California home prices might be a bit of a shock, coming from Mass, but I would recommend my area which is Culver City. It's a 12minute commute to UCLA . Take a look at Culver City on http://www.localism.com..you can get the inside information about our communtiy there, plus there are city links on localism too.
You have a lot of options depending on your budget and must consider schools (if they go to public) and if you want an urban or suburban feel. Assuming you are looking in the under 1 million range I would recommend, Culver City, Mar Vista, Wilshire Vista, South Carthay, Beverlywood, Sherman Oaks, Encino and Studio City. If you are in the under 600,000 range you might consider Picfair Village, Beverlywood Adj, Faircrest Heights, Westchester, Mar Vista, Encino and Sherman Oak and also Valley Village, Lake Balboa and Valley Glen. I would include other areas but I don't think the commute would be at 45 minutes. Should you have any questions about these areas, please let me know.
I am a native 6th generation Angelino/California and can provide you info on all the neighborhoods should you want more info when you start looking.
All the best,
The Carrabba Group
Keller Williams Wilshire
The good news is you certainly have plenty of options to choose from. Your price range would be one of the most important criteria as well as your favorite style of home and sense of community. Is a condo an option or are you looking only for a single family home? I just sold a condo in Westwood to a family of four and one of their children will be going to Westwood Charter, an excellent school close by. Culver City, Cheviot Hills, Hancock Park and many other cities listed by the agents below also have great schools and could work for you. It is possible to find affordable housing nearby and it will take the right agent to search and negotiate on your behalf to receive the best possible results.
I have successfully sold real estate all across the westside of Los Angeles and it would be a pleasure to help you narrow down your search to the right home.
Keller Williams Realty