I've lived in CDM for the past 6 years, but like Luke said Laguna is the charmer of charmers. I'm not fond of CDM culture, but the walking community aspect is awesome and we have a good deal on our rental. However, when it came time to decide where to buy, Laguna and CDM are not exactly first time buyer zip codes. We thought maybe Lake Forest with its many greenbelts and low prices, but we really wanted to stay closer to the coast. I scoured East Side Costa Mesa as first choice, but found that we were still priced out of that area. The west side had properties in our range. It seems that the Mesa areas have a wider appeal than say the south west, but we didn't like the uber suburbia feel. The south west is closer to the coast and the homes are bit older, smaller and just offer a liitle more diversity. My husband is thrilled that he will still be able to come home from work and ride his bike along the coast, which isn't really feasible in the Mesa Verde or Mesa del Mar neighborhoods. I really got the sense that for resale value, we should have chosen one of those neighborhoods, but ultimately we decided to stick with the south west as it suited our tastes and lifestyle better. Of course, everyone has different tastes, so when you are deciding on which community to buy in, you ultimately need to be subjective and focus on your tastes and lifestyle.