Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

Kris, Both Buyer and Seller in Los Angeles, CA

thinking of moving to LA. is it better to rent an apt until you find an area to buy in that you like? or buy sooner since it's more of a

Asked by Kris, Los Angeles, CA Wed Jul 14, 2010

buyer's market? I'm afraid if we wait another year then the home prices will go up. I know you can't predict but any advice would be fantastic:)

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Kris,

It's great that you are exploring both options. A good diagnostic indicator for buying is talking with a mortgage planner. This will help you determine what you are comfortable paying. Once you discover this, you can run the numbers on what it would cost to rent vs. buy in your preferred areas.

To determine what area you like...what do you do for work? is commuting okay? do you have any hobbies? do you like the beach? do you prefer a planned community or a more artsy/ecclectic area? do you need to be in a good school district?

Answering these will help you determine the best area for you. A good agent in L.A. can pick the area that would fit your lifestyle & habits/hobbies.

Hope that helps & welcome to L.A.

Web Reference: http://kimandkristine.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
I recommend finding a month to month lease until you find an area that you would like to permanently live in. There are so many different areas in Los Angeles and you want to find the one that you are the most comfortable living in and is convenient to where you work.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 2, 2010
I would suggest that you rent for a short time until you find an area you like, but not too long because interest rates are fantastic. So don't take too long, maybe 2 - 3 months.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 1, 2010
get a rental that doesn't box you in for more then 6 months, a month to month lease would be optimal. It is the best time to buy however, with unprecedented low interest rates coupled with lower property values.
LA is great, ask your friends, workmates where they think is best. The best neighborhoods are sometimes the more expensive ones. Ask around for information about emerging neighborhoods. I advise my buyers to look in the neighborhoods bordering the better ones, I call them fringe neighborhoods, because they will eventually spill out over into the fringe areas. And voila you are in the trendy best neighborhood. Good move on your part! Keep my advice a secret though!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
RENT! Yes, it's a great time to buy. But if you're moving here for the first time, how are you going to know where you want to be? Where are your friends/social circle? Your job? Other places you want to be close to, like the beach? The market's going to do what the market's going to do, but ultimately you gotta know where you want to be before you commit to purchasing something.

Caroline Choi
Broker Associate/EcoBroker Certified
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
Hi Kris,

May daughter moved to LA a year ago. She is not going for a second lease. Unless you have a ful-time job and will be able to sustain yourself for 6 months if suddenly you become unemployed, a rental would be the best way to start. Once you feel confident in your new surroundings, you can go from there!

Hope this helps....

Jennie Spallone,
Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
Despite the extremely attractive interest rates currently available and the low housing prices, in my opinion if you are unfamiliar with an area you wish to relocate to then it only makes sense to first rent and get accustomed to the area so you can choose the specific area you wish to live in. In the longer run, you will be happier and you will also be more educated on which sections retain their values and which do not. You will then be in a much better position to purchase a home whereby you will make up in price what you believe you lost in a slightly higher rate. Good luck in your move.

Steven Lyte
ERA Van Syckel, Weaver & Lyte
1701 Route 22 West
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Serving the north central NJ market since 1865
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
Don't buy right away because you need to get to know the area first. Don't sign a long-term lease. Instead, rent on a month-to-month basis. That way you only need to give 30-days notice if you find something you like to buy.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010

It is a great time to buy...if you are moving here for a job, do you want to work close to where you live? Moving here for family...same question..make a list of what is important to you in the area...church, schools, shopping, restaurants,close to transportation, freeways, etc. and figure out what you can afford..you might be able to figure out where you want to live by reviewing your lifestyle and finances. L.A. is diversified as far as areas and it is spread out. If you cannot figure out where to live..city, suburbs, beach area, funky area, then do a short term rental. Prices are great now as well as interest rate..and I do not think anyone has that crystal ball on home prices or interest rates ..wish I did. Remember now is a good time to purchase..however please ask yourself how long do you want to live in an area? If it is not a good time to sell it...will you be able to rent the property.

To Your Success
Web Reference: http://www.raquelunger.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 14, 2010
I always recommend renting for awhile to get familiar with the area. that way you will know where you want to live instead of being stuck with an area that is not comfortable for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 14, 2010
I think it is more about finding the right fit before you buy and getting to know the flavor of an area. It can be hard to do that when you first move to a new place since it's not home yet. Sometimes you don't even know the right question to ask until you live there for a while. Buying and selling can be expensive so you wan to make sure that you choose a house that you will be happy with the first time.

I would connect with a local realtor to help introduce you to the community and areas that might fit what you are looking for. Your agent can send you automatice email alerts about new listings so your can get familiar with your market in a no pressure way. Then, I would take time on my own to visit open houses, talk to locals, walk around neighborhoods and get to know the vibe for yourself. In 3-6 months, you will have a much better idea of what you want and then your agent can help you in finding a great house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 14, 2010
.If you find the house of your dreams, does it matter? If you see something you like, make a fair offer for what you think your dream home costs and get it...As the saying goes, "hindsite is 20/20". You dont know and neither does anyone else here besides the man upstairs what home values will be days, months or years from now. But if you buy something you love and you're going to live in it for a while, be happy knowing you paid a fair price for it at the time :)

Good luck :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 14, 2010
Rent for a couple of months to find an area you like and then buy. Now is a "GREAT" time to buy. If you would like for me to refer you to an agent in that area just let me know. dianabrooks@realtracs.com 615-477-7149
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 8, 2010
You don't have to make plans to wait a year. Do a short term lease, rent a propety for 2-3 months. If you can't find an apartment to do a short term, look for an extended stay hotel. Then you will be able to purchase when you want and not wait a year.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
Hello Kris,
It is just like redecorating. You need to live in a place and get a feel for what your needs are before you start tearing thing up. I would definately recommend renting first. LA is a big city with many different neighborhoods that appeal to different types of personalities. Come here... because of the market, many landlords are offering shorter term leases so you are not locked in for a long period of time and then start to explore. LA is an amazing city and being a native, I still am amazed in this business, I stumble onto an area I never knew existed. The market is going to float along on the bottom for a while, so you have plenty of time to find the right area and the right property. Happy to assist.
Richard "RJ" Kas (SFR, SRES)
"Representing the finest properties from Los Angeles worldwide"
KAS Properties - Coldwell Banker Previews International - Beverly Hills East
9388 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310.859-5334 office - 310.488.9826 mobile - 310-273-0670 fax ATT: RJ
RichardKas@gmail.com - http://www.RJforLA.com - DRE: 01352771
Sellers Buyers Investors Leasing Consulting
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 5, 2010
Hi Chris,

Home ownership sometimes lasts a lot longer than this or that job. Granted, it's a terrible commute from the Westside to Burbank... but the flipside living in Burbank when you'd rather be on the Westside could be worse. I appreciate your dilemma.

Here's a link to a blog that I just wrote about affordable housing in Venice and the Marina which may help you as well.


Please feel free to contact me through my profile or website if you have questions or need more information about specific areas which may suit your needs. Best of Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 29, 2010
thanks to all for your great advice! I should mention that I used to live there for 12 years in Venice. If we move it would be anywhere from Venice, Mar Vista, Palms to Weho, NoHo, Silverlake, Burbank, Glendale. It would be a job relocation and the offices are in Burbank. I think our budget would probably allow for homes further away from the beach unfortunately:( I think we'd have better luck in and around Burbank if we want to have a decent yard for our dogs as well. Anyways, I rented the whole time I lived there so I'm a novice to buying in LA but have noticed ALOT of foreclosures there. It just seems that prices are lower than ever ( i moved away from LA 7 yrs ago and prices were pretty high then) I am hoping to take advantage of good timing inCA slow economy. Ok i'm rambling! thanks again for your input
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 19, 2010
Right now in LA is one of the best times to buy. If you are not familiar with Los Angeles and all the great places to live, then renting might be a good choice. You are right though, in many areas we are seeing price increases and homes are selling very quickly in those areas too. Are you moving due to relocation or job transfer? Or for some other reason. Los Angeles is a great place to live and work, if you would like to search for properties, feel free to search on my website anytime. Good luck and Welcome to Los Angeles!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
Hi Kris:

K.I.S.S :) 4.5% rate 30 year Fixed.

We can get you up to speed on the best neighborhoods. Just did a recent blog on Trulia about Mar Vista.

Direct, 310-430-3948. Kristine :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010

By all means, wait.

LA and the surrounding area is huge. Settle in somewhere and then start exploring. Even neighboring towns are different. Find one that suits you. You can't do that immediately. It will take some time. ..... Best wishes, Rudi
Web Reference: http://www.umboc.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
Let me offer a completely different approach that doesn't concern neighborhoods and pricing. Do you feel that you generally possess good or poor instincts? A more logical approach (or history of poor choices) obviously point to a rental. But as you yourself stated, this may be the time for a quick opportunity. Consider your history, is this the right time/situation to put faith in yourself? And/or are you prepared to deal with potential consequences?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
Hi Kris,
Los Angeles can be tricky for a novice. I think it would be in your best interest to lease a property for the first six months to a year. In that amount of time, you will get to know our city pretty well, and you will be able to make an informed decision on where you would like to live.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
Hi Kris;
Everyone does it differently. Some people move here and buy before they make the move, while others rent and wait a bit. There are pros and cons to each choice.
Renting will certainly allow you the flexibility to live here and get your bearings before making a more permanent home choice. I would consider a month to month tenancy or a furnished "corporate" style housing. The downside is that you have to make a double or triple move, which can be costly and unsettling. If you have children, it can be twice as hard. Perhaps you should consider placing things into storage until you find a permanent home, to save on moving costs.
Buying immediately is certainly difficult if you haven't narrowed down the area. A good agent can assist you, using criteria such as price, distance from work or school, commute time, amenities, etc. Since we do this every day, we can help you locate the right place. The interest rates and prices right now are extremely favorable for buyers.
Regardless of the choice you make, an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) can represent you in arranging your lease/ rental or your purchase. All the better if they are a member of the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council (REBAC) as well. This way, you are assured that your agent is representing your interests, not the landlord or seller's, in ant transaction.
Make sure, also, that you choose an agent who has lots of experience and can tell you, not only about general areas, but about micro-areas as well.
Best of luck,
Debbie Bremner
DRE LIC #00588885
Direct 310-571-1364
Cell 818-564-6591
Blogging at http//:thebremnergroup/news
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
It depends on many factors. What price range home you would be looking at (we're seeing different trends for different price points), what area you would be looking in (same thing, that different neighborhoods are showing different market trends) and your personal situation. And you are right that no one can predict what will happen - unfortunately there are no crystal balls in real estate! But, we can use market trends to try to make some educated guesses. If you would like to contact me and let me know the specifics of what you would be looking for, I can let you know what types of activity we're seeing in those areas/price ranges, and what we can hope to expect from that.

Also are you familiar with the LA area? LA is of course very large, with a wide variety of different neighborhoods and areas. Either way, you'll want to be sure to visit and get a feel for the areas and find out what each area offers, to decide where you will best fit in and be happy.

Feel free to contact me with questions at any time - I work in many areas around Los Angeles so am very familiar with the market here and would be happy to help you out.

Richard Schulman
Keller Williams Realty
#1 Buyer Agent KW Los Angeles Region
(310) 482-0173
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
In order to give you the best answer to this question I would need to know why you want to move to Los Angeles. Is your work transfering you? Do you want to live near a place or person? So many more factors go into why someone want to relocate. Rent is somewhat reasonable here but an airline ticket on Southwest is much cheaper. Los Angeles is a great collection of many differant neighborhoods each having its own appeal and charm or characteristic. An agent that knows the many areas of Los Angeles can help you narrow down which is the best one for you. Also, how much you can spend will determine the choice of neighborhoods as well.

Cherryl Weaver
When It Comes to Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
Well just to answer you the way I would handle the situation is, I would probably rent for a month or two. You can rent maybe a Hotel for a month or so while you are checking out the area.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
I too would recommend renting until you find the area that best suits you. Location is still the number 1,2,and 3 rules of real estate, so don't get caught up in the lower prices and lower interest rates. Get moved, settled, work with a reputable agent that you trust and then find your home. Good Luck!!

Matt Puzz
Citizen's Choice Mortgage
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
LA covers a wide area, I would certianly recommend renting first so you can get to know the area, find a neighborhood you like, ensure the drive is appropriate for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
HI Kris,

I would suggesst you rent for some time. Try to get a month to month lease in an area you can afford and feel comfortable in, then see what else is out there. Los Angeles is huge and the diversity in neighborhoods is intense. When you get to LA, get the book "Walks in Los Angeles" or " Walking in Los Angeles" (I've lent my copy to a client and can't really remember the exact title) and read through it. Go for some of the suggested walks. It's a great book in that the authors direct you right to the heart center of various neighborhods so you really get a sense of the neighborhood "vibe". I find that people who give themselves some time to explore the different parts of the city can really find the place they feel most comfortable and have a great experience living here.

I hope this helps you. Feel free to ask me any questions:323-219-4480 or lynnleglaire@kw.com

Good luck!
Welcome to LA!!!

Lynn LeGlaire
Web Reference: http://www.lynnleglaire.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
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