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Open House Review: 59 Darlington

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Last month, I reviewed two condos in Northwood Pointe's Greystone Villas neighborhood, each with the same floorplan. This weekend, I happened to find a third condo with the exact same layout on the market. As of April 14, the first one I reviewed at 447 Ridgeway is still on the market (59 days) for $515,000, while 159 Islington is now pending with a list price of $529,000. The newest one, 59 Darlington, has been on the market for 23 days and is listed at $529,888. Let's see how it compares to the others.

The basics:
Asking Price: $529,888
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Square Footage: 1,300
Lot Size: N/A
$/Sq Ft: $408
Days on Market: 23
Property Type: Condominium
Year Built: 1998
Community: Northwood Pointe, Greystone Villas

HOA dues are $286 ($40 + $246) per month and there are Mello Roos.

While the other two condos are both listed at 1,260 square feet, this one is listed at 1,300. I don't see any actual differences in size and wonder if it's just rounded up for the listing.

Personally, I like this unit more than the other two. The laminate wood floors, which are in all rooms except the bathrooms, are a really nice color and in excellent condition. The kitchen was also remodeled and the main counter was leveled out, so it no longer has a higher breakfast bar with a lower countertop. I think it's a lot more functional this way, since the breakfast bar wasn't ideal for seating anyway. There are white melamine cabinets with brushed nickel hardware, granite counters and stainless steel appliances. The range has five burners and there is a two-sided, stainless steel sink.

Like on Islington, the Darlington condo has a built-in entertainment unit in the living room. Next to it, the fireplace has matching white molding and, slightly above it, a white mantle. The windows throughout the home have a variety of treatments, including plantation shutters, blinds and curtains.

Both bathrooms are very nicely upgraded. They have granite counters, white cabinetry, brushed nickel hardware, and attractive tile floors. The showers (shower/tub combo in second bath) have plain white tile that is clean and in good shape.

The master closet has adjustable wire shelving. In the second bedroom, the closet has mirrored doors. The master bedroom has a ceiling fan.

It doesn't surprise me that 159 Islington sold before 447 Ridgeway, since it had more upgrades and felt a lot nicer inside. I think 59 Darlington may be the next to sell, since it is beautifully remodeled and in excellent condition. The price is comparable, as is the location. I'm not sure why so many condos with this floorplan are on the market right now, but I think 59 Darlington is the nicest of them all.

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Bicycling Trails in Irvine and Orange County

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Last week I wrote about the Orange County Transportation Agency (OCTA) bicycling safety workshop that was to be held at Irvine City Hall. This week I am continuing the theme of bike riding in Irvine and Orange County.


Irvine has been recognized as "best" in many categories, and, at times, this has included the accolade of best bicycling city. This might be due to Irvine's Bicycle Transportation Plan, which resulted in an extensive system of bike trails—over 300 lane miles of on-street and 54 miles of off-street bikeways.

If you like bicycle riding, you might try one of the Irvine bike trails found in the map above. You might also be interested in some other Orange County bike trails. And for the hardcore bike enthusiast, you might be interested in joining the Bicycle Club of Irvine (BCI), which is open to residents of Irvine and other areas.

You can find other information related to bike riding in Irvine and Orange County, including the City of Irvine Interactive Bikeways Map and the

OCTA Bikeways Information Page and Interactive Map, at this link

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Open House Review: 30 Bluejay

Posted: 15 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Woodbridge Single Family Home with Designer Updates
30 Bluejay $837,000

Turning off of West Yale Loop, onto Burwood and then winding back to 30 Bluejay leads you to an example of a home using designer updates to compete in today's market. Just down the street from Bluejay Park, and near the end of the cul de sac, this home sits in the outer loop of Woodbridge near Culver Drive. There is a little traffic noise outside. Inside, designer updates have been skillfully used from the inviting front curb landscaping to the immaculate stone floored patio in the back of the home. Each may help this property compete in today's Woodbridge market. Brand new to the market, about five days, the home is listed at $837,000.

Significant Numbers: Built in 1978, this 1,549 sq. ft. home sits on a 3,920 sq. ft.lot at $540 a sq. ft. HOA dues are $82 a month.

 

Close up: Wrought iron gates and roses lead to a double door side entrance, where an atrium and wrap around patio create a light filled indoor/outdoor atmosphere. New doors and windows have been installed throughout the home. Wood floors, carpeting, recessed lighting and designer paints work well too.

On the right of the entry there is a good sized living room with fireplace. On the left there is a striking dining room paired with a gourmet kitchen.

The roomy kitchen has a breakfast bar, room for casual dining, new cabinets, stainless steel appliances, recessed lighting, granite counter tops and a custom tile back splash.

The private side and backyard offers a built in barbecue, stone flooring, artificial grass mixed with raised brick planter beds and detailed landscaping.




The roomy master suite also accesses the patio and includes a bath with walk in shower, custom tile work and granite counters with dual sinks. There are two more light filled bedrooms and another full bath, with laundry in the garage.

More specifics:
Single family home
Bedrooms, 3
Baths, 2 full
Detached/no common walls
Double Garage
Two parking spaces
Association pool, spa
Central furnace, central air
Laundry in the garage
Irvine Unified School District

What should be considered? The question of the location in the outer loop near Culver, the immaculate presentation and striking designer upgrades and detailing inside and out, and the price in today's market will all be evaluated as buyers compare this property to others in Woodbridge and other key spots in Irvine.

Who will move in? Young families looking for Woodbridge's outstanding schools and parks and lake recreation may be drawn to this home. Other more mature buyers may be attracted to the sleek ready to move in presentation with a convenient all on one level living area with no steps.

Recent nearby listings: 21 Morning Dove, $849,000; 64 Del Venture, $715,000

Recent nearby sales: 38 Bluejay, $720,000; 26 Morning Dove $783,000

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Open House Review: 132 Pineview

Posted: 14 Apr 2014 04:00 AM PDT

I reviewed a couple of two bedroom units on Pineview back in February, but this is the first one bedroom model I have seen. I was pleasantly surprised with the spaciousness and layout of this two level end unit. Being an end unit has the advantage of having additional windows and light flooding the home, as well as a more private patio. It is also located next to the visitor parking spots and just steps away to its designated covered parking space.

Overview

Asking Price: $308,600
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Square Footage: 932
Lot Size: 871 sq ft
Price per Square Foot: $331
Property Type: Condominium
Style: Two Level
Year Built 1978
Community: Northwood, The Pines
HOA Fees: $310
Mello Roos: No
Days on Market: 33

With the home being an end unit, there is additional natural light coming in through the dining area's extra, large window, which does not exist in the middle units. Many of the other units' parking spaces are a bit of a trek to the home, but this unit's space is just out the door. The kitchen, dining area and living room are downstairs and the large bedroom with bathroom is upstairs in the loft area. The home has scraped ceilings, dark laminate wood flooring, updated kitchen and bathroom as well as updated lighting. One downfall is the lack of a bathroom downstairs and having residential parking spaces along the side of the property.

Upon entering, you have the view to the over-sized sliding glass door at the back end of the condominium. In front of you is the staircase. To the right is the kitchen with a peninsula, which opens up to the big room that consists of a dining area and living room.

Immediately to the right is a small functional kitchen which has been fully remodeled. The floors are a modern tile, cabinets are maple wood and the counter tops and backsplash are dark quartz granite. An herb bay window faces out towards the front of the home. Recessed lights and stainless steel appliances have been installed. There are plenty of cabinets and drawers, but the kitchen lacks a pantry. The peninsula contains the double sink and dishwasher. The kitchen offers an open view to the rest of the first floor with space for some bar seating.

The dining room and the remainder of the first floor have dark laminate wood flooring and recessed lights. The dining area is located on the other side of the bar seating. It can fit a good size dining table. The extra window in the dining room makes a big difference with the feel of the room. The window is frosted for privacy. Outside the window are residential parking spaces so there could be headlights at night shining towards the side of the home.

The living room is a decent size and lacks a fireplace. The high ceilings reach up to the second floor's ceiling and windows above the large sliding glass door reach up to the ceiling, giving a spacious and light feel. The sliding glass door leads out to the patio which has an outdoor closet area for laundry. At the end of the patio slab are plants which borders along the man-made stream running down between the buildings. The patio is defined by a square concrete slab, but it does not hinder you from walking across the plants to your neighbors' patios. The owner did a wonderful job creating a private space with additional plants and a lattice fence. The residential parking spaces do butt up to the side of the home and patio, so there may be an occasion car parking and facing your patio area through the bushes.

The staircase and bedroom are carpeted. Once upstairs, the bedroom wall is a half wall, which overlooks the downstairs living room and patio. It is bright and light with some large windows on the side wall that runs up to the ceiling. The windows look out to the residential and guest parking spaces.

The sink is at the end of the bedroom at the opposite wall from the half wall. The sink sits between the walk-in closet and separate tub/shower combo. A skylight is located above the bathroom area. The single sink has white cabinets and a blue tile counter top. The carpet runs all the way up to the sink. The walk-in closet is to the left of the sink and is a good size. To the right is the fully remodeled bathroom with modern porcelain tiles, new tub/shower combo and updated tile wall surround.

The condominium has a great open layout and I definitely prefer this end-unit home for its extra windows. Having laundry on the property is another big convenience. There is limited visitor parking at the corners of property, so it is nice to have spaces located outside the unit. The home is walking distance to Santiago Hills Elementary School and close to the walking paths. The issues I have with the home are having the residential parking spaces facing the patio and dining room window the lack of a half bathroom downstairs. Otherwise, the condominium is spacious and move-in ready. 

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