Hire an agent to represent you and provide this advice directly. As a first time buyer, attempting to do this on your own may be a serious mistake. Especially in the Long Beach area where 1 street can make a world of difference in the future value of your investment. The same holds true for most areas and would be a hard lesson to learn on your own. Find a great agent and stick with them. It may be one of the most important decisions you make. Good luck to you in any case.