Monthly Archives: April 2015

2175 Calle Ola Verde

This week’s listing is in San Clemente (Address: 2175 Calle Ola Verde). Listing price: $465,000

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Here’s why I think this is a great buy:

  • At $465,000 with 1,600 square feet, it has a great price per square foot ($290). It’s tough to find something under $300/square foot in this area
  • It’s a townhome, but it feels spacious, with 3 beds and 2.5 baths in 2 stories
  • It has a detached 2-car garage, which is rare with a townhome
  • There’s a private patio for a little outdoor space
  • It’s just minutes from historic downtown San Clemente and the beach
  • HOA dues are $395 (which is high, but typical for South Orange County), but you get a community pool and nice grounds with that fee

Want to check it out? Contact me today.

Spotlight On: Agostino’s By the Sea

I grew up in Dana Point/Laguna Niguel and when I was a kid, Agostino’s was “our place” as a family. Selfishly, part of me feels a little reluctant to spread the word about it because I want to keep the hidden gem to myself. But, really, if you enjoy Italian food, you should know about it.

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It’s not surprising that Agostino’s is ranked the #1 restaurant in Capistrano Beach on TripAdvisor. It’s right across from Doheny State Beach, on a sleepy stretch of PCH. The ocean views are plenty, so I highly recommend reserving a table near a window to catch a sunset.

Agostino’s is a small, family-run business.  Agostino himself knows me and says hello whenever I visit. That type of customer service seems to be a forgotten art these days. Service aside, the real reason I continue to come back is the food. Their Italian dishes are the best I’ve had in California, and that’s not a distinction I toss around lightly.

I almost always order the veal parmigiana. Like I said, it’s the best I’ve had–slightly crispy on the outside, drenched in homemade sauce with perfectly melted cheese. It comes with a side of spaghetti (try the meat sauce), along with soup or salad and bread. My wife usually gets one of their pizzas or pastas and raves every time. You will be full and satisfied. Trust me.

Also: They offer cooking classes. My family and I have attended multiple classes since they began offering them and they’re always a blast. Agostino teaches the classes and you’ll get a great 3-course meal (and some good tips) out of them.

If you live in Dana Point, San Clemente, or anywhere else in South Orange County, please do yourself a favor and check this place out (and tell Augie I sent you).  You’ll be happy you did!

Agostino’s By the Sea
34700 Coast Hwy, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624
(949) 661-8266

 

18 Calle Prospero

This week’s listing is in San Clemente (Address: 18 Calle Prospero). Listing price: $750,000

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Here’s why I think this is a great buy:

  • It’s one of the cheapest comps in the desirable Forster Ranch neighborhood–definitely priced to sell quickly
  • It has 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths in 2,027 square feet (that’s $370/square foot)
  • There are nice updates, especially in the kitchen and master bath
  • The backyard is built for entertaining, with outdoor speakers and a nice patio area
  • HOA dues are reasonable ($175/month) compared to other developments in Orange County
  • The schools are great: Truman Benedict Elementary School is a 9, Bernice Ayer Middle School is an 8, and San Clemente High School is an 8

Want to check it out? Contact me today.

The State of Real Estate

As we head into summer, the real estate market is expected to heat up. It usually does this time of year because families want to move and settle in before the school year begins.
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So, who stands to benefit most from the current market–buyers or sellers? Well, for once, I’d say both. Here’s why I think the market is looking healthy:

Home equity is up
According to CoreLogic DataQuick, the median price of an Orange County home is right around $590K, up 4.2% from the previous year. That’s the 5th highest median home price since they began tracking in 2012, and comes to within 8% of the all-time high of $645K.

Here’s a breakdown of the market by California county:

County/region Median price 1 yr ch Sales 1 yr ch
Orange $590,750 4.2% 2,074 -1.5%
Los Angeles $465,000 9.2% 4,479 -2.5%
Riverside $305,000 7.0% 2,349 -3.8%
San Bernardino $250,000 11.1% 1,631 -11.5%
San Diego $440,000 7.3% 2,568 1.1%
Ventura $460,000 6.5% 549 9.8%
Southern California Total $415,000 8.4% 13,650 -2.7%

Source: OC Register

These rising prices are not unique to Orange County (Source: Money magazine). Home prices nationwide are expected to rise 4.9% on average this year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That’s closer than we’ve been in a while to the long-term average of 3.3%–and a lot more manageable than either the sharp drops of the bust years or the 12% spike we saw in 2013.

What this means is that if you own a home, you can take comfort in its increasing value. And, depending on when you bought and the type of loan you got, you may even want to refinance. For a while, it wasn’t possible for many homeowners to refinance because they didn’t have equity in their home (meaning, the value of the house was lower than what they owed on their mortgage). With rising property values, only 11% of owners have negative equity.

Now that people have more equity in their homes, they’re more open to selling and buying something new. This is a great sign of a healthy market.

Interest rates are still low
Despite predictions that interest rates could tick up by summer, the 30-year fixed rate (most recently at 3.7%) is still relatively low. NAR is forecasting that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will average 4.3% in the third quarter of this year, 4.7% in the fourth, and 5.3% over all of 2016 (Source: Money magazine). For perspective, on a $300,000 loan, the difference between 3.7% and 5.3% would be $285/month ($102,600 over the life of the loan).

Low interest rates are good for buyers for obvious reasons, and they’re good for sellers too. Buyers know the rates won’t last forever, so if the rates tick up this summer, there could be a rush to buy. Of course, if rates go up too far, that will mean home prices take a dip. After all, home buyers look at their monthly payment and, with higher interest rates, they can’t afford as big of a sticker price.

Inventory is stabilizing
According to Money magazine, nationwide inventory is expected to loosen up, with 1.9 milliion units on the market this year. For the second year in a row, the number of homes that were “flipped” has dropped, while the foreclosure rate is less than half what it was 2 years ago.

Also, with a healthier market, builders are picking up the pace and there is expected to be an increase in houses and condos for sale this year. That means more to choose from for buyers.

Bidding wars aren’t as common
Because prices are more stable now, there aren’t as many “deals” for investors to pounce on. And with fewer investors in the picture, regular buyers have more opportunity and don’t have to worry as much about being priced out in bidding wars or by all-cash offers.

If you’re looking to buy or sell, or just have questions about the market, contact me . I’d love to help!

Save Dana Point: About the 2015 Town Center Initiative

If you currently live in Dana Point (or visit often), you’re probably aware of the significant revitalization project going on, designed to bring a lot of great improvements to the Lantern District and Doheny Village. You may have also started seeing “Save Dana Point” signs on residents’ lawns, put there in protest of some changes to the approved plans for the project.

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Here’s a summary of what’s going on:

The Town Center Plan originally describes a pedestrian-friendly retail district with shops and restaurants appealing to residents and visitors. It portrays a small-town village atmosphere consistent with Dana Point’s beach community and lifestyle.

Enter the Majestic Development, which was hastily approved by the newly appointed City Council in October 2014. It’s a 109-unit condominium complex with a variance allowing for 4 stories (the original Plan allowed for a maximum of 3). Going forward with this development will effectively eliminate tons of public parking and other amenities that are essential to maintaining the vibrant downtown retail area that was promised with the Town Center Plan. With the Majestic Development, the area will gain 3,700 new residents, causing more congestion on streets and even more parking problems.

I, for one, appreciate the uniqueness of Dana Point’s downtown areas and do not want to turn Dana Point into another Huntington Beach, Redondo Beach, or Anaheim. Those of us who chose to live here did so because it’s not as hectic as those places.

Support the 2015 Town Center Initiative
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PrintIf the 2015 Town Center Initiative is passed, it will direct City leaders to insist that new developments in the Town Center (Lantern District) adhere to the requirements of the approved Town Center Plan, which promoted the creation of a vibrant retail and restaurant district, not a housing development.

I’ve already signed the initiative and if you support it, you should too. We need a certain number of signatures to get this on the ballot quickly.

>> Learn more and sign the initiative

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I’ll be volunteering my time for this cause and would love to have company!

Spotlight on: AYSO

For all you soccer enthusiasts, AYSO Fall season registration is officially open for most South Orange County regions. And if you sign up before the end of this month, you can save $30!

Early bird rate for U5 to U19: $130 (ends April 30)
Regular rate for U5 to U19: $160 (starts May 1)
Military: $100
VIP: $50
Family max: $400

Practices usually start around August 15, and the season starts 1 to 2 weeks after Labor Day, depending on age. The regular season ends before Thanksgiving, with playoffs for some of the older-age divisions after that.

You can register online on the eAYSO website.

If you have questions, the regional websites are great sources of information:

Dana Point/SJC Region 87
Laguna Niguel Region 41
San Clemente Region 111

AYSO is near and dear to my heart. I grew up playing soccer, continuing all the way through high school (Dana Hills–go Dolphins!). I have volunteered to coach for a few seasons now and will likely volunteer to coach again this year.

Warming up before a game last season.

Warming up before a game last season.

There are great opportunities to volunteer your time and help your local AYSO region. You don’t need to have an understanding of the game to help out. Also, AYSO Area 11, which manages 10 AYSO regional leagues in South Orange County, offers scholarships as incentives for students to volunteer with AYSO (or other organizations). For more information on the scholarship program, click here.

Feel free to contact me with any questions about volunteering or registering with AYSO. I’ll see you out on the field. Play hard, play fair, have fun!

451 Plaza Estival

This week’s listing is in San Clemente (Address: 451 Plaza Estival). Listing price: $499,000

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Here’s why I think this is a great buy:

  • It’s on the “good side” (aka ocean side) of the freeway
  • It’s large for a townhome, with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths in 1,662 square feet
  • It’s just under $500,000, which is great for any property in San Clemente, and has a competitive price per square foot ($300)
  • It’s been nicely renovated–you can’t tell it was built 30+ years ago! Updates include: Bamboo flooring, custom paint, stack-stone fireplace in the living room, cottage cabinets and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen
  • It has a small outdoor area, great for a pet
  • The complex has a pool, spa, and tennis court
  • HOA dues are less than many other communities in South Orange County ($240/month)
  • The schools are good: Palisades Elementary is a 7, Shorecliffs Middle School is an 8, and San Clemente High School is an 8

Want to check it out? Contact me today.