Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

Abby, Home Buyer in Louisiana

What areas of Los Angeles would you recommend for a young professional looking to buy a house or condo in a?

Asked by Abby, Louisiana Thu Jan 10, 2008

safe neighborhood? I'll be moving to LA in about 18 months to start a career as an attorney and I'd like a nice, safe neighborhood with a community of young professionals to hob-knob with. A short-ish commute would be preferable, so areas with quick access to the law firms would be ideal, but if it's a good place farther away I'd be willing to consider it. I'm not sure what my salary will be, so I can't give you many details on my price range, so if you have advice in different price ranges, that would be very helpful. I'd like to just start getting an idea of where to look in the great expanse that is LA. Thank you!

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Abby,

Most of my attorney friends fall into 2 camps--those who work downtown, and those who work in Century City. As you alluded to, LA is big, and there are lots of great choices, but two immediately come to mind.

Living in Downtown itself is an interesting choice that a lot of young people are turning to. If your job is there, you might want to consider it. This area has been going through a lot of development recently, especially new lofts, and living there, you may feel, in a way, part of the avant guarde. 18 months from now, it will have changed further. There are a lot of great goings- on downtown, in addition to resturants and bars, lots of fantastic arts stuff: the LA Phil, LA Opera, REDCAT, Museum of Contemporary Art, and more.

The other choice that comes immediately to mind is the area around Sawtelle Blvd (just West of the 405 freeway, North of Olympic, South of Santa Monica Blvd, East Barrington). There are a lot of young professionals there as well, and this is another area that's undergoing substational changes, although on a much smaller scale. Many of the older 1940s bungalows are being transformed into architectural showpieces, some by first time designers, and some by internationally recognized architects (Frank Gehry has a little design there, though most people overlook it). The intersection of the old and new, as well as the diversity of cultures that exist there, make life interesting. Also, that section of Sawtelle Blvd has a huge number of really good places to eat.

Good luck, and have fun thinking about your move to LA!
Web Reference: http://rd.la
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 10, 2008
As a former SoCal resident, I would recommend that you look at Belmont Shores and head north up the coast to Santa Monica. If you end up in downtown LA, the commute from Belmont (Long Beach) might be bit trying, but possible. Check out the beach communities of Hermosa, Manhattan, Marina del Rey, Santa Monica, and Venice, and all the communities not mentioned but located in between the points mentioned.

Have fun in SoCal.......loved it while I was there.........a different time and different lifestyle. I am quite happy and settled on the Jersey shore now. (Still sticking close to the ocean/shore!)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 17, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
Hey Abby,

My guess is that your going to be in Century City, Beverly Hills or Downtown (all the law firms are there). If this is your first home I think a Condo is a good option. People new to LA tend to love Santa Monica. Close to the beach and the Westside. Brentwood is also a good option. That would put you in close proximity to Century City and Beverly Hills. If you end up Downtown and you choose to live there than prepare yourself for about a 1 hour commute in traffic every morning. If you choose Downtown you might want to cosider Silverlake or Echo Park or a loft downtown. To enjoy life in LA the best way to do it is to spend as little time as possible in traffic.


Monique Carrabba
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 17, 2008

You can always count on a good urban investment walking distance to the best shopping areas such as Beverly Hills or the Melrose area. You will always have a viable rental alternative regardless how the market is performing. If your salary doesn't allow you to buy near Beverly Hills, as close to the Melrose or Beverly district will give many Duplex options to help cover your carrying costs. You will find that should a revitalization of a downtown become too oversaturated, you may be stuck in an upside down position if the developers cut their per square foot sales prices too far below what you pay for your unit. Remember, unless you are a savy real-estate investor or get in very early in the game, the real-estate developers will do their best to unload their product to please their lenders, not protect your interest. Engage a real-estate professional who is familiar with more than one area and can show you trailing comparables in areas that you expect to spend your valuable free time on your days or time when not working.

Evan Musikantow
Musikantow & Associates
Keller Williams Beverly Hills
439 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, California 90210
480-483-6014 FAX
Web Reference: http://www.musikantow.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 7, 2008
Hi Abby,
Los Angeles is a great and vast city. There are several neighborhoods with young professionals, several of which have been mentioned by the previous real estate professionals. I really like the Los Feliz/Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles. It is an area which is centrally located and maintains its classic appeal intertangled with contemporary style. The houses and condos in the Los Feliz area have maintained the average home price even in today's market. It is very close to the bling bling of Hollywood, the posh of Beverly Hills, the artsy of Atwater/Silverlake/North Hollywood, and the buz of downtown LA.

To get more information on Los Feliz or the Hollywood Hills area please feel free to give us a call. We can help you find a home or investment property. We usually put together a neighborhood portfolio for our clients which describe each neighborhood they may be interested in, and give them the average sqaure foot pricing, and the average molnthly rentals in the area.
Good Luck!
Lou and Alex
LA Real Estate Group
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 7, 2008
Hi Abby,

LA can be expensive and "safe" is relative. As for where I would recommend looking... I have lived in the Fairfax district (near Melrose Avenue and alongside West Hollywood) and in the Hollywood Hills. Both areas were teeming with interesting things to see and do. One of the things that I would recommend your doing is allowing me to set you up to start viewing some listings now - not with the intention that you will be buying one of these homes specifically, but more so that you can get an idea of what is available and what your dollar buys.

After you have begun educating yourself about what you get for the money and what amenities are important to you it would be easier to help focus your search and give you more specific information.

I would suggest looking at properties in Silverlake, West Hollywood, Fairfax, Santa Monica or Venice if you like the beach, the Hollywood Hills and of course good old down town LA. You might also be interested in exploring the possibility of living outside of the city proper and commuting in using MetroLink.

Feel free to get in touch with me. You are under no obligation to choose me as as your representative, but the sooner you start your education the better informed you will be.

Take care,

Tisza Major-Posner, Realtor, Keller Williams (909) 837-8922
Web Reference: http://Route66living.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 10, 2008

You need to narrow down your price range to get a good answer of where to look. A 1br condo can cost from $125k - $2M+ depending on what area you're looking in. It will also help to let us know where your job will be, because that can make a huge difference on where you will want to live. If you're working in the Valley I'm not going to suggest Long Beach. Or, if you're working in Venice I won't suggest Silverlake, etc. Unless you're ok with sitting in traffic for 1-2hrs each way I'd suggest staying pretty close to your work - 5mi and under.

At least a general idea of those two things will help you get a much clearer answer. I'd be happy to discuss your options in more detail at your convenience. You can find all my contact info at http://www.bestonthewest.com.

Thank you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 9, 2009
OK this is a great question. Attorneys work all over but in the main they congregate in Downtown, Century City, and Mid Wilshire. There are interesting areas of town near each one.

For example, Los Feliz/Silver Lake/Echo Park are all easy commutes to downtown, plus if loft living is good for you there are all kinds of new places downtown.

If you are working in Mid Wilshire, West Hollywood and Hollywood are not far off and can be very appealing on your off time.

Much of "The West Side" (west of The 405) is fun, Santa Monica comes to mind. Little downtown Culver City
is way cool.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 9, 2009
L.A. is a big place- this you know. And commutes can be a real killer- I doubt you want to spend all of your time in your new fabulous city sitting behind the wheel on the 405 freeway! I would avoid areas that are going to require too much travel, so even though they are lovely communities I would stay away from Long Beach, Manhattan Beach or other outlying areas. I assume whe you say "the law firms" you mean you will be near Century City/Wilshire areas. I think a young, professional like you would enjoy the Sunset Strip, the Miracle Mile/Grove area, Century City West LA/Westwood. You will find the best of what L.A. has to offer....all within a short drive from your exciting new job. Good luck!

Broker, Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 13, 2008
For a Young professional person, who is looking to meet others, the areas would be Venice, West Los Angeles, Marina del Rey and Playa Vista. Other areas are more family oriented without nightlife or entertainment.
I agree that Downtown is up and coming, but the areas I mentioned are established.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 8, 2008
You can't beat Downtown L.A. for the price and convenience. From 880 W. 1st (Promenade West) to Evo (it will be complete by then), Downtown offers convenience, executive living quarters and a car free experience if you are working in Downtown as well. Styles run the gamut from a "true" loft experience at Biscuit Company Lofts and Brockman Building to "soft" lofts at Roosevelt and Luma to works of art like the Eastern Columbia. I can go over with you your preferences and budget to match your needs to what will be available in 18 months.

The L.A. Condo Store
We ARE Downtown L.A.'s Urban Living Experts
Web Reference: http://www.condostorela.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 7, 2008
Long Beach is a great place to live and the most affordable beach community in LA. There is a thriving entertainment area called Pine Street with theaters, lots of restaurants, bars, clubs, stores, etc. I work in Hollywood and live in Long beach.

There is also a train that takes you into downtown and Hollywood.

Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 7, 2008
Downtown LA is really up and coming. Los Feliz is great, alot of young professionals. It really depends on where you are working. Century City has some cool buildings as well with great views. Also, if you are doing a condo, West Hollywood has some great condos and is right in the middle of everything.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 4, 2008
Do not underestimate Compton. It gets a bad rap, but houses are relatively inexpensive and there are lovely, flower-lined streets. I also love the area around Florence and Normandy. There is a lot of history there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 14, 2008

Hi, you received many good answers and some great locations to check out. I believe I didn't see any comments from the Long Beach area. Are you going to be working in the downtown area of L.A.? The commute from L.A. to Long Beach can be around 30 min. to 45 min. of course depending on traffic.

The Long Beach coastal area is still regarded as one of the most affordable locations. Just to name a few, Belmont Shores, Belmont Heights, Alamitos Heights, Naples, etc. If this should be an area that you would like more information on, don't hesitate to contact me, I work for Coldwell Banker and it would be my pleasure to show you our city.
Web Reference: http://www.loubandb.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 7, 2008
Check out Culver City. It is centrally located on the Westside. Everything seems to be 15-20 minutes away whether it's Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, downtown LA or the airport. In addition, it has a cool restaurant scene and potential for future appreciation with the development taking place around the Expo Line which is a light rail system that will ultimately go from downtown LA to the Santa Monica pier.

Plus, it is much cheaper than most other areas on the Westside. I have lived in Westwood, Venice & Hollywood and I now live in Culver City and I love it. It is a little town in the middle of the big city. Check it out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 23, 2008
Jordan has a great answer; as a matter of fact I have a lot of buyers who purchase second homes here in Playa del Rey and surrounding areas that I pick up at the airport. Our office is about a five minute drive from all terminals and after the long day of looking around, we are within walking distance of the beach. Please e mail me at maureen.ross@era.com if you have any quesitons or need help.
Web Reference: http://maureenrosshomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 23, 2008
Hello Abby from Louisiana!

My suggestion in regards to your house hunt is to plan a trip to LA in the near future to visit many of the cities the previous Realtors have mentioned. If that is not an option, I would recommend signing a 6 month lease near your law firm so that you can become acclimated with the different areas out here and the good and best driving routes to and from work.

As for where to buy, one of my favorite cities is Westwood. Westwood Village borders the UCLA campus and its shops, restaurants, and nightlife is frequented by current UCLA (undergrad, graduate, medical, etc.) students and young professionals. As well, many movie premieres are held at the two movie theatres in Westwood Village. All in all, it's a really happening place!

Next on my list would be Brentwood. There are a number of law firms located in Brentwood, however the median home price in Brentwood is quite a bit higher than that of Westwood. You will still be able to find "affordability" in Brentwood, but your options may not be as abundant. And depending on where you will be working, Brentwood may be too much of a hike.

A few of the previous Realtors mentioned Century City. To me, Century City is best of both worlds. It is not quite as pedestrian friendly as Westwood or Brentwood, but it is a short distance to the heart of Beverly Hills (where many law firms are located). Obviously, the shops, restaurants, and star-sightings are a-plenty in Beverly Hills! Century City is close to enough to the Beverly Hills chaos, but also a short distance to Westwood and Brentwood where the younger, "hipper" crowds may gather. Also, there is a great Westfield Shopping Town (shopping mall) in Century City with, I believe, LA's only Tiffany store!

Lastly, if you are working in downtown, I think you will want to live downtown. As Ron mentioned below, a ton of money has been pumped in to redeveloping the downtown area. Parts of downtown are much safer and prettier than they were 3 to 5 years ago, and the metamorphosis is not yet complete! A friend of mine just bought a condo downtown in an old, but recently updated building. She loves her condo and the charm of the building, but her parking is a block and a half away! That should definitely be a consideration on your part - when you're buying your condo, make sure you know your parking situation before you finish the deal!

Anywho, that's my two cents. All the best Abby and welcome to the jungle! =P
~ jordan
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 23, 2008
Manhattan Beach is a great area but it takes forever to get to Downtown or even Century City. There are so many good neighborhoods form Marina Del Rey, Santa Monica, Playa Del Rey, The Hollywood Hills, Studio City , Silverlake. Marina Del Rey, Play Del Rey and Santa Monica start at about 400k for a condo and 800k for a house. Studio City starts about 300K for a condo and 700k for a house. Hollywood Hills is also about 400K for a condo and 700K for a house. If you would like some emails of houses from these different areas please free to contact me at 310-383-6281, my name is Blayne Pacelli.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 17, 2008
The South Bay cities which include Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, El Segundo, Redondo Beach and Torrance all have good values. Proximity to the beach makes the weather more temperate in the summer and winter than many of the inland comunities and the air quality tends to be better too. My website has a search engine which allows you to search the entire MLS at http://searchthemls.GR8Homes.com . Prices tend to be higher than some of the inland communities for that reason. Let me know if I can help you. Good luck in your search.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 16, 2008
All the answers are so informative but you really need to first decide price and if you can afford living somewhere relatively near the coast, (basically anywhere west of the 405) then go for it. The valley and eastern parts of the city get HOT in the summer but here in Mar Vista/Marina del Rey our weather is temperate. I cannot stress how important this is. During the winter months, we get less rain than other parts of SoCal and it is a few degrees warmer because of the proximity to the water. Likewise, the summers are not so hot; in fact, we use our AC very rarely because of this. Having said that, you should remember that being close to the water does have some drawbacks such as marine layer in the early summer months, and congested traffic (welcome to LA and where everyone wants to live!). Please feel free to visit my website at http://www.maureenrosshomes.com or e mail me. Maureen.ross@era.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 16, 2008
Hi Abby,

The answers that were given below are all informative. I would also add to the comments that there is definitely a price difference between a condo and a house in LA. Since you mentioned buying a house, you may want to consider finding a place in the "Valley" (Sherman Oaks, Encino area) verses the LA vicinity (Westwood, Downtown, Century City, etc) . Depending on where you will be commuting to/from, the drive may or may not be as bad from the Valley. You can browse through my website and run some searches that will provide you with statistical data on the various locations.

Web Reference: http://www.homefindster.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
I agree with both the answers below. I personally live in Mar Vista which is a couple of miles in from Venice Beach. As Ron mentioned, there are quite a few small ( 1000 square feet) homes, 3 bedroom 1 bath which were built in the 40's and 50's that are on a good sized lot (5500 to 6500 is the norm). Many are being transformed into gorgeous state of the art homes. And, although pricey, Manhattan and Redondo Beach...well what can I say. How good can it get?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 10, 2008
Manhattan or Redondo Beach are nice!
Web Reference: http://www.mattirvin.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 10, 2008
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