Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Irvine Housing Blog

Irvine Housing Blog

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Open House Review: 19215 Beckwith

Posted: 15 Oct 2013 05:00 AM PDT

Turtle Rock Hills Single Family Home On Oversized Lot
19215 Beckwith Terrace   $1,400,000

Heading up Turtle Rock Drive into the hills and turning into the President Terrace Community, you will find this Beckwith Terrace classic  sitting on an oversized 8,200 square foot lot in a secluded cul de sac.

Just reduced $100,000, this four bedroom, two and a half bath home is a mix of original materials, spacious rooms and special features like the three car garages, quiet location and peekaboo views of city lights. The weekend open house traffic was brisk.

Significant Numbers: Built in 1970, the home has HOA dues of $166.  Now priced at $1,400,000 with 2,831 square feet, the home is $495/sq. ft. This single level home is detached with no common walls.  On the market just over 110 days, the home’s space and location invite upgrades. Overall, my take on the home would be, ‘good bones.’

CloseUp:  Starting with inviting curb side appeal, double doors open into a  tiled entry leading into a large living room and family room with rock walled fireplaces. Both open out onto a huge covered patio and yard with views.  A good sized formal dining room completes the picture.  Cathedral vaulted ceilings, sweeps of light and  glass, and custom draperies make the most of the location and the space.

The family room opens to a sleek all white kitchen with breakfast nook,  casual eating area, walk in pantry, and access to the laundry.

The oversized master bedroom also opens to the patio and has a walk in closet. There are three additional bedrooms being used for guests, family and as study spaces, plus another full bath and a half bath.

More specifics:
Single family home
Bedrooms, 4
Baths, 2 and a half
Detached, no common walls
Three car  garages
Irvine Unified School System
Forced air heating, no cooling
Association 3 pools, spa, two tennis courts

What should be considered? The oversized lot, three car garages, and prime cul de sac view location in Turtle Rock hills will be key, along with the new price cut, and the single level open floor plan.  The original condition needing upgrades will also be evaluated.

Who will move in? An active family will see the opportunities.  Turtle Rock’s close, but yet secluded location, nature trails and parks, top schools nearby, and proximity to University of California Irvine will all add up.  For a buyer who has frequent guests, grandchildren, or older family members, the all on one level, open floor plan with oversized rooms and the expansive back yard will cover a lot of ground for family living and entertaining. For investors added upgrades would work. Several of the other homes in the cul de sac have been expanded and updated to take advantage of this location.

Nearby recent listings: 18922 Racine, $1,399,000;  72 Shade Tree, $1,298,000.

Recent sales: 5582 Oakley Terrace, $1,475,000;  18722 Via Verona, $1,487,000

A Review of the Springhouse Tract at The Great Park

Posted: 14 Oct 2013 05:00 AM PDT

Last week Karen started reviewing one of the ten new sets of developments debuted in the Pavilion Park area of the Great Park Neighborhoods, which opened at the end of September.  She reviewed Roundtree, the second smallest and today I will review Springhouse, the third smallest of the ten developments.  All residences have a 2 car garage and an Outdoor Room. Residence 3 is the only plan with its own separate living quarters (consisting of a Den, Bathroom and Bedroom) with its own entrance, which would be perfect for extended families or guests.

Residence 1 Residence 2 Residence 3
2,161 Sq Ft 2,348 Sq Ft 2,481 Sq Ft
3 Bed 4 Bed 4 Bed + Den
2.5 Baths 3 Baths 3.5 Baths
Base Price $760,990 Base Price $790,990 Base Price 823,000
Approx Mello Roos:$4,981 Approx Mello Roos:$5,441

Approx Mello Roos:$5,902

Approximate HOA Dues: $138 - $193 per month
Approximate Tax rate: 1.1%

The Property Management was not as organized as I had expected.  It took multiple attempts just to obtain any of the Base Prices as well as the Approximate Mello Roos of Residence 2.  They said they would e-mail me information, and I never received it.  When I inquired about identifying upgraded features in the models, they stated they were the first development with model homes to be on display, therefore they were not sure how to present the upgrades in each model.  The only way to be aware of any upgrades is to check against the “Included Features” handout, which made it inconvenient and challenging to walk through the models and recognize upgraded features.  I would have hoped they could label or find a better method after time had elapsed. 

Here is a link to the standard amenities. link

None of the models represent the optional Conservatory.  The Conservatory would simply use the Outdoor Room and include that space as part of the Great Room if someone chooses to have a bigger Great Room instead.  The only way to preview the installed option is by going into the office and viewing it on their computer.

Note that the backyards all have a sign stating that it does not represent the true average size of the backyards, which I found rather annoying. The actual lot size of the homes is approximately 4,400 square feet. The Management office said that the true size would be about half the size in Residence 1 and 2, and it is closer to being represented correctly in Residence 3.

Residence One
2,161 square feet
3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Bathrooms
Base Price from $760,990
Style Options: Spanish (A) , Farmhouse (B), American Cottage (C)

When I entered the home I noticed it was Farmhouse style due to the décor and wood farmhouse closet door upstairs.  The stairs were immediately to my right.  A bathroom and a coat closet with extra storage under the stairs were down further to my right and a hallway straight ahead led to the kitchen, small dining area and great room.  The bathroom had a toilet and upgraded pedestal sink.

The end of the hallway leads you directly into the great room.  It is an open square room with the flexibility to arrange it comfortably in a couple of different ways.  There are plenty of large windows that provide an abundance of light and a view to the backyard. 

The kitchen shows upgraded cabinetry, backsplash, sink and flooring. It has a rectangular island with bar seating. The island contains the sink and the dishwasher. The location of the dishwasher is awkward since it is on the farthest side of the island from the rest of the kitchen’s cabinets/drawers. The oven, refrigerator, large pantry, and garage entry are located on the wall behind the sink.  Along the perpendicular wall is the stovetop. The countertop and drawers run across the entire wall.  It provides plenty of storage, but with the counter running along the entire wall, it leaves a smaller area for a dining table. 

The backyard in all models features an outdoor room.  Residence One’s outdoor room is a small covered outdoor entertaining space, and it was placed a bit awkwardly directly between the kitchen slider and yard, which makes it difficult to maneuver around a desired table centered between chairs in the outdoor area. Note, that the yard has a sign that clearly states that it does not represent the true size of their backyards, which was a huge disappointment.  The Management office said that the true size would be about half the size.

Upstairs, there are three bedrooms and a laundry room.  The master bedroom is off a small hallway to the side as soon as you get upstairs, which creates a sense of privacy.  It is a good sized square room with two windows on one wall and a larger window above a built in bench/sitting area. The bench/window may differ in the Spanish style model. The walk-in closet is located in the room, along the third wall, which is not my first choice due to light/noise of accessing the closet in the morning.  I would prefer the closet in the bathroom, as the other two models.  An open doorway leads to the master bath.  The shower and large bathtub are immediately in front of you, along the back wall.  There are two sinks, with a good amount of counter space between them. There is an optional bathroom door that can be added, and would block out any of the light in the mornings if one person was utilizing the bathroom while another was sleeping.

The two secondary bedrooms share a bathroom.  The bathroom has double sinks, plenty of counter space and a separate toilet and shower/tub combo. All of the bathrooms have solid surface E-Stone countertops.  The laundry room which contains a sink, counter space and cabinets separate the two bedrooms.

Residence 1 is the smallest of the Springhouse residences. The secondary bedrooms felt smaller, along with the dining room area and outdoor room, and I wish one of the models had the optional conservatory room to preview.  If the Conservatory was opted for, a larger dining table could be furnished.  The bathrooms were nicely set up, especially with the option for a privacy door at the master bathroom.  Overall I liked the layout of the house and especially the bedrooms upstairs. 

Residence Two
2,481 Sq Ft
4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms
Base Price from $790,990
Style Options: Spanish (A), American Ranch (D), East Coast Traditional (E)

Residence Two model was Spanish style.  The entry has upgraded flooring and upgraded stair railing. Flipped opposite from the brochure layout, immediately to my left is the staircase with a very large coat closet with storage under the stairs.  The downstairs bathroom and bedroom are off of a hallway to the right.  This one has a linen cupboard outside the bathroom itself.  The entry to the garage is located next to the linen closet.  The bathroom is larger for a downstairs bathroom, with a single sink and a large shower which has a sitting bench. 

The downstairs bedroom is a decent size with a nook for a dresser next to the sliding two-door closet.

The kitchen and great room are at the back of the house.  The kitchen has upgraded cabinets and countertops and has a rectangular island with space for bar seating. Like all models, the sink and dishwasher are located in the island.  There is a large walk-in pantry next to the back wall oven.  Also on the back wall are the cooktop and refrigerator. Unlike Residence 1, the cabinetry reaches up to the ceiling, but there are only 2 sets cabinets above the countertop. 

The kitchen opens directly up to the Outdoor room.  It is smaller but a nice little area for sitting in the backyard.  Like Residence One, there is a sign posted that the backyard does not depict the average lot size. The Management office said that the true size would be about half the size.

The Great Room seems small to comfortably share with a proper dining area.  It has plenty of windows that open to the backyard and side yard.  However, if the option for the Conservatory was chosen, it would give ample space for a dining area. 

The laundry room is at the top of the staircase to the left.  This one has an L-shaped counter area, a sink, plenty of cupboards and it is the only model with the big linen closet. 

The shared bathroom upstairs is located across form the laundry room, on the wall adjacent to the stairs.  It has a double sink with good counter space and a private toilet with shower/tub combo.  The tub is large and deep. 

The three bedrooms are next to one another.  Some people prefer the Master Bedroom to be on a separate side of the house or a bathroom separating it from the secondary bedrooms.  This model has all of the bedrooms sharing its walls.  The bedroom adjacent to the shared bathroom is larger than the middle bedroom.  They both have two sliding door closets.

The master bedroom is at the corner of the house, adjacent to the laundry room and secondary bedroom.  It has a full wall of windows looking out to the backyard and two more facing the side.

Like the other Residences, the bathroom has a shower, large tub and double sinks with plenty of counter space.  One advantage compared to Residence One is that the larger walk-in closet is located in the bathroom. 

Compared to Residence 1 and 3, this is my least favorite layout due to the configuration and size of the great room, although I do like the fact it has a downstairs bedroom with large bathroom.  The bedrooms are also not separated on the second floor.

Residence Three
2,481 Sq Ft
Main Home: 4 Bedrooms, 3.5 Bathrooms + Den
Base Price from $823,000
Style Options:  Spanish(A), American Cottage (C), East Cost Traditional (E)

Residence Three is the most different of the tract, featuring a private suite which includes a large den, bathroom and bedroom.  It is set up to be a corner house, with the garage on one side (along one street) and the entrance on a different side of the house (on the perpendicular street).  No option exists to replace the outdoor room with a conservatory.  This is my favorite layout.

Entry to the house and private suite are located under the covered patio.  Entry to the private suite is to the left, facing 90 degrees from the main entrance wall, while entry to the main house is in the center as you walk up to the residence.  On the opposite side of the suite entrance is the gate to the backyard, which leads directly into the outdoor room.

The suite entrance enters into the private den area. The living area is a nice size for a private suite and can comfortably fit a sofa and coffee table, but there is only space for a tiny dining table that can fit two seats.  An optional wetbar and cabinets can be added into the den, which I feel would be a must-have if you plan on having people occupy the suite as a separate living quarter. The bathroom is a nice size with a large walk-in shower and single sink with good counter space. The bathroom sits between the den and bedroom, instead of being en suite, which can be an advantage so that guests are not required to enter the bedroom if they want to utilize the restroom.  However, directly outside the den door leading directly into the main house is the main house’s half bathroom immediately on the right, so it may have been worth having an en suite bathroom.  The bedroom is similar in size to those in the other models.  If you have frequent long-term visitors, have extended family living with you, or want to rent out a portion of your home, this is a perfect way to offer privacy and comfort.

Entering the home through the front door you will find the stairs and large coat closet with storage to your right.  As mentioned earlier, the half bathroom and door to the private suite are to the left.  The bathroom has a window that faces the front porch.  The dining area is visible from the front door. 

As the kitchen doesn’t have a separate breakfast nook (only a breakfast bar), this is the only space for a dining table, unless you move the family room closer to the kitchen, and move the dining table towards the back wall.  However, if you are going to utilize the table often, that may not be the best solution.  The room has space for a long table if desired.  Access to the garage is in the kitchen, next to the pantry.  The kitchen is to the left and has a rectangular island, but with a nicely rounded countertop with room for seating.  As all of the other models, the sink and dishwasher are located in the island, but the location of the dishwasher in this model makes sense since it is close to most of the cabinets.  This kitchen has the most set of cabinets and drawers along two sides of the walls, ad well as a nice sized pantry.

The great room has an abundance of natural light, with two windows on one side, windows along the entire wall facing the backyard, and the sliding glass door out to the outdoor room.  I like the location of the outdoor room best in this model since it is the largest and doesn’t cause any foot traffic in the middle of the outdoor room in order to access the backyard.  Like all models, it has a sign posted in the backyard to remind you that the size of the backyard is not the true average size of the house. 

Upstairs, there are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, as well as a laundry room.  Like residence one, the laundry room does not include a separate linen closet.  But it still has a sink, cabinets and room for side by side washer and dryer. 

The master bedroom is the first door to the right. The laundry room is located in the hallway which also leads to the secondary bedrooms and shared bathroom.  The master bedroom is similar in size as the other models, and the bathroom is also similar in size with a shower, big tub and double sinks with plenty of counter space.  Like all models, there is a nice option for a bathroom door to reduce noise and light in the mornings if someone is utilizing the bathroom while the other is still in bed.  The walk-in closet is located in the bathroom and seems to be the biggest of the models. 


The two secondary bedrooms are on opposite corners of the house, with the shared bathroom between them. One bedroom is to the right, and faces the backyard.  It seems slightly larger than the other bedroom.  Although the documentation shows a closet with doors swinging out into the room, the model had a two-door sliding closet. The other bedroom is at the front of the house with two-door sliding closet.  Next to the closet is a nook that is big enough for a dresser.

The shared bathroom is similar to the other Residence’s bathrooms with double sinks and plenty of counter space.  Like the others, it also has a separate toilet and large shower/tub combo.

I think the private suite will be very appealing to certain buyers.  It can also prove to be a great playroom and/or office space if desired.  By far, this is my favorite layout in the tract due to the private suite, location of the outdoor room and layout of the bedrooms on the second floor.

A Review of the Roundtree Tract at The Great Park

Posted: 11 Oct 2013 05:00 AM PDT

At the end of September, ten new sets of models debuted in the Pavilion Park area of the Great Park Neighborhoods.  This week, I will introduce you to Roundtree, the second smallest and least expensive of the ten developments.  Built by Lennar, each model includes four bedrooms (all with one downstairs), at least three bathrooms, a California Room and a two-car garage.  They have released two phases, each with two homes of each model.  Roundtree is the only Pavilion Park neighborhood to offer four unique models rather than three.

Lennar markets the home as “Everything Included” and signs throughout the houses claim “YES!” to let you know which features are standard.  Smaller signs indicate upgrades.  Some of the standard amenities include ceramic tile flooring at entry, kitchen, baths and laundry; Mohawk wall-to-wall carpeting in all living areas and bedrooms; polished chrome hardware and engineered stone countertops in all bathrooms; and fiberglass secondary tubs and acrylic master tubs.  In the kitchen, all homes come with white thermafoil cabinetry; granite counters with a 6” backsplash and full backsplash at cooktop; stainless steel GE appliances including built-in, self-cleaning wall oven, gas cooktop with five burners, Advantium microwave/hood and Energy Star dishwasher; and a stainless steel two-compartment undermount sink.

These homes also pride themselves on their green technology.  Some of the standard features include CertainTeed AirRenew drywall that actively cleans the air; central air; high performance low-E glass; cool roof tiles on concrete roofs; tankless water heater; programmable thermostat; water conserving toilets, faucets and shower heads; low VOC interior paint; and pre-wiring for ceiling fans and electric/hybrid vehicle charging systems.

Though I’m presenting the homes in order from 1 – 4, the models are actually arranged as 1-4-2-3 (from right to left).  The configuration of models one and three lend themselves better to corner lots.

Basic Neighborhood Financial Information
Approximate HOA Dues: $193 per month
Approximate Tax rate: 1.1%
Approximate Mello Roos: Residences 1 & 2: $4,981; Residence 3: $5,380; Residence 4: $5,902
Base Price from $765,990 (Residence 1) to $860,990 (Residence 4)

Floor Plan, Roundtree Residence 1
Floor Plan, Roundtree Residence 2
Floor Plan, Roundtree Residence 3
Floor Plan, Roundtree Residence 4

Sales Brochure

Residence One
2,053 Sq Ft
4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms
Base Price from $765,990

In this home, the front door is on one side of the house and the garage is on another, leading me to believe it will typically be located on a corner.  A front porch wraps around to one side of the house.

When I entered the home, the stairs were immediately to my left, a bedroom was down a hallway to my right, and a hallway straight ahead led to the kitchen and great room.  The dining area is visible from the front door.  As the kitchen doesn’t have a separate breakfast nook, this is the only space for a dining table.  It has plenty of room for a large, formal table if desired.  Access to the garage is along the back wall.

The great room is to the right.  It is a large room with the flexibility to arrange it comfortably in a couple of different ways.  One wall has a sliding door to the backyard, which are the only windows in the room.

The kitchen has a big, square island with bar seating.  This model shows upgraded, espresso-colored cabinetry arranged in a U-shape around the island.  It has plenty of drawers, cabinets and counter space.  In addition to two pantry-height cabinets, there is a large walk-in pantry with additional storage under the stairs.  The cooktop and oven are on the left, the sink is in the middle, and the fridge is on the right.  There aren’t any appliances in the island.  A big window looks out to the street.

The backyard in all models features a California room that makes a nice outdoor entertaining space.  The yard also has an open space that is fairly small, but big enough for a garden, a play area, or a BBQ and seating.

The downstairs bedroom is pretty small.  It has a two-door sliding closet and windows on two sides.  The adjacent bathroom has a single sink without a lot of counter space and a shower but no tub.  Throughout Roundtree, all of the secondary baths had somewhat poorly designed showers.  The tile (plain white squares) doesn’t go high enough, so the shower heads are actually mounted on the wall.  They also have fairly low enclosures.  It makes the bathrooms look cheap and unfinished.

Upstairs, there are three bedrooms and a laundry room.  The two secondary bedrooms share a bathroom that, like downstairs, has a small sink area.  This one has a shower/tub combo, but still has the wall-mounted shower head.

The bedrooms are set at opposite corners of the house.  Both have two-door sliding closets and windows on two walls.  The bedroom at the front of the house is noticeably larger than the one at the back. 

The master bedroom is also at the back of the house and actually shares a wall with the other bedroom (the masters have more separation in the other three models).  It is an average-sized, square room with two windows each on two sides.  An open doorway leads to the master bath.  The shower is immediately on the right.  Fortunately, in the master, the tile goes high enough to accommodate the shower head; the enclosure is also higher.  The seat in the shower is engineered stone and is actually the same slab as the one that surrounds the adjacent bathtub.  There are two sinks, but only a small amount of counter space between them.  One big walk-in closet sits across from the tub.

The laundry room has space for side-by-side machines with three cabinets above.  There isn’t a counter or sink.  The upstairs also has a linen closet and a space for a table or small desk.

This house lacks a coat closet downstairs, which I think is a major design flaw.  There is only a small space in the entry to put a bench, shoe rack or coat hooks.  I also don’t like that the garage access is in the kitchen/dining room without any hallway or drop zone to give it some separation. Plan 1 is the smallest of the Roundtree residences and, though a couple of the bedrooms felt small, the living area felt spacious. 

Residence Two
2,160 Sq Ft
4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, Dining Room, Loft
Base Price from $799,990

Residence Two has my favorite exterior, with a big porch at street level and covered deck above.  The house has more depth and style than the others, which are all pretty flat across the front.

The entry has upgraded flooring and a large coat closet with storage under the stairs.  As in the first house, the stairs are immediately to the left of the front door.  The downstairs bath is also just off the entry.  This one has a linen cupboard outside the bathroom itself.  The bathroom is just like in plan one, with a single sink, little counter space, and an awkward shower.

The downstairs bedroom is at the front of the house, overlooking the street.  It is on the smaller side and has a two-door sliding closet.

The kitchen is just beyond the entry and, again, to the left side.  It has a pentagonal island with seating on three sides.  The sink and dishwasher are also located in the island.  Only one wall of the kitchen has counter space, which is long and split in the center by the oven and cooktop.  Another wall has the fridge and two pantry-height cabinets.  The door to the garage is right next to the refrigerator.

The dining room is just behind the kitchen.  It has windows on two sides and a sliding door on the third. 

The family room is to the right of the kitchen.  It has three windows facing the backyard and another window looking out to the side.  It is a nice size and totally open to the kitchen.

The California room is just off the dining room.  It is more separated from the rest of the yard than in residence one, so it isn’t quite as nice for entertaining or for simply sitting and watching while others are in the yard.  The other half is comparable in size to plan one and shows a fountain and fire pit.

Upstairs, there is a small loft area at the top of the stairs with access to the covered deck.  It makes for a nice sitting area.  The laundry room is off the loft.  This one has a small counter area and a big linen closet, making it much nicer and more functional than the one in plan one.  I don’t know if it’s an option, but there is space to put in a sink instead of the counter.

The two secondary bedrooms are at opposite corners, both with windows to the front and sides of the house.  The one on the right is a bit smaller (comparable to the bigger one in plan one) and the one on the left is even bigger.  As in the other home, they have two-door sliding closets.

The shared bathroom upstairs has a single sink and a shower/tub combo.  The counter area seems slightly bigger than in plan one, but the shower still doesn’t have full-height tile.

The master bedroom is at the back of the house, adjacent to the laundry room.  It has a full wall of windows looking out to the backyard and two more facing the side.

The master bath is almost identical to the one in plan one.  The biggest differences are a slightly larger vanity and a smaller closet.

I like the layout of this house more than the first one.  The bedrooms are bigger and more separated, and the loft and deck areas are great additions.  I didn’t like the backyard as much, since the separation makes the California room feel isolated.


Residence Three
2,372 Sq Ft
Main Home: 3 Bedrooms, 3.5 Bathrooms
Private Suite: 1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom, Private Living Area, Kitchenette, Optional Laundry
Base Price from $849,490

Residence Three is the most different of the tract, featuring a private suite and an additional full bathroom upstairs.

Entry to the private suite is on the side of the house, next to the garage.  Like Residence One, this house must always be located on a corner, as the main entrance is on a different side of the house and directly accessed from the street.  This will help avoid any confusion from people trying to enter at the private suite.

The suite has a bedroom on the right and a full living room, including a kitchenette, on the left.  The bedroom is similar in size to those in the other models, but this one has a private, en suite bathroom (shower, no tub).  There is also a small, optional space for a stackable washer and dryer.  The living area is a nice size.  It isn’t as big as the family room in the main house, but can comfortably fit a sofa, coffee table, etc.  A kitchenette to one side includes a mini fridge, sink, microwave and a few cabinets and drawers.  It even has a coat closet with extended storage under the stairs.  If you have frequent long-term visitors, have extended family living with you, or want to rent out a portion of your home, this is a perfect way to offer privacy and comfort.

Whether you enter the main house from the front door or through the private suite, you end up in the same entry hall.  It has a coat closet and a powder room with a pedestal sink.  The stairs are located here as well.

The main living area is on the opposite side of the entry.  A big family room faces the front of the house, with additional windows on the side.  It lets in a lot of light.  Though the builders market the home as having a dining room, it really feels like more of a great room to me.  The space for the dining table flows directly from the family room without any true separation.  As in most homes, the space can lend itself to either a casual or formal table.  Sliding doors from the dining room lead out to the California room.

The kitchen in this home is also quite different from the others.  It lacks an island and, instead, is a U-shape with a peninsula.  It creates more separation between the dining and family rooms, but is still open to both.  The sink is in the outer portion of the U with the stove across from it; the fridge is on the back wall.  As in the others, the garage access is right next to the fridge.  The peninsula also has bar seating.

Upstairs, there are three bedrooms and three full baths, as well as a laundry room.  Like residence two, this laundry room has a small counter space and a linen closet at the back.

The two secondary bedrooms are both to the right as you come upstairs.  The bedroom at the back of the house is slightly larger and has a walk-in closet.  This room also has an en suite bathroom with a single sink and a shower/tub combo.  The other bedroom is at the front of the house (with an additional window on the side) and has just a standard, two-door sliding closet.  The bathroom is also en suite, but is more accessible from the main hallway.  It shows optional cabinetry and has a shower/tub combo.

The master bedroom is alone on the left side of the house, facing the back and side.  It is similar in size and layout to those in the other homes. 

The master bath does have some differences.  This is the only model where the shower and tub are not connected; rather, they are located on either side of the walk-in closet.  The vanity area is the same.

I think the private suite will be very appealing to certain buyers, but may feel excessive to those who don’t have a true need for it.  I do like the way it is laid out.  My biggest complaint in this home is the kitchen, as I do prefer a more open kitchen with an island rather than one with a peninsula.


Residence Four
2,472 Sq Ft
4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, Office
Base Price from $860,990

Residence Four is the biggest of the bunch and the only one to have a separate office downstairs.  The office is just off the entry, facing the street.  It is a good size for an office or would work well as a small sitting room.

A small bedroom sits at the other side of the entry.  Like the others, it has a standard, two-door closet.  There isn’t a lot of space for anything other than a bed and nightstands.

A full bath is adjacent to the bedroom.  This is the only downstairs bath throughout Roundtree that has a bathtub.  There is a coat closet with storage under the stairs next to the bathroom.

The family room is at the back of the house, just beyond the stairs.  It is similar to all the others, with three windows facing the back and two more on the side.  As in residence three, the home is marketed with a separate dining room, but it really just flows cleanly from family room to kitchen, creating a great room effect. 

This kitchen has an island that is longer and narrower than any of the others, and has bar seating on one side.  The sink and dishwasher are in the island, with the cooktop and oven directly behind it.  The fridge is off to the far side.  This kitchen feels bigger than any of the other Roundtree homes.  It has three pantry-height cupboards and an extra counter area by the fridge.  The garage access is right next to the pantry.

The California room is right off the dining room.  This one takes up almost the entire backyard.  The only other space is really more of a side yard, though it is wide enough for a grill and a small patio or garden.

Upstairs, there are three bedrooms, two baths and the laundry room.  The laundry room has two sets of linen cupboards just outside it and a small counter inside. 

The secondary bathroom is the only one in Roundtree with two sinks and a separation between the vanity and shower area.  It has a shower/tub combo with the low tile seen throughout the tract.

Both secondary bedrooms are at the front of the house, with windows looking to the street and sides.  One has a standard, two-door closet.  The other has a walk-in closet and a tiny balcony that is really too small to use.

The master bedroom in residence four is bigger than in the other three homes.  It is at the back of the house with a nice separation from all other rooms. 

The master bath has the same shower-tub setup as residences one and two.  This setup feels brighter to me than the one in residence three and I like it more.  The vanity here is also a little bit longer, with more space between the sinks.  The walk-in closet is comparable to the others.

At 400 more square feet than residence one, this plan feels bigger and more spacious.  The kitchen is bigger and it has the extra office downstairs.  I also like the larger master bed and bath.

Overall, these homes are all pretty similar to each other.  With the exception of plan three’s private suite, there isn’t really anything special about any of them.  The differences in floor plans are minor.  They all have similar backyards, with a California room taking up most of the space.  A negative for many buyers is that all models have only a two-car garage.  I also think the design of all secondary baths is poor, as they need more counter space and better designed showers.

Over the next couple of months, we hope to review all 10 of the Pavilion Park neighborhoods.  I am excited to see how they compare to Roundtree, especially the ones most similar in size and price.

The Most Affordable in Irvine’s Housing Market—September 2013

Posted: 09 Oct 2013 05:00 AM PDT

According to Redfin, the median selling price in August for an Irvine home was $660K or $388 per square foot. (The list price was $700K or $415 per square foot.) Redfin also provides some statistics for home that sold in Irvine in the last ninety days:

• Median sale to list price: 98.8%
• Average number of offers: 2.3
• Average down payment: 21.0%
• Number of homes sold: 707

Today we will take a look at a few of the homes in Irvine that have asking prices in the most affordable category. I find it interesting that two of the three homes highlighted here have had recent price reductions.

202 Springview 

• $199,900 ($482/SF)
• 1 beds/1 bath
• 415 SF
• Condo built in 1977
• Northwood Neighborhood
• HOA Dues:  $210/month
• Mello Roos: No

338 Streamwood

• $200,000 ($421/SF)*
• 1 beds/1 bath
• 475 SF
• Condo built in 1977
• Northwood Neighborhood
• HOA Dues:  $260/month
• Mello Roos: No

*Reduced on October 3 from $229,000

128 Orange Blossom

• $239,500 ($468/SF)*
• 1 beds/1 bath
• 512 SF
• Condo built in 1976
• Orange Tree Neighborhood
• HOA Dues:  $330/month
• Mello Roos: No
*Reduced on September 6 from $250,000

Note: For a look some July 2013 numbers, see my previous post

Open House Review: 14 Whistling Isle

Posted: 08 Oct 2013 06:00 AM PDT

Upgraded Woodbridge Single Family Home
14 Whistling Isle   $858,000

Turning off of West Yale Loop and heading up Timber Lane, there is a quiet section in the outer loop of Woodbridge where 14 Whistling Isle is  tucked into a nest of side streets. Brand new to the market, this was the first open house for this upgraded single family home, and a lot of people showed up on Saturday to get the first look.

Significant Numbers: This 3 bedroom, 2 bath single family, detached home was built in 1982. It has been on the market about 7 days. HOA dues are $82 a month.  The square footage is 1,678 and the lot size is 5,663 sq. ft. The home has been upgraded and there is a new roof.                                   

CloseUp: This single level home presents nicely from the curb and opens to a large living room  with a cozy step down fireplace nook on the right. To the left the formal dining room overlooks a lush, live plant filled atrium complete with built In planter, fountain, and access to the garage.  Also to the left, an upgraded kitchen pairs with a small family room that accesses the patio.


The kitchen has new granite counters with a roomy breakfast bar, built in microwave, top of the line stainless appliances including a gas grill and convection oven, recessed lighting and a good sized pantry.


The brick edged covered patio is  finished with attractive planters and surrounding yard areas that are nicely maintained with ample room for entertaining and dining.  A little more landscaping might help to screen out surrounding neighbors.

The bedrooms are off a separate hall running from the family room.  The master suite also opens onto the atrium and has an upgraded double vanity with tub and shower and walk-in closet.  The second bath off the hall has also been redone.


In the process of upgrading rich coordinated paints link with the wood floors that run throughout the home to define the space.  Shuttered windows in the living room, sleek upgrades in the baths, and coordinated lighting provide finishing touches. However, on the flip side of the upgrades, visitors will note that there is more work to be done, such as the screened door leading to the patio. 

What will be considered here? The South Lake location in Woodbridge is a prime spot with award winning schools, lakes, parks and community atmosphere.  The outer loop location is not as desired, but the fact that the home is on a quiet side street  closer to West Yale Loop and away from Culver traffic will be considered.  The upgrading in the kitchen, living room and baths all on one level adds value and appeal. The overall square footage is a little snug but the open floor plan makes the most of the space. 

Who will move in? A young family attracted to Woodbridge’s many assets might choose this home with its provisions for family activities inside and out. An older couple with frequent guests, grandchildren, and entertainment commitments might find this home very workable too.

Additional Specifics:
Single family home
Bedrooms, 3
Baths, 2
Double attached garage
Detached/no common walls
Central heat
Two parking spaces
Laundry in the garage
Association pool and spa
Irvine Unified School System

Recent Listings: 17 Corsica, $839,000;  42 Elm Tree, $729,000
Recent Sales: 2 New Meadows, $856,000; 15 Soaring Hawk, $780,000

Open House Review: 14 Alba West

Posted: 07 Oct 2013 05:00 AM PDT

14 Alba West is a single story, zero lot line property that is fully remodeled.  Last week I reviewed the same model at 1 Delamesa, selling for $645,000 ($487/square foot), which is still for sale.  Other recent comparable sales in the same neighborhood sold at $620,000 ($468/square foot) and $625,000 ($472/square foot) at 32 Entrada and 27 West Lucero, respectively.  Is this property worth the highest price?

Asking Price: $650,000
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1.75
Square Footage:  1,329
Lot Size: 4,792sq ft
Price per Square Foot: $489
Property Type: Residential, Single Family
Style: One Level Contemporary
Year Built 1980
Community: Northwood, Park Paseo
HOA Fees: $85
Mello Roos:  No
Days on Market: 11

This house has remodeled bathrooms and kitchen, scraped ceilings, distressed wood flooring throughout, clean interior paint and new windows, most with plantation shutters.  The backyard is nicely landscaped with fruit trees, well maintained grass and a covered patio. There does not seem to be much traffic in the surrounding area, but the house faces the entrance of the split streets of Alba West and Alba East, so all cars must drive towards and pass this property if they live anywhere on Alba West.   

View from House to entrance:

A side gated porch leads up to the front door.  The front door leads into a rectangular shaped great room which consists of the living room (to the left), small dining room (to the right) and open kitchen with a breakfast bar.  Straight ahead is a hallway leading to the bedrooms. The vaulted ceilings and large windows create an open, light feel.  The kitchen is completely remodeled with new cabinets, granite countertops, tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances and a wine cooler.  There are plenty of cupboards, drawers and a pantry for storage.  One garage entrance is located in the kitchen.  The dining room has french doors which leads to the side enclosed porch area. 

Recessed lights, a ceiling fan and plantation shutters have been installed in the living room and the room also has an updated fireplace.  One entrance into the third bedroom is off of the living room.  The double doors into the spare room/office have been removed.  The entrance could be dry-walled to create more of a private third bedroom, if desired.  Currently the closet has been turned into an office desk area with built in cabinets and desk.  With the double entrance, one from the living room and one from the hallway, the room lacks some privacy to be used as a bedroom.

Adjacent to the third bedroom is another bedroom which is similar in size with a window facing the backyard. Crown molding has been installed in the two small bedrooms and hallway.   The bathroom in the hallway has been completely remodeled with a shower, modern vanity and tiled walls and floor.  

The master bedroom has vaulted ceilings, good closet space, a remodeled bathroom and french doors that lead to an enclosed small patio.  Another garage entrance is found in the enclosed patio.  The bathroom has been completely remodeled with a skylight bringing in extra light. A wall separates it from the sleeping area.  It has an open solution to the modern single sink, shower and Jacuzzi bathtub while the toilet is in its own room.  There is no door in front of the vanity/tub/shower area, so there may be light and noise in the mornings if another person is utilizing the area while the other is sleeping. In addition, with the tub and shower in the open bathroom, the bedroom door would need to be shut for complete privacy in the tub/shower area. 

14 Alba West has been upgraded nicely. The bathrooms are contemporary and the master bathroom’s remodel would not be my first choice in layout, but it is light and modern.  The home is clean, move-in ready and would appeal to buyers that are looking for a single story house in the neighborhood.   The backyard is good for entertaining and for families with pets and small children.   I do not know if the extra $20-25K is worth all of the updates, particularly with the location of the home facing the street entrance to Alba, but it did not appear to have much traffic. 


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