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A Beautiful Coastal Home Built by Locals

Written By: Susan Krupa

Photographed By: Anh Nguyen

The Experts: Jimmy Cefalia and Brian Liberto

Credentials: Principal at Shoreline Developers and Real Estate Consultant at HÔM Sotheby’s International Reality

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The turn off of Pacific Coast Highway and up into the hills takes you as far as one can tell farther and farther away from the ocean. Turning onto Kings Road, the ocean seems like it must be way off in the distance. Then, when you enter the home at 2000 Kings Road, the sea is right there and clearly visible from nearly every window in the house. You realize that you really haven’t left the beach behind at all — just entered a quiet family seaside neighborhood. This six bedroom, five bath, 5, 800-square-foot home is a joint venture between Jimmy Cefalia of Shoreline Developers, represented by Brian Liberto, an agent for Sotheby’s International Realty. Working together from the inception, these two have personally overseen every facet of this project; they have put their hearts and souls into designing a place that they would be happy to call home. These two Newport Beach natives (they were even both born in the same hospital), surfers and basketball players met on the basketball court at the Balboa Bay Club, and still call the city home. They have embarked upon a project that is designed, built, financed and taken to market by locals for locals. When you buy this property, you are buying the Newport Beach lifestyle: the beach, Fashion Island and the Balboa Bay Club are all nearby. Since they are a part of the community, they take great pride in their work and in the building of this custom house. Every feature, every room and every window has been planned, discussed, reworked and built to anticipate exactly what a buyer would want.

The history of this home starts in 2014 with a handwritten note to the seller on a yellow piece of paper — making an offer to buy the property in “as is” condition without seeing the inside, because of Brian’s vision of what he thought he could build on the land by itself; with a one-story house that stood on the property. After tearing down the home, raising the ground itself, and erecting a three-story house, they have created a truly unique landmark in the neighborhood. The home is both modern and chic, has a beach feel yet is classy. However, what really sells the home is the view and lifestyle it provides. Gigantic windows and multi-paneled sliding doors throughout the house open to breathtaking views of the bay, the beach, Lido Isle, the channel, Long Beach and Catalina. Virtually every room of the home has a view — and not the same view, but different views of the ocean below from different perspectives. It is the only home in Newport Heights with a 350-degree view of the bay/beach/Fashion Island and mountains. Without a doubt, there is not another home in the area today that can offer the space, luxury and vistas that this home can; it really is a dream seaside home.

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Q: How long have the two of you worked together?

Brian Liberto: I met Jimmy three years ago on a basketball court at The Bay Club, and that’s how it all started.
Jimmy Cefalia: I said, “I work in development and I’m looking for something, ” and one thing led to another and here we are!

Q: How many homes have you worked on together?

JC: We have worked on numerous transactions, but this is the first of the size that we are taking to market. Brian sold Shoreline Developers a few other land projects including his latest project he is bringing to market in 2016 — a six million dollar luxury home off of Cliff down the street.

Q: How long did this home take to build from start to finish?

BL: I can tell you exactly. We closed on the home January 1st, 2014. It’s so easy, everyone should try it (laughs)!
JC: We tore down the house that was here and then we had to go to through the planning department, building department, get all the plans, permits, and then do all the construction.

Q: How did this project start?

BL: Sixteen months ago with handwritten notes, on a yellow pad of paper saying, “Hey, I’m interested in buying your home, ” and mailing them with no response. Then I mailed them again, and then finally a guy called 10 times and said, “I already have someone buying it right now, ” and I said, “Well, I’ll still buy it from you and pay you more.” We put the offer in, and then we got it; all from a handwritten note in September of 2014.

Q: What are some interesting or unusual features you have incorporated into projects you have worked on?

BL: I think Shoreline Developers does a really good job with maximizing views — always trying to get the most of the view.
JC: We are on-site every day so we try to tailor it to a house we would want to live in with views here and there. And we move things during construction — if we see something needs to be shifted for a better view, even if it costs a little bit extra, we do it.

Q: What should a buyer consider when thinking about purchasing a brand new home versus an existing house?

BL: You are able to move in right away with your family and provide them a lifestyle that they have always dreamed about for years — spending a tremendous amount of time, effort, money and resources if you were to do a large remodel.
JC: You get ceilings that are higher, bigger rooms, 8-foot doors (instead of standard 6’8” doors). You get up to date stuff like the iPad in the wall — the coolest trends. There is a designer on this project that helps us pick out stuff. You get an A+ home.

Q: If you could build your own dream home, what would it look like?

JC: This house. Something about being up above the water and having a place for the kids to play, yet I can be at the beach in minutes. I think it would look very similar to this.
BL: It would be darn close to this.

Q: What techniques do you find most effecting in marketing a home?

BL: Marketing a home has a few areas: online marketing, offline marketing, open houses, broker previews, and then networking with the local community. I think what’s most effective is networking with other realtors because 40 percent of all transactions come from other realtors. I think what’s most effective is getting the house open to the local community because I believe that the buyer for this home is truly in this community right now. I think that they are a Newport local, I just need to get them in this home.

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Q: How do you use social media in your listings?

BL: I focus more on social media than any other realtor in Newport Beach. I have over 10K connections between Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest that I use to help expose my clients’ homes to the market. We use all different techniques from pictures of the beach, pictures of the listing, and pictures of the interior, saying, “Would you like to live here? Are you looking for a lifestyle change? Would you like to change your lifestyle?” in order to create a compelling vision for someone to come and look at this home.

Q: How is your approach to real estate unique?

JC: We come from different sides but have the same goal. From my point of view, I try to build the best home for the budget and quality, and Brian tries to take a property to market with the most exposure and make it a seamless transactions for all parties. Ultimately, we are on the same team. We want to build a foundation and reputation, so people hear of us and know that we are good, standup guys with integrity. The problem of being a local and riding my bike up the street is that if they don’t like the house, I’m going to hear it, or they’ll see me on the soccer field with the kids. It’s like that all the time; I’ll do a job for someone and then we’re playing them in soccer. It would be totally awkward if I was putting out a bad product or wasn’t nice because I would be the butt of every joke.
BL: Both of us have a lot of passion and pride in what we do. We talk three, four times a day. We have the exact same common goal. When you get a good quality product to market, and you can get the best the clients.

Q: What’s the toughest part of your job?

JC: Dealing with the subcontractors and the work to make sure I am liked and respected from the crew.
BL: It’s getting everyone to agree because everyone in the transaction has different agendas — the title company, the escrow company, the buyer, the seller, the investor, the bank and the attorney. My job is to keep everyone together.

Q: What’s the most interesting part of your job?

JC: Seeing the house be built and starting with a little old house and then seeing what it is now. That’s rewarding.
BL: It’s the same for me. To see that I sat here 16 months ago and with a handwritten yellow note to be here now … wow, what a journey.

Q: How do you ensure a smooth close?

BL: I have a 96 percent close rate. I’m always reviewing the documents and I understand what’s going on before it goes to my clients, so that before they are asking questions, I already know what the answer is. I already know what they are going to say. I address the problems upfront before we even get into the escrow period. I review everything beforehand so that the clients can feel comfortable going to the signing table.