A condo in the city of their dreams

Lisa and Tom VanDamme were tired of renting.

But they wondered if they could afford to buy a home in the city of their dreams.

"Newport Beach, in general, is beyond our means," Lisa said. "We were limited in our options."

Then they found a condo that felt right. Lisa, 26, a private tutor, and Tom, 37, an engineer, jumped at the chance to buy it for just over $250,000.

"We wanted this area very strongly," Lisa said.

They felt so certain the two-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot home was the one for them that they committed to it in just three days.

They also received a little push from their real estate agent, who warned them that condos in the area don't stay on the market for more than a week.

"The real estate market, we thought, was at least stable in this area, if not going up rapidly," Lisa said. "We both felt pretty confident."

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