I always recommend to my clients to really know what commute works for you and your family, drive it at the hours that apply to you. Take into account the weather and the potential of getting stuck around Sig Alerts, whether accidents, fires, high speed chases, etc. Once you are behind the wheel feeling and clocking the drive, you will be able to better determine how much time out of your life and away from your family you are truly willing to give up. Commuting can take quite a toll on a person and family, or maybe it fits you.
Just a couple of scenarios: A manager I know transferred his job into an area closer to where he lives because he calculated the hours that were taken from his life and family during the commute. I also had a client do a test drive just from Plum Canyon vs. Valencia to Burbank and they bought in Valencia, because just getting to the freeway seemed like quite a commute from Plum Canyon, and it was a better fit for them.
Pasadena vs. downtown LA are two different commuting territories, as you know the more you are on the freeway the more likely you have some very long commutes due to weather and accidents etc. At least with other forms of transportation you can still read, work or catch up on some sleep on the bus or rail. Take it from some one who gets far more windshield time on the road than you really want to know about.
When choosing an area, visit them often and on different days and times, so you can really see what goes on in those areas and neighborhoods and next door to the house you may purchase. I was recently told my clients were seen outside the house they were going to buy. I was so pleased to hear my clients were doing their home work! Nickle tours are a good way to start doing your home work.
Go to or call the appropriate resources for data. School data is best obtained from the schools themselves as boundaries often change and again visit them and speak to parents with children enrolled there. Crime data is best obtained from the local police departments. Agents are great resources to introduce to you to numerous areas and to give you information about the property, Mello Roos etc., and to aid you in your transaction. Again, this is why you need to see the areas for your self and determine what best fits your commute, needs, comforts and budget.
By working with an agent and doing your homework you will ensure a smart home purchase.
Best of luck,
TV-Tracy Van De Mark
Keller Williams Realty