The sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles may seem like a daunting place to try to find a reasonably priced, livable apartment. But don't fret -- there are actually plenty of excellent rental properties available for those who are moving to the area or who need to find a place a little closer to the city. Here are the best tips and tricks to help you find the LA apartment of your dreams.
Know Where to Look for an L.A. Apartment
First, familiarize yourself with the personality of each neighborhood so that you know where to begin your search. From laid-back, family-oriented suburbs to vibrant, thriving urban settings, LA gives you your pick.
Downtown LA - The downtown area is a bit gritty, but if you're willing to look past a little graffiti, it offers a diverse group of hip young people, a rich culture and history, easy walking to great employers, shopping, entertainment, and even some lovely architecture.
Hollywood - Hollywood has changed tremendously in the past decade. Young professionals enjoying life in trendy flats and loft apartments have replaced the seedy element that previously discouraged new residents. The clean-up and restoration process brought in an abundance of restaurants, shops, and clubs to keep young singles and couples entertained in style. Two subway stations offer convenient access to downtown jobs.
Pasadena - Pasadena is an oasis from trendy LA, featuring a restored downtown area full of history. Amid the shops, museums, markets, and theaters, citizens enjoy a variety of bungalows, condos, and apartments. Pasadena residents vary from young singles to retirees, representing all income levels and backgrounds.
Highland Park - Highland Park offers some of the lowest rent prices in LA, but the trendy feel of the nearby music stores and wine bars lend it an uptown vibe. It's ideal for 20-somethings who need affordable apartments but desire the energy of an up-and-coming neighborhood. Highland Park is also easy to navigate by foot, so it's perfect for renters who have yet to invest in a reliable vehicle.
Culver City - Culver City's rent is slightly higher than in Highland Park, but for the difference in rental costs, residents are treated to a renovated downtown area and the Expo Line Station, which offers quick and easy access to downtown jobs, shopping, and entertainment. It’s also just a hop, skip and jump to the bohemian vibes of Venice Beach.
Mar Vista - If your pockets run a little deeper and you're looking for a family-friendly suburb with a true sense of community, Mar Vista is the place to be. Homeowners here outnumber renters, but rental units are available if you know where to look. The school system is excellent if you have kids or are planning on having them in the future.
Know How to Look for an L.A. Apartment
Now that you've chosen your perfect neighborhood, it's time to find your apartment.WestSideRentals.com, Rent.com, Zillow, TheRentalGirl, and Hotpads are all excellent resources for apartment hunting, depending on the type of search interface you prefer.
The classified ad section in the newspaper is another place to find apartments and rental properties. Also, you can take an afternoon and ride through your favorite neighborhood and see if any "For Rent" signs catch your eye.
Many people in LA own property they're willing to rent but aren't professional landlords. These people usually list the property with their realtor instead of on these websites. Check the MLS.com database to see these privately owned rental listings. When searching, play around with your keyword searches. Sometimes a keyword like "old Hollywood" yields better results than a search for just "Hollywood."
Moving to LA is exciting once you realize that finding an apartment isn't as intimidating as it seems. There are apartments out there, but the good ones go fast. Be prepared to hold out for what you're looking for so you don't have to pack up and move again as soon as the lease runs out.
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