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Old 01-20-2010, 07:58 PM
 
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We just found out we are moving and I'm nervous! My husband is getting a big raise (30+%) and full relo but still nervous.

Can some of you educated people help me narrow down where to look for houses? Here is some of our criteria...

1) Husband would like no more than a 30 minute commute each way to Irvine
2) We like houses with character / uniqueness. We would not be interested in a neighborhood where all houses look the same, etc
3) Quality schools are important as well as low crime / safety
4) We plan to look for homes in the $1.2 million dollar range

Please let me know your thoughts on what areas we should be looking!

Thanks so much!
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:21 PM
 
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30 minutes to Irvine mostly limits you to areas where all the houses look the same. You might want to post where in Irvine the job is as it can take nearly that long to get from one end to the other during rush hours. The nicer parts of Santa Ana will have some unique houses but the schools are crap and they're surrounded by slums. I'm not sure if its possible on your budget and it may be pushing it commute time wise, but there's some nice houses in the hills above Tustin. Go to Google maps and look for Lemon Heights. That area carries a Santa Ana mailing address but its actually unincorporated Orange County. Use the map below as a guide to the general quality of the neighborhood.

http://schoolperformancemaps.com/ca/
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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He will be working in Irvine Center - where 405 meets 5

How far south can we live if he wants to keep it to a 30 min commute?

Thanks
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Declezville, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_x View Post
He will be working in Irvine Center - where 405 meets 5

How far south can we live if he wants to keep it to a 30 min commute?
About 2 miles.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Fontucky View Post
About 2 miles.
OK that might an exaggeration, but not that much. That location is at the southern tip of Irvine and pretty much everything from Irvine down is the land of beige tract homes, until you get to San Clemente where you get a tract house with a red tile roof. $1.2M will get you a nice beige tract house though but nothing close to what you'd expect for that amount coming from Texas. Good schools and safe neighborhoods are almost universal in south county.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Declezville, CA
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That's the inland side of the freeway in San Clemente. The ocean side is mostly non-tract custom and spec built homes ranging in age from now all the way back to the twenties.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:22 AM
 
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Thanks for all the replies. What would his commute time be from San Clemente to that southern part of Irvine? and commute time from Laguna Niguel?
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by greg_x View Post
Thanks for all the replies. What would his commute time be from San Clemente to that southern part of Irvine? and commute time from Laguna Niguel?
Laguna Niguel is predominantly tract homes, cookie cutter, etc. as well. You need to look north of Irvine or to the coast to find what you're looking for.
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Irvine, CA / Golden, CO
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Here are a few things to consider greg_x,

The big 30% raise is not going to significantly change your standard of living in OC coming from TX, and it could very well be lower.

CA state tax is going to take ~10% of your gross income if you earn > $45k/yr, and the base property tax rate in OC is around 1.0% (that’s $12k/year on your $1.2MM home), note there are many communities here that carry additional taxes/fees that could double your base tax rate.

I live (rent) in Irvine and I cannot think of anything that is cheaper in OC coming from TX except home property tax rates, but TX does not have a state income tax and of course homes in TX are ~40% the cost in OC.

Most houses in the OC area are tan stucco, but there is variety just as there is variety in the omni-present brick homes in Houston. For the most part forget about having a yard as you would consider it in TX. A 7000 sqft lot in OC is on the larger side. In Irvine 4500-6000 sqft lots are common.

Commuting anywhere in OC is something one must experience first-hand to appreciate.

Highly rated schools are easier to find in OC than in the Houston area.

Irvine has a low crime rate.

Good luck with the new job, but I would seriously rent somewhere in OC for a few months before committing to a home purchase here.
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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This is great feedback. We will definitely plan on renting first. We've done some analysis on paper and we can probably live similar to what we do here as long as we can find good public schools

In Dallas, the public schools are so poor we have to send our kids to private school at $10k /yr for each kid that is $30k / year

We pay 2.5% property tax on our $750k house. That is $19k a year.

I've read online our electric and gas bills will be cheaper in CA

We are worried about the traffic which is why we are trying to determine our boundaries on where to live and keep his work commute to 30-40 minutes each way.

Thanks again everyone!
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