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Old 08-14-2008, 08:44 PM
 
3 posts, read 16,598 times
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We'll be moving to LA in October for my husband's job. He'll be working in zip 90038 and a commute under 30 min would be ideal but up to 45 mins is okay. We know LA traffic is horrible but don't know how far away 45 mins would put us. We can afford up to $2.5mil for at least 4 bed/3 bath. We have 3 kids, the oldest is 10. They are in Catholic schools here in Chicago so we're also looking for neighborhoods near the better Catholic schools (school suggestions please!). So far we've found houses we like in Brentwood, Westwood, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Pasadena (near Cal Tech), and Glendale (near Verdugo Park). I know Brentwood is family-friendly, but can you tell me about the rest? Specifically we're looking for a quiet neighborhood where there will be plenty of other kids for ours to play with. Also, what's the difference between Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills Post Office? And how far north of Sunset is still considered Brentwood?

Thanks for any help. It's so difficult to navigate a place we know little about from 2000 miles away!
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:51 PM
 
1,712 posts, read 3,970,161 times
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That area of Pasadena near Cal Tech is gorgeous, isn't it? I love driving through there. Very family-friendly too. I always see daddies out bicycling with their children.
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Old 08-15-2008, 12:13 AM
 
Location: Monterey County, CA
3,697 posts, read 6,977,095 times
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Well,

Traffic in LA is really bad, especially around that Hollywood/West Hollywood area. So to maintain any kind of quality of life the shorter the commute distance the better. Beverly Hills is closer than say Bel Air or Brentwood. But I really don't like the Bevelry Hills attitude and general vibe of the people that live there.

I know I would not want to live in Pasadena and commute to 90038 during normal rush hour. To do that your husband would have to sit in a lot of bumper to bumper traffic. However if he can work off prime time that might make it a 'little better' and it might work. Remember it is not the distance in LA but the direction and the time of day that get you. Rush hour can totally stop traffic which means it can take an hour+ to go 10 miles. And that kind of stop and go traffic is very draining.

The thing is I have never thought of those other areas (Brentwood->Beverly Hills) as family areas. Even if I could afford to buy a home there and live with my kids I wouldn't. I used to work all those neighborhoods as a real estate appraiser. It was like everyone had there own little castle and was super paranoid/suspicous about anyone. I appraised quite a few movie star's homes and some middle of the road homes (2 million+) in there as well. I have never seen so many security cameras, body guards, high fences, etc... One women told me she felt like a prisoner in her own home. Imagine all that wealth and so much security and paranoia that you couldn't enjoy it.

I hardly ever saw children playing together in the streets or families walking, etc... So even for a native who grew up in LA it would be a tough call. I may just go out to Pasadena or La Canada to have a more normal family enviroment.

Also all of those 'hills' roads are pretty narrow and ppl drive thru them really crazy especially during rush hour. I've driven them all for my job - Roscomare, N. Bevely Glenn Blvd, Benedict Canyon Dr, Beverly Dr, Coldwater Canyon, etc...

Will your husband be working typical hours? Either way I 'Highly Recommend' flying out and experiencing it for yourself first hand. All these cities and roads do vary so greatly. Also what may be a dream for one man is a nightmare for another. You guys may end up loving Bevely Hills. But before you drop a couple million on a house you owe it to yourselves to really get a feel for the areas first. You may even consider a year lease just to check things out better. There is only so much you can glean from pictures and the internet. Although these tools can be a good starting point.

Lastly take everything on here with a grain of salt. Even though I shared my own perspective/experiences as a native it is good to hear form others as well. Maybe you will find some families who absolutely love their neighborhood in Bel Air for example. Sometimes behind some of those gated communities it is a little better. It is just not really my cup of tea.

Derek

Last edited by MtnSurfer; 08-15-2008 at 12:36 AM..
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Old 08-15-2008, 06:24 AM
 
Location: South Bay
208 posts, read 708,196 times
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in that part of LA you can bet on 10 miles per hour being your average speed at commute time. that said, ideally you would want to be within 5-7 miles of your work to keep the commute under 40 minutes. there are some nice areas to choose from around there, but sorry i dont know that part of town that well...
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Mission Viejo, CA
2,498 posts, read 7,526,417 times
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I would recommend a visit and check out these neighborhoods on a case by case basis. Look and see if there are kids out and ask around to find which streets have kids. The hills of the expensive neighborhoods you are looking at spread homes way far apart so it isn't ideal for a close neighborhood feel. The streets are narrow also so you wouldn't want to have your kids walking down them to go to a friend's house.

The biggest thing is to find streets that have kids. I think of my own neighborhood for example. Of the 18 houses on my street, only two houses have kids younger than high school age. High schools students tend to be friends with kids from school, so as you can imagine, there aren't a ton of kids on my street playing. Head to the other side of the neighborhood and this one street is kid central. There are probably 15 kids out in the street playing basketball or tag or something every day. "Family friendly" can even differ by streets and one street may be full of families while another isn't.
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Los Feliz
1,749 posts, read 5,899,898 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qtmunchie View Post
We'll be moving to LA in October for my husband's job. He'll be working in zip 90038 and a commute under 30 min would be ideal but up to 45 mins is okay. We know LA traffic is horrible but don't know how far away 45 mins would put us. We can afford up to $2.5mil for at least 4 bed/3 bath. We have 3 kids, the oldest is 10. They are in Catholic schools here in Chicago so we're also looking for neighborhoods near the better Catholic schools (school suggestions please!). So far we've found houses we like in Brentwood, Westwood, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Pasadena (near Cal Tech), and Glendale (near Verdugo Park). I know Brentwood is family-friendly, but can you tell me about the rest? Specifically we're looking for a quiet neighborhood where there will be plenty of other kids for ours to play with. Also, what's the difference between Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills Post Office? And how far north of Sunset is still considered Brentwood?

Thanks for any help. It's so difficult to navigate a place we know little about from 2000 miles away!
There are fabulous, closer neighborhoods that I think you'd like. Beverly Grove is a quick drive to your husband's work and totally gorgeous. Hancock Park is a gorgeous old community with historic homes and a country club which is next to Beverly Grove. Both are close to Fairfax, the Beverly Center, Cedars Sinai and The Grove. There are oodles of families here. Hancock Park has underground utilities and a slightly snooty air. It's gorgeous.

Brentwood is pure suburbia. It's clean but it's also further from your husband's work. You'll get more house further east. 2.5 mil will get you one of the more modest homes in Brentwood (there are huge mansions toos). Same money will get you something FABULOUS in BG. Brentwood has one big thing going for it: it's freeway close. Weather is cooler there than a lot of L.A.

I used to commute from Pasadena to Hollywood every day. It's not terrible but it's a commute. The bind is always at the 5/134 and again at Los Feliz Blvd which can be a parking lot during rush hour. Cal Tech is a very nice neighborhood! Pasadena is my favorite place and you can almost buy a palace there for 2.5 mil.

Glendale is...you either love it or hate it. Near Verdugo Park is also close to the Jr. College. I don't know of Catholic schools around there, demographics are completely different. This area is where all the gorgeous homes are. If I was spending up to 2/5mil, I'd scoot over to La Canada/Flintridge. Nicer.

Bev Hills PO is another zip code and further north. BH is as expensive as Brentwood or vice versa. The key to BH is to stay above Wilshire. Above Sunset is the most desirable. BHPO hills can have some funky places so be careful...not of the neighborhood, just the houses.

I would like to throw South Pasadena into the mix. Public schools are top notch so no reason to put them in private schools. They also have Catholic school there. My family has lived there since the 30's and it's basically unchanged since the 50's...street after street of gorgeous restored Craftsman bungalows with canopies of oak trees.

Westwood is a "college town" and probably not my pick for families. You have many unrelated young adults living several to a house.

Bel Air is essentially the country in the middle of L.A. complete with coyotes, raccoons, etc. Yes, mansions and also modest homes and everything in between. A lot of homes in Bel Air are built just about flush against the road. Holmby Hills is right next to it and essentially similar. Both are tres' snooty but nice places to live, if you like places that are 30 min to the market.



You've got a lot of areas here. The best is to narrow it down and then look for a home. These areas are vastly different.

I'll PM you.
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Old 08-16-2008, 03:05 PM
 
185 posts, read 400,441 times
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Although some may disagree, "the best" Catholic boys school is Loyola, near downtown L.A. and it draws students from all the areas you mentioned. "The Best" Catholic girls' school would be Marymount in Bel Air next to UCLA or possibly Flintridge-Sacred Heart near LaCanada Flintridge. On the Westside St. Paul the Apostle near Westwood and Corpus Christi in Pacific Palisades have traditionally been strong elementary schools academically. There are others in the area, but over the years they have a mixed reputation for academic preparation.
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Old 08-16-2008, 03:55 PM
hsw
 
2,066 posts, read 4,333,355 times
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Wouldn't be too worried about LA traffic....it's much exaggerated, esp by those who aren't familiar w/relevant commutes in other major urban regions...

Office commute from LA's Westside is not unlike drives from Chic's LkForest/Winnetka/Hinsdale to Loop....and, unlike Chic, LA has nr-perfect weather and drivers who actually drive rather fast when traffic allows...and many upscale commuters are busy during the entire commute working their car's speakerphone and using advantage of time zone differences in AM to call NYC/Chic and London colleagues/clients, and calling SF/LA colleagues/clients in PM, so no real wasted time....

Generally, many upscale commuters in LA commute in off-peak-hrs....hedge funds work NYC-based hrs, so arrive in office <<6AM....and entertainment industry starts day late, often w/a bkfst mtg in BevHills....

LA (ex-BevHills N of Sunset) is, in many ways, antithesis of Chic's N Shore....no wall of semi-affluent and affluent suburbs buffering Winnetka/LkForest from crime...won't find any version of "classic" suburbia on LA's Westside....everyone lives behind gates....and drives around....a more suburban version of Chicago's GoldCoast/LincPk....or Manhattan's UpperEastSide...

Air quality and weather becomes better as one moves closer to coast...

Most of LA's most educated-oriented families (e.g., many hedge fund execs and investment bankers) seem to choose to live in Brentwood/Palisades....and in BevHills (N of Sunset, nr BH Hotel, but not BHPO)...
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