Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Irvine Housing Blog

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Open House - 18711 Paseo Picasso in Turtle Rock

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 04:00 AM PST

It’s difficult to critique a pre-owned house, because for so many years it wasn’t just a house, it was a home to a family. It’s almost like shell-shock reviewing an older house since up until now I’ve been focused on new developments. I often think well-loved properties have more charm and individuality and I’d say that I’m personally inclined to purchase an older residence, rather than a cookie cutter home. 18711 Paseo Picasso was an eye opener for me.

Here’s the 411 on 18711 Paseo Picasso:
Purchase price:   $675,000
Bedrooms:  3
Bathrooms:  1.75
Square footage:  1710 Sq. Ft.
$/Sq. Ft.:  $395
Property Type:  SFR
Year built:  1973
Community:  Turtle Rock

The HOA dues are $150 per month and there are no Mello Roos.


I’m going to come right out and say it. The price is too high for the property. The first thing the real estate agent informed me was that the price was negotiable, which tells me that I’m right. Her selling angle was the location. If I had children I’d consider this neighborhood. It’s perfect for kids. The house is literally just down the street from University High School and Turtle Rock Elementary. There is also a park and community pool around the corner. My initial impression about the neighborhood was that it was old. The houses have the 1970s and 1980s over painted exterior wooden features. I feel like I’d get splinters if I touched the wooden posts. Don’t get me wrong—they’re nice houses, but you can tell they’re forty years old.  Here are some of my initial observations:

Wood floors
Upgraded countertops in the kitchen and bathroom
Upgraded cabinetry in the kitchen
Travertine floors in the bathrooms

Interior wooden posts
Under-developed backyard
Popcorn ceilings
Outdated bathrooms
Low ceilings
Small kitchen 

The first thing I noticed walking in the door is how open the living room area is. The high ceiling makes the space feel comforting.

However, I felt like the ugly wooden posts on the interior upset the balance. The wood posts support an overhang that shelters the hallway from the living room, creating a rafter feel.

I didn’t like this at all. I’d expect to find wooden posts on the exterior of the house, but never the interior. I also thought the rafter was wasted space. I left myself wondering how I’d go about fixing that—and I realized that it would translate into dollar signs. There’s a wet bar in the hallway, which is an extra bonus. The countertops have been upgraded, but the cabinetry looks dated. 

The homeowners have extended the dining area for extra space. Essentially they created a very tiny nook, and I’m not sure what I’d do with it. I could fit a couple of chairs in the space, but I really didn’t see the benefit. Maybe I’m not thinking outside the box, but the space wasn’t usable in my opinion. Maybe you could put an Ikea desk and chair in there for a small office feature, but I’d feel mighty cramped.

The kitchen was a lot smaller than I expected.

The homeowners spent money upgrading the backsplash, cabinetry, tile and countertops but it wasn’t my decorating style. I still felt like it had a 1980s look to it. I couldn’t get past the fact that the refrigerator had to be placed around the corner because the kitchen was too small to accommodate it. The refrigerator blocks the panty—albeit you can still access the pantry, but it destroyed the flow for me. It’s a functional kitchen, but I couldn’t see myself preparing Thanksgiving dinner in it. I did like that the kitchen featured access to the backyard, which from my understanding is an addition the owners chose to add.

The master bedroom isn’t overly large, but there’s enough space. The closet doors are double sliding mirrors. I’d probably replace the track and invest in a closet organizer. There’s access to the backyard from the master bedroom. The glass door is the only window in the space, and I once again felt caged in.

The remaining two bedrooms are great for kids or even an office. I wasn’t disappointed in the space. It’s the same size room I grew up in. The closets are definitely larger than any of the newly developed houses I’ve previously toured! Off one of the bedrooms was the atrium, which has fallen by the wayside. It’s literally a small concrete square that the homeowners have never done anything with. The real estate agent suggested that I could close off the space, put a roof over it and make it into a den. Indeed this is what the other homeowners in the area have chosen to do with this space. All I could think of was dollar signs. Plus, my little tiny voice inside me said to leave it open and put a fountain or small herb garden out there. If you want to make the investment, you could do a lot with the space and sometimes it’s nice to put the money into something you could make your own.

I wasn’t impressed with the bathrooms. They need a lot of work, and it’s the first space I’d demolish. The master bathroom has the upgraded countertop and travertine floors, but the vanity cabinets need some updating. It looks like it’s the original 1970s stain. The toilet is in a separate room, but you’ll have to rip it out and I’d say the shower and tub need replacing. I noticed that the ceilings seemed rather low, which made me feel like I was in a cave. There’s a small square skylight, but that feature reminded me of its age.

The second bathroom is very small, and the shower doors have this weird frosted pattern. It definitely has to go.

The garage only accommodates one car, but the driveway features a carport. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. I’d rather have a two car garage. I think the exterior of the house looks more attractive when both cars are in the garage. The full size washer and dryer are located in the garage. There’s plenty of storage in the above rafters.

The backyard is a wrap around and you’ll need to put some time and money planting bushes or flowers in the planters. If you make the effort, the backyard could be a great place to have some friends over for a barbeque, but you’re a long way from getting to that point.

I don’t think this house is bad. I think it needs work, and once you invest the time and money it could turn into something very comfortable. I personally don’t care for houses that have wooden exteriors and this was a big turn off for me. I don’t like wooden terrace carport. The exterior seemed very bland, and I don’t know if there’s much I could do about making improvements. So, I’m going to take a pass on this house. If you get this house at a fair price, meaning lower than $675K, and you have a remodeling budget, you might like it. Turtle Rock is a great place to be in Irvine. From what I observed, the neighborhood seemed friendly and I could be very happy here. With this house, your budget and imagination are the determining factors.


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