Just Listed | Downtown Lifestyle

This 1 bedroom, 1 bath Plan “A” floorpan built by Brookfield Homes in “The Domain” of Anaheim is available for showings.

Located directly across the street from Farmers Park and The Packing House of Anaheim, residents of The Domain enjoy the convenience of being centrally located to numerous restaurants, lounges, and bars. Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Resort is less than 2 miles away.

Call or text Edwin for a showing at 714.501.2732.

Here’s one of the videos created by the builder Brookfield Homes. It does a great job showcasing the surrounding area of The Packing House, Farmer’s Park, and Downtown Anaheim.

Here is Brookfield Homes’ concept video that was created before construction was completed:

Questions?

 

Review of Alterra at La Floresta in Brea CA

Van Daele Homes introduces another wrinkle in homebuilding with “Alterra” — Townhome-like interiors in condominium styled buildings.

 

Alterra in La Floresta reminds has styling cues that I associate with Sheraton and Hilton Vacation Club properties.
Alterra in La Floresta has styling cues that I associate with Sheraton and Hilton Vacation Club properties.

It’s tough to classify this category. It’s not your typical cookie-cutter townhome or mid-rise condo complex. The closest development I can think of to this design is The Domain in Anaheim, which I felt was brilliantly-designed and seemed to have an answer to all the failed mid-rise condo projects in the area.

Alterra offers 4 floorpans and range from 1,101 square feet of living space to 1,898 square feet. Prices started at $477,990 at the time of my visit. HOA dues are expected to be $374 at build out with a special assessment of $727-$849 per year.

2015-11-12 12.34.24
All the styling of a new home: large island counter in the kitchen, “Great Room” layout design, sharp corners, and plenty of light.
Open spaces create an environment perfect for having company over.
Open spaces create an environment perfect for having company over.
All floorpans have a private deck.
All floorpans have a private deck.
VERY COOL: A ground floor office space or guest suite was my favorite feature in Plan 4.
VERY COOL: A ground floor work/live space was my favorite feature in Plan 4.
French doors in the work/live space allow meetings to take place without the appearance of going to someone's "home".
French doors in the work/live space allow meetings to take place without the appearance of going to someone’s “home”.
The "Home Management Center" in Plan 4 is perfect for a kitchenette (as modeled) or additional office space.
The “Home Management Center” in Plan 4 is perfect for a kitchenette or additional office space.
Each building has a courtyard-style entryway when not entering through your garage.
Each building has a courtyard-style entryway when not entering through your garage.

 

Street view of the courtyard entry.
Street view of the courtyard entry.

The Not-So-Good Features…

While an elevator helps ease your walk to your front door, only residence 4 allows direct access into your home.
While an elevator helps ease your walk to your front door, only residence 4 allows direct access into your home.
Hallway entrances remind me of apartment and motel buildings.
Hallway entrances remind me of apartment and motel buildings.
Close quarters: The annoying neighbor smoking outside or having a party makes me hope the noise is insulated well.
Close quarters: The annoying neighbor smoking outside or having a party makes me hope the noise is insulated well.

Overall, I believe this community offers a good buy for the location and offerings of the La Floresta community. Those looking for an alternative to the typical “cookie cutter living” would have walking access to new shopping and restaurants along with a pool center nearby.

 

Questions?

Review: Castile at La Floresta in Brea offers a new style of attached living

As a Real Estate Agent in North Orange County, it’s common to automatically think it takes over $700,000 to buy a brand new detached home in a good area with 8+ schools.

Until I visited Van Daele’s community that starts at $620,0990. The largest plan (1,782 square feet) was being offered at $671,740 at the time of my visit.

So, how were they able to build MORE on less land without going 3 stories high like Heritage Crossings in Placentia?

Castile by Van Daele homes introduces high density living with NO shared living spaces. (only garages are attached.)
Castile by Van Daele homes introduces high density living with NO shared living spaces. (only garages are attached.) Kudos for keeping staircases at a minimum.ūüôā

The lowest priced design is their Residence One that features 2 to 3 bedrooms with 2-1/2 baths. For those who opt for having 3 bedrooms, it comes at the expense of a separate dining area off the kitchen. Residence One is a single level design on the 2nd floor (shown in photo above) with an available elevator option near the Master Bedroom.

Great Room with 2 bedroom configuration in Residence One. If you wanted 3 bedrooms, that area where the small windows and dining table would be a full bathroom.
Great Room with 2 bedroom configuration in Residence One. If you wanted 3 bedrooms, that area where the small windows and dining table would be a full bathroom.
Just like all new homes, the large island counter dominates the kitchen.
Just like all new homes, the large island counter dominates the kitchen.
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Residence One is located directly behind the other 2 designs: Residences Two and Three. It sits directly on top of their garage spaces. Two and Three are completely freestanding.
A "Home Management Center" is perfect for a small office space, gaming area, or linen storage.
A “Home Management Center” is perfect for a small office space, gaming area, or linen storage.
Your master bath likely won't be as decked out as the one in the model -- unless you're willing to pay more.
Your master bath likely won’t be as decked out as the one in the model — unless you’re willing to pay more.
Residences Two and Three have "Great Room" designs on the ground floor with a small patio area than can accommodate a table and BBQ grill.
Residences Two and Three have “Great Room” designs on the ground floor with a small patio area than can accommodate a table and BBQ grill. Residence Two has a 9 foot stacking door option that allows a large entryway to the patio to blend outdoor and indoor spaces.
Garages are detached in Residences Two and Three. You'll need your umbrella on a rainy day going to and from the garage.
Garages are detached in Residences Two and Three. You’ll need your umbrella on a rainy day¬†when you walk through your small outdoor space.
Large kitchen with island in Residence Three.
Large kitchen with island in Residence Three.
Interesting....but not practical? Residence Three has a downstairs bedroom, but the sliding door design and location makes me wonder how much privacy that room would have.
Interesting….but not practical? Residence Three has a downstairs bedroom, but the sliding door design and location makes me wonder how much privacy that room would have. Residence Two also has a downstairs bedroom.

What I didn’t like…

  1. The nearby landfill.
The nearby landfill can be likely be seen from at least one of your upstairs windows.
The nearby landfill can be likely be seen from at least one of your upstairs windows.

2. Upstairs kitchen in Plan 1

Single level oxymoron? If you don't pay for the elevator option, a hike up these stairs will be frequent when moving groceries to the kitchen in Residence One.
Single level oxymoron? If you don’t pay for the elevator option, a hike up these stairs will be frequent when moving groceries to the kitchen in Residence One.

3. HOA dues of $340.75 a month. Although that’s on par with nearby Blackstone¬†homes in the Serano and Amber communities, that’s pretty steep for a home. At least they take of care of front landscaping.

Questions? Call Edwin at 714-501-2732 or fill out the form below:

Review of Heritage Crossings – A New Community built at Former St. Jude Medical Center

For Placentia and Yorba Linda residents who were watching anxiously what would happen to the former site of the St. Jude Heritage Medical Center on Yorba Linda Blvd and Prospect, they finally got an answer when homebuilder D.R. Horton raised a banner almost a year ago advertising “New Townhomes” on the street corner.

Many Yorba Linda and Placentia residents visited their doctors here.
Many Yorba Linda and Placentia residents visited their doctors here.

Named after the former medical facility, “Heritage Crossings” is a community of 80 3-story townhomes that start with 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bath designs with 1,176 square feet all the way up to 3 bedrooms (plus den), 3.5 baths with 1,966 square feet.

Prices at the time of my visit started at $496,990.

All designs have modern kitchen layouts with plenty of counter space.
All designs have modern kitchen layouts with plenty of counter space.
Although many units will have 2 shared walls, the designs appeared to allow plenty of light inside
Although many units will have 2 shared walls, the designs appeared to allow plenty of light inside.
Homes on the north side of the complex have a view of distant Vista Del Verde.
Homes on the north side of the complex have a view of distant Vista Del Verde.

The Good….

Large, open layout of Residence 1923 (the largest plan) has a great room with line of sight to the large kitchen.
Large, open layout of Residence 1923 (the largest plan) has a great room with line of sight to the large kitchen.
The ground floor of Plan 1923 has a full bathroom and den. Perfect for an office, play room, home theater, game room, or 4th bedroom.
The ground floor of Plan 1923 has a full bathroom and den. Perfect for an office, play room, home theater, game room, or 4th bedroom.
The other angle of the ground level den.
The other angle of the ground level den.
D.R. Horton actually spared a space for a picnic area instead of building on every square inch.
D.R. Horton actually spared a space for a picnic area instead of building on every square inch.
Curb appeal is complex with balconies, front patios, and different styles for each building.
Curb appeal is complex with balconies, front patios, and different styles for each building.

 

The Bad…

Contrast to the detailed curb appeal, the garage alleys are reminiscent of what you'd find in an older apartment complex.
Contrast to the detailed curb appeal, the garage alleys are reminiscent of what you’d find in an older apartment complex.
When builders maximize profits, there's really no way getting around plenty of these. For families with babies, you'll be carrying the baby and other items up and down.
When builders maximize profits, there’s really no way getting around plenty of these.¬†Since all floor plans have the garage on the ground floor and kitchen on the 2nd floor, look to haul groceries and possibly napping kids up and down these steps.

 

Questions? 

The Urban Flop? Will Mid-Rise condos EVER have a place in Orange County?

As a society, we’ve been trying to design housing to provide the best balance of proximity with open spaces and quiet. As a result, some far-fetched ideas never make it and some are built with lofty expectations.

Wild Concept: Disneyland's "House of the Future" was a wild idea that had many materials made of PLASTIC.
Wild Concept: Disneyland’s “House of the Future” was a wild idea that had many materials made of PLASTIC.

At the height of the housing boom of ’04-’06, investors were literally drowning in credit lines and cash and the housing market seemed like a no-brainer for growth. Since the new generation of buyers didn’t seem to mind about shrinking backyard spaces (or no backyard at all), builders started to think even bigger.

After being released in 2007, the "Stadium Lofts" in Anaheim had studio units starting at $400,000 with melo roos. The project sit directly across the corner from Angel's Stadium and a Metro / Amtrak Station.
After being released in 2007, the “Stadium Lofts” in Anaheim had studio units starting at $400,000 with melo roos. The project sits directly across the corner from Angel’s Stadium and a Metro / Amtrak Station.

IMG00670With successful rejuvenated Downtown areas like the Gaslamp District in San Diego gaining headlines, it became easier to pitch to investors that buyers have come full circle: Suburbs are out; downtown living is in. California freeways are getting slower and slower. Couples are getting married much later in life and having less kids or no kids at all.

Stadium Lofts opened with El Torito, Subway, and Kelly's as their tenants on the ground floor. While I don't know exactly what led to the retail locations closing, I do remember many occasions where the structure didn't have available parking. Angel fans found a way to park in the structure and have their tickets validated.
Stadium Lofts opened with El Torito, Subway, and Kelly’s as their tenants on the ground floor. While I don’t know exactly what led to the retail locations closing, I do remember many occasions where the structure didn’t have available parking. Angel fans found a way to park in the structure and have their tickets validated.
Private outdoor spaces give way to lavish common amenities such as exercise rooms, saunas, and pools.
Private outdoor spaces give way to lavish common amenities such as exercise rooms, saunas, and pools.

After all, everyone longs for living like the characters of “Friends” and “Seinfeld” where they’re only a short elevator ride away from bars, subway access and, shopping, right?

Well….sort of. There are many factors that made these mid-rise developments immediate flops. For starters, the lifestyle would not be like Seinfeld because most¬†would still need to commute to just about everywhere. Public transportation in Southern California has always been very limited due to our love for cars and freeways. Socially, Orange County has been notorious for being “snobs” that don’t even know who lives next door. Forget about the idea of going downstairs to the local bar or hangout where “everyone knows your name.”

While the fancy marketing and amenities were enough to get crowds to the models, buyers knew the idea was a contradiction on many levels.

TOO MANY OPTIONS: During the housing slump of 2008-2010, a 2 bedroom condo like the one shown above can be bought for around $270,000. No melo roos and HOA dues were much cheaper.
TOO MANY OPTIONS: During the housing slump of 2008-2010, a 2 bedroom condo like the one shown above can be bought for around $270,000 in Anaheim Hills. The owner would enjoy the convenience of a direct access garage and a private patio area. No melo roos and HOA dues were much cheaper.
BIGGEST FLOP: "Astoria" in Irvine's "Central Park West" had lower floors available in the high 400s. After factoring melo roos and TWO HOAs, it was the equivalent monthly payment of buying a home near $700k.
BIGGEST FLOP: “Astoria” in Irvine’s “Central Park West” had lower floors available in the high 400s. After factoring melo roos and TWO HOAs, it was the equivalent monthly payment of buying a home near $700k. The building has since been converted to rental units.

 Going Urban 2.0

After the countless price reductions and conversions to rentals, builders were able to learn many lessons.

Brookfield’s “The Domain” community is directly across the street from The Packing District of Anaheim.

Since people love their cars in Southern California, most buyers prefer a private garage over underground terrace parking.
LESSONS LEARNED: The Domain has many units that have a direct access garage. Housing assistance is available through the City of Anaheim.

 

A sheik rooftop lounge is a great gathering place to entertain and look down on the rooftops of nearby buildings.
A sheik rooftop lounge is a great gathering place to entertain and look down on the rooftops of nearby buildings.

No project was impacted by the flop more than Anaheim’s “A-Town” project that was supposed to take cues from San Diego’s Petco Park.

MISSING THE MARK: Anaheim's "A-Town" has sat empty for almost 7 years. The project has since been scaled back to more of your cookie-cutter townhouse development.
MISSING THE MARK: Anaheim’s “A-Town” has sat empty for almost 7 years. The project has since been scaled back to more of your cookie-cutter townhouse development.

From the OC Register:

“Gone are the grandiose ideas to change Anaheim’s skyline with 11 high-rises, an urban village of 2,681 homes and 150,000 square feet of office and retail space near Angel Stadium….

Plans now call for building 1,400 to 1,742 condominiums and apartments, along with up to 50,000 square feet of shopping and office space grouped into eight neighborhoods spanning 43.1 acres, according to a revised development application submitted Thursday to the Anaheim Planning Department.”

After reading the article, most of the blame was placed on the housing market. I have a feeling the builders are in denial or just don’t get it.

Then and Now: Today’s home vs. the 1990’s

Most Real Estate professionals will agree that home designs changed drastically from 1985 to 1990. Shake roofs, popcorn ceilings, wood siding, and single-paned aluminum windows gave way to their counterparts: spanish tiled roofs, flat textured ceilings, stucco exteriors, and vinyl double paned windows.

Toward the end of the 1990’s, wet bars were removed, tiled countertops gave way to bull-nosed granite tops, and sharp corners of walls were replaced by rounded corners.

Fast forward to 2014: Home builders and remodelers are taking styling cues from elements that usually went into high-rise condos. Here are a few examples:

Then: rounded edges of granite countertops with square tiled flooring.
Then: rounded edges of granite countertops with square tiled flooring. Dark colors for countertops were common along with square tiled flooring.
Now: square-edged granite tops with staggered long planked flooring.
Now: square-edged granite tops with staggered long planked flooring made from either wood or tile designed to have wood-like look.
THEN: Wet bars had a countertop with a small sink. Unlike the one in this photo, they often had a mirrored background.
THEN: Wet bars had a countertop with a small sink. Unlike the one in this photo, they often had a mirrored background.
NOW: Having wine on display gives home a high end feel without the trashy association with liquor. Many are turning to wine racks or wine refrigerators when remodeling the space where a wet bar once occupied.
NOW: Having wine on display gives off a high end feel without the trashy association with liquor. Many are turning to wine racks or wine refrigerators when remodeling the space where a wet bar once occupied.
THEN: White or light neutral-colored walls would dominate rooms. One color was good enough.
THEN: White or light neutral-colored walls would dominate rooms. One color was good enough.
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NOW: Contrasting colors and paneled walls.
NOW: Contrasting colors create depth and can make a room feel larger.
NOW: Contrasting colors create depth and can make a room feel larger. Bright shades of orange and green are common in the color palette.

If you’re ever short on ideas, look no further than the model homes in your area. The home builders pay top dollar to some of the best interior decorators in the industry. Take plenty of photos.

 

 

 

 

Standard Pacific Opens “Avignon” Estate-Caliber Homes in Brea

As expected, home builder Standard Pacific’s marketing efforts drew large crowds to the their grand opening on May 17th. ¬†Even temperatures in the 90s didn’t stop homebuyers from taking a peak while eating the complimentary snacks.

Guests had to park down the street after Avignon's small lot and curbs filled near the models.
Guests had to park down the street after Avignon’s small lot and curbs filled near the models.

My expectations of Avignon were thoughts of simply larger designs of Standard Pacific’s Montserrat community. Those were quickly exceeded when walking to their plan 3, which was first on their model tour.

Plan 3 courtyard entrance.
Plan 3 “Chagail” courtyard entrance. ¬†Plan 3 is the first home to see when walking out of the sales office.
Plan 3 is the first home to see when walking out of the sales office. At an impressive 5,336+ square feet, entertaining spaces rival those of some banquet halls.
At an impressive 5,336+ square feet, entertaining spaces rival those of some banquet halls.

Designs are more immersive with arched entryways, grand entrances, and ground level master bedrooms available on some floor plans. Even to a Real Estate agent, it’s tough to distinguish standard features beyond the breathtaking decor that seems to have increased over the prior communities. Of course, none of those decorations and landscaping will come with the homes with exception of the very-expensive models which will be sold in the last phase.

The "California Room" gets more impressive as the tour continued. This one shown in the "Hayden" model (plan 1) has an arched covering.
The “California Room” gets more impressive as the tour continued. This one shown in the “Hayden” model (plan 1) has an arched covering.
The most impressive California Room is saved for last on the model tour. Plan 2 "Schubert" has an entire corner of the room disappear to expand the entertaining area.
The most impressive California Room is saved for last on the model tour. Plan 2 “Schubert” has an entire corner of the room disappear to expand the entertaining area.
The canyon view in the background is similar to what most homesites will see. A few lots will have a partial city lights view.
The canyon view in the background is similar to what most homesites will see. A few lots will have a partial city lights view.

Avignon will release their first phase of homes on May 24th.  Buyers will be required to sign up on a first-come, first-serve priority list.

Unlike Coral Ridge and Montserrat, unobstructed city lights view lots aren’t available due to the location of the community. It will be interesting how the international buyers (mostly Chinese) respond. Many I’ve spoke to have a “view or nothing” mentality. However, the far-superior designs might give buyers enough to compensate for the lack of a view.

 

Questions, details, and Pricing

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