Author Topic: Moving to OC. Lake Forest vs Irvine vs Tustin  (Read 2564 times)

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Offline eyephone

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Re: Moving to OC. Lake Forest vs Irvine vs Tustin
« Reply #45 on: January 13, 2021, 10:46:55 AM »
I was searching online and the Baker Ranch area is not all that cheaper compared to Irvine.   Irvine still wins in my book from appreciation and location perspective.

I've been quiet here and I'm going to write a big post when I have the time, but USCTrojanCPA recently helped me buy a place and I ended up in Baker Ranch. (Also highly recommend him, no doubt he helped me get a good deal with some really good negotiating on his part!) 

This is what I got for ~1.2 in Baker Ranch: 

1. 2600+ sq ft
2. fully upgraded kitchen (granite, full backsplash, built in fridge, double oven etc)
3. Decent sized yard (20 ft setback for the *small* part, ~40ish for the larger part)
4. Built after 2015
5. Full driveway

I don't think you could find a house for less than 1.5 in Irvine that meets that.  *Plus* no mello roos for Baker Ranch.

But that guy has only $700k not $1.2.

He has 900k.  Also my point was yes, I used to look at Baker Ranch five years ago and say "why buy there?".  However, prices have gotten out of wack in Irvine since then way more than they have in Baker Ranch so the equation has changed.

He also said he cared about newer floorplans.  If someone doesn't care about that, sure there are good buys in the older parts of Northwood/Deerfield but it's not cheap to remodel these days either.

But he just mentioned 700k again. ;)
There is nothing wrong with that. There are a lot of options outside of Irvine with 700k.

There are very few options in cities with high rated schools at $700k.

But there are. Also, factor that you can add/build another unit to rent out w/out red tape as before. It is better ROI.

Offline moc

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Re: Moving to OC. Lake Forest vs Irvine vs Tustin
« Reply #46 on: January 13, 2021, 10:57:04 AM »
Very valid points, just buy a 3-level condo (where the living area is on the 2nd level) with eyes wide open as those properties do not appreciate very well compared to a 2-level condo.  When the market is hot it doesn't matter as much because there isn't much in terms of resale homes for buyers to pick from but when the market is more in balance most buyers will shy away from 3-level properties. Maybe look at Baker Ranch condo resales or Camden Square which are newer.

Yeah, I know 3 level condos are not ideal. But I think as a first home, I really have limited options especially since I want things to be more modern/new. I know I'll most likely break even or have a slight profit when reselling which doesn't bother me as a starter home.

Sleepy - for what it's worth this was our thought as well. I see the advice (and I'm sure it's correct!) that a 3 level condo with kitchen/living on the second floor won't sell as well, but we're really happy with our home. Like you we view it as a starter home, had very limited options for our budget, and it is very nice to have a modern floor plan and new kitchen/bathrooms. No regrets here.

Offline moc

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Re: Moving to OC. Lake Forest vs Irvine vs Tustin
« Reply #47 on: January 13, 2021, 11:05:39 AM »
Hi guys,

I am planning to move to the OC from LA. I am a first time home buyer looking at finding a place for ~900k. I'm leaning towards buying new at the moment because there are not many inventory for homes around the price range I have. It seems like the ones that are available will require me to pay 700k+ and I would still have to do some remodeling to make it look a bit more modern. Its definitely a task finding something more modern that doesn't have crazy mello roos involved in Irvine/Tustin. I feel like Tustin may be do-able but I also want to have a decent school district. Question for you guys is the following:

1. Is buying new in lake forest a good idea? I'm intrigued by this because there isn't mello roos.
2. How is the rental and resale market in Lake Forest and Tustin?
3. Do you guys feel its better to buy in Irvine instead of Lake Forest if I plan to stay in the home for 5-10 years? I've been told many times owning a home in Irvine will have no issues with rental or resale.
4. I see some new homes for a cheaper price new John Wayne Airport and it seems like its due to the poor school district (Santa Ana) there. Would you say that reselling/renting would be difficult in that area?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to the forum sleepy.  There's only a two newer home developments in Lake Forest at the moment so not a lot to pick from but could be a good option.  What are your thoughts about buying a resale condo in Baker Ranch or a smaller single family home in Foothill Ranch?  Remember that we are in the seasonal low point of inventory and you'll begin seeing more and more homes listed on the market as we get to the end of the month.  Both resale and rental prices are lower in Tustin and Lake Forest (both cities have more desirable areas like Tustin Ranch and Baker Ranch/Foothill Ranch so it can be location specific).  Historically Irvine home prices have outperformed neighboring cities like Tustin and Lake Forest in general.  It's also important to purchase a good floor plan in a good location.  Irvine rents tend to be stronger financiallly from what I've seen renting out my clients' properties.  Those newer homes by the Airport are 3-level condos and have high HOAs (plus being zoned to Santa Ana schools) will limit the potential upside in pricing due to a smaller buyer pool.  Remember there is no free lunch...if you buy something for less today, it'll sell for less in the future and don't be afraid to bid more aggressively on desirable properties.  With your budget, you should focus in on 3+ bedroom detached properties.  Let me know if you have any other questions.

Thanks! Wanted to get your thoughts on Levity Tustin vs Serrano Summit? I'm specifically looking at homes in the high 700s which currently exist in both communities. Wondering the pros/cons of each. I feel like the main selling point in Levity would be the modern look + location. Lake Forest is a great value for the buck, but would require at least 10-20 minutes of driving every time I need to go out. Good thing is no mello roos and low property tax.

The biggest pro with Levity is the central location while the big negatives are the high HOA, significant Mello Roos, and they are 3 levels.  Serrano Summit has the benefit of no Mello Roos but the negatives are also the high HOA, not as good of a location as Levity, and they are also 3 levels.  I would recommend that you avoid 3 level condos (where the living area is on the 2nd floor and bedrooms on the 3rd floor).  Is there a reason why you are only considering a new home?  You can easily find an attached 2-bedroom condo below $700k in Irvine/Tustin Ranch and you can even buy a 3-bedroom condo below $700k in Baker Ranch and Foothill Ranch.  Yes, resale inventory is low right now but part of that is because of the time of the year that we are in right now...more inventory is coming.

Sorry for being MIA. Great to see so much input from everyone. To give you more context on why I want something newer is because buying a home to me means living comfortably. I want my home to look nice as well. Otherwise I would argue that I should continue to rent instead. Maybe my philosophies of home ownership is different than others, but it makes me sad when I see people with homes that look worse than my rental.

In the current market, I will need to spend 700k+ to buy a property that needs repairs or needs to be remodeled. Being a first time home buyer in this market is already tough as it is and the last thing I want to do is spend even more money on an arguably inflated market right now. Not to mention the fact that I'll need to compete with people that have the cash to win bidding wars and are waiving appraisal and inspection contingencies which is ludicrous. With Serrano Summit, I can pocket out 730k and get a 3bed 3.5bath 1736 sq. ft that is brand new with NO mello roos, no bidding wars, and can still get an inspector to inspect the property without worrying about losing a home because of this request. Yes, there is a relatively high HOA but is $400 HOA even considered high in Irvine for attached condos? I find it extremely difficult right now to find anything that is in the 700-800s that doesn't need repairs/remodels, no mello roos, and low HOA.

You can argue that putting money into renovations may not be that much of an issue, but I value quality of work. That is the most important thing to me when it comes to renovations. I rather pay a slightly higher premium to ensure the quality is there than some cheap person that takes cash and ends up doing a crappy job. With the current real estate market, this is going to be tough as I'm not only paying more for the home itself, I'll also need to pocket out more $$ for renovations. More stress for me in this market is a no go and not worth it for me financially.

Anyway, this is my first home so while it would be nice to buy in Irvine, I did some evaluations and felt it isn't needed right now. I'd rather take the time to build up some equity and have my second property be in Irvine. For what I can afford, I don't think I can be picky in Irvine and paying that premium for a home that needs remodeling does not entice me at all. I'd rather buy something in Lake Forest despite it being a step child to Irvine.

I'd definitely recommend *against* a brand new home.   Patience is the key in finding a home you're happy with for 5-10 years.  New homes will nickle and dime you.  Want a backsplash? 5k.  Want electrical outlets in logical places? 1k. Want granite that doesn't look like puke? 8k.  Not to mention any patio you have to landscape. 

The market is hot, but you can get decent deals if you wait and find the right seller who just wants to move quick.  Not everyone wants to deal with a bidding war when they put their house on the market, or sometimes the walls are yellow and no one will buy it so you can get a deal and just have to paint or something. 

Definitely check out Baker Ranch, not just for current inventory but you can do a search of what sold in the last three months to see if anything you like went around your price range.  Remember, you can negotiate on used homes too!  I got 60k off the home I wanted.

This wasn't our experience when buying a new construction home. The price for flooring upgrades was really high compared to an outside contractor, but when we compared the cost for backsplash, quartz countertops, bathroom floor tiles, and garage epoxy coating the builder's cost for upgrades was reasonable when compared with an outside contractor. So we had flooring done outside the builder but everything else was reasonable. When you compared what we paid with resale homes of a similar size/finish (and most resale homes we saw did not have flooring, counter tops, etc that we got) I think we actually got a great deal. I think if you put a lot of value in having a nicely finished/renovated home (which it sounds like OP does) then new construction actually can make sense.

Offline sleepy5136

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Re: Moving to OC. Lake Forest vs Irvine vs Tustin
« Reply #48 on: January 13, 2021, 11:53:07 AM »
Hi guys,

I am planning to move to the OC from LA. I am a first time home buyer looking at finding a place for ~900k. I'm leaning towards buying new at the moment because there are not many inventory for homes around the price range I have. It seems like the ones that are available will require me to pay 700k+ and I would still have to do some remodeling to make it look a bit more modern. Its definitely a task finding something more modern that doesn't have crazy mello roos involved in Irvine/Tustin. I feel like Tustin may be do-able but I also want to have a decent school district. Question for you guys is the following:

1. Is buying new in lake forest a good idea? I'm intrigued by this because there isn't mello roos.
2. How is the rental and resale market in Lake Forest and Tustin?
3. Do you guys feel its better to buy in Irvine instead of Lake Forest if I plan to stay in the home for 5-10 years? I've been told many times owning a home in Irvine will have no issues with rental or resale.
4. I see some new homes for a cheaper price new John Wayne Airport and it seems like its due to the poor school district (Santa Ana) there. Would you say that reselling/renting would be difficult in that area?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to the forum sleepy.  There's only a two newer home developments in Lake Forest at the moment so not a lot to pick from but could be a good option.  What are your thoughts about buying a resale condo in Baker Ranch or a smaller single family home in Foothill Ranch?  Remember that we are in the seasonal low point of inventory and you'll begin seeing more and more homes listed on the market as we get to the end of the month.  Both resale and rental prices are lower in Tustin and Lake Forest (both cities have more desirable areas like Tustin Ranch and Baker Ranch/Foothill Ranch so it can be location specific).  Historically Irvine home prices have outperformed neighboring cities like Tustin and Lake Forest in general.  It's also important to purchase a good floor plan in a good location.  Irvine rents tend to be stronger financiallly from what I've seen renting out my clients' properties.  Those newer homes by the Airport are 3-level condos and have high HOAs (plus being zoned to Santa Ana schools) will limit the potential upside in pricing due to a smaller buyer pool.  Remember there is no free lunch...if you buy something for less today, it'll sell for less in the future and don't be afraid to bid more aggressively on desirable properties.  With your budget, you should focus in on 3+ bedroom detached properties.  Let me know if you have any other questions.

Thanks! Wanted to get your thoughts on Levity Tustin vs Serrano Summit? I'm specifically looking at homes in the high 700s which currently exist in both communities. Wondering the pros/cons of each. I feel like the main selling point in Levity would be the modern look + location. Lake Forest is a great value for the buck, but would require at least 10-20 minutes of driving every time I need to go out. Good thing is no mello roos and low property tax.

The biggest pro with Levity is the central location while the big negatives are the high HOA, significant Mello Roos, and they are 3 levels.  Serrano Summit has the benefit of no Mello Roos but the negatives are also the high HOA, not as good of a location as Levity, and they are also 3 levels.  I would recommend that you avoid 3 level condos (where the living area is on the 2nd floor and bedrooms on the 3rd floor).  Is there a reason why you are only considering a new home?  You can easily find an attached 2-bedroom condo below $700k in Irvine/Tustin Ranch and you can even buy a 3-bedroom condo below $700k in Baker Ranch and Foothill Ranch.  Yes, resale inventory is low right now but part of that is because of the time of the year that we are in right now...more inventory is coming.

Sorry for being MIA. Great to see so much input from everyone. To give you more context on why I want something newer is because buying a home to me means living comfortably. I want my home to look nice as well. Otherwise I would argue that I should continue to rent instead. Maybe my philosophies of home ownership is different than others, but it makes me sad when I see people with homes that look worse than my rental.

In the current market, I will need to spend 700k+ to buy a property that needs repairs or needs to be remodeled. Being a first time home buyer in this market is already tough as it is and the last thing I want to do is spend even more money on an arguably inflated market right now. Not to mention the fact that I'll need to compete with people that have the cash to win bidding wars and are waiving appraisal and inspection contingencies which is ludicrous. With Serrano Summit, I can pocket out 730k and get a 3bed 3.5bath 1736 sq. ft that is brand new with NO mello roos, no bidding wars, and can still get an inspector to inspect the property without worrying about losing a home because of this request. Yes, there is a relatively high HOA but is $400 HOA even considered high in Irvine for attached condos? I find it extremely difficult right now to find anything that is in the 700-800s that doesn't need repairs/remodels, no mello roos, and low HOA.

You can argue that putting money into renovations may not be that much of an issue, but I value quality of work. That is the most important thing to me when it comes to renovations. I rather pay a slightly higher premium to ensure the quality is there than some cheap person that takes cash and ends up doing a crappy job. With the current real estate market, this is going to be tough as I'm not only paying more for the home itself, I'll also need to pocket out more $$ for renovations. More stress for me in this market is a no go and not worth it for me financially.

Anyway, this is my first home so while it would be nice to buy in Irvine, I did some evaluations and felt it isn't needed right now. I'd rather take the time to build up some equity and have my second property be in Irvine. For what I can afford, I don't think I can be picky in Irvine and paying that premium for a home that needs remodeling does not entice me at all. I'd rather buy something in Lake Forest despite it being a step child to Irvine.

I'd definitely recommend *against* a brand new home.   Patience is the key in finding a home you're happy with for 5-10 years.  New homes will nickle and dime you.  Want a backsplash? 5k.  Want electrical outlets in logical places? 1k. Want granite that doesn't look like puke? 8k.  Not to mention any patio you have to landscape. 

The market is hot, but you can get decent deals if you wait and find the right seller who just wants to move quick.  Not everyone wants to deal with a bidding war when they put their house on the market, or sometimes the walls are yellow and no one will buy it so you can get a deal and just have to paint or something. 

Definitely check out Baker Ranch, not just for current inventory but you can do a search of what sold in the last three months to see if anything you like went around your price range.  Remember, you can negotiate on used homes too!  I got 60k off the home I wanted.

I'm going with Lennar. So the only things that can be upgraded are kitchen backsplash + flooring. We plan to do upgraded flooring and that is it. Lennar has the "everything is included" to avoid the issue that you are mentioning. Which was a huge factor. It does come with appliances + granite countertops by default. Not quartz, but again, its a first time home. No big deal for me.

Offline sleepy5136

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Re: Moving to OC. Lake Forest vs Irvine vs Tustin
« Reply #49 on: January 13, 2021, 11:55:15 AM »
Very valid points, just buy a 3-level condo (where the living area is on the 2nd level) with eyes wide open as those properties do not appreciate very well compared to a 2-level condo.  When the market is hot it doesn't matter as much because there isn't much in terms of resale homes for buyers to pick from but when the market is more in balance most buyers will shy away from 3-level properties. Maybe look at Baker Ranch condo resales or Camden Square which are newer.

Yeah, I know 3 level condos are not ideal. But I think as a first home, I really have limited options especially since I want things to be more modern/new. I know I'll most likely break even or have a slight profit when reselling which doesn't bother me as a starter home.

Baker Ranch is doing very well even after the fire, especially the 3-bedroom detached condo product.  The 3-bedroom detached condos like my listing is the exact property that you'll want to focus on.  It has a modern open floor plan, yard, no Mello Roos, great community, newer, lower HOA, and is detached. You should really consider taking look at a couple of those...way better than those new Lennar 3-level condos and they'll appreciate better too.

Interesting. I've heard otherwise. Although as one of the ppl on the forum have mentioned there are natural disasters that can come up which we may not be able to avoid. Fire is probably the #1 thing on my list that should be avoided if possible. Because of that, Bakers Ranch is off my list. Serrano Summit is further so the risk is lower. While I do understand resale will be impacted, it does not bother me as much as its my starter home and I'm not necessarily looking to profit much from it. I'm content with breaking even or having a slight profit.

Offline eyephone

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Re: Moving to OC. Lake Forest vs Irvine vs Tustin
« Reply #50 on: January 13, 2021, 12:04:56 PM »
I guess congrats on your first home?

Offline sleepy5136

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Re: Moving to OC. Lake Forest vs Irvine vs Tustin
« Reply #51 on: January 13, 2021, 07:51:51 PM »
I guess congrats on your first home?

Thanks!

Offline eyephone

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Re: Moving to OC. Lake Forest vs Irvine vs Tustin
« Reply #52 on: January 13, 2021, 08:04:25 PM »
I guess congrats on your first home?

Thanks!

So how much approximately did it cost?

Offline sleepy5136

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Offline Mety

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Re: Moving to OC. Lake Forest vs Irvine vs Tustin
« Reply #54 on: January 14, 2021, 04:06:33 PM »
Congrats!

 

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