Either way, I think you will enjoy it here!

Audra M. Smith, Broker
DRE #01291810
Cell: (949) 289-2495|Office: (949) 481-5639|Fax: (949) 481-3673
Email: RESpecialist@cox.net|http://www.ocwebhomes.com
http://audra.housingtrendsenewsletter.com -- our new real-time eNewsletter with up-to-the-minute market updates!
0 votes
Alane Anders…, Agent, Newport Beach, CA
Thu Sep 6, 2012
Although I specialize in the Coastal areas, just helped a client purchase a property in Talega. We did a lot of research, faced with the same question and unknowns as you are. We found that Talega is desirable due to it's "newness" and with a lot of open areas, however, it is considered to be a bit remote with extra fees (Talega charges an addition fee for their development). Although that isn't a consideration for you now, if your thinking of developing roots in the community before you buy, it may be a factor later. It's a commute, but well worth the drive.

Laguna Niguel is older, more established. Many properties are being updated, but is known as a strong community with very good schools. Closer to shopping mall and restaurants.

Depends on what you are looking for, but if it's a shorter commute, go for Laguna Niguel. If it's new, clean, fun, and a lot of potential....thinking Talega.

Good Luck! Alane
0 votes
Tricialajr, Home Owner, San Clemente, CA
Fri Aug 31, 2012
San Clemente is more diverse and community oriented, in my opinion. Laguna Niguel is definitely less so, but still a nice area. San Clemente has more laid back, beach /fitness lifestyle with older areas that exude more charm than Laguna Niguel. Talega is its premier newest neighborhood with its own adjoining elementary/middle school. A bonus to stay with neighborhood friends since it is impacted and only open to Talega residents. IMO, no one can beat the beach trail access and our new Vista Hermosa Sports Park. I am probably biased since I have lived here for 18 years.
Talk to your potential neighbors and get their take on the neighborhood; their regrets and blessings.
Good luck!
0 votes
Ledeen Hangen, Agent, San Clemente, CA
Sat Aug 11, 2012
Hello and Welcome to Southern California,
The closer commute would be Laguna Niguel and there are some New homes off of Crown Valley. On the other hand Talega has a lot to offer as well. Talega, a much newer community and has been created to be a great family community. I would like to see if I could send you some properties in the two cities so you can get a better feel for each area.
0 votes
Mary Jeffries, Agent, Monarch Beach, CA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Hi Paula, Commuting can take it's toll on your husband. Better stick with the 14.5 miles if you can
good luck! Thank you for the inquiry.
Mary Jeffries, Broker Associate
0 votes
Brian Wilson, Agent, Laguna Beach, CA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Hello Paula,

I will add my thoughts, I also live in Laguna Niguel and when I bought I was working in Irvine (right where 5 and 405 meet). The distance was not too bad and depending on the time of day I could avoid the freeway if I chose to.

Both cities are great cities for families, Laguna Niguel does not have Mello Roos (additional tax assessment) but parts of San Clemente do, specifically Talega. The tax rate otherwise is similar. IF you are renting you won't have that but if buying it will add to your monthly costs. Laguna Niguel does have some newer communities but Talega is newer construction overall. Newer communities may have Mello Roos depending on the city's infrastructure. Ladera Ranch is another newer community with Mello Roos that you may have looked into as well.

Another factor is the drive on the 5 from Talega to Irvine. For some reason the traffic seems to back up right around the Beach Cities exit. There is a curve in the freeway and at peak times you can expect delays. Based on just drive time alone with other things being equal I would lean toward Laguna Niguel myself, and I did.

Both are great cities and since renting Mello Roos is not really a factor but once you plant roots you may want to stay in the area so I would still consider the Mello Roos tax assessment (not deductible) when deciding where to live. Traffic, drive time and alternate routes tips the scale for me .

Good luck with you search and if I can offer any further assistance please let me know,
Brian Wilson, Realtor
DRE #01321478
0 votes
John Alesi, Agent, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
These are tough choices because both seem to have benefits. For me, travel time would move my decision to the Laguna Niguel property. Once you move to Southern California, you will be spending plenty of time on the freeways and the extra commute to your home might get a bit tiring.

John Alesi
CENTURY 21 Award
Phone: 949-510-2154
0 votes
Mark Gundlach…, Agent, Newport Beach, CA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Hi Paula-

Both Laguna Niguel and the Talega area of San Clemente are great communities for families and have very good schools. It sounds like the distance to your husband's job may be the prevailing issue for you to make a decision. One thing to consider (depending on where your husband's new job is) would be the toll road. Yes, it comes at a cost for the commute but it can drastically decrease his commute time. Otherwise maybe consider parts of Irvine which are also very nice and have incredible schools. Irvine can be a few percentage points higher in cost but, there's a tradeoff with spending more money monthly on a longer commute as well. I'm happy to help if you would like local assistance with your relocation. Feel free to reach me at your convenience.

Mark Gundlach
949.307.5944 Cell
0 votes
Antonio Fior…, Agent, San Clemente, CA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Hi Paula,

Both are great areas to live in and raise a family. Talega is a newer community with great schools, LOTS of great amenities, shopping, dining and beach close. Laguna has fine schools is beach close and does have community specific ammenities. If the commute does not bother you, Talega would be my first choice, although Laguna Niguel is a very nice area.

I hope my two cents helped! If I can be of further assistance feel free to contact me!

Have a great day!

Tony Fiorello-Forté Realty Group
(949) 842-3631
0 votes
Joe Homs, Agent, Laguna Hills, CA
Wed Aug 1, 2012

I have a great buy in Talega right now. Contact me for the listing information and I will send it to you right away.

Joe Homs
0 votes
Michael Emer…, Agent, Mission Viejo, CA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
As a Laguna Niguel resident, I have a preference for there. Close to everyghing...beach, freeways, shopping, etc Talega is a newer community and most of that extra commute from there will be with less traffic than the 14 miles from Laguna Niguel i not a fan of commuting to work, closer is better, but it is a personal decision. So is house size and newer amenities. Talega is a great community. Laguna Niguel us a great city. Good luck. You will enjoy either one.
0 votes
Kimberly Hart, Agent, San Clemente, CA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Talega is a great, family oriented community in San Clemente. Talega offers fantastic amenities, with parks, pools, the golf course, etc. It is close to the new sports and aquatic center on Hermosa, shopping (incl the new Target), restaurants and the beach. Access to the 5 freeway is easy from Talega, just head down Pico or Vista Hermosa and the freeway is right there. San Clemente has some of the most beautiful beaches around and great local culture. I have lived in San Clemente for over 14 years and love it.

Laguna Niguel is a nice community also. It too has access to shopping, restaurants and the freeway. For me, Laguna Niguel doesn't offer as much culture as San Clemente.

Please let me know if you need more info on either city.
0 votes
Jeff Boyd, Agent, Mission Viejo, CA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Depending on where in Laguna Niguel, the commute itselt might not be that different. I live in Irvine and commute to one of my listings in Talega for open houses and showings. Takes about 25 minutes without trafiic. Traffic is pretty heavy starting on the 5 near Laguna Niguel, and clears around 9:00 am. Laguna Niguel is a little cooler (temperature wise) then Talega, but you have a nice Ocean view commute when leaving Talega and heading to the freeway. I have lived in all three cities, know them well, let me know if you want to chat about your options.

Have a blessed day,

Jeffrey J. Boyd,

Realtor, Certified Negotiation Expert
Harcourts Prime Properties
C: 949-680-0249
E. GoTeamBoyd@gmail.com

Assistant: KristinBoydTC@gmail.com

Visit our website and Search for Homes! http://www.GoTeamBoyd.com
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
General Area in San Clemente Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more