Shopping in Orange County, CA

For many, Orange County is the perfect address. After all, it is an idyllic yet wealthy harbor-front area filled with beautiful shops and restaurants, and even more beautiful people.

The OC is an affluent community and the multitude of malls and shopping districts is a testament to that.

Here are the shopping spots that should top your list:

Fashion Island (Newport Beach)
No shopping experience in Orange County is complete without Fashion Island. As the name suggests, this outdoor shopping location is a haven for upscale shops. Fashion Island has chic department stores and 5-star dining options, with a waterfront view offering a relaxing vibe for restless shoppers in Newport Beach.

South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa)
South Coast Plaza is a prominent mall in Orange County with high- end shops and designer boutiques catering to every age group. Aside from the upscale stores, you can also find midline shops and less expensive boutiques as you explore the area further. It’s a one-stop shop with plenty of parking space.

Irvine Spectrum Center (Irvine)
Irvine Spectrum Center is a great shopping destination with a gorgeous 108-foot Italian carousel at its center. Aside from the usual retail stores for men and women, this mall has a wide selection of shops and activities for children. Choices include Cotton On Kids and The Children’s Place. Families can end their day together by bonding at Irvine Spectrum’s IMAX movie theater.

The OC Mix (Costa Mesa)
A unique shopping destination, this hip, new spot has plenty of specialty stores and an assortment of restaurants like no other. It’s a unique place to hang out with friends with an eclectic mix of stores including a cheese shop, jewelry store, olive and wine bar, and other specialty shops. There’s a rustic, vintage vibe to many of the spaces in The OC Mix, making it a popular spot to relax and chill.

4 things to do in Orange County, CA

The summer never ends in The O.C…. and that’s just one of the many reasons why visitors flock this place and why locals never leave.

To make the most out of your visit to this SoCal paradise, here are 4 things to do:

1. Visit the Newport Pier at the Balboa Peninsula
You can never go wrong with Newport. The Pier welcomes cyclists, swimmers, divers and anyone who enjoys beachfront activities and restaurants.

When you go to Newport Landing, you can inquire about the year-round whale watching cruises that they offer. Majestic grey whales make these waters their home from December to April while an assortment of dolphins and finback whales can be spotted during the rest of the year.

2. Ride all you can at Knott’s Berry Farm
If you’re looking for the perfect combination of history and excitement, add Knott’s Berry Farm to your list. Aside from the thrilling rides in America’s first theme park, there are also historic exhibits, live entertainment, and five themed areas.

3. Wine and dine in Marché Moderne
At first glance, there’s nothing particularly special about Marché Moderne. It seems like a typical French bistro in Costa Mesa, with double doors and intimate lighting. However, once you take in the smells and colors from their plates, you’ll be mesmerized. Said one critic: “…(Amelia’s) desserts have such a light and fresh finish that you almost believe they are healthy. Now that’s genius.”

Marché Moderne is a local favorite. Florent and Amelia Marneau, the lovely couple who own the place, specialize in scrumptious flavors, attention to detail, class, and elegant presentations.

4. Take a boat ride to Catalina Island
If you are looking for an even more relaxed vibe, you can take a boat to Catalina Island. It will only take an hour from the shores of Orange County.

Surrender to simple joys on the island – play golf, swim in the ocean, browse quaint stores and specialty boutiques. This charming community is the perfect place to forget about city life and all its complexities.

The best of Orange County’s nightlife

Aside from sun and sand, Orange County is home to some of the best of what makes nighttime awesome in California.

From clubs, bars, and bistros, there’s no shortage of amazing places in The OC where dress shoes are sometimes the preferred wear.

We Olive (Costa Mesa)

THE BIG IDEA: Have people fall in love with olives, beer, and wine at the same time.
WHERE: Located in the South Coast Collection within the OC Mix, this quaint wine bar has proven to be an unexpected surprise for the area.
PLUS POINTS: Customers who frequent We Olive appreciate not just the drinks also the excellent customer service.
PERFECT FOR: After-work or pre-dinner drinks.

Bottle Logic Brewing (Anaheim)
THE BIG IDEA: Sick of all the “hip” uppity breweries that seem to mushroom everywhere in SoCal? This is the cure.
WHERE: The microbrewery’s Tasting Room is located at 1072 N. Armando St., Anaheim, CA 98206.
PLUS POINTS: Quirky goblets, fun “inventor’s workshop” decor, a very relaxed overall vibe
PERFECT FOR: With their excellent staff and equally great tasters and beers, Bottle Logic is definitely a friendly hang out spot and unique date night destination.

Red Lounge Hookah Bar (Huntington Beach)
THE BIG IDEA: What night out is complete without a little dancing? Let the DJs at Red Lounge hook you up with some beats.
WHERE: 17823 Beach Blvd, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
PLUS POINTS: It’s rare to find a hookah bar that has all these: good music, delicious food, an exciting vibe, and wonderful customer service
PERFECT FOR: Just relaxing and enjoying.

ImprovCity (Irvine)
THE BIG IDEA: An exciting evening of random fun, aka, “Clean comedy. Funny comedy. Improv comedy.”
WHERE: 3415 Michelson Drive, Irvine, CA 92612
PLUS POINTS: ImprovCity does not sell alcohol but visitors can get a drink at the bowling alley downstairs and bring it to the awesome shows, which go on from Thursdays to Saturdays.
PERFECT FOR: Dates since it’s a pretty intimate setup. Families will also be glad to know that ImprovCity is great for kids because it provides clean, wholesome fun—a rare feat for comedy joints these days.

Real Estate and Property Law 101

Real estate law is complex.

As real estate law is usually tied up with contract law, overlaps and ambiguities are unavoidable.

Combine that with the inconsistencies of laws in different states or cities and chaos may ensue.

When to contact a real estate lawyer

Nevertheless, there are plenty of real estate attorneys who work hard at settling claims against property rights, handling boundary and zoning disputes, or even just drafting deeds.

You can contact a real estate and property lawyer to take care of the following:

  • Zoning and land use
  • Tenants’, renters’ and homeowners’ rights
  • Sales, purchases, and other transfers of real property
  • Legal aspects of rental property and landlord issues
  • Home loans and foreclosures

To know more about property law and your rights, here are some of the most important acts, regulations, and programs in real estate:

DOJ – Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Law of 1968 protects potential homebuyers or renters from any discrimination from a seller or landlord.

Home Affordable Modification Program
Obama’s Financial Stability Plan provides struggling homeowners assistance and housing counseling Agencies can advice homeowners
on ways to avoid foreclosure. Qualifying for the Make Home Affordable loan modifies and reduces your monthly payments to help you keep your home.

Real Estate Transactions Law
Common law and federal and state statutes all affect real estate transactions. You should familiarize yourself with the significant differences of one state’s or city’s transaction laws from another.

State Landlord and Tenant Law
A must-read for those seeking to rent out their place. As a future landlord, you should familiarize yourself with the State Landlord and Tenant Law to better understand and exercise your legal rights.

While you may find the text of these laws rather dense and tough to read, they’re crucial if you want to be protected as a homebuyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or property owner. Do your research and stay informed.

6 strategies for pricing your home so it sells

Pricing a home or any piece of property you wish to sell can be tricky.

In real estate, you are not just dealing with numbers and houses, you are, more than anything, dealing with buyers and sellers.

Here are some strategies you can try when you put a price on your home:

1. Determine a fair price
You and your agent must come up with a fair price for the property. This price will be based on comparisons among similar properties in the area and current market conditions.

Knowledge of the market is extremely important if you want your property to sell as quickly as possible.

2. Apply the “99” strategy
Consumer psychology dictates that people are attracted to a home listing of $499,000 rather than $500,000. For buyers, that thousand-dollar difference can go to fees and paying off other transactions.

3. …Or, round off your price
If $499,000 is a strategy, so is setting the price at $500,000. It’s a nice round number that’s a lot more searchable than, say, a home price set at $510,000.

4. Be firm and fair
When it comes to real estate transactions, you have to act decisively. Buyers tend to doubt sellers who change their mind every so often. Also, it’s important to remain fair and avoid overpricing.

5. Allow room for negotiation
As much as you don’t want to undersell, a buyer doesn’t want to overpay as well. You can’t fix an unrealistic price for your property. Sometimes, even if the price is fair, buyers will want to negotiate. If you can come up with a fair price—and allow buyers room to haggle – that would be awesome for all.

Play your pricing right. If you don’t, you risk turning off potential buyers who can easily find a comparable home online.

6. Listen
Being willing to negotiate doesn’t mean being a pushover.

You need to listen to what agents or prospective buyers and sellers are saying, especially if they’re pointing out that your property is too aggressively priced.

However, you can’t let every client reaction sway you. Adjust only when you really need to. If you’ve done your homework and researched the price of similar homes in your area, you should have full confidence in the value of your home.

Moving 101

Moving is hard work…but it can be fun!

To make short work of a tedious process, here are a few tips that you need to keep in mind:

1. Notify creditors
Before you get all excited about buying boxes and packing material, first things first – let credit card companies, utilities providers, and the few remaining folks who still actively send you snail mail that you’re moving.

Some utility companies take a while to process such changes so you might want to notify them early.

2. Make sure everything fits in your new place
Obviously, not everything you now have will find a place in your new home. Make sure the bulky stuff you want to bring along (heirloom furniture, for example) fits the new space you envision for it. Take actual measurements. This will let you know ahead of time what you might have to forego (or give away or put in storage).

3. Hire a truck
Trucks need to be booked well in advance. Canvass online for the best deals and make your reservation. Marshall friends and family to help you load the truck on the day you move.

4. Apply a method to the packing madness – and stick to it
Most people choose to pack their stuff according to room or function. It’s easier to keep track of things this way.

For random stuff, some prefer wedging them in spaces within packed boxes so every possible inch of space can be utilized.

Another method is to set aside uncategorizable items – or those that don’t belong to any specific room – and then create their own category—“Miscellaneous Items,” for example – so they can be packed in their own box.

Whichever style you prefer, stick to it. You should go for a method that is efficient and effective for you.

5. Track your stuff
After the packing comes the unpacking, and nothing makes that more difficult than not knowing what’s inside those boxes. It’s important to label all the boxes before bringing them to your new place.

Keeping an inventory is also important. You can go paperless by listing everything down on a mobile checklist. There are different home inventory applications you can download on your phone.

Sadly, some things may get lost along the way. It’s quite unavoidable. But the beauty of having a new place is getting the chance to start over and make way for new things.

Welcome to your new home, your new life!

Featured Property of the Month: 8 Birkdale Way, Coto De Caza, CA 92679 MLS# OC15158770 ($999,800)

Nestled in a private cul-de-sac is a lovely home with breathtaking views and a relaxing atmosphere.

The residence at 8 Birkdale Way ($999,800) is located in a highly coveted address of the gated community of Coto de Caza.

This safe neighborhood in Orange County has 4,000 homes and around 15,000 residents.

Living in Coto de Caza
This is one of the oldest and grandest communities in California, offering panoramic valley views and the wonderful city lights at night.

Being in Orange County, residents never have to worry about running out of things to do. The OC offers:

  • Surfing on Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Dana Point
  • Biking and hiking on well-worn trails found everywhere
  • The perfect spot to unwind at the Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club, with its many activities and amenities

The home
Number 8 Birkdale Way is a former model home with 3,210 square feet of living space.

Suitable for growing families, this 5-bedroom residence boasts the following stunning features:

  • Formal living room with a beautiful staircase and 2-story ceiling windows
  • Spacious family room with a double-sided fireplace shared with the formal dining room
  • Gourmet kitchen with a center island, a walk-in pantry, a breakfast bar, a gas cook-top, and a double oven
  • Elegant gated courtyard and 3-car garages
  • Separate guest suite with its own bathroom located above a garage accessed through a gorgeous wrought-iron staircase
  • 1 bedroom on the first floor and 4 more on the second
  • Master bedroom with fireplace, oversized master bathroom, built-in cabinets and high ceiling
  • Expansive backyard with pool potential and perfect for entertaining guests

There’s plenty of room to install the upgrades you want in the home to complement the beautiful architecture and design.

Living in 8 Birkdale Way may be the biggest and best decision you will make in your life.

Contact the Adams Real Estate Team to score this hidden gem in Orange County

First-time homebuyer assistance programs

Moving to a new place entails at least two things: money and a lot of decision making.

Fortunately, the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) offers some of both to first-time homebuyers – because not everyone can afford to buy their own home.

California Homebuyer’s Downpayment Assistance Program (CHDAP)
When it comes to down payments, CalHFA offers this junior loan. It provides a deferred payment of up to 3% of either the appraised value or the purchase price, whichever is less. This now becomes the fund for the home’s down payment or closing costs.

Those who have a first mortgage loan with a different agency can still apply for the Downpayment Assistance Program. Other CalHFA loans can also be combined with this program.

Mortgage Credit Certificate Tax Credit Program (MCC)
This federal program creates an extra net spendable income for borrowers, who can then use it for their monthly mortgage payments or to apply for a loan.

This reduces potential federal income tax liability so first-time homebuyers can get a “dollar for dollar” tax credit on their income tax returns.

All of Orange County is eligible for an MCC. Residents of other counties can check if this program is available in their area through the MCC County Resource List

As a homebuyer aiming for a loan, you always need to make sure you meet requirements and learn about the financing options available to you.

Your loan provider will then assign an officer to assist you in getting pre-qualified for a certain loan amount.

Each program is unique in its own way even if the process is uniform across agencies.

Do you need more information on this subject? You can check CalHFA’s answers to several FAQs from “What programs are available?” to “Does owning a timeshare disqualify you from being a first time home buyer?” on their knowledgebase

Luxury Homes for Sale in San Clemente and San Clemente Luxury Real Estate

One of Orange County’s southern jewels, San Clemente is a place that inspires people to fall in love with it at first sight.

After all, this city often referred to as the “Spanish Village by the Sea”is simply overflowing with romance and character.

Couple its Spanish Colonial-style buildings and mild Mediterranean climate with its location along Orange County’s majestic southern coastline and you’ve got a community that is truly blessed and oneof akind.

Living in San Clemente

San Clemente was founded in the late 1920s by Ole Hanson who envisioned the area’s rolling coastal hills awash in Spanish Colonial style homes and buildings. Today, the city is home to some 65,000 residents.

You can see San Clemente’s thematic heritage in the pops of color throughout the community – the red-orange tile roofs of the city’s Spanish Colonial buildings, and thebrightly hued bougainvillea, San Clemente’s official flower, spilling from thorny vines and bushes.

Coral trees are also scattered throughout the city, adding more bursts of color with theirfiery blooms.

Luxury communities in San Clemente

San Clemente’s luxury real estate is as romantic and unique as the city itself. Within the gates of the community’s numerous exclusive enclaves are a variety of housing options that will impress even the pickiest buyer.

  • The Breakers is desirable and ultra-exclusive, one of the most attractive beach communities in San Clemente. Luxurious waterfront estates are available, where you can enjoy the romantic sunsets of South Orange County. Residents also have access to a private beach, guaranteeing peace and quiet.
  • Cyprus Shore features some of the best oceanfront estates around. The gated community boasts some of the best views of the city and the coastline in the whole of San Clemente. Residents also have easy access to the nearby Trestles, known as California’s premier surf break.

Aliso Viejo Country Club

Aliso Viejo Country Club is an exclusive private club located along the hills of Saddleback Valley. Surrounded by breathtaking views of mountain ranges and valleys, the club serves as a retreat from the busy urban lifestyle of Orange County.

The establishment was started by Nicklaus Design in 1999. It was originally designed as a resort and hotel, but plans fell through, and the hotel was never built. Part of the golf course was then purchased in 2005 by Shea Homes, and the Nicklaus Design Group was back on board. They then redesigned the course and created a new clubhouse.


Aliso Viejo Country Club’s golf course is one of only two courses in Orange County created by the renowned golf course architects of Nicklaus Design. The par-72 course is great for players of all skill levels, and is surrounded by some of the most picturesque views in the entire state.

Those new to the sport can try the club’s fast-play Pines Course, which is perfect for beginners or junior players. This special course gives players the option of playing from tees that perfectly suit their skill level, allowing them to focus on mastering their game and developing the right style of play.


Aliso Viejo Country Club features dining rooms that are perfect for intimate dinners, private celebrations, or social gatherings. The club serves the finest California fusion cuisine, sumptuous desserts, and a first-class wine selection.

Members can reserve the private dining suites for either business meetings, social events, or other functions.


The Aliso Viejo clubhouse boasts a sprawling 1,600-square-foot fitness facility with state-of-the-art exercise equipment.

Those looking for a good workout can choose from top-of-the-line equipment which includes rowers, spin bikes, step mills, treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes. Several machines come with video screens and are compatible with iPods, to keep you entertained while you’re burning calories.

The fitness center also offers personal training, which is available by appointment.