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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Irvine Housing Blog

Irvine Housing Blog

Link to Irvine Housing Blog

Open House Review: 1 Shiloh

Posted: 20 Sep 2013 05:00 AM PDT

This week, I saw a home in the Northwood Park neighborhood in Northwood and was surprised to see that it was the same as two Park Paseo homes I reviewed in the past.  Right now, 1 Shiloh is on the market for $769,800 ($382 per square foot).  On June 4, 2013, 2 Campanero West sold for $707,000 ($369/ft with slightly smaller square footage) and 31 Entrada West sold on September 28, 2012 for $620,000 ($324/ft).  Let’s see if 1 Shiloh is worth $60,000 more than the last.

The basics:
Asking Price: $769,800
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Square Footage: 2013
Lot Size: 5,353
$/Sq Ft: $382
Days on Market: 43
Property Type: Single Family Home
Year Built: 1980
Community: Northwood, Northwood Park

HOA dues are $65 per month and there are no Mello Roos.

At a quick glance, 1 Shiloh is about 100 square feet bigger than the other homes with a lot size over 1,300 square feet bigger.  The kitchen on Shiloh has granite counters, while the other two have their original tile.  All three homes have original windows and bathrooms with few updates.  Shiloh is the only one with scraped ceilings throughout the entire house.  Shiloh has balconies off all three bedrooms; the other two homes have none.

The owners of Shiloh just made some significant upgrades to help with the sale of the home.  In the kitchen, they added the granite counters, repainted the cabinets and installed a new cook top and dishwasher.  There are new stone tiles in the entry and ceramic tiles in the kitchen.  The carpet throughout the downstairs is also new.  The walls were stripped of their wallpaper and freshly painted.

The house is located on a corner lot, as was 2 Campanero West.  This one backs to a residential street but sits alongside a non-residential street that runs directly to Sierra Vista Middle School.  Traffic at drop off and pickup times is probably pretty heavy.

The home has the same layout as the others.  The living room is to the right of the entry and down a couple of steps, with vaulted ceilings.  The dining room sits just to the left of the entry, also with vaulted ceilings.  An arched doorway leads from the dining room to the kitchen.

The recent upgrades to the kitchen make a big difference.  It looks noticeably nicer, brighter, and more inviting than in the other two homes.

The family room has a wet bar in the corner with newly painted cabinets and an old tile counter.  There is a large, brick fireplace on one wall that I didn’t find particularly attractive.  The fireplace is wired for mounting a flat screen TV.

The backyard is a nice size and looks very pretty.  It has a patio and a large grassy area with a pathway all around.  The edges are lined with flowers and plants.

Upstairs, there are three bedrooms. The master faces the back and has a long, narrow balcony overlooking the yard.  It has a big walk-in closet and an arched doorway leading to the bathroom.  There are two sinks with new fixtures but old counters with lots of small tiles.  There is a shower/tub combo, though it’s covered in older, small tiles (including the floor) so it seems more suited as just a shower.

The other two bedrooms are fairly small.  Each has a two-door, mirrored closet and access to a large, shared balcony.

The upstairs bathroom is pretty hideous.  Tiny tiles cover the counter, floor, and the entire shower/tub combo.  It is overwhelming to look at.  Like the master, the only upgrades are to the sink hardware.

I think that the upgrades, extra square footage, and larger lot warrant a higher price for 1 Shiloh than for either 2 Campanero West or 31 Entrada West.  The pricing is in line with others currently on the market, which has risen considerably since last summer.  It’s interesting to see that this model keeps coming on the market.  What do you think?

Irvine’s Global Village Festival Highlights Irvine’s Diversity and Innovative Spirit

Posted: 18 Sep 2013 05:00 AM PDT

Some of my recent posts have highlighted features that make Irvine Irvine: innovation, well-maintained streets and public spaces, and a safe environment. Today I am going to highlight an annual Irvine event that displays another quintessential Irvine characteristic, which is its diversity.

The Irvine Global Village Festival is the city’s annual multicultural festival featuring international cuisine, live entertainment, a kids’ village with crafts and activities, cultural and religious exhibits and an international marketplace.

In addition to highlighting Irvine’s diversity, the Irvine Global Village Festival also highlights Irvine’s habit of being on the cutting edge of innovation. This information from Irvine’s Global Village website tells this story:

“Creating a Sustainable Festival
The Irvine Global Village Festival strives to reduce, reuse and recycle as many resources as possible. Our goal is to eventually be a zero waste festival. Through the exploration of new technologies, environmentally responsible initiatives and encouraging new ways of thinking, we are moving closer to this goal each year.

Below are some of our eco-friendly initiatives:

  • Green Transportation – Festival shuttles are powered by natural gas and provide lower emissions when transporting guests to and from the event. Shuttle services are provided by the City’s iShuttle transportation program. For more information, visit
  • Zero waste stations, which promote recycling and composting, in conjunction with compostable products, help inform guests about recycling options and divert garbage from local landfills.
  • Event signage, banners, staff and volunteer shirts are designed with reuse in mind. One-time use banners are made with biodegradable material.
  • Event programs are printed on recycled paper utilizing soy-based inks and are also available for download to mobile phones.
  • Every plate, fork, spoon, knife, cup, bowl and napkin is either recyclable or compostable.

                   o Greenwave Paper Plates - Primarily composed of annually-renewable plants, sugar cane, and reeds.
                   o Eco-Products Cold Cups - Made from PLA, (polylactic acid), plastic derived from corn. PLA plastic is a compostable                         material that when placed in a commercial environment will naturally decompose back to organic elements. Unlike                             regular cold cups that are made using petroleum, PLA plastic products are made using US-grown corn!
                   o Eco-Products Utensils - Biodegradable cutlery is made from non-GMO (genetically modified organism) vegetable                               starch. It not only exhibits superior performance over other biodegradable utensils, but is OK Compost certified. These                       biodegradable utensils break down under commercial composting conditions in about 95 days.
                   o Napkins - 100% recyclable paper products

What You Can Do:

  • Bring reusable items such as coffee mugs, water bottles and plastic cups for beverages.
  • Reduce carbon emissions by carpooling or taking public transportation to the event. Ride your bike and take advantage of the Festival’s free “Bike Valet” area – it’s great exercise and the perfect way to avoid parking congestion.
  • Utilize recycling and composting bins at event to help divert garbage from landfills.
  • Bring your own reusable shopping bag if you are thinking of purchasing items.”

Here are the details for attending this event that is “Celebrating Irvine’s Cultural Diversity” as well as displays the city’s innovation:

  • What: Irvine Global Village
  • When: September 28, 2013; 10 am-6 pm
  • Where: Bill Barber Park, 4 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA
  • Parking information

Open House Review: 3 Lakepines

Posted: 16 Sep 2013 05:00 AM PDT

3 Lakepines, Irvine, CA 92620


Asking Price: $427,000
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Square Footage:  1,202
Lot Size: 871 sq ft
Price per Square Foot: $355
Property Type: Condominium
Style: Two Level
Year Built 1977
Community: Northwood, The Pines
HOA Fees: $310
Mello Roos:  No
Days on Market: 20

This home is a two level condominium, with kitchen, dining area and living room downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs.  The home is a middle unit, sharing walls with neighbors on each side.  It is located near the entrance of the community, next to the sound of running water from the man-made ‘lakes’ and steps from the pool and tennis courts.   It is move-in ready with scraped ceilings, wood floors throughout, updated lighting, remodeled bathrooms and laundry hookup located in the private, enclosed patio. 

Upon entering, you have the view to the over-sized sliding glass door at back end of the condominium.  

 Immediately to the left is a small functional kitchen with updated appliances and a tile floor.  The older cabinets are newly painted and everything looks clean, but it lacks a full pantry.  The kitchen offers an open view to the rest of the first floor with the eating bar separating it from the small dining area. 

The living room is a couple steps down from the rest of the first floor, which clearly defines the area. The step is a small size, only running a small portion along the different levels; therefore something will need to visibly separate the areas to avoid someone from stepping off a portion that does not have the step.   The living room is a nice size with a fireplace and built in bookshelves. 

The living room opens up to the enclosed patio, which has a closet area for laundry.  The sliding glass door is original.  On the other side of the patio fence is Park Place. Although it is not a busy street, traffic coming into the community may be heard from the patio since the condominium lies close to the entrance.  Across the street is also another community’s entrance.

A small closet and updated half bathroom are located to the right of the front door. 

Coming up the staircase, I noticed one of the home’s two large skylights which brings in a lot of light.  The high vaulted ceilings provide an open spacious feel. The bedrooms and one bathroom have wood floors. 

The hall bathroom separates the two bedrooms and is fully re-modeled with tile floors, a Jacuzzi bathtub and updated cabinets, hardware and lighting. 

The first bedroom is smaller, but the vaulted ceilings and a good sized closet create a spacious feel.  The windows face the front of the home. 


The master bedroom is a decent size with built in cabinets and walk-in closet.  The vaulted ceilings and space at the top of the wall separating the bathroom brings in light from the bathroom skylight.  The window faces Park Place.  The original model did not have a full master bathroom but this remodel made it look like an original design.  It has another mirrored closet, corner shower and updated single sink.  The skylight brings in a lot of natural light. 

The updated condominium has a great open layout and having two full bathrooms upstairs is a plus.  Having laundry on the property is another big convenience.  The grounds are maintained nicely and the unit comes with one carport and one open parking space.  However someone may want to consider any traffic noise with the back of the unit facing Park Place.  Again, it is not a high traffic street, especially with the end of the street currently being a dead-end, but the location next to the entrance/exit of The Lakes and the community across the street may be worth considering.  

Open House Review: 37 Brenna

Posted: 12 Sep 2013 05:00 AM PDT

If you’re in the market for a fully upgraded, but older, home, check out 37 Brena.  The owners just finished remodeling the entire house and it is now move-in ready.

The basics:
Asking Price: $877,000
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2.5
Square Footage: 2,459
Lot Size: 4,792
$/Sq Ft: $357
Days on Market: 15
Property Type: Single Family Home
Year Built: 1978
Community: Northwood
Schools: Santiago Hills, Sierra Vista, Northwood High

HOA dues are $50 per month and there are no Mello Roos.

As soon as you walk in the door, you can see that the house is in excellent condition.  The wood floors are gleaming and the paint and baseboards are free of any scuff marks.  The living room to the left of the entry has vaulted ceilings and is a half step down from the entryway.  It leads directly back to the formal dining room, which has new recessed lighting.

The kitchen is behind the dining room and everything is brand new.  The counters and backsplash are dark granite and there is a full tile backsplash over the stove.  The stainless steel oven/range has a smooth-top electric stove for easy cleaning.  The white, country style cabinets provide ample storage and contrast nicely with the dark counters.  A large breakfast nook with several windows makes a nice place for a casual dining table.

The family room is a few steps below the kitchen and there is an attractive railing between the two rooms.  While the railing looks nice, I prefer when the downstairs is all one level.  Windows line the back wall of the room and a fireplace sits at one end.  There is a small wet bar in one corner (drawers were not installed when I was there but were expected to be in by the end of the day).

A short hallway off the family room leads to the laundry room, half bath, and garage access.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms.  All three secondary bedrooms are basically the same. They have brand new carpet and two mirrored closet doors.  Two face the front of the house and one faces the back.  They all looked to be about the same size.

The upstairs bathroom was just redone as well.  It has two sinks set in a solid surface counter and darker wood cabinets.  The combination shower/tub looks more elegant than a typical secondary bathroom.  It lacks shower doors or a curtain; I’m not sure if the owners plan to install one or if it will be the buyer’s responsibility.

The master bedroom is very large, with a long and somewhat narrow shape.  Windows along the side and back walls bring in a lot of light.  There is a nice retreat area at one end.  This room has the same wood floor as downstairs and also has a vaulted ceiling.  There is a nice sized walk-in closet with a few hanging rods and a couple of shelves.

The master bath looks much more like those in the brand new construction homes than in an older house.  It has a separate bathtub and shower with big windows and nice tile.  The vanity matches the one from the other upstairs bathroom.

In addition to redoing the inside of the house, the owners have also taken on some landscaping projects.  They put in a raised flower bed along the back wall of the backyard and are planting the flowers this week.  The yard has a decent sized grassy area and a slightly raised patio with new bricks along the edges.  The front yard is large and mostly grass, though they also have a new, raised flower bed here as well (flowers coming soon).

The owners have done all of the work for you, but still gave the house a very reasonable price.  It is located near the end of a cul-de-sac so it doesn’t get much traffic.  Buyers should note that, although some homes on Brena are in the Woodside tract, this half of Brena is part of a separate HOA.  As a result, the owners will not have access to Woodside’s community swimming pool, tennis courts, or tot lot.  This neighborhood, known as Crestwood Estates, does have its own tot lot and tennis courts, but no pool.  I don’t think this one will be on the market for long.

CleanTech OC 2013 Annual Conference & Expo in Irvine

Posted: 11 Sep 2013 05:00 AM PDT

Much of money in a city’s general fund comes from taxes paid by the businesses that are located in that city. Irvine’s deliberate welcoming of businesses is part of what allows the city to offer the many amenities that Irvine is known for, such as the well-maintained streets and public spaces, the high quality police service that often lands Irvine in the FBI’s safest big city category, and the many community parks. And as I have said before, Irvine is known for its innovation. Some are happy with the results that this innovative spirit has brought, others are not so impressed. But wherever you fall on this spectrum, Irvine’s history, from the James Irvine ranch days to the present, is one of innovation. The annual CleanTech OC conference, which will be held in the “City of Innovation”, highlights the city’s welcoming of businesses as well as innovation.

“CleanTech OC 2013 is the fourth annual conference and expo promoting economic growth in the Orange County clean technology industry, likely to be one of the most significant engines for job growth over the next decade.  Attended by cleantech entrepreneurs & industry leaders, investors, policy makers, and many others, this is the only annual conference in Orange County dedicated to covering the clean technology space and connecting industry stakeholders from throughout the region & state.

CleanTech OC 2013 Conference Agenda

8:00 – 5:00

Registration, Coffee & Networking – Grand Foyer and Exhibit Hall

8:00 – 5:00

Exhibits for CleanTech Companies and Sponsors – Grand Foyer and Exhibit Hall

9:00 – 9:05

Welcome: Greg Trimarche, President and Chairman, CleanTech OC

9:05 – 9:20

The Coming Explosion in California CleanTech: Stephen Johnson, Former EPA Administrator

9:20 – 9:40

Investors Coming Back & Beyond the Numbers: Catherine Jhung, Vice President, The Cleantech Group

9:40 – 10:35

Panel 1: Hot Topics in Orange County CleantechThe Irvine Microgrid Update: Dr. Scott Samuelsen, Director, Advanced Power and Energy Program at UCI
County Power Plant Partnerships on the Rise: Ryan Baron, Senior Deputy County Counsel, County of Orange
Solar Decathlon: Cliff Wallace, Deputy CEO, Orange County Great Park
Tentative: Hydrogen Fuel Generation: Orange County Sanitation Department

10:35 – 10:45

Break: Technology Showcase – 2 Minute Exhibitor Vignettes

10:45 – 12:00

Panel 2: Military/Government Adoption/Procurement of Cleantech Bob
Gilleskie, Regional Energy Program Manager, Marine Corps Installations West, Camp Pendleton Dan Cohee, Vice President, PDE – 29 Palms ParticipantTBATBA

12:00 – 12:30

Keynote: Andrew Littlefair, CEO, Clean Energy Fuels

12:30 – 1:30

Networking Lunch – 2 Minute Exhibitor Vignettes

1:30 – 2:45

Panel 3: The Natural Gas Boom and its Effect on Cleantech TransportationHarrison Clay, President, Clean Energy Renewable FuelsJoe Pike, Vice President, Agility Fuel SystemsTentative: Quantum Corporation TBA

2:45 – 3:00

Break: Technology Showcase – 2 Minute Exhibitor Vignettes

3:00 – 4:15

Panel 4: The Intersection of Energy Efficiency, Building Intelligence & Smart Gird

3:00 – 4:15

Peter Weigand, CEO, Skipping Stone (Moderator)Scott Duncan, CEO, EnerlianceMichel Kamel, CEO, MelRokMark Martinez, Manager, DSM Strategy and Policy, Southern California EdisonErron Williams, Senior Director of Engineering Operations, The Irvine Company

4:15 – 4:30

Cox Communications Presents Cox Cares Conserves Heroes Award

4:30 – 445:

Local Government Excellence in Cleantech

4:45 – 5:00

CleanTech OC Company of the Year Award Presentation

5:00 – 6:30

TEST DRIVE MANIA: Test drive 4 to 5 of the most popular electric and alternative fuel vehicles

Irvine Past and Present—Northwood Park Community Center Reopening

Posted: 10 Sep 2013 05:00 AM PDT

Northwood, one of Irvine’s oldest neighborhoods, may be the area in Irvine that has the most diverse housing: The newer homes of Northwood II are located near Woodbury. The Northpoint homes, located in upper Irvine, tend to have a higher price tag than much of the rest of Northwood. The condos that are across from the Northwood Town Center shopping center (Irvine Boulevard and Yale Avenue) as well as the condos located near the Heritage Park library contain some of the least expensive homes in Irvine. And then there are the homes that come to mind when I think of Northwood. These are the single-family homes that were built in the 1970s and 1980s and many of which have no HOA fees. (If you would like to see which homes in Irvine are currently on the market, go to the real estate map.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Northwood Community Center has been getting an update. The new features were highlighted on September 7 at the reopening ceremonies.

“The new [community center] building will serve our multi-generational community and features a multipurpose, exercise and craft room, courtyard, patio and a Tai Chi court. The Center, within Northwood Community Park is adjacent to a playground, tennis courts, soccer and softball fields and the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial. Join the festivities and learn what Irvine Community Services has to offer.”City of Irvine

Here is one more tidbit that, as a local history buff, I find interesting. In addition to being designed as a building with LEED* certification that can serve Irvine’s multigenerational community, the building was planned to emphasis Irvine’s agricultural past. The site of the Northwood Community Center was once the location of one of the packing houses that were part of Orange County’s agricultural history, and the new Northwood Community Center was built to resemble the old packing house.
So there you have it. If you attend the event, you can get a quick overview of Irvine and the Northwood community—past and present—all in an hour and a half.

*Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)—a certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for compliance with environmentally-responsible green building practices

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