Annalisa, Home Buyer in Los Angeles County, CA

What areas of LA are safe and family friendly, but not particularly affluent?

Asked by Annalisa, Los Angeles County, CA Fri Aug 14, 2009

I have only been to LA twice, and that was as a tourist. However, my husband is being relocated to the area for his job. We are in our late 20s, and we have 2 young children. Also, we have dogs, and we'd like to find a place where we could keep them, and that would mean no second-floor walk-up, as they are not of the "toy" variety. Anyway, it seems like when I try to find something online, there is a large discrepancy between the "housing projects" areas, whose names I am familiar with, due to their presence in hip-hop songs when being referred to as "the hood," and places which obviously cater to the very affluent. We are surely somewhere in-between. We are from a small Midwestern town, and we'd like to find an area with safe and decent public schools, hopefully where our children will not be stabbed while walking to the school bus? Does such an area exist, for us?

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Arielle’s answer
I suggest looking in certain areas of the San Fernando Valley such as Sherman Oaks, Woodland Hills, a few other cities and even into the Burbank area. There are many reasonably priced homes there and it's a good family area. With many different schools to choose from the in the valleys, your children can safely walk to and from school. You have easy access to the 405, 5, 101, and 170 freeways which makes it very easy to work in LA and live in the valley.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 2, 2010
I would suggest the town of Claremont. It is about 30 miles east of Los Angeles and has a midwestern, small town feeling. There are a collection of ivy league status universities there and it has one of the highest ranking school district in the state. Also, there is a metrolink station that your husband could commute to work and not have to hassle with traffic.

I would be happy to assist you with your home search you can contact me at 951-317-9249 or email to
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 27, 2010
Like you said, L.A is huge and complex, therefore its impossible to provide a good answer to your question as it will be too generalized. Especially since you have only been here as a tourist, you need a lot of sound advise. I would say to do a home search based on what you can afford in a circumference area based on where you will be working and then ask a local Realtor to guide you in the right direction. Good luck
Heres a link to start your search.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 27, 2010
I'm not an agent so I can name names, I guess. I would suggest renting in this weird market. The economy has a way of affecting some neighborhoods more than others. Right now, the upper end of the market is finally starting to drop and in a few years might be back down to early 00's levels.

LA is a very, very large place. Some areas are very working class, but have pockets of affluence. Other areas are affluent but have pockets of affordable areas, but sometimes these areas are not safe. Some areas are old, and are dense and varied. Many areas are 1950s and 1960s tract houses and very cookie cutter, yet some are safe, while others are high-crime. The region is in flux a bit more than in the past, due to the real estate bubble and deflation. (The good news is that crime is lower than ever.)

Traffic is terrible, so it would be useful to know where your husband is working (roughly) so it's possible to make a reasonable recommendation. What's the point of recommending Northridge when the job is way down in Long Beach?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 22, 2010
Hello Annalisa, I would like to welcome you to the Los Angeles area. It truly is a great place to live, raise a family, and there are so many wonderful things to do. Do you have a price range in mind? I would recommend checking out local city demographics, the Los Angeles area is huge and home to over 9 million people with all the cities combined. Prices very dramatically different from area to area in the LA area.

I work in the Westside area, and service all of Santa Monica, Malibu, Marina Del Rey, Venice, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, and the Westside areas. If you would like to search on my website for homes for rentals, feel free to anytime.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 22, 2010
Hi Annalisa,

I recently wrote an blog called 'The Most Affordable Homes in Los Angeles: $500k and Less' that may be of interest to you. Here's a link.…

Please feel free to contact me with questions or if you want to make any specific property searches. Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 2, 2009
i have lived in torrance before and it is very family friendly and safe, and the schools are great. close enough to the beach, but not as expensive. check it out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 23, 2009
you might want to start here.........
This will give you an idea of walkable areas.

For LA unified schools(public schools), please look at:

If you are interested in Private schools(Beverly Hills, Culver City) or charter schools, I would visit the cities website directly and research from there.

But to answer your question, there are neighborhoods that will be perfect for your family.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 18, 2009
Checking the schools is great advice, and a good indicator of you neighbors. Generally speaking, LA is very spotty, and one street to the next (or even block-to-block) can vary wildly. Traffic drive times will also be a factor, and can change by the minute. Some areas of town have great light rail or other public transportation, and are worth checking out. I think the web site is "go Metro" or something like that.

Talk to a lender about a pre-approval price range, find a few good school districts, and sample the zip code's offerings on the multiple listing service guest site, Recommended that you "drive" down the street using Google Maps, this also allows you to look around at the neighboring properties and houses. Sometimes, the perfect house in the picture is in a fishbowl shadow of several huge complexes, or along a very busy road that's not good for kids/pets. The maps feature on the Bing search engine has a good "birds eye view" that shows the blocks also, but does not give the sidewalk view detail.

Good luck! One more thing -- when you're setting up gas service, our local company is literally called "The Gas Company." Hopefully your 411/similar phone agent won't give you the runaround I got when I couldn't name a company! It's not a bad place, just very "locals only" at times.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 16, 2009
As stated in the first post, we as brokers are limited on what we can say due to historic bad practices of steering. My advice to you is to do a little research. A good source for school information is where you can put in particular zip codes or cities and get a summary of the school performance in the area.

This website is great for overall information summary about an area.

This is the LAPD website listing the crime stats for each area.

I would strongly recommend that you work with a Realtor who can help shift through all the properties that don’t meet your needs and help you find ones that do. I am not sure how it works in the market that you are leaving, but in this market the commission for the person representing the buyer is almost always paid by the seller. So it is in your best interests to find a Realtor and have her/him help you. It’s free and it will make your life easier.

Good luck on your house hunt.


Ray Calnan – e-PRO & EcoBroker Certified REALTOR®
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 14, 2009
There are many areas of Los Angeles, or nearby, that are safe but not necessarily "affluent". Los Angeles is quite spread out. Do you know exactly where your husbands new office is located?

Glendale, Burbank, & Pasadena are all nice areas and they have many homes which are not as pricy as the nicer areas of Los Angeles. Also Eagle Rock is an up an dcoming area. I do not know about the school systems, but it's become an artist community and has many mom and pop owned shops, farmers markets twice a week, and the people who've recently moved into the area have really upgraded it.

If you are willing to look at suburbs outside of Los Angeles, Valencia, or other areas of the Santa Clarita Valley are quite inexpensive right now and have great schools. coming from the midwest, I think that you might appreciate this type of environment more than living in the city. Your husband may have quite a communte however, depending on where his office is located.

I hope this gives you some ideas. Let me know when you choose a home and need a home inspection :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 14, 2009
Hi Annalisa.

As agents, we are not allowed to answer this question directly. However, Los Angeles is a very large area. When you mention that your husband is being relocated to Los Angeles, knowing what part of Los Angeles would be helpful in at least pointing out some cities that might be close to that area of his job.

Los Angeles is a very large is comprised of several areas such as the san gabriel valley, san fernando valley, western county such as santa monica, and it goes on.

I would recommend two things. First and foremost, get pre-approved for a loan with a lender to know how much home you can afford. This will help narrow down what areas you can afford. Secondly, pick a real estate agent in the area that can help you find the home you are looking for and best fits your needs and wants.

As far as safety is concerned, that is a matter of both opinion and fact. Los Angeles gets a lot of media and press, both bad and good. As someone who was born here and has lived here in the area all of his life and know the Los Angeles area very well, I can tell you the variety of neighborhoods is varying and well spread out.

If you need assistance in getting a loan approval or in your search for a home, I would be pleased to help you in either capacity as I am both a licensed real estate agent and a loan officer. Feel free to email me or call me directly on my cell.

I wish you both good luck and safe travel to our state. Welcome to Los Angeles!


Matt McClain
Axiom Real Estate / Axiom Lending Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 14, 2009
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