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On Moving From New York to Los Angeles

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.

My grandparents, George and Grace Dunsmoor together in front of their first LA apartment in 1942.
  • 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.

Neighborhoods

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.

Schools

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.

Getting Around

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.

Weather:

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.

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The Perfect Place For All of Those Houseguests

If you’re the type of person who has a lot of out-of-state friends and family coming to visit all the time, or you’re looking for a home with an option for income potential though something like Airbnb, this may be the perfect home for you. Located in the heart of Silver Lake, this home is easily accessible to the shops on Silver Lake Blvd and the reservoir, while still being tucked quaintly into a private hillside.

3026 Effie St, Silver Lake – $1,549,000
4bd/4ba, 2,767sf in the heart of Silver Lake.

Since so many Silver Lake properties are situated on deep slopes finding a home with flat yard and pool in this area can be a challenge but this home comes equipped with both a brand new pool and a spa/hot tub. In addition to a guest suite with it’s own private entrance, this home has a detached garage so you don’t have to give up any space. The main house is a spacious 3bd/3ba and the guest suite is completely self-contained with it’s own entrance, kitchen, and bathroom.

Contact me to tour this home in person!

Listing provided courtesy of Lauren Reichenberg, Extraordinary Real Estate, Inc

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Cute Starter Homes: Under $600k

Buying your first home is a really big deal, but lets be honest, you probably won’t live there forever so you don’t need to think of it as a lifelong commitment. A starter home can be a great home for now – for the next 5 or so years – just something to get your feet wet with the great wide world of home-ownership, and ideally a really great investment that will grow.

Here are some under $600k which is currently a price-point that can get you something with a fair amount of space thats already been remodeled and is move-in ready.


2125 Vallejo St, Lincoln Heights – $598,000
4bd/3ba, 3,500sf, complete with a little white fence, a big green yard, and views of downtown!

Listing provided courtesy of Myrna Castro, Keller Williams Realty

4951 Hartwick St, Eagle Rock, $543,000
2bd/1ba and 884 sqft

Listing provided courtesy of Tracy King, Teles Properties

915 Palm View Dr, Highland Park – $529,000
2bd/1ba, 700sf. This house may be a little small on square footage, but it’s big on character, location, sunlight, and outdoor space.

Listing provided courtesy of Matt Manner, Extraordinary Real Estate, Inc

5118 Raphael St, Highland Park – $599,000
4bd/2ba, 1448sf. Perched high on a hill in Highland Park, some houses have his and hers sinks – this house features his and hers garages

Listing provided courtesy of Robert Carey, Partners Trust Beverly Hills

There are so many cute homes available right now, I could go on for pages and there are new houses in this price range popping up every day – contact me if you’d like to find out more about any of these or any upcoming properties!

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Cute Starter Homes: Under $500k

At $500k you still have choices. You can get into a home in an amazing location, but it may be a little on the small side. You may find a home with plenty of square footage but needing some work. Or you can move a little deeper into the burbs and possibly get both square footage and updated finishes (and even a pool). Shopping for a home under $500k is kind of like a game of Choose Your Own Adventure. Here are some adventures to get you started:

2121 West Avenue 33, Glassell Park – $455,000
2bd, 2ba, 1,000sf. Completely gutted and re-built from the studs up, this is an affordable option for someone looking for a turn-key home.

Listing provided courtesy of Rene Garcia, Keller Williams Rlty Los Feliz

5025 Los Robles St, Eagle Rock – $499,000
2bd, 1ba. What this house may lack in updates it totally makes up for in location and it’s unique charm.

Listing provided courtesy of Tracy King, Teles Properties

3737 York Blvd, Glassell Park – $499,000
2bd, 1ba, 840sf. This lovely home sits at the top of Glassell Park, meaning Atwater Village, Glendale, Highland Park and Eagle Rock are all at your fingertips.

Listing provided courtesy of Amber Gayner, Century 21 Crest

5714 Craner Ave, North Hollywood – $489,900
2bd, 2ba, 1,038sf right in the heart of NoHo and super walkable!

Listing provided courtesy of Joyti Goundar, Todd Real Estate

6059 Fulcher Ave, North Hollywood – $437,000
3bd, 2ba, 1,309sf. This house has some major curb appeal potential happening with the corner lot, huge front yard, and white picket fence. 

Listing provided courtesy of Anna Szczepanski, Berkshire Hathaway HomeService

Email me to see any of these homes or find out about more in this price range!