Funky but in a great location

Michael and Tina Palmer wanted to buy their first home on the east side of Costa Mesa three years ago, but they found they couldn't afford the area. They bought instead in Mesa del Mar, near the Orange County Fairgrounds.

When housing sales hit a high in June, they sold their four-bedroom home in a day and turned their attention back to the east side, where they bought a 51-year-old home for $350,000.

"I figured we'd better buy now before we were completely priced out," said Tina, 29, a kindergarten teacher.

Their 1,800-square-foot house is "funky, but it has potential," Tina said. "We like the older, charming look of the house, but it's a little more quaint than where we lived before." Michael, 28, an engineer, grew up in Newport Beach, and the couple wanted to live near the ocean.

"We just love this area. We've been looking for years to get into a house on the east side," Tina said. "We basically moved over here for the location."

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