Market Conditions in Irvine>Question Details

Rick, Home Buyer in Long Beach, CA

I'm a 28 yr old single professional looking to buy a condo (1 BR or 2 BR) under 200K. I have seen quite a few listings here. Your opinion?

Asked by Rick, Long Beach, CA Thu Jul 14, 2011

basically i would like to know if these properties are a good idea because rest of the properties are outside my budget range (!). Also In terms of future value and rent-ability are they any good?. If I may add i am a first time home buyer

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Dear Rick,
A two bedroom condo at least 1,000 square feet would be the way to go if you are thinking of having a property that would be in demand by buyers. This is the critieria I am always (9 times out of 10) given by condo buyers. Most buyers would like a new property, if at all possible..if not..then upgraded features in the unit.

Hope this helps!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 27, 2011
Hi Rick,

As a current landlord/investor, some things to keep in mind when you are property hunting:

1.) HOAs: Remember to review the HOA's financial documents-- sometimes these monthly or quarterly dues increase due to special assessments or unpaid debt that the association has not started to collect. Also review the meeting minutes to see if the HOA will be planning to undertake a major repair which may add to owner dues. The lower the dues the easier to sell and lest costly to live in or rent out.

2.) Location of unit: corner units (or units without so many common walls) may sell or rent better. Renters then to gravitate to units that are more private.

3.) As few of my colleagues have said, 2 beds or more will be much easier to rent or sell.

4.) Layout of the unit should be open with lots of natural light and larger size of bedrooms are mostly better.

5.) View of the unit: clients passed beautiful interior of condos because the view was less than desirable.

Since you are a first time home buyer, you might want to research each targeted city's first time buyer programs. The city of Irvine offered down payment assistance for first time buyers. They may not be taking new applications at this time, but it's always good to know and they may have other programs that you qualify for.

Hope this has been helpful!

Louri Groves
Prudential California Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 27, 2011
I, as a "landlord" and "investor" also, would have to say that it's all about location or whatever gives you warm fuzzies. I don't buy into the "Avoid Condos" philosophy anymore than I agree with folks who slam "Manufactured Housing" which I've made a very lucrative career out of for the past 3 decades as a general & manufactured home contractor, dealer, developer, RE broker and investor/landlord.

Now if you were considering a condo in a hi rise condo that's half vacant and you'd be stuck sharing the entire HOA burden amortized among the survivors that might not be such a good deal. But if the Condo development was in good condition and well maintained with few vacancies and a reasonable HOA outlay there's absolutely nothing wrong with them.

I still think you should consider the North San Diego area however. There's so many good deals in this area right now that won't be here in the near future. Keep it in mind. I commuted back and forth between North County and Newport Beach for 5 years until I was able to relocate my biz down here.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
A 2 bedroom condo will have more appeal in case that you decide to sell later on.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 28, 2011
Avoid condos. They are risky. Here's blog article I wrote on the pros and cons. Be careful...
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 27, 2011
hey Rick:

so there is lots of great info on here. I just wanted to see if you got what you needed? How is your real estate search going? As you can probably tell every agent here wants your business and I am no different. Let me know if you are still looking to buy.

Ted Z
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 23, 2011
My opinion is?.....................................Look in San Diego if you're really looking for value. The commute isn't nearly as hard as you might imagine.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 22, 2011

The main thing to watch out for when buying a condo is the HOA (Home Owner's Association) monthly dues amount. If the HOA is higher than the average, people will tend to bid less on those properties in a resale situation. Of coarse there are exceptions to everything, but as a general statement, this is the case.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 19, 2011
A lot of people shy away from condos but I am a contrarian right now and I like them. As many have said below, prices are depressed even more than single-family homes right now, mostly because financing is more difficult to get on condos than SFR's. I think that is a good thing that prices are so depressed b/c you can get super affordable condos in much better LOCATIONS than SFR's. My prediction is when prices stabilize, the lending will get a little better on condos helping values become less depressed.

And whenever you can buy something where the mortgage + tax + insurance + hoa is LESS than rent it is a huge win for many reasons:
1. You are locking in a payment for life with a 30 yrs fixed loan, where rents will inflate over time for renters
2. When you buy you get to write off the mortgage interest and property taxes, which is a HUGE tax savings you don't get when you rent
3. You will be getting a fully amortizing loan where you will be paying a chunk of the loan principle every month, when you rent you are not paying off anything except the landlord mortgage
4. You can get the mortgage paid off one day and retire with a extremely low payment (just taxes + insurance + hoa + maintenance) - where people who rent and never buy will be stuck with a much higher rent than today down the road.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 15, 2011
Good Morning Rick,
I ran a quick search and to no surprise the results were actually very few (12 this morning) homes for sale in Irvine at or under $200K. Out of this group only 2 are standard sales. The rest are distressed "short or REO."
All have high HOA dues and all are older condos. Square footage is very tight as well.
If you like we can run numbers on monthly cost to own and compare to local rents on these homes. I am pretty positive you will only cash flow if you put at least 30% down. Your investment might be better sought in another close by city where values are less per square foot and rents can better cover your investment.
I was born and raised in OC and have sold for 9 years in CO and in CA. Selling in a buyer's market in CO for 7 of those years I have a conservative approach on condo's! I would suggest we talk over your options to give you a better understanding of expectations, risks and possibility of positive home buying results!
Thank you for your inquiry,
Lisa C. Gaffikin
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 15, 2011
Hi Rick,
I really think any property at market value or better is a good idea these days in Ornge County. Especially with the raltes as low as they are. There are many condos for sale in the area that are less than 200K. You did not mention what your down would be. That can make a huge difference when buying a condo or townhouse these days. If you are not going with at least 20% down; many of the homes you see online will not be available to you as they will not qualify for FHA financing at this time. Are you a veteran by chance? You can do as low as 0 down and the condos will qualify for VA financing!
Many of the local Realtors know which complexes will be approved for FHA and which will not; and if they don't know or are unsure we can certianly find out for you before you go out to look. Your best bet is to find a local Realtor and let them help you with your house hunting.
Best of luck to you,
Connie Bramble
Prudential CA Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 15, 2011
Like others who have responded to your question, I believe that Irvine home buying can be a great opportunity depending upon your situation.

It's well known that Irvine has some of the best public schools and more jobs in private industry that other cities in Orange County, and that's what will keep people here and others wanting to buy homes and properties.

I recommend that you find and hire an experienced Realtor, develop a trusting relationship. Also hire an experienced mortgage broker and get prequalified for your loan whilg getting information you want and need to make decisions. Best wishes.

Harrison K. Long, Realtor and broker associate, Coldwell Banker NRT, Quail Hill center, Irvine, CA.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
Hello Rick,

Irvine is a very good area to buy into whether it was a few years ago , now or in the future. Irvine is the safest city in the Nation, is very well planned, have a very good university ,UCI, a good college, Irvine Valley, has excellent schools, and is connected to all the major freeways. All of this will keep Irvine a city that is in high demand whether to live in it whether you buy or rent. I suggest you talk to a local realtor and have them show you your different options and the market trends of Irvine.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
Hello Rick,

There are many great values out there along with excellent interest rates. But with all the short sales and foreclosures occurring, patience and persistence are key. Investors are also looking to pick up inexpensive homes like these for their rental portfolios, which makes for stiff competition. In this price range, it's not uncommon to place offers on several homes before having one accepted. If your finances are in order and you have the patience to see it through, you could end up with quite a deal.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
Hi Rick, you answer lies with your investment parameter. It will be tough to find anything besides a condo in the 200k range in an area I would recommend living in. Location is more important than type of dwelling unit; meaning, I would buy a condo in a good area vs. a house for the same price in a bad area. If you look at recent history, condos have been hit the hardest. Values are probably below 50% from the peak, if not more. Lastly, you have to make sure the HOA is solvent. That is extremely important.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
Personally I'd look for homes at least 1,200 sq ft in size with 2 bed & 2 bath, as Steven said the resale value is much better and the demand for rent is greater.

Also keep in mind with a condo you have a homeowners association fee, which often makes a $200k condo have a higher payment than a $200k house. I was recently helping someone determine between a $280k house and $245k condo in the north Orange County area as the payments worked out to be $25/mo for the house payment. If you don't mind taking care of the yard upkeep, etc. yourself is also another factor. Have you done a side-by-side comparison? Would you mind taking in a roommate to help out with the payment? Will your income increase later on that if you purchase a cheaper condo now, you may outgrow (financially/space-wise) it in a few years? My brother (couple years older than you) has a place down in Newport Beach and he has roommates (some are reliable, some have been not so reliable) that rent rooms out to help out with the payment (I'm only 5 years older than you and if I wasn't married/was single I'd definitely be living in a place with roommates helping the housing payment out - housing is expensive enough as it is, may as well live in misery with company). At your age, if you don't mind roommates, then I think it's a good way to get help in the housing payment department as well as allow you to look for homes that you don't feel you have to "settle" on.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
Hi Rick, welcome to the "Smorgasbord" of Real Estate! Because Condos were the last group of dwellings to see a major growth spurt, they are now the largest group of foreclosures. We have never seen prices and availability like we are seeing now in the Condo market in long Beach.

Future value? No one can accurately predict that, but in reality, you are buying at less than renting and that can never be a bad thing =)

Rentabilty? In Long Beach Rents are going up, and properties with views, amenities, and walkabilty are in demand.

Choose wisely young Padiwan, and get good advice, for this is your time. =)

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
If I were you, I would consider at least a 2 bedroom condo.
When it comes to the resale, you will be glad you did.
With regard to future value, in the $200K range you should be good and as far as leasing concerns, great.
How much cash do you have available to put down?
How's your credit score?
Are you employed and for how long?
These are the types of questions you will be asked to confirm that you qualify.
If you are interested in my assistance, please do not hesitate to call me.
I have more than 26 years of professional real estate experience and would be happy to assist you in your endeavors.
Steven Abraham
Licensed Real Estate Broker
Prudential CA Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
Choose a local agent you like to work with, discuss the needs and wants. There is plenty to choose from in Irvine, affordability is the challenge.

Lake forest or Tustin have better options than Irvine ... for that price. All the best!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
Hello Rick,

I am more than happy to refer you to an agent that could help verify if those properties would be a good investment. If you happen to need to speak to a lender to get pre-approved, I'd love to help you out.

Good luck!

Michael Abram
First Capital Mortgage
NMLS #235060
Direct: (310) 434-1718
Fax: (310) 451-6407
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011
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