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Old 05-07-2014, 11:08 AM   #21
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My grandmother moved there in 1967. Liked it enough to stay 30+ years. I never failed to notice how quiet it was.

I'm curious about the renovation needs and costs. Is it repair & replace because of the care an aging condo needs, replace & upgrade for quality of life, or both?
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:11 AM   #22
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Laguna woods folk do not like the term Leisure World applied to them since the community officially was renamed. Laguna woods is HUGE. Really is a city in itself.
Surprised to find it's an incorporated city. Supposedly they had to drop the Leisure World name because they no longer had any relationship and couldn't reach a use agreement with the trademark holder.
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:27 PM   #23
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My grandmother moved there in 1967. Liked it enough to stay 30+ years. I never failed to notice how quiet it was.

I'm curious about the renovation needs and costs. Is it repair & replace because of the care an aging condo needs, replace & upgrade for quality of life, or both?
The ones that have updates usually note in the real estate listing what has been done - usually at least new flooring and paint throughout, sometimes more. From looking online it seems like some have been bought by flippers asking a lot more than what they probably put into the redo.

Glad to hear your grandmother liked it. We're not party people so quiet would be okay with us.
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:57 PM   #24
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My Aunt and Uncle moved in Leisure World in late 70s/early 80s. They really loved the place when they were in 50 and 60s. But more importantly sure has been a great place to age. My Uncle has had a dementia for many years and my aunt who is 86 or so has struggled to care for him, but living in place where so many have similar problems there are just more resource available.
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:19 PM   #25
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My Aunt and Uncle moved in Leisure World in late 70s/early 80s. They really loved the place when they were in 50 and 60s. But more importantly sure has been a great place to age. My Uncle has had a dementia for many years and my aunt who is 86 or so has struggled to care for him, but living in place where so many have similar problems there are just more resource available.
I thought about that, too, as a plus. We could just age in place without ever really having to move again unless we needed more extensive care.

We're definitely going to check it out this year. I'll report back after we scout it out and compare it to condos in the surrounding communities.

Thanks again to all for your input.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:00 PM   #26
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We've lived in Orange County for many, many years. IMHO you'd be hard pressed to find a nicer place to live, and I say that with years of traveling all over the USA and the world at large under my belt. The beaches are warm and beautiful, there are tons of terrific restaurants, lots of hugh end shopping options, entertainment options abound, and the weather is fabulous year round, particularly as close to the ocean as Laguna Woods is. You have San Diego an easy one hour drive to the south, and L.A. about the same to the north.

Seal Beach might well be a second option, with wonderful Huntington Beach your southerly neighbor, however to your north you'd be butting up against Long Beach, some of which is wonderful, and some of which is far from. Between the two, Seal Beach is considerably more congested, though it's more beachy feel and urban flair might be appealing, depending on your personal preferences.

Honestly, can't see how you could miss with either one.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:02 PM   #27
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We've lived in Orange County for many, many years. IMHO you'd be hard pressed to find a nicer place to live, and I say that with years of traveling all over the USA and the world at large under my belt. The beaches are warm and beautiful, there are tons of terrific restaurants, lots of high end shopping options, entertainment options abound, and the weather is fabulous year round, particularly as close to the ocean as Laguna Woods is. You have San Diego an easy one hour drive to the south, and L.A. about the same to the north.

Seal Beach might well be a second option, with wonderful Huntington Beach your southerly neighbor, however to your north you'd be butting up against Long Beach, some of which is wonderful, and some of which is far from. Between the two, Seal Beach is considerably more congested, though it's more beachy feel and urban flair might be appealing, depending on your personal preferences.

Honestly, can't see how you could miss with either one.
Sounds great. We are looking forward to our scouting trip. We were in Southern California last winter for a long weekend and quite enjoyed the winter temps and sunshine.
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Old 05-10-2014, 12:15 PM   #28
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Just thought I'd give an update on our search....I found some other real estate sites that stated the property tax is not included in the HOA for the co-ops at Laguna Woods. If that is true, which seems more likely, then it puts the cost of condo ownership, all expenses considered, on more of a par with the surrounding areas.

We still like the idea of moving to Orange County. It is kind of exciting what we could get for our money these days relative to the Bay Area, where the tech jobs are driving the prices back to bubble territory.
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Old 05-10-2014, 01:13 PM   #29
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I love California. We are just looking for the best price point of location / climate / beach access / things to do / safety between Orange County, San Diego and the Bay Area.
I must be in a different California. Lived in CA most of my life, grew up in the Bay Area and now think it's just as much of a cesspool as Lost Angeles and San Diego (traffic, crime, gangs, graffitti). My family is still in the BA and I don't understand what keeps them there.

Once I leave Lost Angeles (soon now), just like when I left the Bay Area many years ago, I will never come back. As to San Diego, traffic getting into/out of SD is just as horrendous as driving the 5 into/out of Orange County. The endless sprawl that is the OC going down the 5 has got to be one of the ugliest places on earth (excluding the beach towns, that is). About 20 years ago, an architect I knew said they should draw a ring around dowtown LA, nuke everything within a 150 mile radius, and start over. 20 years later, I'd say the same thing about San Francsico.
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Old 05-10-2014, 01:49 PM   #30
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I must be in a different California. Lived in CA most of my life, grew up in the Bay Area and now think it's just as much of a cesspool as Lost Angeles and San Diego (traffic, crime, gangs, graffitti). My family is still in the BA and I don't understand what keeps them there.

Once I leave Lost Angeles (soon now), just like when I left the Bay Area many years ago, I will never come back. As to San Diego, traffic getting into/out of SD is just as horrendous as driving the 5 into/out of Orange County. The endless sprawl that is the OC going down the 5 has got to be one of the ugliest places on earth (excluding the beach towns, that is). About 20 years ago, an architect I knew said they should draw a ring around dowtown LA, nuke everything within a 150 mile radius, and start over. 20 years later, I'd say the same thing about San Francsico.
No really, tell us how you REALLY feel!

Just teasing you. I do understand your point of view.
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Old 05-10-2014, 02:27 PM   #31
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I must be in a different California. Lived in CA most of my life, grew up in the Bay Area and now think it's just as much of a cesspool as Lost Angeles and San Diego (traffic, crime, gangs, graffitti). My family is still in the BA and I don't understand what keeps them there.

Once I leave Lost Angeles (soon now), just like when I left the Bay Area many years ago, I will never come back. As to San Diego, traffic getting into/out of SD is just as horrendous as driving the 5 into/out of Orange County. The endless sprawl that is the OC going down the 5 has got to be one of the ugliest places on earth (excluding the beach towns, that is). About 20 years ago, an architect I knew said they should draw a ring around dowtown LA, nuke everything within a 150 mile radius, and start over. 20 years later, I'd say the same thing about San Francsico.
I live in a scenic area in the burbs with low crime, lots of parks and bike trails with beautiful views. We don't have regular jobs so we aren't out in traffic. During the day we have time to do things like hike in the Redwoods, visit the local lake with fountains and a rose garden, go to the beach, visit a planetarium, watch the hang gliders at Fort Funston, go to the Academy of Science or take a rocket boat on the Bay or one of about a thousand other fun things to do here.

On a dull normal day we walk the local trails with breath taking views once or twice and maybe go out to a cute Thai restaurant with great food for lunch. Life could be worse.

We've enjoyed vacations in place like La Jolla and Orange County. I could see living in a resort like condo complex near the beach all year long in either place, where someone else takes care of the pool and grounds. If you look at the online stats, I don't think it is too hard to avoid areas with gangs and high crime.

I don't see the cesspool part in any of the three, but we all have our own realities, so if you see that it is true for you.
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Old 05-10-2014, 02:44 PM   #32
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Much of the real estate in orange county is priced in or near bubble territory. Anything with ocean view or prestige address is overpriced IMHO. Then again the same can be said about desirable homes in most attractive metropolitan areas, even those that do not feature an incredible year round climate.

For relative value in Socal you need to look a little inland in pockets that are just a little too far for long term work commutes to LA, OC or SD. With regards to Laguna Woods I have heard that some of the condos indeed do have taxes included with homeowners fees. Never have shopped there myself so I have no idea how common or rare such units are. For my $$ I would look more towards north San Diego county a few miles inland.
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Old 05-10-2014, 02:55 PM   #33
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I live in a scenic area in the burbs with low crime, lots of parks and bike trails with beautiful views. We don't have regular jobs so we aren't out in traffic. During the day we have time to do things like hike in the Redwoods, visit the local lake with fountains and a rose garden, go to the beach, visit a planetarium, watch the hang gliders at Fort Funston, go to the Academy of Science or take a rocket boat on the Bay or one of about a thousand other fun things to do here.

On a dull normal day we walk the local trails with breath taking views once or twice and maybe go out to a cute Thai restaurant with great food for lunch. Life could be worse.

We've enjoyed vacations in place like La Jolla and Orange County. I could see living in a resort like condo complex near the beach all year long in either place, where someone else takes care of the pool and grounds. If you look at the online stats, I don't think it is too hard to avoid areas with gangs and high crime.

I don't see the cesspool part in any of the three, but we all have our own realities, so if you see that it is true for you.
BA Reality:

1) The 101 anywhere north of SF way down past San Jose, any time of day;
2) Gangs, graffitti (none of which were there when I lived there);
3) Murders in SJ, east bay, on the peninsula (again, unheard of when I lived there);
4) Any drive through SF, from one end to the other;
5) Trendy, noisy, overpriced restaurants (only to be surpassed by Lost Angeles in their degree of uselessness), serving food that can't begin to compare to a well-prepared home-cooked meal;
6) Attractions of any kind--be they cultural or public--that invariably involve crowds of various proportions.
7) That godforsaken tech attitude (once again, non-existent when I grew up there).

You may love La Jolla and perhaps the OC beach cities (unless you like infinite unplanned, bland, hideous development, I'm thinking you don't mean anything east of the 405), but you've got to crawl on the 405 or drive through the nightmare that is the 5 to get there.

You're talking to someone who grew up in the BA, has family still there, and has lived in SoCal for the past 26 years. I know what I'm talking about. Of course if that's the kind of reality you can stomach, and lord know literally millions can and are, I say go for it and enjoy.
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Old 05-10-2014, 03:06 PM   #34
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Just thought I'd give an update on our search....I found some other real estate sites that stated the property tax is not included in the HOA for the co-ops at Laguna Woods. If that is true, which seems more likely, then it puts the cost of condo ownership, all expenses considered, on more of a par with the surrounding areas.
You are not currently living in a county, then, where you can use the Prop 90 property tax transfer between your current county and OC?
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Old 05-10-2014, 03:17 PM   #35
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BA Reality:

1) The 101 anywhere north of SF way down past San Jose, any time of day;
2) Gangs, graffitti (none of which were there when I lived there);
3) Murders in SJ, east bay, on the peninsula (again, unheard of when I lived there);
4) Any drive through SF, from one end to the other;
5) Trendy, noisy, overpriced restaurants (only to be surpassed by Lost Angeles in their degree of uselessness), serving food that can't begin to compare to a well-prepared home-cooked meal;
6) Attractions of any kind--be they cultural or public--that invariably involve crowds of various proportions.
7) That godforsaken tech attitude (once again, non-existent when I grew up there).

You may love La Jolla and perhaps the OC beach cities (unless you like infinite unplanned, bland, hideous development, I'm thinking you don't mean anything east of the 405), but you've got to crawl on the 405 or drive through the nightmare that is the 5 to get there.

You're talking to someone who grew up in the BA, has family still there, and has lived in SoCal for the past 26 years. I know what I'm talking about. Of course if that's the kind of reality you can stomach, and lord know literally millions can and are, I say go for it and enjoy.
I think life is different when you don't have to go to work or drive during rush hour, don't work in an office building, live in a low crime area, go to mom and pop ethnic restaurants with inexpensive food, can work at home from your house with the wooded back yard, with falcons in the Redwoods and wild turkeys roaming the neighborhood. I just don't see a lot of the negatives day to day you mention. But living in the burbs of a big city isn't for everyone. I am sure many people are happier living in the country or smaller cities.
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Old 05-10-2014, 03:26 PM   #36
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You are not currently living in a county, then, where you can use the Prop 90 property tax transfer between your current county and OC?
I am not sure if we will save much if anything transferring our property tax since we are downsizing from a house to a 2 bedroom condo.
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Old 05-10-2014, 03:34 PM   #37
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Options I can not rationally disagree with most of your negative points about central and southern california. Unless you go rural or have a time machine where in the USA can you avoid high prices, traffic, crime etc.. in an area with nice climate, cultural activities, fine dining etc..

I am asking for myself and the many on this forum that live in areas that have the positives and problems you list. What areas do you suggest as alternatives.
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Old 05-10-2014, 04:30 PM   #38
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Options I can not rationally disagree with most of your negative points about central and southern california. Unless you go rural or have a time machine where in the USA can you avoid high prices, traffic, crime etc.. in an area with nice climate, cultural activities, fine dining etc..

I am asking for myself and the many on this forum that live in areas that have the positives and problems you list. What areas do you suggest as alternatives.
For California, we found these lists are helpful -

Median home price by county -
DQNews - California Home Sale Activity by City Chart

Crime Index by City -
California Crime Index City Rank

American Cities with the Most Pleasant Weather -
The American Cities With the Most 'Pleasant' Weather - John Metcalfe - The Atlantic Cities
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Old 05-10-2014, 05:07 PM   #39
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Much of the real estate in orange county is priced in or near bubble territory. Anything with ocean view or prestige address is overpriced IMHO. Then again the same can be said about desirable homes in most attractive metropolitan areas, even those that do not feature an incredible year round climate.

For relative value in Socal you need to look a little inland in pockets that are just a little too far for long term work commutes to LA, OC or SD. With regards to Laguna Woods I have heard that some of the condos indeed do have taxes included with homeowners fees. Never have shopped there myself so I have no idea how common or rare such units are. For my $$ I would look more towards north San Diego county a few miles inland.
We still have to do our boots on the ground visit but DH is inclined to pay a bit more to live near the ocean where the temps are cooler. I just thought with Laguna Woods we could have the mild temps, the ocean proximity and low prices.

I have no idea on the property taxes being included or excluded then at Laguna Woods. I have read it both ways on the Internet.

We are having second thoughts about the 55+ restrictions in case our kids need to boomerang post college. Maybe Laguna Woods would be a better choice for us in 5 - 10 years from now.
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Old 05-10-2014, 05:15 PM   #40
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Have a couple of friends who have purchased closer to the beach. Figure 600 to 800 K for a 1500 to 2000 square foot town home/condo depending on view and renovation needs.
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