Buying a Home in Orinda

Buying a Home in Orinda

  • Paddy Kehoe Team
  • 10/24/23

Orinda, California, is a quiet, affluent community just east of San Francisco. Nestled among the hillsides of the Lamorinda area of Contra Costa County, this highly desirable locale has some of the most stunning views in the East Bay area.

Rated as one of the friendliest towns in America by Forbes, Orinda is known for its strong community spirit. And thanks to its excellent local schools, gorgeous parks and preserves, and vibrant town life, the Orinda real estate market is in high demand.

Why should you buy a house in Orinda?

Excellent local public schools

The Orinda Union School District is among California's most highly ranked districts. The schools in the district have top-rated academic, extracurricular, and athletic programs.

Vibrant community life

Orinda hosts community and holiday events throughout the year, which are very loved by its residents. The area also features a robust theater and music scene thanks to the Cal Shakes group, the Orinda Theater, and a summer concert series.

Gorgeous natural landscape

Orinda sits among the coastal hillsides, providing some of the most breathtaking vistas in the region. Residents can enjoy Orinda’s natural beauty at Orinda Oaks Park and the Orinda Open Space Preserve.

Top 7 Neighborhoods in Orinda

Orinda is home to a plethora of highly desirable neighborhoods, such as:

  • Orindawoods: This upscale, vibrant community is close to athletic complexes, parks, and restaurants.
  • Alice: Alice is a small, quiet neighborhood surrounded by woods and nature preserves.
  • Claremont: Claremont is a tight-knit, vibrant community with gorgeous family homes.
  • Orinda Country Club: A master-planned, luxury community with estate-style homes and country club amenities for residents.
  • Sleepy Hollow: A quiet, residential neighborhood perfect for families.
  • Orinda Downs: Orinda Downs is known for its large, flat home lots and its proximity to Dalewood Park.
  • Wilder: This affluent, luxury community has over 200 homes and resort-like neighborhood amenities.

What kind of homes can I buy in Orinda?

Single-family homes

Homes with multiple bedrooms and surrounding land are great for those seeking a large yard perfect for entertaining. Many single-family homes in Orinda are part of planned communities or neighborhoods with amenities like a pool, playground, and golf course.


Orinda’s townhomes are typically a part of an exclusive community with resort-style amenities, such as pools and clubhouses. These homes are perfect for families looking to downsize, couples, and individuals who want access to premier attractions and smaller front and back yards that are easier to maintain.


Condominiums in Orinda offer top-tier amenities and are built by renowned developers and architects. Some of the area’s condominiums are part of a greater gated community with features such as pools, gyms, and clubhouses.

Determining housing costs in Orinda

Closing costs

Closing costs are often assumed by the buyer during a real estate transaction but can be negotiated as part of a contract. Closing costs typically include mortgage-related fees, escrow charges, title fees, the owner’s policy, and a portion of the city transfer tax, ranging from 2 to 5% of the total purchase price. Sellers typically assume the county transfer tax and a portion of the city transfer tax. Consult with your professional real estate team for a full, accurate breakdown of closing costs.

Property taxes

Contra Costa County property taxes are a general rate of 1%, with additional public-approved obligation bonds as a possible additional taxable amount.

Homeowners insurance

In California, the average monthly payment for homeowners insurance is $108. Work with your real estate agent and lending team to find the best insurance company and coverage for you.

Homeowners Association fees

Suppose your home is in a neighborhood or community with a Homeowner’s Association. In that case, you might have monthly or yearly dues that cover the use of amenities and the upkeep of public areas. You can inquire about any dues during the contract and negotiation process.

Types of home loans for all home buyers

Conventional loans

A conventional loan is any type of mortgage loan not backed by a government agency. These loans are funded by private lending organizations like banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. Conventional loans are the most common type of loan. They require a downpayment and have varying terms and interest rates.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans

An FHA loan is insured by the government and contracted through an approved financial institution. This type of loan requires a lower downpayment than conventional loans and is a great choice for first-time homebuyers.

Veterans Affairs (VA) loans

A VA loan is a mortgage program available for service members, veterans, and their surviving spouses. This program is backed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and loans typically have generous terms. A VA loan requires little to no downpayment, no private mortgage insurance, and offers competitive rates.

Money-saving tips for buying a home

Get pre-qualified

Getting pre-approved or pre-qualified for a mortgage will help you narrow your home search and set a budget for all the expenses you will encounter.

Find the best mortgage rate

Shop around with several lenders to find the best mortgage rate. Buyers who get at least five rate quotes save an average of $2,914.

Improve your credit score

The higher your credit score, the lower your mortgage interest rate is likely to be. Even fractions of a percent off your mortgage rate can save thousands over the lifetime of your loan.

Consider a larger downpayment

If you can, make a more significant downpayment to help save money in the long run. A larger downpayment can lower your interest rate. If you can make a downpayment equal to 20% of your home’s purchase price, you can avoid paying for private mortgage insurance.

Look into a commission rebate

In California, buyers can earn a commission rebate. This can come in the form of cash rewards or closing credits. However, rebates are subject to several rules and limitations, so consult with your real estate agent about the details of a possible commission rebate.

Work with a top agent

An experienced agent can help you find the home that best fits your needs and budget, negotiate for a fair price and conditions, and protect your investment by scheduling the proper appraisals and inspections.

An experienced real estate team

If you are considering buying a home in Orinda, you need an expert real estate team who can help you through every step of the process. The Paddy Kehoe Team specializes in luxury real estate services driven by market research and experience. The team has years of experience in the Orinda area and is ready to help you find your dream home

View Orinda, CA real estate listings.

Get Started

At the Paddy Kehoe Team, we strive to provide exceptional service to home buyers, sellers, and builders in Lamorinda. We take pride in delivering the very best results for our clients and building lasting relationships.