Category Archives: Laguna Beach Real Estate

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Review of 2 home purchases I put together this last month

31726 4th St, South Laguna

  • Foreclosure – move in ready, with indoor/outdoor living, ocean views, on a swall and super private
  • $595k ($524 sqft) – anything starting with a 5 is very good.
  • Closed in 20 days
  • Client Short Page


272 Beverly, North Laguna

  • Income property Duplex with big ocean views
  • $941k – very few properties sell for less than $1m in North Laguna
  • Great street to ally lot with great future expansion potential
  • Client Short Page

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3 Interesting Developments in February

The less than a million market is ‘on fire’

1. Multiple offers on homes less than $1m – I put offers this month on 4 places that had multiple offers. One foreclosure had 12 offers.  This requires a different mindset when going through the buying process. Let’s discuss.

2. There were 30 sales in February, which is the highest in 6 years for the month of February. Also, 68 homes in escrow is the highest number in February ever. 18 were less than a million CMA Page Printable Map 7 were between $1m – $2m CMA Page Printable Map 5 were over $2m CMA Page

3. New listings have been slow to come on the market, especially for the spring season. Inventory is Really low.  There are 236 properties for sale. The lowest since 2006. 56 are less than $1m Client Short Page, 69 are between $1m and $2m Client Short Page, 112 over $2m Client Short Page

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Big Ocean View Dana Point/Laguna Niguel home for $630k

This single family house not only has gorgeous ocean views but its also single level.

3 bdm, 2 bth, 1650 sqft. – needs updating
Indoor/outdoor living.
Single loaded streets.

Reasonable HOA dues for a well maintained, quiet and sought after Monarch Summit

10 minutes to Laguna and Dana Point – I drove from the house to the intersection of Crown Valley and Coast Hwy in 5 minutes. Laguna and Dana Point Harbor is only another 5 minutes North and South.

Let me know if you’d like to see it.

Client Full Report with Photo/Map

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New ‘Almost on the Sand’ Victoria Beach Listing for $1.699m

I almost like having a beach house perched on a cliff above the beach versus being on the beach.

Better panoramic views, not as much sand in the house and you still have great beach access.

While I haven’t been in this house (no showings till this weekend hence no videos) I’ve been in houses on the same street and the view down Victoria Beach is spectacular. The beach view is framed like art.

It’s going for less than $1,000 a sqft which is very hard to find for any house on the ocean side of the Coast Hwy.

The seller’s are expecting multiple offers which is happening these days.

It’s an open house this weekend from 1 to 5 and offers will be submitted on Thursday.

Tell ‘em Sean sent you and if you’re interested we can draw up an offer.

If you’d like me to meet you there let me know.

Client Full Report with Photo/Map

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The Laguna Village, Laguna Beach, California

The Laguna Village is made up of 3 areas –

  • the area close to downtown Laguna downtown
  • the Coastal Beachfront area
  • the Oak Village area.  Oak Village is the 6 block radius around Oak St including Brooks St.  Its borders are Thalia, Temple Terrace, Calliope and the Coast Hwy.

The Oak Village – “Aren’t we lucky to be here”

This super popular community is almost more about the neighbors than the neighborhood.  Not to say the neighborhood isn’t super cool.

The neighborhood starts off the first few blocks with mostly bungalows, condos and multi residential apartments. As you go further up the sloping street there are larger family homes that populate the wide non- curbed streets. They typically have more ocean views.

But the thing that catches your eye is the number of people walking the streets.  There are dog walkers, cottage viewing strollers on the way to the shops or beach, to skate boarders and the numerous surfers and skimmers going to the beach.

It’s truly the California Dream with everyone knowing each other and wishing each other a ‘great day’ with the breathtaking views of the ocean in the background.
On the Coast Hwy there is the HIP district which is an extension of the downtown village proper. It is truly ‘Laguna’, with many of the older, familiar restaurants and surf shops of the town.


The village is made up of diverse houses from small 1930 cottages to ‘taken down to the studs’ remodels.

Laguna Village – Oak Village
Homes for sale or lease Click Here

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697 Mystic Way Laguna Beach CA 92651

4 Interesting Facts About This Year’s Laguna Market

But first check out my new listing in Arch Beach Heights – Everything my buyers want – open floor plan, indoor-outdoor living, big views, lots of amenities. Not much on privacy but Laguna is the land of compromise. Something’s got to give. Let me know if you’re interested.

New Laguna Beach Real Estate Listing

4 interesting facts about the market in Jan. and Feb. 2012

  • 40% of January’s 20 closed sales were distressed properties (3 foreclosed, 5 short sales) and 65% were below a $1m (13) and 30% (6) were between $1m and $2m leaving 2 that went for $4m each.

That said, January was a good month for sales activity with the most closed sales for Jan. since 2006. 25 went into escrow, again with 65% less than $1m. The average price for closed sale was $1.3m which is down.

View the closed sales:
Client Short Page
CMA Page
Printable Map

  • February started with a bang with 25 homes going into escrow and its only Feb. 16th. All my colleagues, including myself, are seeing very active open houses. There are 14 closed sales which is in line with last years 28 home sale average per month.
  • Inventory is remaining low with 236 active listings which is about the 2006 level. Less than $1m – 53, $1m to $2m – 72, over $2m – 112, REO – 7, Short sale – 15
  • The ‘over the $2m’ market is still in a stall. 2 to 4 homes sell a month out of the 112 for sale (almost 50% of all inventories) It’s going to be an interesting part of the market this month with more jumbo loans coming on the market and price reductions.

The take away from all this is that the ‘less than a million’ market has a 3 month inventory of homes for sale, which is a healthy buyers/sellers market. For the most part, the ‘new to market sellers’ are pricing to sell, and the buyers are getting the deals they wanted. The average price per sqft is around $600 a sqft., 30% less than the height of the market and at a 2003 level.

The markets above $1m are still a buyer’s market. The $1m to $2m has about a 6 month inventory.

See the multi year comparison graph of inventories, pending sales, and closed sales below:

If you’re interested in a Laguna house for less than a million please check out this new foreclosure info and video.

This 3 bdm, 2.5 bath, 1,624 sq.ft. foreclosure is actually in pretty good shape and at a good price of $653,000 which is at a really low price per sqft of $402.  It could use some upgrading but it’s not totally beat like other foreclosures.

Client Full Report with Photo/Map

The following is one of my favorite less than $2m listing.

697 Mystic Way Laguna Beach CA 92651

It’s in popular Mystic Hills, 4 bdm/4 bth, 2,800 sq.ft. with huge views from every room and its attractively priced at $1,875m, which is $670 a sqft., making it the best deal in Mystic Hills. It has a pool, albeit not large, in the backyard.

Client Full Report with Photo/Map

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Are Underwriting Guidelines Too Strict? Or are Loan Originators Too Dumb?

It’s been estimated that an average one-third of all home sales fall out. Mortgages being declined or unreasonable conditions of approval are where most real estate agents and borrowers place the blame. Is that blame fairly placed or are the Loan Originators to blame for not knowing the guidelines of the loans for which they were hired to originate?  Read on for a different point of view…..

A few years ago when the mortgage and housing markets and the overall economy started to tumble, the underwriting guidelines were changing almost daily. Lenders couldn’t keep up with all the changes made by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA – the three housing agencies that are now part of our federal government and account for more than 90% of all mortgage money. Loan Originators, Processors & Underwriters were trying to figure out what could be approved, what should be declined and how to properly document a loan file.

But more recently the guidelines have stabilized with relatively few changes in the past year or more. So, if the guidelines aren’t changing any more, shouldn’t we as loan originators be expected to know what can be approved and what shouldn’t? And shouldn’t we know what documentation is required to properly assemble a loan that will be approved when it reaches the underwriting department?

The mortgage process starts with the loan originator. And as the saying goes, “the buck stops here”. A good loan originator should know by the completion of a loan application and immediate review of the borrower’s income, assets and credit whether a loan can be approved. And he/she should also anticipate what documentation an underwriter will require to issue a loan approval without a list of conditions a mile long.

Why Do So Many Loan Applications Get Rejected?

In today’s mortgage climate where “no-doc” loans no longer exist, a loan originator should possess the following qualities:

  • Knowledge of underwriting guidelines
  • Expertise in knowing what documentation needs to go into a file and what doesn’t
  • Control of the file during the loan process

Knowledge and expertise come from experience. An experienced loan originator should know how to review and analyze the borrower’s tax returns, credit report, and other financial information. If the originator merely takes the application and hands it off to a processor never to look at it again, that loan has a lower probability of being approved. The necessary loan documentation should be gathered from the borrower within the first few days and analyzed upon receipt. If it is, then there’s no reason to be surprised by an underwriters request for more documentation and explanations later. A pro-active loan originator will have already identified the potential weaknesses in a file and addressed it long before it gets to the underwriter.

By keeping control of the file the loan originator can monitor the documentation as it is received. Constant review helps to identify a potential problem earlier in the process and allows time to request any additional documentation to overcome the issue. Larger companies that utilize centralized processing located in another part of the country (or in some cases in another country) lose the ability to monitor the file as it develops.

The loan originator in today’s mortgage market needs to be more than just an “order-taker”. Knowledge, understanding, expertise and control of the file will all serve to mitigate problems that will otherwise arise in a later stage of the loan process. Too many loan files that are declined could have been easily approved if only the loan officer had just taken the time to review the file upfront; scrutinized the documentation; and, identified and addressed the concerns with the borrowers, loan processor or underwriter.

Relying only on an experienced knowledgeable, professional and local loan originator will help to improve the likelihood of your loan closing.

Mortgage Rates This Week:

Rates held steady this week. The financial markets were calm but with a close eye on the progress (or lack thereof) of Greece and Europe to come to any kind of resolution to their debt problems. The most important report of the month is Friday morning when the Labor Department releases the Employment Report for the month of December. Without a doubt, Employment and Housing are the two most important components missing from our economic recovery. If actual numbers are far off from projections it could move the markets/interest rates.

For a day to day update on the factors influencing mortgage rates, be sure to read the Daily Rate Lock Advisory on my website:

Daily Rate Lock Advisory

Laguna Beach residents will enjoy watching this YouTube video about Laguna in the old days…..

Those Were The Days – Laguna Beach

Mortgage Interest Rates*
Rates as of Thursday, 2nd February, 2012:

Mortgage Interest Rates as of Thursday, 2nd February, 2012


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Free Dana Point Electronic Waste Recycling Drop off old TVs, Computers, Printers, Batteries, Shred Paper Files..

The eWaste drop-off (and paper shredding) Surterre Properties conducted last month was so popular I thought you all would like to hear about this weekend’s drop-off in Dana Point (a 15 minute drive).

Our average car count over the last couple of years has been around 250 through each event.   At last month’s pickup we had 408!  Sign of the times?

This is a great opportunity to get rid of your old TVs, computers, printers, batteries and shred your paper files..and to have them recycled. It is free and easy.

Surterre Properties Electronic Waste Recycling

Surterre has expanded with offices in Dana Point and San Clemente. We were the ‘king of the hill’ in Laguna this last year. Check out the numbers below.

Laguna Beach Real Estate for Sale