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Relocating to Seal Beach, Huntington Beach area

Relocating to Seal Beach, Huntington Beach area

Sep 6th, 2005, 07:11 PM
  #1  
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Relocating to Seal Beach, Huntington Beach area

I was house hunting in Huntington Beach today. Saw one 1BR apartment $1350-1400, no laundry, no fridge, not a great location, slightly shabby. It is in the area of H-beach near where whole blocks are surrounded by walls. The apt complex has a waiting list of two people who need a place immediately and two for move-in in Nov. A waiting list for this place!? This is discouraging.

Would like to live in Seal Beach. Drove by one 2br bungalow that goes for 1800. Great location, looks a bit shabby, has a garage built for a model T. I think I could get my car in there but would probably have to climb out of the window. Probably will end up in at Oakwood for a little while.

I took a look at some areas of Long Beach over the weekend. The real estate agent that I will see tomorrow said that I should forget about LB as there are a lot of rough areas. When I mentioned Belmont Shores, she said something about there being a lot of college students around so it might be a bit noisy. I took her comments to mean that she didn't know anything about LB.

Looked like the Belmont Shore area might be nice but it was crowded. Lots of narrow one-way streets full of parked cars. The area between BS and LB city was very nice. I mean the stretch where there are homes on the east side of the road (Ocean?) and nothing on the beach side of the road. Very nice. The 1900 Ocean apartment building (hirise) in the city quoted $2000+ for a 1br 1100 sq ft. (maybe was 2br)

I could use some tips about the different areas of the towns near Seal Beach, especially the different areas of Huntington Beach. Is/was crime bad enough to warrant the walls and gates or what? The area down by the pier looked nice.

I see that there is a rail line that comes into HB near the pier and goes north towards LA. A couple of places that the agent wants to show me are a block or two from that rail line. I saw it on the map but don't recall driving over it. Is it noisy/busy?

mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 10:29 PM
  #2  
 
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You're better off going in the direction of HB or Fountain Valley vs. Long Beach. You may find a better deal on the northen end of Seal Beach than near the coast. I expect that Belmont Shore will be expensive and densely populated. HB is quite a large city, and again, you may do better in the northern part - anything remotely close to the pier will be extremely pricey.

It sounds like you don't have kids, so you won't need to worry as much about the school district - check EAST Garden Grove and EAST Westminster - they have pleasant neighborhoods and aren't far from the beach. Fountain Valley is a small city bordering HB on 2 sides and is filled with parks - very good place to live - about 3-5 miles from the beach, depending on where you are. The eastern part of Fountain Valley is out of the more desireable school district, so prices are lower. You may also want to check nearby nice cities such as Cypress or Cerritos - farther from the coast but with great community events and a lively arts calendar.

I've lived in the HB area for 15 years now, and I'm not aware of any train line leaving from the pier. You may be thinking of the blue line that leaves from Long Beach to LA. If you'll be commuting to L.A., well, good luck! Hope this has been of some help to you.
arewethereyet is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 11:02 PM
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OP may also be talking about the freight rail line that services San Pedro and the docks.
dwooddon is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 12:31 AM
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Hi mrwunrfl, I haven't been down to Long Beach for awhile as all the family down there moved away.

From what I understand the area between Belmont Shores and LB it not a good area crimewise. But a native of LB could sure advise you better then I can.

What I can strongly suggest to you is this...before you commit yourself to any rental, lease or purchase of property go the the local Police Department and ask for the crime statistics for the area you are interested in. That will give you a very good idea as to what the area is like. Best wishes.
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 08:29 AM
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Long Beach local here....

Belmont Shore is great, but for a somewhat better deal vis-à-vis rentals, Belmont Heights is just a bit removed from the beach and full of reasonable places to live. The general rule in coastal Long Beach as far as safe areas: Your best bet is east of Cherry, south of 7th; south of 4th, even better.

I now live in East Long Beach (neighborhoods east of Long Beach Airport), which is a VERY safe suburban neighborhood (albeit without a large rental market) dating back to the original Lakewood suburban development of 1950 or thereabouts. There are some great parts of Long Beach. You just have to look. The safe parts that I've indicated count among the most friendly and most inclusive and tolerant in southern California.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 11:18 AM
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My mistake in the Garden Grove/Westminster area. It's the WEST end of these cities that are close to the beach. For instance, there is a very nice and quiet looking townhome complex at Westminster Ave. and Bolsa Chica, that's just at the edge of Westminster and HB. We looked there when we were searching to buy - but decided against only because of the school district.

One bad thing about downtown HB (besides the prices) which you won't really think about, is that it takes quite some time just to make it to the freeway - usually at least 15 minutes - likely more during commute times. Keep this in mind when picking a location - it really adds to a commute time. I agree with RJW - it's always good to check with the police about the area you're looking at. HB has a few areas that you'd probably not care for - but it will be evident to you when you look. It's hard to go wrong in Fountain Valley - very low crime and maybe just a few blocks you wouldn't care for. The 405 is within a mile no matter where you are.
arewethereyet is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 12:58 PM
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Some other random thoughts for the area: Fountain Valley is a nice place, but it's really "Irvine" OC for me, not "Beach Community" OC-- that is, a little more suburban and less beach-y. Still, not at all a bad place to live. Costa Mesa is OK as well.

In the Long Beach area, I will say that the Belmont Shore/Belmont Heights areas do get a good percentage of students from Cal State Long Beach in the rentals. We have a healthy market in 1-bedroom condos (I happen to own one which I will unload in the next four months), so at that end of the market there's a lot of "flipping". However, the houses are VERY expensive (albeit one-third the cost of Santa Monica) and people tend to stay in them longer. Parking is a major sticking point in the Belmont Shores area-- particularly in the super-ritzy Naples neighborhood. Say what you will about Belmont Heights-- parking's a lot easier. If you find apartments with off-street spots, they are GOLD.

LoveItaly's suggestion about checking with local police is excellent. And always bear in mind that beach communities in southern CA tend to be difficult to get into and get out of; Seal Beach is exceptional, its beach being no more than five minutes to I-405.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 03:00 PM
  #8  
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Thanks for all of the great info. I will definitely be putting it to use.

The relocation/real estate agent took me to few places in HB today. At the beginning, she addressed my question about the RR lines by saying that they were "service lines" used by Home Depot and the like to get there stuff in, and they weren't regularly used. That is what she said.

We went into one place on Amazon St. As we were going in the front door we heard the train horn. Across the street were houses and behind them, immediately behind them, was a freight train!

About 40 minutes later at another location, to the west I think, I heard the train horn in the distance, they were really laying on it for a while. All in all not too bad, though.

Today was a bit more encouraging than yesterday.

I'll be poking around South Bay tomorrow. Will have to see what the commute is like to SB from Manhattan Beach.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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mrwunrfl,

Be sure to check out North Redondo in the South Bay, in the area of Manhattan Beach Blvd. and Aviation Blvd. My son rents a house there (is three houses from MB border) and the rent is more affordable. He gets on the 405 heading south at Inglewood Ave. every day to commute to work. It's easy to catch the freeway from there, and most of the traffic is heading north in the morning.
8-)
MBnancy is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 04:34 PM
  #10  
emd
 
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Bill: Don't discount the houses by the tracks based only on the train sounds. I am a very light sleeper (one of those people always makes sure I do not have a hotel room near the elevator or the ice machine). But we have lived in two homes right by freight train tracks and it never bothered me. First house was in West Rosemont area of Alexandria, train was two houses away. Second home in Franconia area the train ran immediately right behind the house. After about 9 p.m. the trains slowed down as they went through. It was never an issue noise-wise re sleeping.
emd is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 04:54 PM
  #11  
emd
 
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and yes, they blew the horns sometimes during the day but we sort of liked it and got used to it too. When we sold the Franconia house a secret service man who guards Bush (and works all hours) looked at it and he was so concerned about the trains that he asked to spend an entire day at the house. He almost put downa contract and then almost tried to cancel the contract. He wrote us a note a few months later and said how much he liked having the trains around...
emd is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 08:04 PM
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I live in HB - on PCH between Main Street & Goldenwest. I've been here since April (and last time I lived here with the same roommate was 3 years ago) and in all this time, I don't think I've ever heard of this train horn. I had no idea there was even a rail system around here. I guess, being on PCH, maybe I'm too far? In any case, Huntington Beach is huge - it stretches quite far, geographically. Of all the coastal OC beach communities, I would guess HB is probably the cheapest, compared to Newport or Laguna, et al.

Did you check some of the apartment complexes along Beach Blvd? My husband (before we got married) lived in a fine place on Beach & Adams called Bluffside. A small 500 sf studio was about $1000. But, there was ample parking (covered) and it was guard-gated community and only a 10 minute bike ride to the beach.

My only advice with HB is: parking & crime. I would never get into a place without ample parking for MY car, and future guests. I could never live with street parking - no way. And, I would stay away from places that have a lot of crappy cars parked along the street... Say what you will, but you can tell a neighborhood by the cars on the street.

If you're ok with not living within walkin distance of the sand, I would definitely check out Fountain Valley and the inland areas of HB - just stay on the ocean side of the 405 and check out each neighborhood personally and I think you'll do fine. p.s. I also check out neighborhoods during the early evening - when people come home - to see just how crowded the parking is when people are at home.

Good luck!
SimoneSassett is offline  
Nov 6th, 2005, 07:24 PM
  #13  
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I did have luck. I looked elsewhere, but every time I came back to Seal Beach and told myself that I wanted to live there. Now I do! Moved in on Friday to a nice big apartment a half block from Main Street and a half block from there to the pier. It is wonderful.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Nov 6th, 2005, 10:03 PM
  #14  
 
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mrwunrfl, thanks for filling us in. It's always nice to hear of a happy ending when other try to help you. Glad Seal Beach worked out for you.
8-)
MBnancy is offline  
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