Having lived in Brooklyn for nearly a decade, I hit the latter half of my 30s and decided I just didn’t have the fight in me anymore. I wanted a driveway. I wanted my very own washer and dryer. I wanted a yard and who knows, maybe even some fruit trees! Enter Los Angeles. LA is a wonderful option for someone leaving NYC in search of more space (and serenity) but who isn’t quite ready to give up all of the culture, nightlife, jobs, and delicious food options that come with living in a big city.
Anyone who has made the move to NY knows it’s not generally an easy feat. Coming up with your first month’s rent, deposit, and broker fees alone can easily add up to $10k – and that’s assuming you were able to snag a great place before one of the other 35 people applying and that there wasn’t a freak blizzard on your moving day. I have good news for those of you thinking of leaving – moving to Los Angeles is much easier! With that being said, I was surprised at the lack of information and resources I could find for moving between the 2 cities so I’ve put together my own little guide.
Moving Your Stuff
- Surprisingly, renting a U-Haul or Ryder truck and loading everything up yourself is, in my experience, one of the most expensive options for the cross-country move. For example the 14’ truck gets 10mpg – multiply that by the 2,796 mile trip at $4 per gallon – that’s over $1000 in gas alone, not even counting the surprisingly high rental fee for the truck.
- Storage pods: I don’t know anyone who has ever done one of these for a cross-country move but the quotes I’ve seen were extremely high. If you used a pod for your big move I would love to hear about your experience.
- Moving company: Hiring a crew of guys to come dismantle all of your furniture, load it up for you, drive it nearly 3,000 miles and unload it into your new home may sound like a luxury reserved for people with money to burn (then again you’ve probably been paying someone in NYC to do your laundry, haven’t you?) but you’d be surprised at how economical it can be. These companies rent out space on one huge truck and you only pay for the percentage of space you use – think of it like a moving co-op. I had a great experience with MoveEast.com (who charged me 1/4 of what I was quoted for pods and DIY trucks). I’d be happy to share more details of my experience as well as a personal reference and what to expect from movers if you’d like to email me. Just remember to do your homework and read reviews on whatever company you pick – you are literally trusting these people with everything you own.
- Having Boxes Shipped: If you’re getting rid of all of your big furniture and will only be bringing the clothing and basics this could be a great option. Make some phone calls and think outside the box – I had a friend who called a major bus line and was able to ship more than 50 boxes via the undercarriage of the bus for about 1/10th of what a shipping company would have charged her.
Finding Your New Home
As far as bang for the buck there’s a good chance you’re probably going to get way more space for the price in LA than you had in NYC. Are you going to get a beachfront bungalow for the same price as your Bushwick studio? No. But good news is those things you pay dearly for in NY like outdoor space or a garage or views are all relatively easy to come by and affordable here in LA.
- Renting: The most exciting thing about moving from NY to LA as a renter is . . . NO FEES! Most places in LA are rented directly by an owner or management company and in the few instances when there is an agent involved the fee is paid by the owner, not you. The drawback to this is you likely won’t have an agent shopping for you unless you’re in the luxury market. Your best bet for browsing listings is our old pal craigslist. You can also check out The Rental Girl, Lovely, and Apartments.com but in general craigslist usually has everything as well, you just have to be ready to dig.
- Buying: The prices for entry-level condos and starter homes in LA are equivalent of what I’ve seen people pay for a parking space in NYC, so rejoice! Again, everything depends on the location you want – you’ll pay a premium for anything close to the beach or in a particularly hot neighborhood, but there are always deals to be had. Contact me with a little info about what you’re looking for and I would love to help in your search.
If you really loved the walkability of your neighborhood in NYC we have totally walkable hoods here in LA too. If you want an up and coming area flourishing with artists and galleries, LA has that in spades. If you’re not ready to give up the lofty city vibe, we have a thriving downtown. Private cottage tucked into a hillside? Mid-Century Modern? White picket fence? Spanish hacienda? Mountain views? Ocean views? A pool? LA can make it happen for you.
I can go on all day about “if you lived in ____ in New York City you would really like ____ in Los Angeles” but lets be honest, you probably already know the general area you would want to live in due to it’s proximity to your work, friends, or interests. I will say this – LA has a pocket for everything and the neighborhood that ends up stealing your heart may not be the one you expected. No matter how many times you’ve been here (or lived here) before, this city is constantly evolving – come visit one more time before your move and check out everything from Studio City to Pasadena. You may be surprised how drastically some areas have changed.
Some of the most affordable, walkable, and adorable neighborhoods in LA luckily also have some of the top-rated schools. Sought-after Elementary school districts in great areas include Ivanhoe, Wonderland, Mount Washington, Dahlia Heights, and Eagle Rock but there are many many more. Check out GreatSchools.org for ratings and more info on K-12.
If you can drive in NYC you’ll have no problem here. Drivers are generally similar with the added bonus of no crazy taxis or livery drivers cutting you off every 5 seconds. When it’s time to get your license and register your car go to the DMV website where you can make an appointment and be in and out in around 30 minutes.
I personally enjoy the sanctuary of my car for transport but if you’re really not ready to give up the magic of public transportation yet LA does have an ever-expanding (and pretty impressive) train system and excellent bus lines. Uber is also a wonderful option and costs much less than a typical livery car service or taxi in NYC.
One thing to know – do. not. mess. around. with meters and parking restrictions in Los Angeles. There is no grace period on meters in LA as there is in NY and if you go so much as 30 seconds over I promise you’ll have a big fat ticket when you return (which will also double in size every couple of weeks it sits unpaid).
Groceries / Food
LA may not have Fairway but we do have sprawling grocery stores everywhere with aisles so wide that you can go shopping during peak weekend hours, easily find parking, and still have plenty of aisle space all to yourself (sounds crazy, I know). Grocery shopping is so easy here I can almost guarantee you’ll start eating in more often, and why not since you’ll want to enjoy dinner al fresco on your new sunset view terrace.
On a side note, my grocery bill is literally half of what it used to be in NYC for all of the same things I’ve always bought. I do not question this phenomena, just smile and move along.
It is sort of mind-blowing that it can literally feel 70 and sunny every day. I thought for sure there was some sort of secret Los Angeles winter no one had told me about, but no, nearly every day here seems primed for the beach or a hike. You should hang on to some of your sweaters and jackets though as it does tend to get a little chilly at night, even in the summer.
Stressed About Your Move?
We can fix that too.
If you have any questions about anything above please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. If you’re making the plunge and would like more info on the current LA housing market by all means please give me a call at 323.989.3839 and if you’re going to rent for a while first please keep in touch so that I can help you find your dreamhome when you’re ready to buy.