Category Archives: Laguna Beach Real Estate

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Special Presentation

The Abels – A Father and Son Who Shaped The Architectural Style of Laguna Beach

A Laguna Friends of Architecture Special Meetup

The Abels – A Father and Son who helped shape the architectural style of our fair city both past and present

Come join us for a presentation by Gregg Abel on his and his famed father, Chris Abel’s, work in designing and building homes and commercial centers in Laguna.

Between the two of them they have designed and built an impressive amount of homes in the community. Each one is unique in its own right since while their work is inspired by the craftsman, arts and crafts, and post modern movements each has been tailored to the client’s personality and tastes. An Abel signature.

Some of the best examples of Chris’s commercial works are the village’s Forest Avenue Mall and the Lumberyard Plaza.

The meetup is on Wednesday, October 24 at 6:30 pm. It will be held outside at the Abel residence at 855 La Vista Drive.

Parking is limited so please car pool if possible.

The Laguna Friends of Architecture meet every month on the 4th Wednesday of the month to present topics related to local architecture and will feature a variety of tours, speakers, socials and presentations.

Admission is free and a suggested donation for wine and music is $5/$10.

Please go to our ‘Laguna Friends of Architecture’ Facebook or page to join the community.

For more information, contact Sean McCracken at or call 949-290-5317.

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Woods Cove Laguna Beach


Woods Cove has a very rich and eclectic past.

Starting with the twin cities – Arch Beach and Laguna Beach

In the late 1800s, the Woods Cove area was originally called Arch Beach and was a separate town from Laguna Beach.

It even had its own post office.

The reason for the twin city effect was that wagons could not go between the two towns due to the deep gullies of Bluebird and Sleepy Hollow Canyons.

So while Laguna Beach could be accessed by the Laguna Canyon, Arch Beach could only be accessed by Aliso Canyon. In fact, to get to Laguna Beach from Arch Beach you had to go all the way around Aliso to El Toro to Laguna Canyon.

Click here to see the properties for sale

As with much of the surrounding areas at the time, it was primarily used for farming, and even had a pier off of Diamond St where they exported barley hay via ship to San Diego for feeding the stage coach horses. Alas this was short lived once the railroad came to SoCal.

The farms were replaced with a resort destination hotel, called the Arch Beach Hotel. The forerunner of the tourist destination town we have today.

It was located at the corner of Diamond and the Coast Hwy. and was very successful until the late 1800’s when a financial and real estate bust be felled the country.

But neve- the- less the word was out. Laguna is a great place to visit, as well as to build your beach house.

For more pictures and a place to submit your stories please visit or

Residential Development

It wasn’t till 1915 through the 20’s that they started building the many summer cottages, artists’ studios and dream homes that we still see to this day.

There was no design review or governing body prior to 1927 so it was fair game to build with has much individuality as you liked.

The spontaneity of development can still be seen in the informal layout of the streets (no curbs or gutters), irregular setbacks, odd-shaped lots and, most importantly, the lack of uniformity among the architecture.

In other words, it was the foundation of the quintessential eclectic Laguna Beach.

Name Change

An interesting tidbit is that the neighborhood’s name was changed to Woods Cove after a businessman from Colorado, Harry Woods, bought the land around the cove.

Note: It’s Woods Cove and not Wood’s Cove

A few of the Historical People and Celebrities that lived in the area:

The famous actress Bette Davis had a home you can still see today on the bluff on Woods Cove.
William Wendt, one of Laguna’s premier original plein air artists had a studio, that is still there, on Arch Street.

Even Woodrow Wilson convalesced in a house on Moss Point after his stroke during his presidency.


There is almost every type of architecture imaginable in the Woods Cove community.

First, there are the big luxury homes that sit on the cove bluffs, then the small bungalows, as well as the craftsman style houses. And that just the beginning with modern, mid century, Tuscan, adobe and normandy also sprinkled in throughout the area.

As of 2012 the prices range from $800k to $15 million+.


One of the other reasons the area is so popular is you can walk to the beach and local stores in just minutes and to the Laguna downtown area in about 15 to 20 minutes via the beach or along the scenic back roads.

It’s about as far South as you can go and still have a comfortable walk to the village.

Also, the locals love to walk their dogs and meander through the neighborhood, especially on Glenneyre, the old goat path, where they’ll pass many of their neighbors doing the same thing.

Ocean Views:

Woods Cove has a mild uphill slope from the ocean providing many homes with an ocean view. This results in the double benefit of view and walkability which is usually sacrificed when living on the steep hillsides.

The Coves:

A unique attribute of Woods Cove, and Laguna in general, is the many relatively small but world class coves, such as Moss, Ruby, Agate and Woods Coves. They have beautiful flora rich cliffs, as well as ocean bluff homes of every shape and architecture.

The crystal blue water is great for diving and exploring the kelp beds.
The locals enjoy walking down to the beach after work, take a swim, hang out with their friends and take the edge off with a glass of wine.

So say ‘hi’ when we see each other walking in the area. Everyone else does.

For more pictures and a place to submit your stories please visit or

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Laguna Friends of Real Estate – A Jumbo Loan Workshop

Laguna Friends of Real Estate – A Jumbo Loan Workshop

Jumbo Loan Workshop

The current real estate purchasing ‘frenzy’ has moved up from the lower priced homes of less than $1m to the higher price ranges of $1m to $3m.

If you don’t have the cash there is a good chance you’re going to need a jumbo loan of $800k or more, which is more than the conventional loans offered by Fannie, Freddie and FHA.

Please join us for a workshop on the different jumbo loan types available for purchase and refi of real and how you can qualify for one.

Three different lenders from conventional (RTC Mortgage), hard money (Collateral Group) and institutional bankers (Morgan Stanley) will be participating.

Something for everybody.

The workshop will be held Tuesday, Oct. 2nd at 6:30 at the DeBilzan Gallery, 224 Forest Ave, Laguna.

The Laguna Friends of Real Estate meet every month on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month to present topics related to the local real estate market.

Admission is free.

Please go to our ‘Laguna Friends of Real Estate’ Facebook or page to join the community.

For more information, contact Sean McCracken at or call 949-290-5317.

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Woodland Road today – former Dodge City in Laguna Beach

The Brothers of Eternal Love – In late 60’s they were the world’s center of LSD, Hashish, Leary, and Art


During the late 60’s and early 70’s there were so many police raids on Woodland Drive, in the Laguna Canyon, that it got the nickname ‘Dodge City’.


What were the police after?

The biggest LSD, hashish and marijuana distributors in the US. The Brothers of Eternal Love.

One of these ‘raids’ resulted in the arrest of infamous Timothy Leary, who was living with the Brotherhood at the time.

It all started back in the early 60’s in Anaheim when a tight knit gang of hoodlum teenagers gave up their ways of drinking, stealing, heroin taking, weed selling and fighting for the enlightenment of LSD (acid).

The ‘mind expansion and ego-death’ of LSD had such profound effect on the gang’s charismatic leader John Griggs that he saw ‘God’ and the errors of their ways.

Consequently he dedicated his life to not only changing the ways of his gang of 20 or so guys but also to ‘enlightening’ the whole country.

How? By ‘dosing’ everyone with LSD, which in 1965 was legal. Oh, and marijuana was fine as well. They truly were going to follow Leary’s mantra of ‘Turn on, tune in and drop out’ which was laid out in his book The Psychedelic Experience which became the group’s bible to follow.

They changed their name to the Brotherhood of Eternal Love and hung out and ‘tumed on’ at Modjeska Canyon, a rustic secluded part of Orange County, and Tahquitz Falls outside of Palm Springs.

They later were also called by authorities as the ‘Hippie Mafia’. The Brotherhood name was not said out loud too often, and still kind of ‘hush hush’ to this day.

A number of the gang, including Griggs, worked for the Laguna Beach maintenance department, and they decided to move the group to Laguna Canyon’s Woodland Street.

If you haven’t been back there you should check it out since it hasn’t changed much with log cabins, clap board houses and a general earthy feel. There still houses that have no road and you have to walk down a path, Victory Walk to get to them. (Check out the pictures)

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So at the same time, the hippie movement was starting and The Summer of Love was happening in San Francisco Haight-Ashbury district which was fueled by this great acid.

But that came to an end after the movement started attracting ‘runaways’ and ‘ne’er-do-wells’ that just wanted to party and weren’t looking for spiritual enlightenment.

When Haight-Ashbury lost its appeal, many of these hippies heard about how Laguna had become a haven for drugs and they came in droves.

Laguna Beach, which was conservative like the rest of OC at the time, was now a major center of the hippie movement.

They were living everywhere including the ‘Living Caves’ below Laguna’s Top of the World.

The runaway girls would do anything for some drugs and support resulting in a lot of ‘free love’.

So you can imagine that the relatively sleepy town like Laguna Beach was starting to get alarmed and they brought a cop, Neil Purcell, from Newport Beach to straighten things out.
He had no idea at that time what this stealth brotherhood in the canyon was up to. He was soon to find out.

One of the skills the brotherhood learned earlier as a gang in Anaheim was smuggling marijuana from Mexico.

Well they took it to a whole new level.

They were among the first to fly to Europe, drive to Afghanistan and buy huge quantities of hashish and hide it in the cars and ship the cars back. They did the same thing with hallowed out surf boards since many of the brotherhood were surfers. This went on for years.

As a matter of fact, the surfer in the legendary ‘Endless Summer’ movie, Mike Hynson was a member was smuggling hashish in his board as he traveled around the world in the movie’s search for the perfect wave.

Besides surfers there were also artists in the group and the ‘Dodge City’ community who went on to start the Sawdust Festival which is still a mainstay for Laguna and only a couple blocks from their enclave.

Well in 1967 acid became illegal and the product was not as stable as it had been, since you didn’t know who the source was, resulting in the infamous ‘bad trips’.

The brotherhood quickly responded in a few ways.

They became a legal tax exempt church, they opened the Mystic Arts World, a metaphysical head shop which is at 607 Coast Hwy (see pic) and they hired a chemist to make a super strong dose of acid called Orange Sunshine, which they sold for 10 cents a tab.

They made so much acid it ended up being used throughout the US from big cities to small towns, changing the whole landscape of America.

There was so much money and drugs in Dodge City that the local families dug holes all through the community and hills to hide their bounty from the raids that Purcell and his new partner were continually conducting.

Purcell was beside himself when he started finding out the extent of what was going on.

People were openly smoking joints throughout Laguna and hippies would be selling pot in front of Taco Bell which was near the Mystic Art World store.


Furthermore, Timothy Leary became a guest of the Brotherhood and was preaching his stuff all over the place. He even ran for California governor against Reagan.

Finally, one time Purcell was cruising ‘Dodge City’ and he stopped a car which resulted in Leary getting popped for a joint.

He was later sent to jail and the Brotherhood gave $25k to the Weatherman to break him out of jail, which they did.

It resulted in him exiling to Algiers where he lived with Eldridge Cleaver and the Black Panthers until they kicked him out since he smoked weed and that was against their rules.
Meanwhile Purcell was rewarded with police chief status.

By 1968 the utopian aspects of the movement was started show cracks and the law was now making inroads.
The Mystic Art shop mysteriously burnt down.

By 1970 most of the brothers split Laguna for Maui and other areas of the world.

But the Brotherhood was going to leave Laguna with a bang before they continued their journeys elsewhere.

A ‘Woodstock’ like concert was thrown by El Toro Rd and the Laguna Canyon Rd and 25,000 people showed up. The cops searched everyone and were nice enough to say if you put your ‘stuff’ in the provided trash bins they wouldn’t arrest you.

The cans were overflowing with everything you can imagine.

But during the concert a cargo plane, with its identification numbers covered, dropped thousands of Orange Sunshine tabs on the grounds making for a very interesting event. While the fact that there were tabs there is a question about how it got to the concert, helicpotor, plane, or smuggled in. For some reason no one can remember.

Meanwhile, some bad guys were claiming to be part of the sacred brotherhood, which was the original gangster core from their days in Anaheim, and conflicts, busts and deaths ensued.

John Griggs had held things together within the group but he died from an overdose of a new drug ‘synthetic psilocybin’ and the conflicts only grew.

There is so much more to the story outside of the Laguna ‘Dodge City’ days.

They built and lived on a commune on a ranch around Idyllwild and another in Oregon, and later they moved in mass to a lightly populated Maui, where Jimi Hendrix joined them in some movie making ventures and the advent of ‘Maui Wowie’ which actually was from Mexico and brought on a boat sailed by members of the Brotherhood.

If you want to learn more I recommend reading Nicholas Schou’s book ‘Orange Sunshine’.

Pretty incredible huh.

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Foreclosure Auction on the Orange County Court House Steps

Video of a Courthouse Steps Foreclosure Auction

Everyone is intrigued with buying foreclosed properties and getting that ‘great deal’.

You’d think that the public auctions at the court house steps would offer the best opportunity for that awesome deal since it’s at the beginning of the ‘food chain’.

Unfortunately, like the rest of the market, deals are becoming increasingly scarce for investors.

Here is a behind the scenes video of an auction this week at the OC courthouse.

But first an overview of the process

Up to a couple of years ago there were just a handful of investors that bought properties auctioned at the courthouse steps.  The reason for such a select number of investors was it took a lot of brass and know how in order to assume the risk of this investment.  They’re putting up their cash for homes whose title might be unclear, tenants might have to be evicted, the inside of the house might be trashed, and the market might not go in the direction they hoped it would.

One rule of thumb was that an investor looked for deals at 75 cents on the dollar compared to ‘like’ homes in  the area.  This gave them room to fix it up and flip it for a profit.

Today the deals are at 95 cents on the dollar and they’re buying betting that the market values are going up.

Furthermore, the number of foreclosures coming on the market is way down.   It appears banks are steering more people into short sales. But who knows.  There’s been years of speculation of what is happening in the bank’s board rooms regarding distressed properties and still know one truly knows.

So times are tough for investors, with more competition, less profit margins and less properties to buy. Most properties are not bought at the auction and they go back to the bank that puts them on the market, using a realtor to market them.

And they have to work every day doing extensive research by driving by properties, checking titles, determining market values and much, much more.

The following is a quick narrative of the video

As you can see in the video the handful of investors has risen over the last couple years to about 30 or 40 investors of all different shape and sizes.

Step 1:   Announcement of cancelled or postponed property auctions

The original list of homes that were supposed to be auction is cut down substantially due to cancellations or postponements. Many times this is due to a request for more time to do a short sale and the bank will retract or postpone the distressed property from the auction.

It took about 15 minutes to read the list of houses being removed.

Step 2:   Bidders must show cashier checks to be approved for bidding.

If they win the bid they endorse the checks and the house is theirs

Step 3:   First home is auctioned and bought with no other bidding

Followed by fierce bidding for another house
The bidding went on for 8 minutes with 3 bidders going up in $100 increments.  One of the bidder’s bids was not heard at the end and the auctioneer said ‘tough luck’ and they moved on to the next house.

I want to thank Valerie Ventura and her dad, Danny, one of those long time investors, for allowing me to join them and explaining the process.  I help them research the value of the houses going to auction and list the house when it goes on the market in this area.

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32081 Coast Hwy Laguna Beach 2

A Beautiful Oceanfront FORECLOSED Property for Less Than $3m

This 16,000 sqft lot has a small house that can be either fixed up or replaced with a 4,000+ sqft. new house.

I met Mark Singer there, who has been the architect on many oceanfront houses, and he gave me the run down on what you can do with this property. Call me if you’d like to discuss what I learned or to see the property.

THIS is a great deal and not an auction.

(Click Here or Image to See Map)

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Remodeled Ocean View Condo for Sale

1594 Via Capri 5 Laguna Beach California 92651 Remodeled Ocean View Condo for Sale

1594 Via Capri 5 Laguna Beach California 92651 Remodeled Ocean View Condo for Sale

Ocean view, completely remodeled upper level condo, located in North Laguna on the ocean side of PCH. Light, bright and open corner unit, with plenty of parking and access to Crescent Bay Beach.

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Lamont Langworthy designed homes for sale

Lamont Langworthy Designed Homes For Sale – 607 Allview Pl, Laguna Beach

Find Lamont Langworthy designed homes for sale in Laguna Beach, California.  Learn about Lamont Langworthy and search Lamont Langworthy Laguna Beach Homes for Sale.

There is a landmark home that has been built at 607 Allview Place by a local couple deeply rooted in Laguna s custom home-building and arts traditions. Renowned architectural innovator, Lamont Langworthy, designed this dramatically stunning tranquil retreat, astride the hilltop boundary of Laguna s open space preserve. With unobstructable coastline views from Shaws Cove to Dana Point. The home is elegantly integrated with the natural surroundings. Sandstone boulders harvested from the excavation are used to enhance the many terraces, gardens and generous pool area. This will become one of Laguna’s most unique legacy homes. Exposed post and beam structure of steel, wood, concrete and glass. Extensive use of floor to ceiling glass for indoor/outdoor effect. 4,500 sqft. house. 1,400 sqft. 4 car garage with 11′ ceiling. 2 master sized bedroom suites. Guest bedroom. Large pool and spa with views.