What's For Sale in Long Beach under $300,000?

This is a popular price range for many 1st time buyers, the group of people who are among the most active and largest group of buyers looking on the market now.

In 2007 in Long Beach, there were less than 350 residential condos, own-your-owns, coops, and single family properties in this price range. Last fall, the inventory doubled to more than 700 listings in this group.

As of June 16, the MLS is showing 430 properties in this category: 185 active listings are single family homes under $300,000 in various zip codes (but not 90803 or 90814). In a sampling of the first 25 on the list, 19 of them are short pay or REO properties. In the last 25 on the list, 23 out of 25 are short pay or REO properties.

For condos, co-ops and own-your-owns (lofts excluded), there are 241 condos, etc., with about the same percentage of REOs and short pays: 21 out of first 25 on the list. The difference with condos is that they also represent many areas of town, including 90803, 90815, 90814. But not all condo opportunities are alike: Be prepared to face monthly HOA dues of as much as $600 for Marina Pacifica, where there have been several such sales. The price may be low, but the monthly payment must be able to accommodate the association expenses.

For the buyer who is heading out on a home search with their REALTOR, and with a valid mortgage pre-approval in hand, be prepared, because due to shrinking inventory, lower sales prices, and many other first-time buyers, you may have severe competition and deal with many multiple offers on the property you would like--some houses in particular have seen over 30-50 offers--and only one will be chosen. And, a frustrating fact is that that buyer may be an investor with lots of cash, or all cash. Also, the qualified FHA buyer, with 3.5% down payment, may have a much harder time competing, not just because of their lower down payment, because FHA offers must be appriased by an FHA appraiser who is required to report on certain property conditions according to government guidelines.

If the FHA buyer is considering a condo, which will probably be somewhat less competitive than a house, there are still HOA requirements to be met under FHA guidelines. Ideally, the buyer will select a property in an association that is already FHA-approved under the HUD guidelines. (Ask me, I can help you find out.) Otherwise, the buyer must hope for a "spot" approval, and that may have a more uncertain outcome until the transaction is further along in escrow and underwriting approval is obtained.

So what can the buyer do in this situation? Try to find a property that will work for you and with your loan, maybe a property that is getting less attention from other buyers. It may be your golden opportunity. It may require patience, it may require imagination, and it may not have granite countertops in the kitchen to start, and it may require some compromise on some of your criteria, but in the end if you want to be a homeowner, you have to start somewhere, and the gains could be very great in the end.

For a specific list of properties to be sent by e-mail, please contact me, OR go to http://www.juliahuntsman.com/ to see various current property searches from the MLS.

1 comment:

CoachingByPeter said...

If a good real estate agent can help grease the wheels and get your offer in front of a lender, you can get an answer more quickly, and potentially close more deals.


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