Buying a condo in Huntington Beach can be a big step towards your future.
Whether you buy a 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, or a 3 bedroom condo it’s a big committment.
Touring over 10 or 20 Huntington Beach condos that are for sale can be tiring, frustrating, and annoying.
Signing a 15 or 30 year mortgage can be overwhelming.
But if you want to buy a condo in Huntington Beach then you really don’t have a choice unless your a cash buyer (and then you are lucky).
Huntington Beach, aka “surf city” is a fairly small community located on the coast between Seal Beach and Newport Beach.
It can be quite tricky to decide what Huntington Beach CA condo for sale is right for you.
There is so much to consider from location, size, price, amenities, and more.
But working with a local Huntington Beach real estate agent will give you the best chance to get a good deal, and make sure the purchase goes smoothly.
Just contact us and let us know what your needs are – budget, size, when you want to buy ,etc.
From there the process begins and soon enough you’ll be living in your very own HB condo that you purchased.
The main thing is that you want an agent that lives in HB and knows the area, that makes all the difference.
When you start searching for condos for sale in Huntington Beach, you really want to ask yourself “what’s most important to me”?
In other words do you need 3 bedrooms or will 2 bedrooms be OK?
Do you want a swimming pool or a great school district?
A lot of home and condo buyers in HB just think about what they want instead of what they Really need and this can cause problems.
Obviously pricing changes greatly as you buy more sq ft, or add things like a garage etc., so it is wise to really think over what you need.
The obvious things to consider when buying a condominium in Huntington would include the following:
For myself I have decided that the most important thing for me is location.
I want to be near the beach (within 1 mile or less) so that determines where I buy.
So if you want to live that close to the beaches in HB with water views there are condos available.
All of these areas are close to the beach and allow for easy access with a bike or just walking.
Maybe you want to live near a freeway so you have quick access for commuting purposes.
If that’s the case then you’d want to live inland closer to Beach Blvd. and Warner, or Beach and Garfield – basically near the 405 freeway.
One thing to consider is that generally the closer you get to the beach the more you will pay to buy a condo in HB.
How many sq ft do you need?
There is a huge difference in space between most 1 and 2 bedrooms, but a 3 bedroom won’t always feel that much bigger than a 2 bedroom.
The average 2 bedroom condo in Huntington has about 1000 sq ft, while a 1 bedroom is going to be closer to say 700 sq ft.
Ideally 1 bedroom condos are meant for a single person, but trying to put a couple and a baby in a 1 bedroom condo can be pretty tight.
Units are priced per sq ft so it’s vital to know how much space you need in order to get a budget planned and get serious about the buying process.
There are some great options if your main focus is buying a big townhouse.
Of course other things that affect the size of a condo could be outdoor space (patios, balcony, etc.) and storage space or a garage.
Having a garage is a huge plus as it offers storage, usually laundry facility, and basically just extra sq footage overall and a safe place to keep valuables like bikes and surfboards, etc.
The last condo we owned had 4 balconies and that was a huge bonus as it made the whole condo feel much larger than it was.
When it comes to amenities, everyone is different.
I prefer having access to a pool, tennis court etc., but do those things matter to you?
The typical amenities that condo buyers in HB worry about are outdoor space, pool and jacuzzi, plenty of parking, onsite gym, maybe retail stores.
Personally I don’t think enough buyers really think about amenities, but in the end they can really make a place better to call home.
I mean living 1 mile from the beach and having access to a pool and hot tub is amazing.
And some people who want to buy a condo in a new modern building love having underground parking, a gym and a coffee shop downstairs.
These amenities can add a hidden value for a buyer (and sometimes affect re sale value) so it’s worth worrying about before you make an offer.
Another major factor to consider before going condo shoppping is to think about the school district.
Even if you don’t have kids yet, you might have children down the road and you don’t want to send you kids to a bad school system.
Of course if you have kids when you buy a condo in HB then it’s even more important.
And when you go to sell your condo down the road many buyers will not even consider buying a condo in Huntington that isn’t in a good school district.
Most schools in HB are pretty good as a whole and some areas like Huntington Harbour have great schools.
Marina High and Harbour View elementary that rank 9 out of 10 on greatschools.org.
It is a well known fact that school districts can greatly affect the housing market so ask your realtor about the schools that your kids will be attending.
Of course price is always a determining factor when it comes down to buying a condo here in HB.
Huntington Beach is a popular place to live and if you are on a budget you might have to accept a 1 bedroom.
Once you get pre-approved for a mortgage the bank will only qualify you for a certain amount.
Unless you can come in with a huge down payment there is no way to buy a condo for more than your approved amount.
It’s best to talk this over with your realtor before you start touring properties, and making offers on HB condos.
For those of you looking to buy a condo in Huntington Beach it can be a hard choice because many of us want to buy a home instead.
I grew up in a house with a big yard and plenty of property to play outside and shoot baskets etc., but in todays world and crazy housing prices some can’t afford a home.
There are still great deals all over Huntington Beach if you want to buy a house, near Golden West College or inland towards Beach and Warner Ave., but as you get closer to the beach you’ll quickly see that prices are pretty high.
For example in Huntington Harbour you can still find 2 bedroom condos under $500,000 for sure, but you pretty much won’t see a house under $1 Million.
I guess the obvious benefits to owning a home would be having more space, greater potential for building equity with OPM (other peoples money).
Because if you borrow say 90% of the purchase price you still make equity on that 90% as home prices appreciate.
Other perks of home ownership in HB would include not having to deal with an HOA which gives you more freedom to do what you want.
Be sure to read the simple steps to making the condo buying process easy.
And even simple things like parking spaces are easier to find as a homeowner versus owning a condo.
On the other hand the obvious benefits of buying a condo in HB would include:
Other things that condo owners in HB appreciate are the amenities.
Depending on your community you might have tennis, a pool, jacuzzi, club house, etc.
Getting all those with a home purchase can be pretty rare and expensive.
Ultimately most people purchase a condo because of price and their budget, but there are a lot of older people who just prefer condo living becuase it’s simpler.
Another benefit of condo living is most communities offer garage parking, or carport at least.
The most important thing is to plan ahead like 10 years so you know where you want to live and what your day to day life will include.
And of course you never want to buy real estate in Huntington Beach ( or anywhere) that is going to cause you financial stress.
You can always sell your condo and buy a house down the road once you have more money to invest.
Another major factor that a home buyer needs to think about is if you buy a condo in Huntington Beach how much are the HOA fees and what amenities come with the price?
HOA fees- or home owners association – are paid every month by the condo owner (or home owner in some cases) to the HOA itself.
Of course you can contact us and our agents will be happy to explain in more detail how HOA’s really work.
Ideally the monthly dues are meant to go towards things like taking care of the community pool, landscape, tennis courts, clubhouse, and even major roof repairs, etc.
Typical HOA Fees
A typical HOA fee for a 2 bedroom condo in HB could cost about $300 a month for a condo that is worth say $400,000.
Although this ratio can vary greatly depending on the community you live in.
The example above is related to the Seascape Village condos located in Huntington Harbour on Algonquin Blvd in the 92649 zip code.
This is a very nice community that is just 1 mile from the beach and it offers a jacuzzi, tennis courts, club house, pool.
At Seascape the HOA dues have slowly increased over the years.
But at some newer developments that offer more amenities you might pay closer to $500 a month or even more once these communities offer gyms, retail stores, etc.
It is always a wise idea to research the HOA online before you buy a condo that is for sale in Huntington Beach just to make sure there is no outstanding liens or debt, etc., that the HOA is hiding or is dealing with.
I have always had good luck with the HOA and the condos I lived in.
But you hear horror stories all the time about people buying a Huntington Beach condo only to find out a year later that the HOA is low on money (for a variety of reasons) and suddenly the HOA raises the monthly dues so they can afford to maintain the community.
Problem is that once you are a condo owner you have no choice but to pay the monthly fees or sell your unit.
This is not a situation you want to deal with.
Sometimes HOA’s will have the wrong person on the board – secretary, president, etc. and that person doesn’t know how to be professional.
In turn this one bad person on the board can make life miserable for the HB condo owners living there.
Things that seem simple like getting Direct TV installed can become quite a mess when you find out you have to get your HOA to sign off on letting you get Direct TV to install the dish on the roof.
I’ve actually had this happen to me years ago and trust me the whole thing was a major pain.
You can’t choose how much you pay your HOA, and you can’t chooose who is on the board at the HOA.
But you can control what Huntington BEach condo you buy and that allows you to indirectly decide which HOA you become a part of.
Buying a condo in Huntington Beach is a big decision because if you want at least 2 bedrooms you can count on paying upwards of $350,000 (or much more closer to the beach).
But one of the biggest hurdles for people trying to buy a HB condo is deciding how much of a down payment they need to make (which is usually based on your credit score) and then of course saving up the $.
The old school way of doing things is that people would say put down at least 20% when you buy a house or condo.
But that mindset is from 50 years ago when homes and condos in HB cost nothing.
Now if you need to put down 20% on a $400,000 condo in Huntington Beach you are going to need to save $80k – that’s pretty hard for most people.
There are 2 big advantages to putting down 20% or more.
The first advantage is that of course your monthly payment will be much cheaper if you put more money down on the condo when you buy it.
The other big advantage is that you won’t have to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance) and PMI can be pretty expensive so check with your mortgage broker to get more information.
Nowadays there are all kinds of loan options that allow condo buyers in HB to put down 10% or 5% or maybe even less for first time buyers and other incentives.
There are many factors that go into the down payment requirements like credit score, your income, any past foreclosures, etc.
So do your research before making a decision and have a long conversation with your mortgage lender.
Buying a condo in Huntington Beach is doable for pretty much anybody when they are willing to save some money and be flexible.
The main thing to remember is that buying a condo is a Huge deal and you want to plan ahead and understand how it all works.
So take your time and decide how much down payment you can afford.
Condos in Huntington Beach are selling for crazy high prices near PCH or downtown HB, or Bella Terra.
So if you are looking to buy in a high priced area then you need to consider how much down you want to put.
You don’t want to put all your money in the bank down on a condo you buy and have no money left for emergencies.
Prices on condos in Huntington Beach have seen some nice appreciation over the last 20 years.
Like any investment there is always risk, but buying real estate in HB has been a pretty good idea for local residents.
A condo in Huntington Harbour that sells for $439,000 today, sold for just $110,000 in 1997 (according to Zillow).
And that same condo sold for $360,000 in 2004, then went up and down and is now selling for $439k.
Housing has always been considered to be a good Long Term investment, but buying a home for short term gains is dangerous.
Markets go up and down (even in HB) so you don’t want to buy a condo if you don’t plan to stay at least 10 years.
Normally they say house prices closely follow inflation over the long haul, but buying a condo in the right area at the right time can be a great idea.
Obviously condos say in Garden Grove haven’t showed the same appreciation as those condos in HB, and especially closer to the beach where prices are stable.
The main thing to remember about pricing is this, prices will ultimately go up.
But when you are living in your condo you can’t really use your equity (unless you refi your mortgage) or take out a home equity line of credit (HELOC).
Without tapping into your equity it’s really just a number you’ll cash in when you sell down the road.
So look at a condo purchase in Huntington Beach as a place to live, not a purchase simply to make money.
A great piece of advice is to talk to your real estate agent or mortgage lender about your financial goals to help you make a better decision before buying.
This is one of the most common questions we hear, people want to know how the buying process works (usually first time condo buyers).
Of course it’s not a simple answer because every condo purchase is unique, just as every buyer is different.
On average it’s safe to say that buying a condo in OC and moving in can take about 90 – 120 days.
That is taking into account the buyer looks at a normal amount of properties and that the loan and escrow process don’t have huge complications.
The main variable when it comes to time required to buy a condo in HB is how picky you are as a buyer, and how many options you end up touring.
Nowadays with websites like Zillow and realtor.com many potential condo buyers can do so much research and due diligence that the buying process is faster and easier.
Buying a house or condominium is probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so don’t rush it or be in a hurry.
Many times buyers get frustrated and impatient and either over pay or end up buying a condo that wasn’t ideal simply because they want to “speed up the process”.
Trust your realtor, ask them for advice and take your time. Buying a property in Huntington Beach should be fun and worth the time it takes.
We have listed the main 8 steps below:
Buying a condo in Huntington Beach CA is an exciting and life changing event, but before you start searching for listings and touring properties with your agent you need to think ahead.
How much of a monthly payment can you afford?
That question can be very tricky because the bank will qualify you for a certain amount of money (based on many factors) and pre-qualify you.
But what the banks offers to loan you isn’t automatically the amount you should borrow to buy a condo.
Many people get in over their heads and borrow too much money, and end up “house rich” and “cash poor”.
That just means that you can own a HB condo that is worth $500,000 and have equity, but every month you are broke due to paying the mortgage.
You also need to remember that banks typically like to see a borrower have at least a 2 year history in a related job industry to show a stable income.
In other words if you make $100k now annually but you are in a new career field, the banks may not feel comfortable loaning you money.
This really depends on a lot of factors and there is never one exact answer – each bank and borrower will have different results.
Typically the amount of money you can borrow from a bank for a condo purchase will be determined by factors like below:
This is actually a pretty easy answer, you shouldn’t borrow more than you can afford to pay every month.
Only the condo buyer will really know this because only you know your future plans, career changes, purchases, etc.
If you take home $10,000 a month now and have no kids you might think you can spend $4000 a month on a mortgage payment, but if you have a child next year watch out.
In other words the bank will determine how much you can borrow by your finances today.
And the banks won’t look into the future about you having kids or changing careers, etc.
Many people who bought a condo in Huntington Beach in 2006 or 2007 are just now in 2017 finding the home values have recovered, but when prices dropped many condo owners were stuck.
They couldn’t sell their property because they were “underwater” meaning they owed more on the condo than what it could sell for.
You need to be careful about buying a property that you want just because you can afford it.
If prices go flat and the economy stalls but you need to move and sell your condo (like a job change) then you can wind up in a bad financial spot.
Best advice is probably to borrow a little less than a bank approves you for, this way you are on the safer side as you can always buy a bigger condo later.
If you take home say $10,000 a month you should try to keep your monthly mortgage payment to about $3000 or less (30% DTI).
But that $3000 monthly payment needs to include HOA fees, property tax, PMI (private mortgage insurance if you put less than 20% down), and other things like home owners insurance, etc.
So as an example to work from, say you find a Huntington Beach condo for sale that you like in the 92649 zip code and you settle on a sales price of $450,000.
Assume you put down 10% 0r $45,000 and you have good credit score of 720 so you get an interest rate of 4%.
You can expect your total payment to be about $2700 a month.
It would include $1950 for principal and interest, $300 HOA fees, PMI about $250, and then property taxes, insurance, etc.
Of course these numbers are just examples, but they give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Personally I’d feel comfortable paying $2700 a month if I was bringing home $10,000 a month.
Before you start touring HB condos for sale be sure to plan ahead for things like –
home inspections, appraisal costs and timelines, interview neighbors, how the community is at night, etc.
Buying a condo can be a fun and exciting process, but it is also a serious purchase and needs to be treated as such.
Other things to think about are do you prefer a single story condo, or do you mind sharing a wall, etc?
There are many things home buyers can do to improve their chances of buying a condo that is going to be a good fit.
Once you have decided what condo you want to make an offer on, you’ll have to work with your realtor to schedule a home inspection.
An inspection might cost about $300 (depends a lot on sq ft) but it can help you – the condo buyer – fully understand any problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye.
Think mold, bad pipes, problems with the roof, broken garaage door, etc., and if there are major issues then you might want to keep condo hunting.
The appraisal is most important to get the bank to fund the loan so you can buy the HB condominium.
Typically an appraisal will cost about $200 – $300 for a 2 bd condo and it will give you a good idea of the current market value.
Appraisals can be tricky though because sometimes different appraisers will value the same condo at a different price, usually due to opinion.
One appraiser might think granite counter tops are worth X and another might think it’s only worth 3/4 X..
Again this is something that your Huntington real estate agent can help you with and guide you through the process.
Meet The Neighbors
One great tip for soon to be condo buyers in Huntington Beach is to go meet / interview some neighbors in the community you want to buy in.
There is no better way to judge a community than to get direct feedback from people who own a condo next door.
This is a great step to take that gives you insight that you can’t otherwise get.
Drive By At Night
This is a tactic an old friend of mine told me about. Go check out the area at nighttime to really see if you want to live there.
Many neighborhoods and condo complexes look great in the daytime, but at night they can be a different story.
I actually didn’t make an offer on a house once because I toured the area at night, and that was enough for me.