Tell Igor that Vicky from Virginia said Hello!
I like the idea of renting first, so you can select the right area in which to buy.
If you know where you want to live, I would check out obtaining financing in the UK to purchase the property. Exchange rates might make this a very good bargain. At least look into it before you leave.
Home prices are the lowest in many years in LA, so if you could obtain your financing there and buy here, it might make the best sense.
Bob Khalsa gave you some good info to work with. Since LA is such a sprawling city and we are unaware your knowledge of the different areas, I would agree that renting is the best way to go.
Use your 6mo/ or year lease to really explore the city and get to know different areas. Each part of Los Angels appeals to different folks. Since you are coming from London maybe downtown Los Angels loft style living would appeal to you. Or if you want to get away from that type of "London life" possibly a suburb would work for you, such as Pasadena or La Canada. Since my parents both immigrated here from England and Scotland and found themselves immersed in the Santa Monica "Brits" community with quite a few locals to chose from - maybe that would appeal to you. So, give your self some time to learn about the city, make some friends, find your place and then settle in to a home search.
There is no denying you are well qualified from what you have said and you pound to dollar is going to go very far in this market. As professionals we want to see you make a solid investment that will work for you as an owner occupied OR should you wish to split your time between countries - as a vacation or LT rental.
There are a lot of options for you, but more than anything - do what is right for you.
You received some good advice from the Realtors below. However, since you own your own small business and will have flexability with regards to location & commute I would recommend to buy outside Los Angeles. There are many suburbs outside LA that will offer more property at a better value to you. I specialize in the Foothill communities of Monrovia to Rancho Cucamonga. These communities would put you within 30 to 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss your options with you further. Feel free to contact me in my office at (626)610-1179. Best of Luck!
You are well qualified and can do whatever you please :)
You can get a great place for $600k for a single guy in Hollywood Hills.
A loan can be arranged, especially with documented income.
Let me know if I can help.
REMAX Beverly Hills
I recently handled a similar case and currently have a couple of cases on an E-2 and EB-5 visa. My recommendation is to do the following. The info is abbreviated.
1. Initially rent. Preferable 6 month to a year.
2. On arrival - get a social security number from the Social Security Administration.
3. After you get the SS Number - go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and get a California ID card. At the same time you should apply for the driver's license. It would help you if you have your International Driver's Licence. You can get it from your local Auto Club in England. Do also remember to get your own driver's license (in original) from England.
4. With the SSN and your Work Visa, open a bank account.
5. Apply for credit cards. This is to be done carefully and not blindly.
What the above does is to establish your credit history quickly.
You could also buy a house or a condo by paying cash down but all that depends on your future plans and how much you want to be solvent.
Contact me and we can discuss your options and plans of action.
United America Realty