6 Tips for Choosing the Location of Your Home

Deciding the area in which you want to purchase your home can be difficult whether this is your very first home purchase, or you’ve done it a few times. Choosing a location is so tough because often times it can make or break the property value, charm and appeal. Location seems like an overwhelming task when it comes to real estate, but a realtor can not only show you homes in areas you like, but also help advise you on areas you might not initially think of but would be a good fit. If you are in the early stages of the home buying process, and you are trying to narrow down a location, take these six easy tips into consideration!

1. Price

Of course, price is one of the first things to determine when it comes to buying a home. How much can you afford or how much are you willing to stretch to get your dream home? Once you’ve worked out price, it’s already easier to narrow down location. If you are a new family, looking for a relatively inexpensive home, your choices will be between a selection of areas that best fit your range. Even if you’ve only started browsing online, it’s pretty easy to get a good idea for what kind of neighborhoods are in your price range. Price can also determine the size of home you’re looking for, which in turn can also affect location (are you looking for a townhouse or something with lots of open space?).

2. Schools

School districts are one of the biggest reasons so many families choose the location they do. In Orange County, many of the school districts are great a highly acclaimed, so it’s hard to go wrong, but it all depends on what you want. Browse some of the websites of school districts in the areas you’re looking, and see if that looks like a place your child could fit in. This is especially important for new families with younger children. Do you want public or private schooling? Do you want special/advanced education programs available? Are there parent resources and volunteering opportunities available?

3. Neighborhood

Following shortly behind school districts, specific neighborhoods and areas are definitely a big factor when it comes to purchasing a home. You want a neighborhood with friendly neighbors, safe streets, good culture, ect. It’s also helpful to decide how close you want to be to your neighbors (i.e. do you care about property lines), or if you care about living on a cul-du-sac.

4. Local Shops/ Stores

Figure out how close you want to be to things like your local grocery store, gas stations or downtown. To some families this is not as important as living in their dream home, and to others it is essential to be next to the local shops. Bigger families usually like to be near grocery stores. Ask yourself how far you’re willing to drive to pick up a carton of milk or fill up your tank if need be.

5. Work

Calculate how long you are willing to drive to get to work in the morning, in rush hour of course, and try to look at homes in the areas that fit that time frame. Although some people have no problem commuting 1+ hours, others refuse.

6. Potential for Growth

Getting a vibe for the area and neighborhoods you are looking at homes in is so important because it helps in assessing the potential for growth for that location. For instance, if you are a recently retired couple you may not want to live in a neighborhood with all young families. A realtor can help you evaluate where certain communities will be in five years.

 

For more tips and tricks on picking the perfect location for your family’s home give us a call today! We’d love to meet with you or learn more about what you’re looking for in a home.

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5 Best Breakfast Spots in South Orange County

Most people think that big breakfasts and brunches are only reserved for the weekends, but that’s far from the truth! In South Orange County you can find an elaborate breakfast meal any day of the week! Whether you’re looking for just a simple place to get coffee, or a sit-down meal with the full eggs, bacon and hashbrowns, there is a restaurant for everyone! Although it’s hard to narrow our favorite breakfast places down to just a few, here are the restaurants that serve up some killer meals!

Antoine’s Cafe

A favorite breakfast spot in San Clemente for over 25 years, Antoine’s Cafe serves breakfast from 6:30 in the morning all the way until three o’clock in the afternoon. This restaurant was voted for having the best breakfast in San Clemente in 2015. One of our favorite breakfast items is most certainly the breakfast tacos that are packed with all sorts of yummy foods. You can also get lunch here as well! Antoine’s even offers cooking classes, so you can learn to whip up some of their popular dishes.

Stacks Pancake House

The name says it all… Stacks Pancake House in Dana Point serves up some of the best pancakes in all of Orange County. They have all sorts of crafty and interesting pancake creations that you’ll want to try them all! One of our favorite pancake flavors is the macadamia nut banana pancakes! This restaurant is a great place to bring the whole family and it’s definitely a kid favorite!

Zebra House Coffee

Looking for a more low-key morning? Zebra House Coffee is a great place to try if you just want some fresh coffee and a small bite in the morning! We like to pair the Rose Chai drink with a Pumpkin Coconut muffin in the mornings because Zebra House Coffee offers flavors like no other! This quaint coffee shop is located centrally in downtown San Clemente, on El Camino Real.

La Galette Creperie

No better way to sweeten up your morning than with a freshly made crepe from La Galette Creperie. Although their specialty is their sweet and savory crepes, La Galette also offers croissant sandwiches, salads and scrambles. As far as savory goes, our favorite crepe is the Santa Cruz which is filled with sauteed mushrooms, rosemary herb potatoes, monterey jack cheese and bechamel sauce. However, when we’re looking for something a little sweeter, two of our personal favorite sweet crepes are the PPV Crepe which combines ripe pears poached in red wine with mascarpone and rich vanilla sauce or the Campfire Crepe (filled with molten chocolate, marshmallow fluff and graham cracker crumbles).

Cafe Rae

A hidden gem of San Clemente, Cafe Rae is a great and easy place to get some great breakfast in the mornings! You can choose between breakfast sandwiches, omelettes, pancakes, south of the border scrambles, french toast flavors or healthy options! In addition to their killer breakfast options, Cafe Rae also offers lunch as well! The atmosphere is fun and kids love going to Cafe Rae!

For more information on South Orange County check out some of our other blogs, or get in contact with one of our agents today!

7 OC Food Spots To Try Now

Although we’ve previously led you on a dining guide for South Orange County, there are so many more great food spots to try! If you’ve already hit up the best places from our previous list, here’s a few more to visit soon! These fantastic eateries have some of the most decadent, instagram-worthy food you’ve ever seen! With a mix of fancy sit-down restaurants, and great lunch stops in between breaks, there’s something for everyone! Although you’ll most likely be in a food coma after eating at each one of these places, it’s definitely worth it.

1. Shuck Oyster Bar

If you consider yourself a seafood connoisseur then you can’t miss the chance at diving into a dish at Shuck Oyster Bar! The seafood at this relaxing restaurant is delivered fresh daily from over 60 different farms to ensure the best quality!

2. Pizza Press

Forget about picking certain toppings off your pizza! At Pizza Press in the Orange Circle you are able to customize your own personal pizza all the way from the crust to the sauces on top!

3. Three Seventy Common

Whether you’re looking for a light appetizer or some hefty comfort food, Three Seventy Common has it all! Nestled in the heart of Laguna Beach, this restaurant is a popular dinner spot among locals.

4. Wursthaus

If you are planning on heading to Wursthaus for dinner, it’s best to try and eat as little as possible throughout the day because you’ll need the room in your stomach! This restaurant serves an array of bratwurst entrees, deathly fries and the best beers in town!

5. Din Tai Fung

Serving up the best dumplings in the area, Din Tai Fung is a newer restaurant in Orange County, located near South Coast Plaza. Customers can see the dumplings being handmade so everything is as fresh as it can be!

6. Jazz Kitchen

Located in downtown Disney, the Jazz Kitchen is a great place to take the whole family for a fun dinner! The menu is extensive and mimics New Orleans style cuisine. The Jazz Kitchen brings a unique taste to the Orange County food scene. There is also live music at the Jazz Kitchen to make the experience even more authentic!

7. PokeDot

Looking for something a little more low key that you can visit on your lunch break at work? PokeDot is the perfect lunch stop because it’s quick, easy and delicious! Build your own poke bowl by picking the base, types of fish and toppings you want!

 

For more information on great restaurants and places to visit in Orange County take a look at our blog or give us a call today!

 

A Guide to Downtown San Clemente

Downtown San Clemente is quaint and charming, which is why so many residents love living there, and so many visitors choose to make frequent visits. The main street is filled with everything you can possibly want in a small town- great shops, yummy food, fun bars and an endless number of activities, events and shows! Check out our simplified guide to all things downtown in San Clemente!

Places to Shop

Cove- In need of some great home decor for your home by the beach? Cove offers a variety of great kitchen, living room and bedroom furniture and accessories. Your home will be looking fabulous in no time!

Boutique del Mar- This shop is certainly for the fashionable ladies. Boutique del Mar is the place to go if you’re in need of a great outfit for a picnic, night out or even day-to-day basics.

Melrose in the OC- As one of the best places to shop for younger women or teen girls, Melrose in the OC has a variety of “on trend” clothes to keep you looking stylish at all times. The prices are beyond reasonable and the selection is fantastic!

Salt Life- Got a couple surfer boys in your family? Salt life offers cool and easy clothes and swimsuits for men and boys who enjoy the beach life. Salt Life also has options for women, but this tends to be the man’s favorite shop in town.

Places to Eat

Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar- With some of the freshest and best fish in town, there’s no going wrong with Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar. The seafood is caught fresh everyday and the view of the pier and ocean is unbeatable! Happy hour is everyday from 3:30-5:30 pm.

Cafe Mimosa- In need of a great brunch spot? Cafe Mimosa is one of the top brunch destinations in Orange County. The quaint setting is what draws people in, but the mouth-watering brunch and delightful drinks is definitely what makes them stay!

Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria- In California we are accustomed to thin crust pizza, however Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria is ready to change that. Selma’s claims to offer the best deep dish pizza outside of Chicago. Selma’s is a great place for an easy and delicious meal. Also a fun place to take the kids!

Things to Do

Farmer’s Market- Every Sunday morning the main street fills with vendors and marketers of all sorts. Residents and visitors love walking the street and this is where many locals buy fresh veggies and fruits for the week.

Canvas, Paint, and Wine, Oh My!- This fantastic little high street location offers a great date night, birthday party location or night out with the girls. Attendees of the class are able to pay a fee to not only drink wine and socialize, but also be taught a painting class. The class is instructor led and each person will be walked-through how to paint the same photo.

Wine/Beer Tasting- There are numerous brewing companies and spots along the main street that pride themselves on the wine/beer selection! Although it may not be an extravagant winery, wine tasting from place to place along the main street can be a fun and adventurous Saturday night activity with a group of friends!

 

San Clemente is just one of the many fantastic towns in South Orange County. To learn more about South Orange County check out more of our blogs here!