7 Financial FAQs about Laguna Beach

It’s an interesting time for both the local and national real estate markets. Anyone who is thinking about investing in Laguna Beach real estate wants to know how high interest rates and heavy inflation will impact their search. Below are answers to several of the most common questions about finances in Laguna Beach. Should you have any further questions, Mike Johnson and his team are standing by, ready to help.

What is the cost of living in Laguna Beach?

The average cost of living in Laguna Beach is on par with statewide averages across California. Right now, the average California resident has a cost of living of around $46,000 per year for a single person. This makes California the third most expensive state in the country to live in. Throughout the country, the average cost of living for one person is $38,000 per year or about $3,200 per month.

How much money will it take to live comfortably in Laguna Beach?

Estimates show that you need to make at least $90,000 before taxes if you want to live a comfortable lifestyle in Laguna Beach. Your take-home pay would have to be around $63,000, which breaks down to $5,000 per month. Married couples will need to bring home a combined amount of $127,000. Once children enter the picture, the estimated total rises to around $160,000 before taxes. The most significant monthly expense you will have is housing, though transportation and food are also major expenses.

What is considered middle class in Laguna Beach?

The median household income in Laguna Beach is just under $130,000, according to the 2020 census. The city has a poverty rate of 6.2%. Laguna Beach’s middle class is at the upper end of national averages in terms of middle-class income. 50% of the population of the United States is considered middle class, with annual pay averaging around $65,000.

How do salaries vary by field in Laguna Beach?

Laguna Beach residents live not far from Los Angeles, and with remote work increasingly normalized, employees in several different fields can expect to make salaries placing them in the middle to upper class in Orange County. The following sectors yield annual salaries above the middle-class average in Laguna Beach.

How much do tech employees make in Laguna Beach?

With more Silicon Valley tech companies embracing remote work, employees are moving across the country (many to Orange County) without having to take pay cuts. The average tech salary in Orange County is about $135,000. Software engineers, cloud architects, and data scientists have earning potential comfortably in the six figures.

How much do wealth management and investing professionals make in Laguna Beach?

Most workers in wealth management can expect a salary somewhere around $130,000, but there is a wide variance for employees in this industry. Asset managers in Orange County report earnings between $100,000 and $160,000. Top executives in wealth management can make salaries well into the six figures.

How much do lawyers make in Laguna Beach?

Lawyers in Laguna Beach tend to make around $125,000 per year. Depending on their place within a law firm’s hierarchy, attorneys can make significantly more — those designated as attorney II make about $150,000 per year.

How much do fitness and wellness professionals make in Laguna Beach?

Nurses are in especially high demand in the state of California, and a registered nurse in Laguna Beach can expect to command between $66,000 and $119,000 per year, with an average salary of about $95,000.

How much house can I afford in Laguna Beach?

According to the 2020 census, the median value of an owner-occupied home in Laguna Beach is over $1.8 million. Things have, however, obviously changed a great deal in the housing market since 2020. The average value increase of a home in the past two years is nearly 18%. Apply that math to homes in Laguna Beach, and you get an average value of nearly $2.2 million.

Your monthly payment will depend on the interest rate that you receive and how much cash you put down. For the sake of this exercise, assume that you make a down payment of 20% with a 30-year fixed loan at 6% interest.

  • A registered nurse making a salary of $95,000 could make a $100,000 down payment on a $500,000 house and pay about $2,400 monthly (about 30% of their salary) on their mortgage.

  • An early-career lawyer (or wealth management professional) making a salary of $125,000 could make a $150,000 down payment on a $750,000 house and pay about $3,600 monthly (about 35% of their salary) on their mortgage.

  • A top tech executive making a salary of $300,000 could make a $300,000 down payment on a $1.5 million house and pay about $7,200 monthly (about 30% of their salary) on their mortgage.

  • A household with a combined income of $500,000 could make a $600,000 down payment on a $3 million house and pay about $14,400 monthly (about 35% of their salary) on their mortgage.
The above figures are hypothetical, and there are several steps you can take to decrease your monthly liability. Couples bringing two sets of income to the mortgage change the calculations significantly. You can bring more cash to the table to put down as a down payment, or you can take steps to lower the interest rate that lenders will offer you, such as lowering your credit score. It’s unlikely that your score could raise overnight by a significant margin, but you could see gradual increases over time if you pay your bills on time and refrain from spending the majority of your credit balance each month. 

How should I go about getting funding to purchase a home in Laguna Beach?

You’ll want to reach out to a lender early in the process to discuss what sort of loan you can qualify for. Your lender will ask you questions about your debt-to-income ratio. They may also want to see recent tax returns or pay stubs. Their goal is to assess your overall financial condition and to determine how much risk you represent as a potential borrower. After they run your numbers, they will provide you with a preapproval letter detailing the maximum amount that you can borrow. Keep in mind that different lenders offer different interest rates, so it’s a good idea to shop around and see who can provide you with the best deal.

You will also need to have enough cash on hand to fully fund your down payment. The amount of money that you will need to put down depends on what sort of loan you receive. Typically you will need a minimum of 3-5% of the total cost of the home to put down at closing. You will also need to set aside enough cash to cover your share of the closing costs. The exact amount varies depending on the specifics of your contract, but normally it falls somewhere between two and six percent of the total cost of the home.

Who can help me shop for a home in Laguna Beach?

The Mike Johnson Group is ready to help you with your upcoming sale or purchase. Their knowledge and insight into the current state of the Laguna Beach real estate market is second to none. They take great pride in partnering with their clients through each step of the process, from the initial meeting all the way up to closing. Contact Mike and his team when you’re ready to move forward and begin shopping for homes for sale in Laguna Beach.

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