Category Archives: Laguna Beach Real Estate

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32013 Point Place, Laguna Beach CA

Modern/Contemporary Home Week in Laguna Beach

It’s Modern/Contemporary Home Week in Laguna Beach

When people think of Laguna, most of the time they think of cottages, bungalows and craftsman style houses.
Well, Laguna is also the home to many contemporary style homes, which gives Laguna a unique combination of traditional and leading edge architecture.

Ever since the great fire in 1993, which hit Mystic Hills, Top of the World and Emerald Bay especially hard, many of the destroyed homes were replaced by concrete contemporary/modern homes.

While there were contemporary homes built throughout Laguna Beach in the 1980’s the fire presented an opportunity to develop whole streets of contemporary homes.

This 2 minute video shows contemporary

homes on the streets of Laguna:

(Click Here or Click Image To Play Video)

I have to say that I had the typical ‘knee jerk’ negative reaction to seeing these contemporary homes for the first time, but I have to say they really grow on you. They’re many different contemporary types that some of the well known local architects, such as Horst, Singer, and Parker, designed.  Some are the minimalist stark homes, while others have a much more homey feel. Whatever the style they all take advantage of the surroundings with huge views and a certain flow with the natural environment.

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Mortgage Interest Rates March 15 2012

Should You Pay Points When Getting a Mortgage?

From my Rick Cirelli, President RTC Mortgage

With interest rates at or near record lows and so many people buying or refinancing, the question always arises: “Is it worth it to pay points in return for a lower interest rate or to accept a lender credit to apply toward closing costs”?

The answer isn’t the same for each borrower and your mortgage professional should present the options to each borrower to demonstrate the difference and guide them to the best decision.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Paying points enables a borrower to “buy down” the interest rate on a mortgage in exchange for an upfront fee.  More (put in link to rest of article and mortgage rates and then put in loan workshop info here)
  • A point equals 1 percent of the loan amount, so paying one point on a $400,000 refinancing costs an extra $4,000 at closing.  Paying a point usually reduces the interest rate by 0.25% over its term, so for instance, instead of 4 percent, the rate is 3.75 percent.
  • The average points paid in the last 3 years according to a Freddie Mac survey, was 0.7
  • To decide if paying points is worthwhile, borrowers should consider two key decisions: How long they plan to live in the home, and how much they can afford in closing costs.
  • In most cases, if the borrower plans to live in the home for at least five years, paying points will help the homeowner to reap savings in the long run.
  • Lenders also offer a rebate or credit in exchange for accepting a slightly higher interest rate. The lender agrees to give the borrower a credit, which is used to pay for closing costs. As with points, a credit of 1 point will typically result in an interest rate .25% higher.

Loan Workshop in Laguna

The real estate market is heating up and more and more people are interested in buying a home but are concerned about getting a loan.

Join us on Meet Up:

This loan workshop will have three (3) different lenders who between them offer a full spectrum of traditional and ‘creative’ loans up to $10m.

Presentations will be made by traditional lender (RTC Mortgage), a nontraditional private equity lender (Collateral Group) and an institutional lender (Morgan Stanley).

The workshop starts at 6:30 pm on Thursday, March 22nd at the DeBilzan Gallery, 224 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach.

There is no charge for this event.

For more information and to rsvp please go to Laguna Friends of Real Estate on or Facebook or email

Mortgage Rates This Week:

Mortgages Rates moved higher this week at their fastest pace in months.

There are several layers of causality.  A “perfect storm” of events drove rates higher: Greece’s bailout; a slightly more upbeat outlook announced by the Fed; slightly stronger Retail Sales, and the general trading dynamics that left bond markets “susceptible” to the weakness.

If you weren’t already locked and have been waiting to do so, rates are STILL close enough to historic lows that floating doesn’t make much sense. And, so far this morning rates have stabilized and even improved a little.

Watch the Daily Rate Lock Advisory on my website for the events that influence the day-to-day movement of mortgage rates and Mortgage-Backed Securities pricing:

Mortgage Intrest Rates
Rates as of Thursday, 15th March, 2012:

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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