Depends on how cheap is cheap 🙂
While you should be ready to spend close to a mil on a decent home, you can probably find something in the $3-400,000 range if you look well enough, even lower if you are VERY lucky.
Look for foreclosure auctions. There are quite a lot of people in the Newport Beach area who can no longer pay their mortgages, default and get foreclosed on their homes. I know a guy who got quite a nice house (two-storied, 4 bedrooms, huge living room, double garage) for a little over $200,000.
Then you might want to rent a place here and start networking with people. A lot of Newport Beach residents have houses for sale but they don’t advertise it with any agency — they’re too cheap to pay for the fees and they’d rather use word-of-mouth. I know, it’s a VERY bad practice but heh, it might work in your advantage 🙂
I’ve a friend who also writes about houses in the Newport Beach area, here is his blog.
Enough for today. Keep in touch!