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Friday, Dec 9, 2022
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Laguna Beach Smithcliffs Estate in Mega-Deal

About four months after hitting the market, a newly reconstructed 10,000-square-foot home in the exclusive Laguna Beach Smithcliffs community has traded for $37.5 million.

The sale marks a near record for OC luxe transactions this year.

The deal’s total price, which includes personal property, is the highest reported 2021 home sale in OC for properties that were put on the market for sale. It trails just one private, $41 million transaction in Crystal Cove for all year-to-date sales in the county.

The home at 33 Smithcliffs has six bedrooms and nine bathrooms, and came online in July with an asking price of nearly $48.9 million.

There are now no active listings in Smithcliffs—a 20-home community just off Coast Highway, just south of Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach.

The gated neighborhood is home to some of the area’s top business executives, and often attracts buyers looking for a Crystal Cove-esque home, but closer to the coast.

Such was the case of 33 Smithcliffs; the undisclosed buyer “wanted an estate on a bluff, which doesn’t exist in Crystal Cove,” said Paul Daftarian of The Daftarian Group, who has the listing along with Michael Balliet.

Tight Deadline 

The undisclosed sellers bought the home in 2017 via auction for a reported $12.5 million, and have since invested in a multimillion-dollar renovation that essentially replaced half of the house and upgraded the rest.

The home was first built in 1998 and was initially designed by local architect Brion Jeanette; the new design and construction team includes Carlton Graham, Michael Fullen and Hill Construction.

The sellers wanted to move into the home for the first time this year when construction wrapped, but agents argued the home would have better marketing power if it hadn’t been lived in.

The sellers gave the agents until Nov. 15; the deal officially closed on Nov. 18.

“It was a bit of a nail-biter,” Daftarian joked.

Johnson Liu of Dynasty Real Estate represented the buyer, who is said to count several other Orange County properties.

Supply Chain 

Like the majority of high-end buyers, the new owners wanted the home turnkey, and bought all the furniture—and some art—as part of the deal, adding about $2 million to the buy.

Finding turnkey properties is even more urgent in the wake of the pandemic and ensuing supply chain issues, which have caused extensive shipping delays, brokers say.

“Even if a buyer doesn’t love all the furniture, it’s better than waiting six months to buy it new,” Daftarian said.

The home is described as “warm modern” with contemporary finishes, such as the 20-foot-high motorized pocketing glass doors that blends indoor and outdoor spaces.

Other amenities include a chef’s kitchen, wine cellar, gym, library, and a 1,800-square-foot roof deck.

Double Lot

The front-row home is on a double lot spanning half an acre.

It’s one of only six double lots in the Smithcliffs neighborhood, and is one of four double lots located on spots overlooking the ocean.

The community was developed by Gary Brinderson, the chairman of Corona del Mar-based Brinderson Holdings, who still counts a home in the neighborhood.

All of the lots have since been built out, with homes dating back to the early 1990s.

Other executives reported to count ownership ties in the community include the Bhathal family, known for locally based Raj Swim and Raj Capital and part of the ownership team for the Sacramento Kings; and Shaheen Sadeghi, developer of retail centers including Anaheim Packing House and LAB anti-mall in Costa Mesa.

Homes rarely go for sale within Smithcliffs; when they do, a typical asking range is between $5 and $15 million.

The recently traded 33 Smithcliffs likely holds the highest value due to the reconstruction, location and size of the property and land parcel, though other double lots in the neighborhood—like the one owned by Brinderson—could sell for nearly as much, if not more, as a result of better views, and access to Emerald Bay that was grandfathered in, according to Daftarian.

“This sale shows that buyers are willing to pay top-dollar for turnkey, seaside homes with modern features,” he said.

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