Buying a beach home is a dream that many people would love to pursue, but high prices make it out of reach for many. Long Beach, however, remains one of the most affordable beach communities in Southern California. Part of that reason is because we don’t have waves here, thanks to the breakwater. Let’s explore the ins and outs of buying a beach home in Long Beach.
If you’re a beach lover or if you simply love beautiful views, it’s amazing to be able to look out your window and see the Pacific Ocean. However, there are some things to consider. Let’s walk through things to consider when buying a beach home in Long Beach.
Home or Condo?
Most homes along the beach in Long Beach are condominiums. You’re more likely to get a single-family home if you’re willing to walk a few minutes to the beach. Living at the beach comes with maintenance caused by exposure to salt water and humidity. If you own a house, you’ll have to handle all of that yourself. As a condo owner in a homeowners association, you and your neighbors collectively cover the costs of maintaining communal infrastructure and the management company will coordinate the work. Condos may also come with amenities like gyms, pools, and spas.
The classic beach bungalow is a favorite among many beach-loving homeowners, but there are few of these right on the beach. Part of the reason may be that wood siding requires frequent re-painting. So you’ll find a fair number of stucco homes, along with stainless steel and glass and other construction. These type of homes may hold up to the elements a little better.
Be Aware Of Your Soundings
Are there vacant parcels that could be developed into multi-story buildings that could potentially obstruct your ocean view? Are there trees that could potentially grow taller or go untrimmed and become a nuisance? Long Beach’s ocean view is unique in the region because of the twin ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, making the area the nation’s busiest shipping hub. At certain times of year, multiple container ships can be anchored offshore for weeks at a time. Long Beach also has its iconic astronaut-named oil islands along the coast.
Parking Impacted Areas
If you have visitors to your beach home, keep in mind they may find parking difficult to find. Many beach cities, including Long Beach, have identified and regulated shoreline communities as parking impacted due to a shortage of on-street parking. The city of Long Beach’s Parking Impacted Area Map includes the neighborhoods of Alamitos Beach, Belmont Shore, the Peninsula, and Naples. The Bluff Park Historic District is not within the map’s boundaries.
If you’re in the Parking Impacted Area, the city requires all parties in atransaction to be furnished with a resale report on the property’s legally required off-street parking. This is intended to reduce violations of illegal garage conversion on existing parcels. Long Beach city employees will conduct garage inspections to look for illegal plumbing and make sure a car can still pull into the parking space.
The potential cost of flood insurance is also something to consider if you’re buying at the beach. During escrow, your lender will certify whether your home is in a flood zone identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If your home falls within this map, you’ll be required to purchase a flood insurance policy before the close of escrow. Belmont Shore, Naples and the Peninsula are some of the local neighborhoods that fall under this requirement.
Keep in mind also that if you buy a home that’s within 1,000 yards from the high tide line, it will fall within an area governed by The California Coastal Act, which may mean there are additional restrictions and a coastal development permit must be issued by California Coastal Commission or a local government before any construction can occur.
It’s also important to remember that just because you bought on the beach doesn’t mean you own the shoreline itself. The public essentially has the right to hang out, within certain restrictions, in front of your home. Beach crowds and traffic can get pretty insane on holiday weekends so if you’re not up for that plan to leave town. Or you could always join them.