Buying an Old Home in Long Beach

Here at The Shannon Jones Team, we are big fans of historic houses! We just love how rich Long Beach’s history is and love learning about it. Over the years, the team has sold numerous old homes and learned a number of things about their benefits and drawbacks. Here is just some of what we’ve learned.

Risks and Rewards

Any home buyer who is searching for homes in neighborhoods like Belmont Heights, Bluff Heights, Bluff Park, Rose Park, California Heights, needs to be ready to buy a historic home. All of these neighborhoods have a number of older homes. These homes can offer vintage charm and architectural appeal. However, there are also issues that are unique to these homes and need to be considered.

A Thorough Inspection is Important

It’s important to have a thorough inspection that will reveal whether the house is likely to be a sound investment and comfortable home — or a money pit. You should hire a physical inspector who will examine all of the home’s major systems, top to bottom. Here are some things you’ll want to be aware of.


Some homes in Long Beach were built before the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake, which resulted in changes to seismic standards for buildings. These homes may have foundations that are not bolted. It’s important to have an inspector who will crawl under the house and examine the posts and piers and the integrity of the concrete. Many older homes have had some settling over the years. Therefore, cracks don’t necessarily mean a big problem, but your inspector should help you assess the situation.


If the home was built between 1920 and 1950 and hasn’t been extensively remodeled, it may still have knob-and-tube wiring. Ask your home inspector what type of wiring you have and what condition it’s in. They should also make sure the electrical panel is sufficient to handle today’s demands.


When it comes to historic homes, the fact is, many have old pipes. If the home you’re considering was built prior to 1960, the pipes may be made of steel or cast-iron. These can corrode, decay, and rust over time. Some pipes are behind walls so if you have any questions about the plumbing and whether it needs work, consider having a plumbing contractor inspect the system as well.


Charming landscaping and pretty paint colors can draw your eye when you drive up to a home, but don’t forget to look up at the roof. If the roof is sagging, this can be a sign that the roof is holding too much weight. This is possible when new roofing is installed over old roofing. Check the shingles. Are they curled and cupped instead of flat? Ask the homeowner about the age of the roof.  Consider having an inspection by a roofing contractor if the physical inspection notes any issues.

Other old home factors

In addition to the potential of having outdated systems, older homes typically have some of the following issues.

  • Lack of closet space
  • Small bedrooms
  • Inadequate insulation
  • Small kitchens
  • Lack of a “master” bedroom with an attached bathroom

Yet they also may have amazing benefits like the following.

  • Gleaming hardwood floors
  • Crown moldings
  • Built-in china cabinets and bookcases
  • Traditional front porches
  • Many sit on lots that are large enough to plant a garden in the backyard

Other Factors to Consider

Architectural Style

Long Beach is known for its diversity in many ways, including the diverse architectural styles that can be found throughout the city. While there are some early Victorian, Tudor, and Foursquare homes, many of the neighborhoods are filled with Craftsman bungalows, Spanish Colonial Revival, or Mid-Century Modern homes. There are also a number of ranch-style homes.

Which historic district is right for you?

Long Beach has 18 historic districts. Living in a historic district builds community pride and brings residents together because of their common interest in preserving the neighborhood and its architectural character. In fact, historic preservation can increase property value and owners may qualify for federal tax incentives. Beautiful historic homes in Long Beach are always in demand and some of the historic districts are very hot neighborhoods.

One thing to keep in mind about living in a historic district is that there are some special rules regarding painting and other exterior modifications within the districts. You will need to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness from the City of Long Beach for all exterior changes, even those that don’t require permits.  The application is available through the Historic Preservation Office.

Buying a Piece of History

If you are looking for historic homes currently on the market please click HERE. We would be happy to help you find the right home for you. Simply fill out the form below or give us a call at 562.896.2456. We look forward to helping you find your piece of history!

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About the Author

Shannon Jones has been selling real estate since 1998 and specializes in listing and marketing homes. She has consistently been one of the top Realtors in the Long Beach area. Prior to her award-winning career in real estate with the Shannon jones Team, Shannon has had successful careers in journalism and public relations. She holds a bachelors degree from UC Irvine and a masters degree from UC Berkeley. Shannon holds E-Pro, CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert), and PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) certifications. Shannon is very personable and maintains a very strong moral compass, always putting the best interest of home buyers/sellers above monetary goals. A California native, Shannon enjoys gardening, travel, reading, cooking and poker when she’s not selling homes MY DESIGNATIONS Lic# 01247705 | CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) | E-Pro | PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) MY SERVICE AREAS Anaheim Bellflower Buena Park Carson Cerritos Cypress Downey Fountain Valley Garden Grove Huntington Beach La Palma Lakewood Long Beach Los Alamitos Los Angeles County Norwalk Orange County Rossmoor San Pedro Seal Beach Signal Hill South Bay Westminster

One response to “Buying an Old Home in Long Beach”

  1. Purchasing an old home can be an exciting venture. This article may provide guidance on the unique considerations and benefits of buying historic properties in Long Beach.

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