Author Topic: Advice for couple shopping in the 525-600k price range? (Irvine/Tustin Ranch)  (Read 2242 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline TheDoctor

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 0
  • -Received: 0
  • Posts: 12
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?

Offline Cares

  • Yearning for 949 / 714
  • **
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 0
  • -Received: 63
  • Posts: 395
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!
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 09:43:57 AM by Cares »

Offline moc

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 5
  • -Received: 8
  • Posts: 59
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 :)

Offline momopi

  • Certified Irvine Addict
  • ****
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 645
  • -Received: 368
  • Posts: 1689
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.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 01:48:07 PM by momopi »

Offline moc

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 5
  • -Received: 8
  • Posts: 59
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.

The following member(s) thanked this post:


Offline eyephone

  • Certified Irvine Addict
  • ****
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 342
  • -Received: 593
  • Posts: 10432
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?
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 10:11:14 AM by eyephone »

Offline Cares

  • Yearning for 949 / 714
  • **
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 0
  • -Received: 63
  • Posts: 395
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.

Offline TheDoctor

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 0
  • -Received: 0
  • Posts: 12
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.

Offline moc

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 5
  • -Received: 8
  • Posts: 59
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.

Offline TheDoctor

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 0
  • -Received: 0
  • Posts: 12
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.

Offline Cares

  • Yearning for 949 / 714
  • **
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 0
  • -Received: 63
  • Posts: 395
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.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 11:02:56 AM by Cares »

Offline moc

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 5
  • -Received: 8
  • Posts: 59
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.

Offline moc

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 5
  • -Received: 8
  • Posts: 59
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?

Offline TheDoctor

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 0
  • -Received: 0
  • Posts: 12
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.

Offline moc

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Thanks
  • -Given: 5
  • -Received: 8
  • Posts: 59
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.

 

Talk Irvine Links

[Recent Posts]
[FAQ / Rules]

Site Supporters



Related Links

Recent Posts