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Rachel, Other/Just Looking in Ann Arbor, MI

I am considering moving to LA for graduate school at USC. Having never been to LA, I only know

Asked by Rachel, Ann Arbor, MI Mon Feb 18, 2008

what I have been told - that housing is expensive, LA is very large and very spread out, I will need to have a car to commute, and I most likely do not want to live in the area surrounding USC because it is known for being less safe. I'm totally lost about the different neighborhoods and areas of LA, and never imagined that I would choose not to live near my school, but instead commute from a different part of the city! .....

I'm looking to rent an apartment, and setting my max monthly rent at $1200 (perhaps this is very naive?).

I plan on coming out to LA within the next few weeks to get a feel for the city and explore its different areas. In the meantime, could you give me some recommendations or advice on neighborhoods for a young grad student/professional...that is somewhat accessible to commute to USC campus every day???

Greatly Appreciated!! Thanks for your help!

Help the community by answering this question:


If your moving to the USC area I recommend Silverlake or Echo Park. You can probably get a 1 bedroom or single in the 1200 range. Other areas worth considering are Culver City and the Miracle Mile. Not close to campus but great places to live. Check out Craigslist or another place that has a TON of rentals is


2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 18, 2008

I'm from the DC Metro originally and I agree with all the advice you've been given - even if it is confusing. Are you planning on having a car or will you be relying on public transportation?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 27, 2012
Hi Rachel,
You can check out our website, to view different communities in the Los Angeles area. I did my undergrad at USC and used to commute. I do believe the area near campus is not the safest place. My drive was only about 15 min and usually avoided freeways. I lived in the Los Feliz area at one point and Silverlake at another point of my college life. Both areas are great place to live and rather centrally located. Los Feliz is a bit pricier, while Silverlake is up and coming neighborhood. $1200 can get you various palces to live. Our website also has a section where average rents are broken down by neighborhood (under the investment tab). Please feel free to contact us with any other questions you may have. Good Luck!
LA Real Estate Group'
Lou Arakelian
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 3, 2008
Hi Rachel! I am in the same exact position as you next year- coming to USC for grad school from the Northeast. Have you figured out any plans for housing yet?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 25, 2012
Hey Rachel,

I was in exactly your same position when I moved to LA for grad school at UCLA. I'm guessing you are coming from UM. I was moving in from Penn State and had a roommate from Penn State who was also coming to LA for grad school at USC. We were coming from rural Pennsylvania where cost of living was significantly less expensive. We ultimately chose to live in the Palms area of LA. This location has great access to the area freeways (10 and 405) and also has major bus lines that pass right through the region.

Aside from easy access to major transportation, the community is more on the Westside of town. I didn't realize this when I moved to LA, but the Westside has a significantly more moderate climate than locations further inland. Temperatures rarely get hot and the air quality is good because of the proximity to the ocean.

Your best bet would be to use Craigslist or to find a rental. If you have any other questions about the area or need help in your transition, please don't be shy to call. I've been through the same experience and would be happy to help you in any way I can!

All the best,

Gregory Masi
Gibson International
C: 310-488-4880
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 27, 2010
Hi, I live in usc area and i have one apartment furnished to rent $1,100 water and one parking space included. tenant needs to pay electricity and can be a one year lease or more, please email me if u interested. Thanks
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 27, 2010
Yes, the area of USC is somewhat unsafe--there are so many professors there. lolol

First, you should contact University housing. If there is something for you for the first year, you will have time to get a feel for the city. Also, you will need a car, just for shopping and social activities, but if you live on campus at first, you will have time to get one and its parking.

Traffic is heavy, so the old tradional commutes for USC--South Pasadena, Alhambra, Silverlake, etc, are heavier than they used to be. The Metro is still not efficient.

Adams Avenue is a cool area west of USC.

Look for For Rent or Roommate Wanted postings on departmental bulletin boards. These are posted by other students or USC employees.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 30, 2008
Three people of my family all graduated from USC. The environment is not as horrible as it is said to be. You should really check it out yourself. USC offers quite nice off-campus apartments on their tram route. There are many other private apartments on tram routes too. If you live somewhere close but not on tram routes, I believe you can call the campus escort service in the evening, which is free. Echo Park is okay, but Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Rosemead won't work because traffic will make a 15 minute drive on map an hour long.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 30, 2008
Hello Rachel,
A good fit for young people who prefer a walking community would be the North side of Echo Park.
(North of the 101 freeway).
The northern part of echo park is governed by the north east division of the LAPD. I believe they hold the record for one of the lowest crime rates in all of Los Angeles county. If you are looking for an unfurnished apartment, you should have no problem finding a one bedroom for under 1200. Get a membership to westside rentals. It costs $60 for a 2 month membership but for long term unfurnished you'll find far better deals than you might on craigslist.
If you are looking for furnished in your price range, I recommend you look for a room. 1200 isn't enough to rent a corporate/furnished apartment and though sublets in your price range, do exist, they are sought after by everyone! Even if you are lucky enough to get chosen, often times the subleter backs out at the last minute and goes with a friend, or comes home early. For your room needs: use and post an ad for yourself. You'll get responses from people that fear posting an ad as well as savvy students sharing houses. If you like, you can even post an ad for an apartment on there.
FYI: most landlords are lazy, they won't shop for tenants on there, but you may encounter more do-gooders like myself that will be helpful.

Happy Hunting, ~Michelle
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 29, 2008
One place to consider is Eagle Rock, my wife works for USC (Hospital Campus in E. LA) and many USC people call Eagle Rock Home. Also try Echo Park, Silver Lake, Alhambra, even Downtown. Unfortunately $1200 might be a little low in those areas. For a short term rental in Echo Park
Good Luck.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 29, 2008
USC is an excellent school, but you will want to live in another neighborhood. I'm thinking West Hollywood might be a consideration for you. Again my neighborhood, Culver City is very nice, safe too but it will be a commute for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 28, 2008
First of all, congratulations on going to the future 2008 National Football Champion school, USC. The best thing for you to do for now is go to Craigs list Los Angeles or Westside Rentals for that price range. When you are in the area, contact me at if you would like to know what it would take to qualify for a home in this area and what you can qualify for. Good luck to you.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 3, 2008
If you are willing to drive 15 minutes, Monterey Park/San Gabriel/Rosemead is the way to go. $1200 will get you a 1 bedroom apartment 5 minutes from the 10 freeway and it's a 10 minute ride to USC (FIGHT ON! Class of 1995). Most importantly, this area is safer than Echo Park/Silver Lake, and less traffic than Westside. Do a craigslist check of Monterey Park/Rosemead. Most of the medical students at USC live in that area and love it.

Quinn Kiet
The L.A. Condo Store
The Rising Force in Downtown Loft Living
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 26, 2008
HI Rachel,

You might want to check out West Hollywood, its centrally located, and there is a lot of nightlife and shopping, restaurants etc. That is where I moved to when I first moved to California (albeit a long long time ago). Check westside rentals or craigs list. There aren't any listings in the mls in that area in your price range, but that doesn't mean there aren't apartments available! Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 25, 2008
this site can give you an idea where you can afford to live in LA
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2008
My husband has a professorship at USC and we, too, moved to LA as total newcomers. If you would like information on where to live, etc. You can email me at
LA is a big city and has so much to offer--you just need to find an neighborhood you are comfortable in--and yes, you WILL need a car.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 21, 2008
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