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Not love at first sight, but it's growing on her

September 23, 1998|CHRISTINE CASTRO

After two years of commuting between Arizona and Orange County, Arnold and Barbara Kraus decided they'd had enough.

The Krauses, both 50, had lived in Tucson for 35 years, but Arnold's job at a brokerage in Irvine had them flying back and forth, and renting an apartment in Laguna Beach.

In January, Barbara began casually searching for a home here, flying into John Wayne Airport on Wednesdays to hit open houses. Soon, though, the pace of the search quickened.

"It was pretty amazing from January on how things got much scarcer and how the prices started climbing dramatically," Barbara said.

She eventually found a three-bedroom, seven-story home for about $800,000 that seemed a likely candidate. Barbara wasn't sure it was the right home, but her husband and real estate agent urged her to decide.

"They told me, 'You better buy something now, because the prices are going through the roof,' " she said.

So she decided.

They moved in July 1.

Barbara said she worked with a decorator to make the house feel more like home.

"I didn't really adore it when we bought it," Barbara said. "But now I really like it."

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