I'm a young, first-time home buyer looking for a great deal in a hip / up-and-coming neighborhood in LA. Any advice?

Asked by Kylee Darcy, Los Angeles, CA Fri Nov 25, 2011

I'm moving from SF to LA & my parents are helping me buy a property. I want a place I'll enjoy living in for at least a few years and rent out or re-sell for a profit later. My dad does construction so a fixer would be great. I think the neighborhood is most important--a place with plenty of cool shops/cafes/bars, that has character & growth potential but isn't so shady that I'd feel unsafe. So far I'm interested in North Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Feliz & Silverlake. I don't know LA very well though, so I could use advice about this. Also, what are the pros / cons of a Condo versus a single family home? I imagine a single-family fixer has a higher turn around potential if we put some work into it, but a condo appeals to me because of the security, the facilities, & (unless I'm wrong) a more urban/less residential location. I really appreciate any help I can get!

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Brandon Doug…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Fri Nov 25, 2011
Dear Kylee,

I am from Los Angeles and had lived in San Francisco for 5 years ( Sunset & Cole Valley ) When I moved back to LA I wanted an environment that matched SF. Silverlake / Los Feliz it was. Some parts are flats, others are on a hill with a view. There are a lot of thriving local restaurants, venues, great coffee shops, art galleries that are, for the most part, independently owned. It's an artistic and trend setting community. I always felt safe.

Silver Lake / Los Feliz has seen tremendous up-sale value. When a property becomes available they sell fast with multiple bids. 2-3 bedroom Single Family's fixers range from $200,000- $300,000. Silver Lake is a great community oriented, safe and walkable area; a blend of Cole Valley, Hayes Valley by the La Boulange Bakery and Lower Mission. Echo Park is more like Mission & 24th and Los Feliz has the glamor of old Hollywood, up in the hills and close to Griffith Park. Atwater Village is the newest upcoming neighborhood that is walking distance to Griffith Park, just north of Silver Lake.

If you are looking for re-sale value I would recommend a single family home. Condos can be difficult with HOA and CC&R rules, you are right they are typically safer and it's the safety of the neighborhood. When it comes to re-sale, all you need is a foreclosure in the building and the value of the units drops. There is large supply of Condos in West Hollywood.

Investment wise, Multi-Families might be the way to go. I would recommend West Hollywood / Beverly Center / Melrose where there is a large supply and is centralized.

I would not recommend North Hollywood.

Brandon Douglas
3rd Generation Los Angeles Realtor
Coldwell Banker
2 votes
Austin Chen, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Sat Nov 26, 2011

At Horizon Companies we would be delighted to assist you in your search. We know the neighborhoods you mention better than most people...they are in our backyard. Our office is located in the heart of West Hollywood and virtually all of our agents either grew up, or live, in your desired neighborhoods. We bring over 250 years of combined experience in real estate brokerage, property management, property tax reassessments and escrow services.

I especially like Brandon Douglas' response below and think that multi-family would be your best bet. Apartment buildings allow you to invest in/rehab a piece of real estate and live in it, all while you earn a solid income and increase the value for resale in the future. WE SPECIALIZE IN APARTMENT BUILDINGS! In fact, I currently have a fourplex listing in North Hollywood, a duplex in Silver Lake, multi-unit building in Eagle Rock and a 10-unit pocket listing in West Hollywood. The neighborhoods that you like have specific attributes and offer different lifetsyles which means only a local agent can truly assist you in finding the right home for you.

Please visit our website to learn more about our company. Please also feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions that I can answer for you. Thank you and we look forward to the opportunity of working with you.
Web Reference:  http://hrela.com
1 vote
Ron Escobar -…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Fri Nov 25, 2011
In terms of the night scene Hollywood and West Hollywood is where is at... you want to be able to cab it... the police is very aggressive when it comes to DUI's Los Angeles is not as hip with the cab scene as The City is, but is different at night... also consider most people from West Side (Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Venice, etc... will likely not go to Silver Lake, Los Feliz and vice-versa... Downtown has a scene on its own right as well...

I would first consider where you would be working or studying... then I would look at your price point and flexibility with timeline (a fixer upper with a 203K loan is my favorite product for my clients, but it takes time and other considerations)... then I would zero in the area...

More importantly, make sure you are working with a buyer's agent that understands YOU, and has YOUR best interest first and foremost... They also need to be experienced, energetic, organized and have a support team... if you find all of that, then you will not go wrong... I can think of someone I know that fits that description really well, uhm.. mmk

Ron Escobar, MBA
Broker & General Contractor
1 vote
Akhila Aneja, Agent, Metuchen, NJ
Sat Dec 3, 2011
Congratulations on deciding to buy your first home. both condo and single family homes appreciate with time. It entirely depends upon your locations. Go ahead with your instincts and use a professional real estate agent that can help you find your perfect condo.

0 votes
Eileen, Home Seller, Jacksonville, FL
Sat Dec 3, 2011
West Hollywood....

They are revitizing the down area with lofts instead of condos....this is the trend, but there are condos in the more affluent areas of town. Silverlake and Los Feliz are areas I personally would not like to live in, but you might like it.

I would stay with the west part of town, the futher west you go you run into westlake, and other college (safer)

I lived around and worked in Silverlake (Homes), close to the downtown/strip, if you like jazz and shops, and Los Feliz... alot of commercial warehouses, etc.

It was time for a change, for me... but all is up to you and a good realtor.

Have a great day,

0 votes
Brandon Doug…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Fri Dec 2, 2011

Here are a few single family fixers located in West Hollywood, Silver Lake, Sherman Oaks, and North Hollywood. It is important to know the values of fixers verses renovated sales in the area you consider moving to before you buy.

Fixers under $500,000:

1007 LAVETA TER, LOS ANGELES 90026 ( Silver Lake )
988 HYPERION AVE , LOS ANGELES ,CA 90029 ( Silver Lake )
3903 FERNWOOD AVE, LOS ANGELES 90027 ( Silver Lake )
988 HYPERION AVE , LOS ANGELES ,CA 90029 ( Silver Lake )
8561 Nash Drive, Los Angeles 90046 ( Hollywood Hills )
5724 Beck Avenue, North Hollywood 91601 ( North Hollywood )
5745 Beck Avenue, North Hollywood 91601 ( North Hollywood )
5300 Fulton Avenue, Sherman Oaks 91401 ( Sherman Oaks )

Hope this gives you an idea of what is available.

Brandon Douglas
3rd Generation Los Angeles Realtor
2nd Generation Beverly Hills Native
Coldwell Banker
0 votes
Rose V. Boas, Agent, Danville, VA
Wed Nov 30, 2011
Congratulations, must be exciting! I know an excellent agent in the Los Angelea area that can point you in the right direction. See the link below. She even knows the Kardasians. Tell her Rose Boas sent you. I wish you the best in your relocation to Los Angeles!
0 votes
Igor Korosec, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Tue Nov 29, 2011
Thank you, Shel-lee for such a recommendation. Kyle, feel free to give me a call and we can discuss what is important to you about buying your home in L.A. It is a free, no obligation phone call after which we can determine if I am the right Realtor for you and if you are the right Client for me. I am very familiar with areas that you have mentioned above, but after our consultation I would be able to suggest you some additional areas or parts of neighborhoods. We need to make sure that we find you the best property that can produce results that are important for you and your parents.

Also you can create a free account to browse homes as a pro on the website specified below.


Igor Korosec
0 votes
Jeri Creson, Agent, Studio City, CA
Tue Nov 29, 2011
Hi Kylee, welcome to LA! A few other areas you might consider are Studio City, Valley Village, Sherman Oaks, Encino..especially in the corridors that are walkable to Ventura Blvd in the San Fernando Valley. The NoHo Arts District (I assume the area you mean by North Hollywood) is catching on - and is a bustling center of hip new places, as well as getting extra points for having a metro subway station in the middle of it. Typically these areas, while still pricey, are going to be less so than the Hollywood equivalents. Downside - the Valley doesn't have the same "coastal" temperatures as they do on the other side of the hill. It will be a bit warmer in the summer. My husband and I also own a martial arts school on Ventura Blvd…Studio City Martial Arts - so we're right in the "hub" of that walking area. Lots of fun…good yoga....trendy shops…good eats, great fashion, and regular celeb sightings too!
0 votes
Renee Kische, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Mon Nov 28, 2011
I love working with young first time buyers! That is a large percentage of my business in L.A. I live in Hollywood and work these neighborhoods; as well as, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Mount Washington. Any of these neighborhoods would work well for you! Los Feliz and Silver Lake have great walking neighborhoods, however, can sometime be limited on good condo availability (they go fast). Hollywood may be your best option as it's going through a complete community redevelopment. This could be could for future resale/rentals of this unit. Check out HollywoodCentralPark.com for more details on the areas most exciting new park. Also, the nightclubs and restaurants may be right up your alley. The bonus is a wonderful Farmers' Market on Sunday, one of the biggest in the City! We can discuss more details when you connect...

Renee Kische
Keller Williams Realty-Hollywood Hills
0 votes
Shel-lee Dav…, Agent, Rolling Hills Estates, CA
Mon Nov 28, 2011

When you are ready for serious answers, and a real estate consultant who really knows the area and will take the time to get to know what is important to you about your new home, then call Igor from Best Hollywood Homes. If I had a daughter looking for her first home in the areas you have mentioned above, I would feel confident introducing Igor to her. He can be reached at either of these numbers - 310-499-1305 or 310-889-4547 or e-mail him at besthollywoodhomes@gmail.com. You will be glad you did.

Good luck in finding your new home in the "just right" neighborhood. Dare to Dream.

Shel-lee Davis, QSC®
Certified Distressed Property Expert – CDPE®
Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource – SFR®
Certified HAFA Specialist – CHS®
SSG Pro®
Your Real Estate Consultant for Life
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
424-2HELP12 (424-243-5712)
0 votes
E. Lynn LeGl…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sun Nov 27, 2011
Hi Kylee,
You're so lucky to be in your situation. there are som many cool neighborhoods in Los Angeles. There's the one you mentioned as well as sections of Korea Town, areas in northest LA (Highland Park, Pasadena, Eagle Rock),
I haven't read the posts by other agents, but I'm certain we're all a well of information. If you want to come and rent a place for a coupleof of months to give yourself time to "feel the vibe" of various neighborhoods, or even if you just want to talk about certain areas, feel free to give me a call at 323-219-480 or email me at lynnlelgiare@ke.com

Cheers and good luck!
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sat Nov 26, 2011
Dear Kylee,
There are some areas that are undergoing gentrification in Los Angeles. There are pros and cons to condo vs single family. For a first time homebuyer, a condo is a common first step and they tend to be more reasonable then single family homes. They also hold their value if the property is well maintained through HOA fees. In Los Angeles, location is everything and I agree that you need an agent here..that knows Los Angeles neighborhoods to assist you.
I don't have to tell you what is going on in real estate in California and the whole Nation right now. I would be very cautious and possibly get some advice from a financial planner if you are thinking about a profit in the short term. Think long term investment with Real Estate !
0 votes
Tammy Behnam, , Beverly Hills, CA
Sat Nov 26, 2011
Dear Kylee Darcy,

One of the safest area in LA is Sherman Oaks, it is only 15 min to Westside, but you are close to all parts of town, such as burbank, Hollywood, Westside, downtown, and so forth. The prices have fallen down about 40 to 50%. A lot of investors are buying at that part of town. There are lots of deals. If you are planning to invest for profit, you should consider that area. It is safe, also rich in class, and great area to live in. If you need any more guidance, feel free to contact me and I will be happy to sit with you and educate you about different areas.

Tammy 310-266-1102 (Rodeo Realty-Beverly Hills)

0 votes
Fernando Lara, Agent, Downey, CA
Sat Nov 26, 2011
Hello Kylee,
I have a listing in Silver Lake that matches your criteria. Click on link below to view listing.

Fernando Lara
(213) 324-2152
0 votes
Emily Knell, Agent, Huntington Beach, CA
Fri Nov 25, 2011
I think West Hollywood would be your cup of tea. It's close to the action & hip-ness I think you're wanting to be near. There are plenty of places in this area that could use fixing or updating OR just look for something small on the largest possible lot for your price range & add on. If your Dad is the contractor that's awesome for you!

Stick with Single Family vs. condo, evidence from the previous boom shows single family will usually fair better with appreciation, plus no HOA fees or HOA litigation to worry about.

You can start looking around in this area by going to my web link below, see lots of pictures too. Shoot me an email directly, I don't look back on this same Trulia thread for answers posted after mine.

562-430-3053 c
Realtor Since 1996
Main Street Realtors
0 votes
Clint Lohr, Agent, Glendale, CA
Fri Nov 25, 2011
Hello Kylee,
To clarify, when I mentioned North Hollywood, I did say NOHO, the gentrified area with a lot of art galleries and theatres. There are quite a few condominiums there.There is also a METRO stop there which can take you downtown Los Angeles, Universal City along the way, the Gold Line to Pasadena, or the Blue Line leading to Long Beach. You can Google Los Angeles METRO and see where the train system can take you. I would be glad to talk to you further. 818-730-8635, or rholcwl@pacbell.net.
0 votes
Michael Nava, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Fri Nov 25, 2011
Hi Kylee,

I think Silver Lake and Los Feliz are really good options if you're looking for a hip area. I recently sold a condo and duplex in those areas. These two areas have a community feel, plenty of restaurants, and more. 

While interest rates are low, and because it's a buyer's market, now is a good time to buy. I have a great contact to get you pre-approved and have affiliate escrow and title companies for a 1-stop shop transaction. 

I was born and raised in LA so I know pretty much every area in LA County. I am also a buyer's agent so if you have any questions, feel free to give me a call at 323.371.0405.

Also, feel free to check out my website (and if you do so via your mobile device, it will automatically detect it's a cell phone device and direct you to my Mobile ID website which is much more user friendly)...

Good luck!

Michael Nava
Rodeo Realty, Beverly Hills
Web Reference:  http://www.michaelnavala.com
0 votes
Douglas Perez, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Fri Nov 25, 2011
Many times safety and location go hand to hand, but nevertheless crimes happen everywhere. Those locations you mentioned might be fine, but it would be helpful to know your budget, so we determine where you can afford. There are trendy locations that you might want to consider like mid-wilshire area, part of ktown, melrose area, etc.
I would recommend you to start with a single family residence, for they are easier for appreciation and resell value whereas in condo/townhomes you must deal with the "beaurocracy" of HOAs.

I hope this is helpful.

0 votes
Jane Peters, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Fri Nov 25, 2011
All the areas you mentions are definitely hip, although Los Feliz and Silver Lake are rather pricey. Echo Park is up and coming, as is Highland Park and Glassell Park but you have to be more careful in those areas. North Hollywood and Burbank are good options. You first need to find out where you are going to be working and then narrow things down in that direction. And, of course, you need to set a price range which will determine the area as to affordability.

You need to find a place in which you are comfortable. A single family home is always going to be a better investment long term, but at your stage in life I think you will enjoy condo living better. It is more secure, less maintenance, and I would think more fun, depending on the building.
Web Reference:  http://www.homejane.com
0 votes
Erik Bottema, Agent, La Canada, CA
Fri Nov 25, 2011
Hey Kylee,

I can help you with everything you mentioned. I'm over in the Glendale area so I am local to the areas you are looking for, I'm also young like yourself and will fill you in on everything you need to know. As a bonus, if you purchase a property through me, I can offer UP TO 1% back on the purchase price through escrow. This could save you thousands of dollars. Contact me for details or if you want to chat at your situation.

Erik Bottema
Meridian Capital Real Estate
0 votes
Clint Lohr, Agent, Glendale, CA
Fri Nov 25, 2011
Hello Kylee,
I can help you with Silverlake, North Hollywood (NOHO), Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Los Feliz, Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights, and areas like those. If you can afford up to $350,000, I could find you fixers all over the place. We also have lenders who work in my office who can get you pre-approved for a loan. Interest rates are at a historical low, under 5%, so now would be a great time to buy. Please call me at 818-730-8635, or e-mail me at rholcwl@pacbell.net, and I will be happy to tell you more!
0 votes
DJ Bonner, Agent, Long Beach, CA
Fri Nov 25, 2011
Hi Kylee,

I can definitely search for properties in those areas that meet your criteria. Please feel free to give me a call / email and we can talk more about property, locations and security.

DJ Bonner
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes
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