Long Beach Condos Buyers Guide|Manifesto-Long Beach Real Estate-California

Long Beach Condos Buyers Guide|Manifesto-More Info Call (562) 212-5420-Long Beach Real Estate-Main Street Realtors-Laurie Manny-Long Beach Realtor

Long Beach Condos Buyers Guide|Manifesto

Long Beach Condos and Lofts-Long Beach Realtor-562-212-5420-Laurie MannyWhether you are a first time buyer an experienced pro or investor buying a Long Beach condo or loft can be a confusing and often stressful process.  It's an emotional experience filled with many decisions, most with financial repercussions.  Finding the right condo or loft is difficult enough; knowing what to offer, what and when to negotiate and how to make the deal work best for you, the buyer, is another story altogether. 

As a professional who has sold many Long Beach condos and placed countless buyers in the Long Beach condos of their dreams, I feel it is my responsibility to tell you that there is a lot you need to know before jumping into your condo purchase. 

Your Needs and Desires...

It is important that you have a clear image of what you are looking for and that you transmit this clearly to your Realtor.  Make a list and explain your needs and your desires.  Understanding the difference between your needs and your desires will make your choices much easier to make.  Your needs must be met, your desires may be sacrificed if they are not practical within your price range.  Are you looking for a larger place for your growing family or are you looking for a larger place for entertaining?  Where do you need that extra square footage?  What will you sacrifice for it, if necessary?    Are you downsizing?  What are you willing to let go of?  Don't let emotions cloud your judgment.  Make certain that you get what you need from the new purchase; if some of your desires are fulfilled, all the better. 


Be clear with your Realtor when explaining what you are looking for.  What is most important to you? 

  • Newly Remodeled
  • View
  • Square Footage
  • Number of Bedrooms
  • Number of Baths
  • Condition
  • Flooring
  • Fireplace
  • Parking Spaces/Garages/Guest Parking
    • Side by side
    • Tandem
  • Pet Rules
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • Community amenities
  • Concierge Services
  • Doorman
  • Gated Security
  • High Rise
  • Elevator
  • Location in the complex/top floor/corner unit/bottom floor
  • Neighborhood
  • Age of condo
  • Proximity to
    • beaches
    • restaurants
    • galleries
    • parks
    • golf courses
    • shopping
    • freeways
  • etc...

Often a condo purchase is more about buying into a neighborhood lifestyle (location).  If lifestyle is at the top of your needs list make certain that is clearly communicated to your Realtor.   Do you entertain much?  Make sure your complex has guest parking or there is ample parking in your new neighborhood. 

Are You Ready to Start Shopping?


Unless you are an all cash buyer (be prepared with proof of funds), you will need to be pre-approved, preferably by a direct lender.  If you have great credit and belong to a credit union you may be able to get a stellar interest rate from them, check it out.  When you find a condo that you want to make an offer on you will need to submit you're pre-approval with the offer.  It is foolish to begin to shop without a pre-approval; you might find your dream condo the first day out, like another of my recent buyer clients. You need to be in a position to write and submit your offer when you find the Long Beach condos that you want to purchase.  Bank statements will probably need to be submitted along with your offer as proof of sufficient funds to consummate the transaction, have them with you with the account number blacked out.


Consider Your Future...

Always consider the future resale value of your condo purchase.  I know, it's difficult when you find the perfect condo in a not so perfect location; or it has the 2 bedrooms and 2 baths that you wanted but only has 1 parking space in a parking impacted area.  Unless you live alone that missing 2nd parking space is certain to become a real problem while you are living in your new dream condo and will probably become the reason you will want to move on rather quickly.  Will you be able to sell that condo easily without a 2nd parking space, or in an area that isn't in such high demand?  Some areas appreciate quicker than others, if you can afford to purchase in an area with higher appreciation it would be a much smarter purchase. 

Are you buying the smallest or least desirable condo in a highly desirable complex?  When it is time to sell you may sit on the market for longer, sell for less, or not sell at all if other larger more desirable units are for sale at the same time.   Buying the smallest, least desirable condo in a highly desirable complex and neighborhood isn't always a bad decision.  If it provides you with the lifestyle that you are craving at a price that you can afford, the condo will fulfill your needs.  Just remain aware that it will take you longer to sell it when the time comes.  In the meantime have a grand time enjoying the lifestyle you craved. 


Remain Flexible and Alert...

Your Realtor should be familiar with the inventory available in the neighborhood of your choice.  They will most likely show you the best of what is available, based on your stated needs and desires, on your first and second trips out.  If you do not find what you want you should begin making adjustments in your search criteria quickly.  Continuing to search, in a specific area, after you have seen the best of what is available within your price range is usually a downward spiral; either adjust your needs, desires or price range; or wait for new inventory to enter the market.  Remember there are other buyers watching and waiting as well, you will have to move quickly. 

Loose Lips Sink Ships...

While you are shopping you may run into a seller at home.  As a buyer this may seem like a stellar opportunity to ask questions and garner information about the condo, the complex and the area.  Often without realizing it, your simple conversation with the seller could cost you money at the negotiating table.  Without realizing it you may be letting the seller, or the listing agent, know how badly you want the condo, or how much you love the condo or neighborhood.  Knowing how badly you want it may net you a different counter offer than you may have received had you not had that conversation.  Sellers face the same problem, conversations with buyers or their agents often cost them money by way of a lower offer and tougher negotiation than they would have received.  This is why Realtors always try to keep the buyer and seller apart until the deal is either closed or past any possible negotiation time frames; loan approval, removal of contingencies, appraisal, repair requests, etc...  It's in your best interest!  You should be confident that your Realtor is capable of negotiating your offer and will not reveal personal information that could adversely affect your negotiations. 


Future Planning?

Condo prices are so affordable right now many buyers are purchasing more condo than they need with a mindset towards their future growth and needs; marriage, children, home office, etc...  Do you have future needs?  Will they become an issue in the next 3 to 5 years?  Perhaps you are a better candidate for a single family residence to anticipate these needs?  Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that you will be able to sell at break even in 3 to 5 years.  When you do sell you will need to recoup your purchase price plus the cost of sale.  The cost of sale involves commission, your closing costs and any costs given to your buyer during negotiations; plan on approximately 9% appreciation to break even.  That could take some time in today's market. 


After Purchase Expenses...

Not all condos are in turnkey condition.  Condo fixer-uppers can become expensive and the upgrades are all 'after purchase' money and can add up quickly. 

  • Kitchen
  • Baths
  • Appliances
  • Flooring
  • Heating
  • Air Conditioning
  • Water Heater
  • Paint
    • Wallpaper Removal
    • Ceiling Scraping


Do you have the after purchase resources to accommodate these upgrades?  Are you willing to pay market value, or near market value, then make an additional investment into the property?  How long will it take you to recoup the additional investment?  How will that affect your future life plan? 

Many inexperienced investors are purchasing, doing a quick remodel, then attempting to sell (flip) to recover costs and make a profit.  Often these inexperienced investors find they spent too much on the remodel and become stuck renting the unit out.  Truly experienced investors have warehouses filled with cabinets, flooring, etc... which were purchased at wholesale, and have crews on salary trained to go in and do a professional, fast and inexpensive remodel, list the condo and still retain a decent profit margin.  Flipping condos is not for the inexperienced investor. 


Read Also:  Buying Fixer Upper Homes in Long Beach - This article was written to Home buyers, but has many relevant points for condo and loft buyers as well. 


Always Inspect...

Hire a professional inspector.  While most problems in a condo are fairly visible a professional inspection will set your mind at ease regarding those that are not, like air conditioning, heating, water heaters, which are/are not operable and may possibly, be nearing the end of their useful life. 


Don't Procrastinate...

When you locate the condo that you want to buy you should write your offer right away.  If it is new on the market and highly desirable you may find yourself in a multiple offer situation.  Make the best possible offer that you are willing to, decide if you are willing to negotiate further if you receive a multiple counter offer and go for it.  Some people don't want to write offers if they even think there is going to be a multiple offer situation.............you have to be in it to win it!  Go ahead and write your offer, the worst that can happen is that you are overbid.  Your Realtor will have called the listing agent (I hope) and may have some information that will help you decide how to present an offer. 

Going home to sleep on it or wanting to bring parents or friends to look at it before you make your decision to even write an offer will often put you out of the game.  Write the offer, show it to them if your offer is accepted...good properties move fast.  If they ixnay it you can always get out of the deal during your 17 day contingency time frame, no harm, no foul! 

If you find a condo that you like, but something just doesn't feel right, it's probably not the right purchase for you.  In this case, go home and think about it for a while.  Yes you might lose it, but that may be for the best if you had reservations in the first place.  There is plenty more inventory on the market, something else will turn up. 


Your Realtor is Your Advocate...

Thinking about shopping without a Realtor?  Think you will just write an offer through the listing agent?  Think this will help you get your lowball offer accepted?  It will, if you find a crooked listing agent!  Do you want to be represented by a crooked agent?  Oh wait a minute....they don't represent you...they represent the seller; they are just facilitating your deal.  It's called dual agency or double ending.  It's actually legal in California, but very few agents can or will handle it in a truly professional manner.  It's not the best position for the buyer to be in and let's face it if the agent is crooked are you going to get actual disclosure or are you going to find out you were duped by a neighbor after you move in?  Having your own representation is more valuable than you realize. 


Buying Bank Owned?

Banks are not subject to the same level of disclosure as actual home owners in a standard sale are.  The government, recognizing their unfamiliarity with the property, has relieved them of much disclosure.  You will have to do some extra investigating to discover the facts about your possible purchase.   A good agent familiar with condo purchases can make a huge difference.   


Found My Condo...Now What?

When you find a condo and are considering writing an offer your agent should prepare a Comparative Market Analysis of like properties in the area and present it to you along with the actual Comparable Sales.  Together with your Realtor you will decide on the price and terms of your offer.  Remember when you submit an offer the bank or seller will be looking at their net proceeds.  So if you offer a solid price but ask for a lot of closing costs and other extras you could easily lose the deal to a better NET offer, even one that is less in price than yours.  It's all about the NET!

If your Realtor is really sharp they will find out what the sellers motivation is.  A motivated seller is more likely to negotiate than an unmotivated seller.  In a down market it isn't really wise to sell unless you have to, so most sellers are motivated on one level or another, some more than most.

Reasons for selling that will create a very highly motivated seller:

  • Job Loss
  • Job Transfer/Relocation
  • Lifestyle Change
    • Marriage
    • Children
    • Home Business


Condos that have been sitting on the market for a long time, perhaps expired a few times and/or have reduced their price, sometimes several times, often have a worn down seller who is finally ready to negotiate.   Vacant condos are expensive for owners to maintain.  There is only so long anybody can/or is willing to carry the mortgage, HOA fees, taxes and insurance without the rental income to offset the expense. 


Home Owner Associations...HOA...

Many Condo Associations are in financial difficulty.  Once your offer is accepted the escrow company must order a fresh copy of the CC&R's, financials, budget and minutes and deliver them directly to the buyer within the contingency period indicated on the purchase contract; usually 17 days, unless that time frame has been reduced.  Buyers should go over these documents in fine detail and determine the financial stability of the association and whether is it prudent to move forward. 

  • How much are the monthly expenses?
  • How much is in the reserve account?
  • Is the insurance current?
  • Is there an increase in the HOA dues scheduled?
  • Is there mention of any upcoming assessments?
  • What do the minutes say?
    • Are there upcoming repairs scheduled?
    • Is there enough money to cover the repairs or will there be an assessment?
  • Are the pet rules satisfactory?
  • Have you read the Rules and Regulations?


Read the documents and ask questions until you are satisfied.  If the documents are unsatisfactory the buyer should cancel the escrow immediately.  Not all HOA's are in trouble, just beware of the one's that are.


Read Also:  Long Beach Condo Buyers Beware - Don't let this article frighten you, let it educate you. 


More Long Beach Condo Buyer Tips:  Long Beach Condos - Buyer Tips for a Smart Purchase

Are you overwhelmed yet? 

Sounds like a real handful doesn't it?  It is!  That is why you need top notch representation.  I can make this easy and a lot less stressful for you.  Call me if you are thinking about buying or selling a Long Beach Condo (562) 212-5420 Laurie Manny, Your Long Beach Realtor. 



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Laurie Manny

Long Beach Realtor®

(562) 212-5420

244 Redondo Avenue
Belmont Heights
Long Beach, California 90803

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Posted on July 15, 2010 22:30:00 by Laurie Manny Professional Group
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To begin your search for the perfect home or to sell your home in the Long Beach area, begin your journey by calling Laurie Manny at (562) 212-5420.