If you are looking for a family friendly community in South Orange County, with top of the line amenities, Ladera Ranch and Talega have it. These two communities have a lot in common as far as activities, lots of kids, and even types of homes. We often get asked the same question: which one is better? Ladera Ranch or Talega? Here's some highlights of the communities as far as:
MELLO ROOS: ok, so no one is a winner. Both communities have mello-roos and the amounts paid by the home owners differ even within the same communities (there's different factors involved). But let's just say they both have them, and both are high.
Amenities: Both Ladera Ranch and Talega have pools, neighborhood parks and community activities. Ladera Ranch does have more parks and a special water park, and seems to have more community activities throughout the year than the ones put by the home owners association in Talega. Having said that, Ladera Ranch has way more homes and residents too, is actually considered a city, Talega is still part of San Clemente. We would have said Ladera is hands down the winner, except just recently, The Vista Hermosa Sports Park, a top of the line, massive sports facility, owned by the city of San Clemente, just opened. It's not technically in Talega, but right there in the border where the neighborhood starts off La Pata Avenue, it kind of looks like it's part of Talega. They have many sports fields, water park, they are even building a surf pool, a one of its kind in the world. Access to the Ladera Ranch water park is covered by the HOA fees, access to the Vista Hermosa Sports Park requires a small fee.
Access to shopping centers: Ladera Ranch wins. The community not only has 3 different shopping centers surrounding it, with major stores like Kohls and Home Goods. They also have like a 'downtown' center with restaurants, grocery store, pharmacy etc. Talega does have it's own 'Village' with a grocery store and restaurants,, but its definitely smaller. A new Target just opened outside the neighborhood, but otherwise, there's only another shopping center surrounding the neighborhood with a Walmart and Lowes. Not a whole lot. Ladera Ranch on the other hand, apart from its own shopping centers, also has close access to the Shops at Mission Viejo (mall).
Access to doctors, hospitals and the like: Ladera Ranch is closer to the Mission Hospital and CHOC in Mission Viejo. Talega is close to an area in San Clemente full of medical services and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, so although the services around Ladera Ranch are more, Talega does have close access to them.
The Homes: the homes, again, are very similar. You can even find exact same homes in the two communities, as all the homes were built essentially by the same builders: Standard Pacific, William Lyon, Pulte, etc. Both communities have condos options, townhouses, and single family residences. Most of the homes were built at about the same time, so in terms of age of the homes, they are comparable too, and the inside standard upgrades are similar too, like granite counters, nice floors, etc. We've seen more homes in Ladera Ranch that options for 'casitas' ( a separate guest house), and only in Covenant Hills of Ladera Ranch you can find custom homes. There's no custom homes in Talega, only an option for semi-custom homes in the newer neighborhood of Altura. Oh, and the big question: home prices: very, very comparable. Depending on the price range bracket you are looking into, there might be some differences, but overall, very comparable.
Views: this one Talega wins it, for a simple reason. There's many hills, a golf course located across it, and a nature preserve behind the neighborhood, not to mention the close Pacific Ocean, giving many of the homes spectacular views. Yes, Ladera does have some homes with a peak-a-boo ocean view ( believe it or not!), and many homes have nice views of hills, but overall, the views in Talega are much better.
Schools: both communities are served by the Capistrano Unified School District. Within Ladera Ranch are the Chaparral and Oso Grande Elementary Schools and the Ladera Ranch School, which is home to both an elementary school and a middle school on the same campus. Chaparral Elementary School received the "California Distinguished School Award" in both 2004 and 2008. Ladera Ranch School opened in 2004, and the Middle School received the "California Distinguished School Award" in 2007 and has been nominated again in 2011. Talega has its Vista Del Mar Elementary and Middle Schools. The Vista del Mar Middle School received the "California Distinguished School Award" in 2007
Commuting: Talega has the beach which is a short drive away. But if you are looking for a shorter commute say, for example to Irvine, Ladera Ranch saves you about 15-20 mins.
Weather: both are winners! Ladera Ranch is a bit warmer in the summer months than Talega. For coastal breezes, yet warm weather: Talega. For just nice warm weather: Ladera Ranch.
Seeing that most of these communities have a lot in common as far as community activities and lots of kids, you may want to just think about location and the specific homes: for example, do you have to commute? do you want to be close to the beach? and when it comes to the homes, which would you rather have a home at the end of a cul de sac or a home at the mouth of a cul de sac? Or, a home with a view or a home on a flat street?
Have fun home shopping, either neighborhood is great! Both have decent amount of bank owned homes, and many short sales to choose from. Call us at (949) 888-7688 for any questions.