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Old 08-18-2008, 05:43 PM
3 posts, read 4,775 times
Reputation: 10


Hello everyone! I'm so glad I found this forum - everyone seems so helpful, and I was hoping to get some advice from all the experts here.

I currently rent an apt in West LA (close to Culver City) and am looking to (with my soon to be wife) purchase our first home -- somewhere in the $400-$500k range. We both work right in the middle of the city, around West Hollywood area.

I know that LA proper (the nicer parts anyways) is pretty much out of the question, but I was hoping that you all might be able to recommend some nice, middle-class'ish neighborhoods that would give us up to a 1 HOUR commute to work. Anything more and I think I'd go crazy!

Some areas we liked so far include Toluca Lake, Studio City, Valley Village, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys East, Lake Balboa. Mostly the cleaner, more family type neighborhoods south of Victory. As you can tell, most of my housing knowledge doesn't extend beyond the valley from the 405 to the 5. Ha!

We are totally open to other areas, but honestly don't really know where to look as the area is so big and has so many pockets of both good and bad neighborhoods. Neighborhoods is really the key word here -- we somewhat know the CITIES, but don't really know where to look within them.

Thanks in advance for any help -- and if you need me to narrow my criteria a bit, let me know!
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:54 PM
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
6,203 posts, read 15,018,489 times
Reputation: 7951
Live as close to work as possible. It will save your sanity!

If you're planning to have kids, you might want to investigate private schools or find an area outside of the City of L.A., as LAUSD schools are not the best. Most of the San Fernando Valley, with the exception of Burbank and San Fernando, is in the City of L.A.
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:40 PM
Location: SoCal - Sherman Oaks & Woodland Hills
12,977 posts, read 28,814,706 times
Reputation: 10491
A lot of that info you should get from your realtor. Hope you're not trying to go it alone (without a realtor).
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:09 AM
66 posts, read 131,739 times
Reputation: 46
Check out the San Gabriel Valley. It's not falling apart as quickly as the SFV. Arcadia is a great place. 35 minutes from downtown without traffic, tree-lined, great public schools, no crime. Small mid-20th Cent. houses can be had for 420k and up.

Also, check out La Crescenta and La Canada above Glendale.

Simply put: It's a teensy easier to commute from the 210/134 into town than the 101/134. Plus, even if the traffic's equally horrible on all four freeways, the road surfaces on the 210/134 are superior.
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:11 AM
Location: Hot Springs, AR
5,612 posts, read 13,241,951 times
Reputation: 3740
If you like the Culver City area, why not buy a home there? If you can go to work earlier than 8:00, I would suggest West Covina. With decent traffic, it's only a 30 minute commute, but if you go to work at the same time as everyone else, forget it, you'll be pulling your hair out by day two. Glendale might be a viable solution, it's about half an hour by street, if you can avoid Sunset. Congradulations and Good Luck.
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:32 AM
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 17,034,108 times
Reputation: 1884
south east LA county will give you options and transportation via metrolink. via car you're right around the hour mark i think

Downey, Lakewood, Bellflower, east Long Beach, etc will give you options.

Torrance is another area that will have options for you and should be closer than the other areas mentioned.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:32 PM
3 posts, read 4,775 times
Reputation: 10
Wow - thanks for all the great responses and suggestions! To answer/comment on a few questions and points:

* I do have an amazing realtor (two actually - they're a pair!) - but since we're not looking to move until end of this year, we're not in constant touch with them just yet. Plus I like to stay up super late at night and look at all the houses online.

* I would LOVE to buy a home in Culver City as I'm a huge fan of the area. But based on what we're looking to spend (500k or less), I'd have to slum it up to make that happen, no?

* Sadly (or not), we are just not morning people and are looking to have a fairly normal commute between the hours of 8am to 9am. Too much earlier and I don't think it'll be worth it.

Definitely going to give all your suggestions a look -- any others are more than welcome!!!
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:18 PM
Location: South Bay
7,091 posts, read 18,425,652 times
Reputation: 3323
You could certainly afford a nice condo in Culver City if you have up to $500k. There are a bunch of large condo complexes near the Fox Hills mall and the Overland/Jefferson intersection. classifieds - craigslist=
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:35 PM
3 posts, read 4,775 times
Reputation: 10
Ah - sorry for not being clearer -- we are definitely looking for an actual house. We've lived in an apt for way too long and are determined to get something attached to a piece of land this time! Thanks!
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:37 PM
64 posts, read 272,662 times
Reputation: 42
Default Lake Balboa

As far as the Valley goes Lake Balboa is affordable and safe. But it's not Lake Encino.

Lots of times people get snobby and say...oh well... you should ONLY live in Encino or Porter Ranch etc. But the reality is that for lots of families just moving into their first house, a million five to 3 million isn't feasible.

Lake Balboa, particularly in the region between louise and whiteoak, vanowen and victory is very nice and affordable. The area from white oak to lindley and oxnard and vanowen is mostly very nice as well.

They aren't luxury estates, some non-white people actually might be your neighbors (a fact which seems to sometimes stress some of city-data forum posters), but it's not ghetto in the least.

As far as schools go, be sure to check out the charter schools in the area. And don't forget, just because a school is private, doesn't make it good.
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