What is the difference between Condo Living vs House Living in Long Beach?
As a Long Beach resident myself, I get asked all the time – should I buy a condo or a house here in Long Beach?
It’s a great question, and like most things in life, there’s no one “right” answer. The best option depends entirely on your lifestyle, priorities, and budget.
Let me walk you through the key pros and cons of each, so you can make the best decision for your situation. There are great options for both condos and houses here if you know where to look!
The Long Beach Condo Lifestyle
There are some really nice perks to the condo lifestyle that make it appealing, especially for first-time homebuyers or those looking for a lower-maintenance place.
Some of the best things about living in a Long Beach condo:
Built-In Amenities: Most condos come with amenities like a pool, gym, clubhouse, and security features. The Aqua Towers in downtown, having the pool and fitness center right downstairs was awesome. You can save so much on gym memberships! Many buildings also have covered parking or garages available.
Lower Maintenance: You don’t have to worry about yardwork or exterior repairs in a condo. The homeowner’s association (HOA) handles all of that. I loved not having to mow a lawn or paint a fence when you live in condos in Long Beach.
Walkability: Many condos are located in central, urban areas. I could walk to shops, restaurants, and the beach easily from my downtown condo. Driving was minimal. If you want a pedestrian lifestyle, condos can provide it.
Affordability: Condos are often the most budget-friendly option, especially for first-time buyers. You can find nice affordable Long Beach condos for sale in the low $400k’s.
Community Environment: You get to know your neighbors when sharing common spaces. I made some good friends living in condos over the years whom I might not have met in a single-family home. There’s a sense of community.
So if convenience, affordability, amenities, and a maintenance-free lifestyle sound ideal, a condo could be a great fit!
The Privacy and Space of a Long Beach House
Here are some of the best reasons to choose house living instead:
Privacy: Having your own single-family residence is vastly more private than sharing common walls with neighbors. We can make noise and use our outdoor space without worrying about bothering anyone!
Freedom to Renovate: Since we own the house, we can renovate, paint, and landscape however we want. Adding a pool or deck? No problem! Condos are much more restrictive.
Investment Potential: Real estate nearly always appreciates over time. Houses in particular gain value.
Backyard Space: Having a private yard with room for pets, kids, gardening and entertaining is a huge perk. The outdoor space was our favorite part about owning a home.
Parking & Storage: No more fighting for parking spots! With a house, all the parking is yours. Plus you gain garage space and other storage options not available in condos.
As you can see, the privacy, freedom, and investment upside of a house make it rewarding. But you do lose out on some of the conveniences of condo living, so weigh your priorities!
Comparing the Costs: Condos Can Provide Savings
From a pure money standpoint, condos tend to be significantly more affordable and come with lower carrying costs. Let’s break down some of the key costs to understand the financial differences between owning a condo vs. a house.
Mortgage Payments: The mortgage principal and interest payment is generally lower for a condo than a similarly-sized house. Condos have lower purchase prices but you have monthly HOA (homeowner association fees).
Property Taxes: Property taxes are lower for condos than comparable houses. Expect to pay about 1.25% of your purchase price in property taxes.
HOA Fees: Condos come with HOA fees that cover amenities, maintenance, insurance, and other shared costs. These typically run $200-1000 per month. Houses don’t have HOA fees.
Utilities: Utility costs can be slightly lower in a condo since you’re only paying for the units within your walls, not a whole house. Expect to pay a little more for a house’s utilities.
Insurance: Condo insurance is cheaper, as the HOA covers insuring the building itself. Homeowners insurance costs more since it covers the entire dwelling. Check with Tim Weidenkeller of Farmers Insurance at 562-431-5940 for insurance quotes.
Maintenance & Repairs: From yardwork to plumbing, houses come with significantly higher maintenance costs than a condo. HOAs cover all exterior and shared maintenance for condos.
Appreciation Potential: While houses gain more real estate value over time, condos appreciate as well, just at a bit slower pace. Condos can be a great investment too.
So financially speaking, condos provide more affordability upfront, lower monthly costs, and less maintenance. But houses offer greater long-term real estate value. You have to balance the current budget with the investment outlook.
Making the Condo vs House Decision in Long Beach, California
Let’s recap the key differences between condos and houses:
Condos provide amenities, walkability, affordability, and a sense of community. But they lack privacy, outdoor space, and renovation potential.
Houses offer privacy, freedom, appreciation value, and ample storage. But they require more upfront costs and ongoing maintenance.
As you weigh these lifestyle factors and financial considerations, think about your priorities for the next 5-10 years. Will you need space for a family? Are low maintenance and budget the biggest concerns?
Take your time exploring both condos and houses for sale.
- Check out the latest listings and prices in Long Beach to get a feel for options in your range.
- Narrow down by neighborhoods and special features that appeal to your lifestyle using tools like these.
And don’t hesitate to ask local Long Beach real estate agents, Jay Valento and Lorene Morgan, for insights as you determine whether a condo or house is the better fit.
We know the Long Beach market and can offer a helpful outside perspective. At the end of the day, choosing between condo living or a house comes down to aligning your priorities with the option that best suits your needs.
Whichever you choose, I hope you love living in Long Beach as much as I have! Feel free to reach out if you need any help weighing condo vs. house living or have questions about the real estate market here. I’m happy to help!