Today I’ve got something for readers who have perhaps been growing weary of some of the more opulent, multi-million dollar waterfront properties I sometimes slobber over in this space.
These are houses to dream about because they’re way, way beyond the affordability of most Long Beachers who work hard every day in order to bring home enough money to pay the city’s average rent of $2,227 for a two-bedroom apartment—that’s about half the cost of what you’d pay for a mortgage for a median-priced home sold for in Long Beach in July.
What’s even less heartening for those who are struggling to save to get into the housing market is the type and condition of homes and their location that’s relatively affordable—and I mean relative to the $4 million homes in Naples and the Peninsula as well as to the measly $1 million homes that are scattered about elsewhere in semi-desirable neighborhoods throughout the city.
I might be going to extremes with this first place I couldn’t help but notice over on the west side of town at 1519 W. Summit St.
Curb appeal? Not too bad. It’s got a nice white wrought iron fence and a gate latched between two red stone pillars to a path that leads through a front yard with a lawn and a large shade tree. The home’s architecture is sort of a rustic barn style. Venturing through the front door is when the wheels start falling off and you might say to your partner that maybe you should look around some more.
The kitchen has been stripped down to pretty much just a sink and some cupboard and is otherwise appliance-free. But at least there’s no graffiti scrawled on the walls as there is in virtually every other room in this four-bedroom, three-bath home. Not exactly the decor I would have chosen, and if you feel the same way, you might want to consider a few dozen cans of paint to cover the graffiti, though if the previous temporary inhabitants make a surprise visit, they might not take kindly to your improvements.
The house, near Admiral Kidd Park and Cabrillo High School, is listed at $599,950, and the small bit of good news is you don’t have to worry about the mortgage. It’s being sold as-is with cash or hard money only, and if you have to ask what hard money is, you probably don’t have any. Still interested? The listing agents are Jessica Nieto and Brian Brooke.
A much, much nicer home, with a lot fewer interior cosmetic drawbacks, is a three-bedroom, two-bath 1,213-square foot Spanish-style bungalow at 1608 Cedar Ave. in the Washington neighborhood, where its list price of $720,000 might be considered a tad on the dear side. Pick it up and slap it down somewhere else, say, Bixby Knolls or Belmont Heights, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask for $1 million or more.
But here, especially looking like a real estate holdout bracketed by two large multi-family buildings, it’s difficult to deploy the oft-used adjective “cozy.” lf you’re the type that frequently finds neighbors a challenge to deal with, there’s plenty of potential for spats here. Still, the 1928 house went through a thorough remodel in 2014 with an admirable effort to bring privacy—and even coziness—to the property, especially in the backyard where, without planning, residents and their guests would be prime viewing material for the second-floor residents in the buildings on either side.
Doing a heroic job of protecting the backyard from the viewing pleasure of the neighbors is a large and handsome wood-ceilinged covered patio as well as rows of tall evergreens along the fences.
Inside, the house has been upgraded with new appliances in the kitchen, which opens into the living room with a wide-open floor plan. The floors are dark wood laminate and the bedrooms are large and airy.
The property is listed by Realtor Natalie Said of Coldwell Banker.
Both of these homes I’m showing you today are under the median price for homes recently sold in Long Beach, but, even if they can be considered affordable, it shows that there’s a little more to consider than the Realtor’s adage, “location, location, location.”
One can possibly be flipped with more than a little know-how and hard work, the other is stuck, almost adamantly, where it is.