Talk Irvine

General => Real Estate => Irvine Real Estate => Topic started by: TheDoctor on June 14, 2019, 08:30:08 AM

Title: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: TheDoctor on June 14, 2019, 08:30:08 AM
Been reasoning a fair bit on here over the past few months and thought I’d finally participate and ask for some advice.

We have been looking at houses for a few months now including new developments. The main concern for us is proximity to Tustin Ranch as that is where my parents live and we’ll need to be near them if we have a child.

We have narrowed down our needs quite a bit in the past few months, but haven’t found anything we really want that bad. Which is fine since prices and rates have been dropping a bit.

- 2 bed, 2 bath min
- preferably >1200’
- attached garage

This has eventually led us back to the new developments that we first started looking at when we started in Portola (Carissa/Brisa), Novel Park, and eventually Levity in Tustin. These are a bit above our initial price range, especially with the mello roos, but haven’t been that impressed with the resale homes were seen.

What communities should we keep an eye on in our budget. We are not opposed to an older place, but would prefer to not have to deal the potential issues of a 1970s townhouse down the road.

Do you see the low end units of the new developments as worth it or should we stick to resales to avoid mello roos?

I also see a lot of talk about avoiding 3-level homes, but so far we haven’t seen many 2-levels with attached garages in the area that fit our budget. How much of a downside to resale is a 3 vs 2 level townhouse?
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: Cares on June 14, 2019, 08:37:44 AM
I sent you a PM on a listing I'm trying to help a friend sell.

With your budget you would be hard pressed to find new construction in Irvine. There's some sub-600k in Novel Park but the Mello Roos on those homes basically pushes it to the equivalent of a $50 to 100k more expensive home. HOA on Novel Park is pretty ridiculous too. I advise all my friends to steer clear of Great Park solely because of the "hidden cost" of ownership. Like you mentioned, Carissa/Brisa (same plans, different location) are your best bet with Plan 1 but it's 3 stories. Imagine having to lug up a case of Costco water every few weeks for the next 5-10 years!
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 09:19:43 AM
I see a lot of people on here advise against 3 level condos, but I think they are a good option. They work well as starter homes for younger people. At Carissa/Brisa the Plan 1 is a 2 bed/2 bath is technically 3 levels, but the first level is only the garage, so you're really living on two levels only. That seems better to me than a two level unit without a garage.

Portola Springs mello roos are lower than Novel Park. I have no idea about Levity in Tustin, but I really like the location. As you said, all of these developments though I think you will be over 600k. When we went to look at Brisa last year I think the plan 1 was about 610k, but I agree you will see resale homes that need a fair amount of work for that price or higher.

We ended up going with Carissa because we also were not impressed with what you got for the same price with resale. So unfortunately I can't really offer good advice on neighborhoods or communities to watch for resale. Good luck, and feel free to message me if you have questions :)
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: momopi on June 14, 2019, 09:23:21 AM
I've been selling my investment properties since last year and still own a 3 level condo in Irvine.  If you ever decide to rent it out it can be difficult to find a tenant.  I'm inclined to sell, wait for RE down cycle and buy single level SFR's.

As I mentioned previously, if the 3rd level is loft / man cave / game room then it's probably OK.  People will view it as a bonus game room or storage.  But if your bedroom is on 3F then that's a different story.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 09:43:04 AM
I've been selling my investment properties since last year and still own a 3 level condo in Irvine.  If you ever decide to rent it out it can be difficult to find a tenant.  I'm inclined to sell, wait for RE down cycle and buy single level SFR's.

As I mentioned previously, if the 3rd level is loft / man cave / game room then it's probably OK.  People will review it as a bonus game room or storage.  But if your bedroom is on 3F then that's a different story.


This is a good perspective. I think it's points to the importance of figuring out priorities.

For us, this is our first home and we're not in a position to have investment properties. When it comes time to move I think we will need to sell this house to have a down payment for the next. So, rental potential was not important to us. Our priorities were a functional floor plan, in our price range, in the school district we wanted. The bedrooms being on the 3rd floor was not a deterrent in any way. So I would say figure out what your biggest priorities are. If you are really interested in living in your house for a few years and then turning it into a rental property, I would listen to the advice and stay away.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: eyephone on June 14, 2019, 09:45:11 AM
I thought doctors make bank?
Let me ask you this. Do you drive like a nice car? If you didn’t drive a nice car. Maybe your budget will be bigger.
I assume you don’t drive a beater.

(Just a question nothing more)

My statement to young folks out of college. Sometimes in life you have to make sacrifices. like don’t eat out, buy things on sale, watch Netflix instead of going to the movies. My favorite get another job or your spouse has to work for Mo’ Money.

Since I’m on a roll. There’s nothing wrong with renting to save up money or living with family or having roommates.
Also, don’t blame people for lack of execution.


Been reasoning a fair bit on here over the past few months and thought I’d finally participate and ask for some advice.

We have been looking at houses for a few months now including new developments. The main concern for us is proximity to Tustin Ranch as that is where my parents live and we’ll need to be near them if we have a child.

We have narrowed down our needs quite a bit in the past few months, but haven’t found anything we really want that bad. Which is fine since prices and rates have been dropping a bit.

- 2 bed, 2 bath min
- preferably >1200’
- attached garage

This has eventually led us back to the new developments that we first started looking at when we started in Portola (Carissa/Brisa), Novel Park, and eventually Levity in Tustin. These are a bit above our initial price range, especially with the mello roos, but haven’t been that impressed with the resale homes were seen.

What communities should we keep an eye on in our budget. We are not opposed to an older place, but would prefer to not have to deal the potential issues of a 1970s townhouse down the road.

Do you see the low end units of the new developments as worth it or should we stick to resales to avoid mello roos?

I also see a lot of talk about avoiding 3-level homes, but so far we haven’t seen many 2-levels with attached garages in the area that fit our budget. How much of a downside to resale is a 3 vs 2 level townhouse?
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: Cares on June 14, 2019, 09:51:48 AM
I've been selling my investment properties since last year and still own a 3 level condo in Irvine.  If you ever decide to rent it out it can be difficult to find a tenant.  I'm inclined to sell, wait for RE down cycle and buy single level SFR's.

As I mentioned previously, if the 3rd level is loft / man cave / game room then it's probably OK.  People will review it as a bonus game room or storage.  But if your bedroom is on 3F then that's a different story.


This is a good perspective. I think it's points to the importance of figuring out priorities.

For us, this is our first home and we're not in a position to have investment properties. When it comes time to move I think we will need to sell this house to have a down payment for the next. So, rental potential was not important to us. Our priorities were a functional floor plan, in our price range, in the school district we wanted. The bedrooms being on the 3rd floor was not a deterrent in any way. So I would say figure out what your biggest priorities are. If you are really interested in living in your house for a few years and then turning it into a rental property, I would listen to the advice and stay away.

If a house doesn't rent well, it also doesn't sell well. 3 stories should be avoided if possible because it is a pretty big limiting factor on potential buyers/renters.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: TheDoctor on June 14, 2019, 10:11:56 AM
I see a lot of people on here advise against 3 level condos, but I think they are a good option. They work well as starter homes for younger people. At Carissa/Brisa the Plan 1 is a 2 bed/2 bath is technically 3 levels, but the first level is only the garage, so you're really living on two levels only. That seems better to me than a two level unit without a garage.

Portola Springs mello roos are lower than Novel Park. I have no idea about Levity in Tustin, but I really like the location. As you said, all of these developments though I think you will be over 600k. When we went to look at Brisa last year I think the plan 1 was about 610k, but I agree you will see resale homes that need a fair amount of work for that price or higher.

We ended up going with Carissa because we also were not impressed with what you got for the same price with resale. So unfortunately I can't really offer good advice on neighborhoods or communities to watch for resale. Good luck, and feel free to message me if you have questions :)

Which plan did you go with, 1? That’s really the only one we’re considering. We’re hesitant because for a bit more you get more sqft at Novel park or Levity, granted mello roos will be higher too. The cheapest levity mode is a tandem garage also so I’m already less interested because of that.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 10:15:46 AM
I see a lot of people on here advise against 3 level condos, but I think they are a good option. They work well as starter homes for younger people. At Carissa/Brisa the Plan 1 is a 2 bed/2 bath is technically 3 levels, but the first level is only the garage, so you're really living on two levels only. That seems better to me than a two level unit without a garage.

Portola Springs mello roos are lower than Novel Park. I have no idea about Levity in Tustin, but I really like the location. As you said, all of these developments though I think you will be over 600k. When we went to look at Brisa last year I think the plan 1 was about 610k, but I agree you will see resale homes that need a fair amount of work for that price or higher.

We ended up going with Carissa because we also were not impressed with what you got for the same price with resale. So unfortunately I can't really offer good advice on neighborhoods or communities to watch for resale. Good luck, and feel free to message me if you have questions :)

Which plan did you go with, 1? That’s really the only one we’re considering. We’re hesitant because for a bit more you get more sqft at Novel park or Levity, granted mello roos will be higher too. The cheapest levity mode is a tandem garage also so I’m already less interested because of that.

We have the 1X. We specifically wanted a ground floor bedroom because we have a lot of family visit us and we like the separation of that bedroom for the privacy factor.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: TheDoctor on June 14, 2019, 10:40:36 AM
I see a lot of people on here advise against 3 level condos, but I think they are a good option. They work well as starter homes for younger people. At Carissa/Brisa the Plan 1 is a 2 bed/2 bath is technically 3 levels, but the first level is only the garage, so you're really living on two levels only. That seems better to me than a two level unit without a garage.

Portola Springs mello roos are lower than Novel Park. I have no idea about Levity in Tustin, but I really like the location. As you said, all of these developments though I think you will be over 600k. When we went to look at Brisa last year I think the plan 1 was about 610k, but I agree you will see resale homes that need a fair amount of work for that price or higher.

We ended up going with Carissa because we also were not impressed with what you got for the same price with resale. So unfortunately I can't really offer good advice on neighborhoods or communities to watch for resale. Good luck, and feel free to message me if you have questions :)

Which plan did you go with, 1? That’s really the only one we’re considering. We’re hesitant because for a bit more you get more sqft at Novel park or Levity, granted mello roos will be higher too. The cheapest levity mode is a tandem garage also so I’m already less interested because of that.

We have the 1X. We specifically wanted a ground floor bedroom because we have a lot of family visit us and we like the separation of that bedroom for the privacy factor.

How much was that plan? I don’t think have any of those anyways anymore until way later phase when we went there recently.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: Cares on June 14, 2019, 10:52:23 AM
I see a lot of people on here advise against 3 level condos, but I think they are a good option. They work well as starter homes for younger people. At Carissa/Brisa the Plan 1 is a 2 bed/2 bath is technically 3 levels, but the first level is only the garage, so you're really living on two levels only. That seems better to me than a two level unit without a garage.

Portola Springs mello roos are lower than Novel Park. I have no idea about Levity in Tustin, but I really like the location. As you said, all of these developments though I think you will be over 600k. When we went to look at Brisa last year I think the plan 1 was about 610k, but I agree you will see resale homes that need a fair amount of work for that price or higher.

We ended up going with Carissa because we also were not impressed with what you got for the same price with resale. So unfortunately I can't really offer good advice on neighborhoods or communities to watch for resale. Good luck, and feel free to message me if you have questions :)

Which plan did you go with, 1? That’s really the only one we’re considering. We’re hesitant because for a bit more you get more sqft at Novel park or Levity, granted mello roos will be higher too. The cheapest levity mode is a tandem garage also so I’m already less interested because of that.

We have the 1X. We specifically wanted a ground floor bedroom because we have a lot of family visit us and we like the separation of that bedroom for the privacy factor.

How much was that plan? I don’t think have any of those anyways anymore until way later phase when we went there recently.

There are no 1X models at Carissa until Phase 5 and Phase 7, and these will be the last 2 there. There are 2 available right now at Brisa. Brisa is on Phase 5 with Plan 1 being $592k and Plan 1X being $663k. These are for Winter 2019 move in dates. Nothing in Phase 4 left.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 10:54:37 AM
Yeah it's going to be quite awhile for another 1X at Carissa. I think they are only building 8 total including the model. They've sold 4 not including the model, and I don't think there's any in the next few phases. But, there's Plan 1s in every phase.

The 1Xs at Carissa were like $680ish.

Not sure what the Brisa ones are at.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 11:04:14 AM
Interesting, sounds like Brisa is coming in like $20k less on the same models as Carissa. I wonder if it's the proximity to the 241?
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: TheDoctor on June 14, 2019, 11:13:21 AM
Interesting, sounds like Brisa is coming in like $20k less on the same models as Carissa. I wonder if it's the proximity to the 241?

Brisa and Carissa were the same price for plan 1, Carissa had later move in date as the caveat, early next year they were predicting. We prefer Carissa just due to how deep in Brisa is from Irvine Blvd.

Plan 1x is out of our price range so not can’t even entertain that.

The 241 is so low traffic compared to a busy street like say Irvine or even something like Bryan in tustin. The noise at Brisa was nothing compared to some of the homes we saw in Tustin the same proximity from Bryan Ave or Newport blvd.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 11:17:53 AM
Earlier phases of Carissa the Plan 1 was like $610, so if it's $590 now they either aren't including non-optional upgrades, or the prices have gone down.

We also preferred Carissa to Brisa due to location which is why we bought there :)

Interesting, sounds like Brisa is coming in like $20k less on the same models as Carissa. I wonder if it's the proximity to the 241?

Brisa and Carissa were the same price for plan 1, Carissa had later move in date as the caveat, early next year they were predicting. We prefer Carissa just due to how deep in Brisa is from Irvine Blvd.

Plan 1x is out of our price range so not can’t even entertain that.

The 241 is so low traffic compared to a busy street like say Irvine or even something like Bryan in tustin. The noise at Brisa was nothing compared to some of the homes we saw in Tustin the same proximity from Bryan Ave or Newport blvd.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: TheDoctor on June 14, 2019, 11:26:20 AM
They only have minimal upgrades from what they said. We’re not sure on what upgrades we’d even want. The little samples they showed us don’t tell you much.

Earlier phases of Carissa the Plan 1 was like $610, so if it's $590 now they either aren't including non-optional upgrades, or the prices have gone down.

We also preferred Carissa to Brisa due to location which is why we bought there :)

Interesting, sounds like Brisa is coming in like $20k less on the same models as Carissa. I wonder if it's the proximity to the 241?

Brisa and Carissa were the same price for plan 1, Carissa had later move in date as the caveat, early next year they were predicting. We prefer Carissa just due to how deep in Brisa is from Irvine Blvd.

Plan 1x is out of our price range so not can’t even entertain that.

The 241 is so low traffic compared to a busy street like say Irvine or even something like Bryan in tustin. The noise at Brisa was nothing compared to some of the homes we saw in Tustin the same proximity from Bryan Ave or Newport blvd.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 11:33:15 AM
I can fill you in on those details.

You don't actually get a choice for most of it.

Upgrades that were included that we had no say in and could not pick:
-Recessed lighting
-Electric package that included a larger transformer so you could have an electric car
-Stove and range hood, microwave in island
-Tile backslash in kitchen, master bath, and guest bath
-Kitchen counter tops
-Some kind of insulation package
-Other stuff I can't remember all the details

The non-optional upgrades totaled to $20k. So our final price of like $680k included all of that

The only upgrades you can opt in or opt out of are epoxy floors in the garage, and going with the standard tile/carpeting or upgrading to nicer flooring.


They only have minimal upgrades from what they said. We’re not sure on what upgrades we’d even want. The little samples they showed us don’t tell you much.

Earlier phases of Carissa the Plan 1 was like $610, so if it's $590 now they either aren't including non-optional upgrades, or the prices have gone down.

We also preferred Carissa to Brisa due to location which is why we bought there :)

Interesting, sounds like Brisa is coming in like $20k less on the same models as Carissa. I wonder if it's the proximity to the 241?

Brisa and Carissa were the same price for plan 1, Carissa had later move in date as the caveat, early next year they were predicting. We prefer Carissa just due to how deep in Brisa is from Irvine Blvd.

Plan 1x is out of our price range so not can’t even entertain that.

The 241 is so low traffic compared to a busy street like say Irvine or even something like Bryan in tustin. The noise at Brisa was nothing compared to some of the homes we saw in Tustin the same proximity from Bryan Ave or Newport blvd.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: TheDoctor on June 14, 2019, 11:49:29 AM
They were mentioning we could pick the flooring/carpet set, but we didn’t ask about any other upgrades. We’ll ask more questions when we check them out again. We weren’t that serious when we went last time.

I wonder since these aren’t even starting construction if we could opt into any upgrades or if they will only come standard.

I can fill you in on those details.

You don't actually get a choice for most of it.

Upgrades that were included that we had no say in and could not pick:
-Recessed lighting
-Electric package that included a larger transformer so you could have an electric car
-Stove and range hood, microwave in island
-Tile backslash in kitchen, master bath, and guest bath
-Kitchen counter tops
-Some kind of insulation package
-Other stuff I can't remember all the details

The non-optional upgrades totaled to $20k. So our final price of like $680k included all of that

The only upgrades you can opt in or opt out of are epoxy floors in the garage, and going with the standard tile/carpeting or upgrading to nicer flooring.


They only have minimal upgrades from what they said. We’re not sure on what upgrades we’d even want. The little samples they showed us don’t tell you much.

Earlier phases of Carissa the Plan 1 was like $610, so if it's $590 now they either aren't including non-optional upgrades, or the prices have gone down.

We also preferred Carissa to Brisa due to location which is why we bought there :)

Interesting, sounds like Brisa is coming in like $20k less on the same models as Carissa. I wonder if it's the proximity to the 241?

Brisa and Carissa were the same price for plan 1, Carissa had later move in date as the caveat, early next year they were predicting. We prefer Carissa just due to how deep in Brisa is from Irvine Blvd.

Plan 1x is out of our price range so not can’t even entertain that.

The 241 is so low traffic compared to a busy street like say Irvine or even something like Bryan in tustin. The noise at Brisa was nothing compared to some of the homes we saw in Tustin the same proximity from Bryan Ave or Newport blvd.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 11:53:24 AM
We were under contract before construction started and there was zero wiggle room to negotiate on any of this. We tried.

One other thing they may not have told you, if you are seriously talking with them or getting on the interest list. If you want to use an agent or broker who represents you they have to be present the first time you talk to the sales office. If you didn't give them information the first time you went you should be fine. If you're visiting again more seriously and you want an agent you have to have them with you or you can't use one in the sale.

They were mentioning we could pick the flooring/carpet set, but we didn’t ask about any other upgrades. We’ll ask more questions when we check them out again. We weren’t that serious when we went last time.

I wonder since these aren’t even starting construction if we could opt into any upgrades or if they will only come standard.

I can fill you in on those details.

You don't actually get a choice for most of it.

Upgrades that were included that we had no say in and could not pick:
-Recessed lighting
-Electric package that included a larger transformer so you could have an electric car
-Stove and range hood, microwave in island
-Tile backslash in kitchen, master bath, and guest bath
-Kitchen counter tops
-Some kind of insulation package
-Other stuff I can't remember all the details

The non-optional upgrades totaled to $20k. So our final price of like $680k included all of that

The only upgrades you can opt in or opt out of are epoxy floors in the garage, and going with the standard tile/carpeting or upgrading to nicer flooring.


They only have minimal upgrades from what they said. We’re not sure on what upgrades we’d even want. The little samples they showed us don’t tell you much.

Earlier phases of Carissa the Plan 1 was like $610, so if it's $590 now they either aren't including non-optional upgrades, or the prices have gone down.

We also preferred Carissa to Brisa due to location which is why we bought there :)

Interesting, sounds like Brisa is coming in like $20k less on the same models as Carissa. I wonder if it's the proximity to the 241?

Brisa and Carissa were the same price for plan 1, Carissa had later move in date as the caveat, early next year they were predicting. We prefer Carissa just due to how deep in Brisa is from Irvine Blvd.

Plan 1x is out of our price range so not can’t even entertain that.

The 241 is so low traffic compared to a busy street like say Irvine or even something like Bryan in tustin. The noise at Brisa was nothing compared to some of the homes we saw in Tustin the same proximity from Bryan Ave or Newport blvd.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: TheDoctor on June 14, 2019, 12:18:52 PM
We filled out the form with our agent the first time.

We were under contract before construction started and there was zero wiggle room to negotiate on any of this. We tried.

One other thing they may not have told you, if you are seriously talking with them or getting on the interest list. If you want to use an agent or broker who represents you they have to be present the first time you talk to the sales office. If you didn't give them information the first time you went you should be fine. If you're visiting again more seriously and you want an agent you have to have them with you or you can't use one in the sale.

They were mentioning we could pick the flooring/carpet set, but we didn’t ask about any other upgrades. We’ll ask more questions when we check them out again. We weren’t that serious when we went last time.

I wonder since these aren’t even starting construction if we could opt into any upgrades or if they will only come standard.

I can fill you in on those details.

You don't actually get a choice for most of it.

Upgrades that were included that we had no say in and could not pick:
-Recessed lighting
-Electric package that included a larger transformer so you could have an electric car
-Stove and range hood, microwave in island
-Tile backslash in kitchen, master bath, and guest bath
-Kitchen counter tops
-Some kind of insulation package
-Other stuff I can't remember all the details

The non-optional upgrades totaled to $20k. So our final price of like $680k included all of that

The only upgrades you can opt in or opt out of are epoxy floors in the garage, and going with the standard tile/carpeting or upgrading to nicer flooring.


They only have minimal upgrades from what they said. We’re not sure on what upgrades we’d even want. The little samples they showed us don’t tell you much.

Earlier phases of Carissa the Plan 1 was like $610, so if it's $590 now they either aren't including non-optional upgrades, or the prices have gone down.

We also preferred Carissa to Brisa due to location which is why we bought there :)

Interesting, sounds like Brisa is coming in like $20k less on the same models as Carissa. I wonder if it's the proximity to the 241?

Brisa and Carissa were the same price for plan 1, Carissa had later move in date as the caveat, early next year they were predicting. We prefer Carissa just due to how deep in Brisa is from Irvine Blvd.

Plan 1x is out of our price range so not can’t even entertain that.

The 241 is so low traffic compared to a busy street like say Irvine or even something like Bryan in tustin. The noise at Brisa was nothing compared to some of the homes we saw in Tustin the same proximity from Bryan Ave or Newport blvd.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: irvinehomeowner on June 14, 2019, 12:24:48 PM
Have you found any decent resale in your price range?

I know many prefer new but I think resale is a better value.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 12:53:19 PM
We found the resale homes we looked at in the sub 700k needed enough work or didn't have a garage that it wasn't actually a better value for us. Not sure what OP found but I would guess it's similar in the 525-600k range.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: TheDoctor on June 14, 2019, 01:22:09 PM
Have you found any decent resale in your price range?

I know many prefer new but I think resale is a better value.

We’re sort of in the same boat as moc. The resales just haven’t been up to our standards and the ones that are are not that much less per month than a new townhouse.

There are pluses with the resales we’ve seen like a small porch/backyard, two stories instead of 3, less condensed in some neighborhoods. These almost always have had some major deterrent like 1.5 baths or only a one car garage and carport. The ones we like are basically the same cost of a new townhouse, albeit often a bit less $/sqft, but it hasn’t been a big enough discount for us to jump on any.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 01:28:10 PM
This was exactly our experience as well. A small yard or patio did not outweigh no garage or one car garage.

Also I guess we're unusual but we actually prefer the 3 story layout because it gives a lot of privacy to the guest room. And we've lived in townhomes before with the kitchen on the second floor and I actually like it quite a lot.

Have you found any decent resale in your price range?

I know many prefer new but I think resale is a better value.

We’re sort of in the same boat as moc. The resales just haven’t been up to our standards and the ones that are are not that much less per month than a new townhouse.

There are pluses with the resales we’ve seen like a small porch/backyard, two stories instead of 3, less condensed in some neighborhoods. These almost always have had some major deterrent like 1.5 baths or only a one car garage and carport. The ones we like are basically the same cost of a new townhouse, albeit often a bit less $/sqft, but it hasn’t been a big enough discount for us to jump on any.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: eyephone on June 14, 2019, 01:37:24 PM
As a helicopter parent. I guess the medical field won’t be the direction for my little one.

Like huge debt (big time)

I thought doctors make bank?
Let me ask you this. Do you drive like a nice car? If you didn’t drive a nice car. Maybe your budget will be bigger.
I assume you don’t drive a beater.

(Just a question nothing more)

My statement to young folks out of college. Sometimes in life you have to make sacrifices. like don’t eat out, buy things on sale, watch Netflix instead of going to the movies. My favorite get another job or your spouse has to work for Mo’ Money.

Since I’m on a roll. There’s nothing wrong with renting to save up money or living with family or having roommates.
Also, don’t blame people for lack of execution.


Been reasoning a fair bit on here over the past few months and thought I’d finally participate and ask for some advice.

We have been looking at houses for a few months now including new developments. The main concern for us is proximity to Tustin Ranch as that is where my parents live and we’ll need to be near them if we have a child.

We have narrowed down our needs quite a bit in the past few months, but haven’t found anything we really want that bad. Which is fine since prices and rates have been dropping a bit.

- 2 bed, 2 bath min
- preferably >1200’
- attached garage

This has eventually led us back to the new developments that we first started looking at when we started in Portola (Carissa/Brisa), Novel Park, and eventually Levity in Tustin. These are a bit above our initial price range, especially with the mello roos, but haven’t been that impressed with the resale homes were seen.

What communities should we keep an eye on in our budget. We are not opposed to an older place, but would prefer to not have to deal the potential issues of a 1970s townhouse down the road.

Do you see the low end units of the new developments as worth it or should we stick to resales to avoid mello roos?

I also see a lot of talk about avoiding 3-level homes, but so far we haven’t seen many 2-levels with attached garages in the area that fit our budget. How much of a downside to resale is a 3 vs 2 level townhouse?
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: Compressed-Village on June 14, 2019, 01:57:57 PM
For a second, I thought you gonna say, just wait for the slow down. :)

As a helicopter parent. I guess the medical field won’t be the direction for my little one.

Like huge debt (big time)

I thought doctors make bank?
Let me ask you this. Do you drive like a nice car? If you didn’t drive a nice car. Maybe your budget will be bigger.
I assume you don’t drive a beater.

(Just a question nothing more)

My statement to young folks out of college. Sometimes in life you have to make sacrifices. like don’t eat out, buy things on sale, watch Netflix instead of going to the movies. My favorite get another job or your spouse has to work for Mo’ Money.

Since I’m on a roll. There’s nothing wrong with renting to save up money or living with family or having roommates.
Also, don’t blame people for lack of execution.


Been reasoning a fair bit on here over the past few months and thought I’d finally participate and ask for some advice.

We have been looking at houses for a few months now including new developments. The main concern for us is proximity to Tustin Ranch as that is where my parents live and we’ll need to be near them if we have a child.

We have narrowed down our needs quite a bit in the past few months, but haven’t found anything we really want that bad. Which is fine since prices and rates have been dropping a bit.

- 2 bed, 2 bath min
- preferably >1200’
- attached garage

This has eventually led us back to the new developments that we first started looking at when we started in Portola (Carissa/Brisa), Novel Park, and eventually Levity in Tustin. These are a bit above our initial price range, especially with the mello roos, but haven’t been that impressed with the resale homes were seen.

What communities should we keep an eye on in our budget. We are not opposed to an older place, but would prefer to not have to deal the potential issues of a 1970s townhouse down the road.

Do you see the low end units of the new developments as worth it or should we stick to resales to avoid mello roos?

I also see a lot of talk about avoiding 3-level homes, but so far we haven’t seen many 2-levels with attached garages in the area that fit our budget. How much of a downside to resale is a 3 vs 2 level townhouse?
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: momopi on June 14, 2019, 01:59:17 PM
If a house doesn't rent well, it also doesn't sell well. 3 stories should be avoided if possible because it is a pretty big limiting factor on potential buyers/renters.

Not necessarily.  Renters are local for obvious reason, but buyers can be from outside area or abroad.  Investors may be willing to buy if numbers make sense, even if it's 3 stories.

This 3 level condo was put on the market at high price and sold in a week recently:
https://www.redfin.com/CA/Irvine/3602-Orangewood-92618/home/5841172
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: eyephone on June 14, 2019, 02:36:59 PM
Actually I could of said that too. Because it has already happened and is still happening. Rates are like really low. But like what’s happening?

Repeal the tax code. It’s not working. It was just revealed one of the top tech company paid like zero taxes! How about the average tax payer? Indvidials like paid more in taxes during the new tax code than last year.

For a second, I thought you gonna say, just wait for the slow down. :)

As a helicopter parent. I guess the medical field won’t be the direction for my little one.

Like huge debt (big time)

I thought doctors make bank?
Let me ask you this. Do you drive like a nice car? If you didn’t drive a nice car. Maybe your budget will be bigger.
I assume you don’t drive a beater.

(Just a question nothing more)

My statement to young folks out of college. Sometimes in life you have to make sacrifices. like don’t eat out, buy things on sale, watch Netflix instead of going to the movies. My favorite get another job or your spouse has to work for Mo’ Money.

Since I’m on a roll. There’s nothing wrong with renting to save up money or living with family or having roommates.
Also, don’t blame people for lack of execution.


Been reasoning a fair bit on here over the past few months and thought I’d finally participate and ask for some advice.

We have been looking at houses for a few months now including new developments. The main concern for us is proximity to Tustin Ranch as that is where my parents live and we’ll need to be near them if we have a child.

We have narrowed down our needs quite a bit in the past few months, but haven’t found anything we really want that bad. Which is fine since prices and rates have been dropping a bit.

- 2 bed, 2 bath min
- preferably >1200’
- attached garage

This has eventually led us back to the new developments that we first started looking at when we started in Portola (Carissa/Brisa), Novel Park, and eventually Levity in Tustin. These are a bit above our initial price range, especially with the mello roos, but haven’t been that impressed with the resale homes were seen.

What communities should we keep an eye on in our budget. We are not opposed to an older place, but would prefer to not have to deal the potential issues of a 1970s townhouse down the road.

Do you see the low end units of the new developments as worth it or should we stick to resales to avoid mello roos?

I also see a lot of talk about avoiding 3-level homes, but so far we haven’t seen many 2-levels with attached garages in the area that fit our budget. How much of a downside to resale is a 3 vs 2 level townhouse?
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: eyephone on June 14, 2019, 02:39:46 PM
Really unfair. Like I said before. The small guy is getting shafted. My statement are backed by facts and numbers.

Actually I could of said that too. Because it has already happened.

Repeal the tax code. It’s not working. It was just revealed one of the top tech company paid like zero taxes! How about the average tax payer? Indvidials like paid more in taxes during the new tax code than last year.

For a second, I thought you gonna say, just wait for the slow down. :)

As a helicopter parent. I guess the medical field won’t be the direction for my little one.

Like huge debt (big time)

I thought doctors make bank?
Let me ask you this. Do you drive like a nice car? If you didn’t drive a nice car. Maybe your budget will be bigger.
I assume you don’t drive a beater.

(Just a question nothing more)

My statement to young folks out of college. Sometimes in life you have to make sacrifices. like don’t eat out, buy things on sale, watch Netflix instead of going to the movies. My favorite get another job or your spouse has to work for Mo’ Money.

Since I’m on a roll. There’s nothing wrong with renting to save up money or living with family or having roommates.
Also, don’t blame people for lack of execution.


Been reasoning a fair bit on here over the past few months and thought I’d finally participate and ask for some advice.

We have been looking at houses for a few months now including new developments. The main concern for us is proximity to Tustin Ranch as that is where my parents live and we’ll need to be near them if we have a child.

We have narrowed down our needs quite a bit in the past few months, but haven’t found anything we really want that bad. Which is fine since prices and rates have been dropping a bit.

- 2 bed, 2 bath min
- preferably >1200’
- attached garage

This has eventually led us back to the new developments that we first started looking at when we started in Portola (Carissa/Brisa), Novel Park, and eventually Levity in Tustin. These are a bit above our initial price range, especially with the mello roos, but haven’t been that impressed with the resale homes were seen.

What communities should we keep an eye on in our budget. We are not opposed to an older place, but would prefer to not have to deal the potential issues of a 1970s townhouse down the road.

Do you see the low end units of the new developments as worth it or should we stick to resales to avoid mello roos?

I also see a lot of talk about avoiding 3-level homes, but so far we haven’t seen many 2-levels with attached garages in the area that fit our budget. How much of a downside to resale is a 3 vs 2 level townhouse?
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: irvinehomeowner on June 14, 2019, 02:48:24 PM
Have you found any decent resale in your price range?

I know many prefer new but I think resale is a better value.

We’re sort of in the same boat as moc. The resales just haven’t been up to our standards and the ones that are are not that much less per month than a new townhouse.

There are pluses with the resales we’ve seen like a small porch/backyard, two stories instead of 3, less condensed in some neighborhoods. These almost always have had some major deterrent like 1.5 baths or only a one car garage and carport. The ones we like are basically the same cost of a new townhouse, albeit often a bit less $/sqft, but it hasn’t been a big enough discount for us to jump on any.

Just did a quick Redfin search and it seems like this is the case.

I thought during the slowdown you can get bargains... maybe not. :)
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: misme on June 14, 2019, 02:49:47 PM
https://www.redfin.com/CA/Irvine/103-Terra-Bella-92602/home/5757455

How about this one? It seems to check all your boxes (including budget and relatively newer) and is also closer to Tustin Ranch than the new developments in Portola/Great Park. Could use some cosmetic updates, but probably not getting into structural stuff at that age.
Northpark is a really nice gated community.

Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: TheDoctor on June 14, 2019, 03:01:30 PM
https://www.redfin.com/CA/Irvine/103-Terra-Bella-92602/home/5757455

How about this one? It seems to check all your boxes (including budget and relatively newer) and is also closer to Tustin Ranch than the new developments in Portola/Great Park. Could use some cosmetic updates, but probably not getting into structural stuff at that age.
Northpark is a really nice gated community.

We’ve checked out terra Bella a couple times and didnt like it. We’d be open to looking at more units there, but so far it’s lower on the list of communities we want.

Portola springs is really as far as we’d want to go. About 15 min from my parents so still convenient.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 03:07:26 PM
If we were looking I would have issues with that kitchen. It's really tiny and I could not live with those counters. How would you keep them clean with that tile grout?

Also I can't tell if it has an attached garage.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: misme on June 14, 2019, 03:22:02 PM
I agree it could use cosmetic upgrades, but dude, how hard is it to switch out counters?

I don't understand the obsession in California with brand new construction in general. My spouse, a Californian, who has never lived in "used housing", as they put it, insisted on buying brand new construction. I caved. But in my heart of hearts, I think an established neighborhood with mature landscaping, more breathing room between houses, and custom renovation of the older homes is a better place to call home. Believe me, there can be a lot of problems with new construction, from personal experience!

The layout of new neighborhoods (sardine can boxes) leaves a lot to be desired, IMHO.
Dated interior finishes are relatively easy to fix.
Bad neighborhood design is forever.

That's why Turtle Rock maintains its value even though its one of the oldest neighborhoods in Irvine.

I guess what I'm saying is, if you are making a choice between older and dated finishes, versus brand new (with high HOA/Mello) but cramped 3 story layouts in order to stay within budget, I would go with the more desirable neighborhood/location.

Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 03:31:53 PM
No I totally hear you. It's not that hard to do some cosmetic upgrades. It's all just factors in the decision calculation.

I'm not from California. I grew up in houses built in the 1800s. I like newer homes because they are built for modern life. Closets, garages, laundry near your bedroom, enough outlets. I grew up with none of those things but it's so much better having them. But by my standards almost everything in Irvine is newer :) I definitely did not plan on new construction when we started looking, it was just the best fit for us based on our criteria.

Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: eyephone on June 14, 2019, 03:39:35 PM
No I totally hear you. It's not that hard to do some cosmetic upgrades. It's all just factors in the decision calculation.

I'm not from California. I grew up in houses built in the 1800s. I like newer homes because they are built for modern life. Closets, garages, laundry near your bedroom, enough outlets. I grew up with none of those things but it's so much better having them. But by my standards almost everything in Irvine is newer :) I definitely did not plan on new construction when we started looking, it was just the best fit for us based on our criteria.

where did you grow up? (Living in houses built in 1800s)
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 14, 2019, 03:46:41 PM
Philadelphia. I think the newest house we lived in was built in the 1920s. The house I lived in most of my childhood was built in the 1860s.

No I totally hear you. It's not that hard to do some cosmetic upgrades. It's all just factors in the decision calculation.

I'm not from California. I grew up in houses built in the 1800s. I like newer homes because they are built for modern life. Closets, garages, laundry near your bedroom, enough outlets. I grew up with none of those things but it's so much better having them. But by my standards almost everything in Irvine is newer :) I definitely did not plan on new construction when we started looking, it was just the best fit for us based on our criteria.

where did you grow up? (Living in houses built in 1800s)
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: misme on June 14, 2019, 03:51:41 PM
Philadelphia. I think the newest house we lived in was built in the 1920s. The house I lived in most of my childhood was built in the 1860s.

No I totally hear you. It's not that hard to do some cosmetic upgrades. It's all just factors in the decision calculation.

I'm not from California. I grew up in houses built in the 1800s. I like newer homes because they are built for modern life. Closets, garages, laundry near your bedroom, enough outlets. I grew up with none of those things but it's so much better having them. But by my standards almost everything in Irvine is newer :) I definitely did not plan on new construction when we started looking, it was just the best fit for us based on our criteria.

where did you grow up? (Living in houses built in 1800s)

I love those old Philly style houses with the super tall ceiling and windows like Rittenhouse area.

I am also from a major East Coast city where "prewar" (i.e. before WWII) construction is considered the good stuff, and also much more sound proof (none of this wood frame construction here)
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: iacrenter on June 14, 2019, 10:37:24 PM
Did you live in a row house? Gotta love that Philly architecture.

Philadelphia. I think the newest house we lived in was built in the 1920s. The house I lived in most of my childhood was built in the 1860s.

No I totally hear you. It's not that hard to do some cosmetic upgrades. It's all just factors in the decision calculation.

I'm not from California. I grew up in houses built in the 1800s. I like newer homes because they are built for modern life. Closets, garages, laundry near your bedroom, enough outlets. I grew up with none of those things but it's so much better having them. But by my standards almost everything in Irvine is newer :) I definitely did not plan on new construction when we started looking, it was just the best fit for us based on our criteria.

where did you grow up? (Living in houses built in 1800s)
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: moc on June 15, 2019, 04:00:58 AM
 It was a twin.

The architecture and exteriors are awesome. Plumbing, electrical, closets, etc... Not so much

Did you live in a row house? Gotta love that Philly architecture.

Philadelphia. I think the newest house we lived in was built in the 1920s. The house I lived in most of my childhood was built in the 1860s.

No I totally hear you. It's not that hard to do some cosmetic upgrades. It's all just factors in the decision calculation.

I'm not from California. I grew up in houses built in the 1800s. I like newer homes because they are built for modern life. Closets, garages, laundry near your bedroom, enough outlets. I grew up with none of those things but it's so much better having them. But by my standards almost everything in Irvine is newer :) I definitely did not plan on new construction when we started looking, it was just the best fit for us based on our criteria.

where did you grow up? (Living in houses built in 1800s)
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: TheDoctor on June 15, 2019, 09:23:42 PM
Does anyone have an idea what the expected HOA and mello roos may be for the new Levity homes in Tustin Legacy? Could it be about the same as Columbus Square which is near where Levity is being built?

After seeing some more houses were now thinking even more about going with a new development. Everytime we see a resale home we immediately start talking about what we want to replace and how much it would be, etc etc. With the new homes its basically just the flooring we want upgraded and that's it. Even then we could live with the carpet for a while and replace the living room with wood later on.

What is holding us back is the HOA and mello roos.

We are on the verge of stepping up to a bit more expensive house and just sucking it up and paying the mello roos like my parents did when Tustin Ranch was just being built out.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: USCTrojanCPA on June 16, 2019, 11:28:32 AM
Does anyone have an idea what the expected HOA and mello roos may be for the new Levity homes in Tustin Legacy? Could it be about the same as Columbus Square which is near where Levity is being built?

After seeing some more houses were now thinking even more about going with a new development. Everytime we see a resale home we immediately start talking about what we want to replace and how much it would be, etc etc. With the new homes its basically just the flooring we want upgraded and that's it. Even then we could live with the carpet for a while and replace the living room with wood later on.

What is holding us back is the HOA and mello roos.

We are on the verge of stepping up to a bit more expensive house and just sucking it up and paying the mello roos like my parents did when Tustin Ranch was just being built out.


My guess is that HOA will be $350-$400/mo and Mello Roos will be $4,000+
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: TheDoctor on June 16, 2019, 05:45:46 PM
Does anyone have an idea what the expected HOA and mello roos may be for the new Levity homes in Tustin Legacy? Could it be about the same as Columbus Square which is near where Levity is being built?

After seeing some more houses were now thinking even more about going with a new development. Everytime we see a resale home we immediately start talking about what we want to replace and how much it would be, etc etc. With the new homes its basically just the flooring we want upgraded and that's it. Even then we could live with the carpet for a while and replace the living room with wood later on.

What is holding us back is the HOA and mello roos.

We are on the verge of stepping up to a bit more expensive house and just sucking it up and paying the mello roos like my parents did when Tustin Ranch was just being built out.


My guess is that HOA will be $350-$400/mo and Mello Roos will be $4,000+

Seems like a reasonable guess. I can't imagine it will be as high as the great park area for HOA. Columbus Square says $340 or so I think from the last open house I went to there.
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: USCTrojanCPA on June 16, 2019, 08:02:25 PM
Does anyone have an idea what the expected HOA and mello roos may be for the new Levity homes in Tustin Legacy? Could it be about the same as Columbus Square which is near where Levity is being built?

After seeing some more houses were now thinking even more about going with a new development. Everytime we see a resale home we immediately start talking about what we want to replace and how much it would be, etc etc. With the new homes its basically just the flooring we want upgraded and that's it. Even then we could live with the carpet for a while and replace the living room with wood later on.

What is holding us back is the HOA and mello roos.

We are on the verge of stepping up to a bit more expensive house and just sucking it up and paying the mello roos like my parents did when Tustin Ranch was just being built out.


My guess is that HOA will be $350-$400/mo and Mello Roos will be $4,000+

Seems like a reasonable guess. I can't imagine it will be as high as the great park area for HOA. Columbus Square says $340 or so I think from the last open house I went to there.

Did you come to my open house at Columbus Square on Cambridge this weekend)? 
Title: Re: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)
Post by: TheDoctor on June 16, 2019, 10:38:07 PM
Does anyone have an idea what the expected HOA and mello roos may be for the new Levity homes in Tustin Legacy? Could it be about the same as Columbus Square which is near where Levity is being built?

After seeing some more houses were now thinking even more about going with a new development. Everytime we see a resale home we immediately start talking about what we want to replace and how much it would be, etc etc. With the new homes its basically just the flooring we want upgraded and that's it. Even then we could live with the carpet for a while and replace the living room with wood later on.

What is holding us back is the HOA and mello roos.

We are on the verge of stepping up to a bit more expensive house and just sucking it up and paying the mello roos like my parents did when Tustin Ranch was just being built out.


My guess is that HOA will be $350-$400/mo and Mello Roos will be $4,000+

Seems like a reasonable guess. I can't imagine it will be as high as the great park area for HOA. Columbus Square says $340 or so I think from the last open house I went to there.

Did you come to my open house at Columbus Square on Cambridge this weekend)?

Not yet, I'm just going off Redfin info. Those are the closest homes I can find to where Levity will be and same schools I think.