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Old 05-09-2009, 09:00 PM
 
1 posts, read 3,867 times
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We are coping with two decisions. First: buy or rent. We're a young couple looking to rent a place in the $2-2500 range. We're realizing that similar places are on the market between $350-500K. If it were you at this complicated time in the market, would you make the buy or rent decision?

Second, where to do it...we like Toluca Lake, some areas of Burbank, Pasadena, and South Pasadena. We're looking for somewhere safe that would be easy to rent in when we moved.

Would love, love, love your insights.

Thanks!
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:05 PM
 
Location: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río Porciúncula
13,590 posts, read 14,072,408 times
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I don't see that it's any good time to purchase. Rent.

Toluca Lake and Burbank are okay. South Pasadena is not, and Altadena is better than Pasadena, or at least was the last time I visited there (many years ago).
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Old 05-09-2009, 10:29 PM
 
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Lovehound, what do you mean by South Pasadena "is not" [okay]? Do you mean for renting

First, definitely rent. You'll want to get to know the area before you settle somewhere. LA is a huge, sprawling place, and there are so many different types of neighborhoods. Sign a short lease if you want, but definitely give yourself at least a half year, ideally at least an entire year, to explore and figure out which areas you like best. It's not even just the neighborhoods/cities themselves, but also differences in weather, proximity to things that you like doing, etc. Traffic is a hassle, so your lives will be much more enjoyable if you can make your home base somewhere you don't have to leave except for by choice.

I don't know anything about Toluca Lake, so can't help you there. I have friend who both own and rent in Burbank, and they all like it. I think the schools are good, and it's a little cheaper than some areas.

Pasadena has a big range of neighborhoods. Parts - mostly NW - are pretty rough, although most of the city is fine. The schools don't have a good reputation, although there are some decent options available. I'm not sure what Lovehound's references to Altadena being better than Pasadena are referring to, either; Altadena has some very nice areas, as well as some less desirable neighborhoods. Pasadena has neighborhoods that run from mansions to neglected shacks. You could afford to rent something nice and in a good/interesting neighborhood in your rental price range. You could probably afford to buy something, too, but probably not in the same areas you'd be able to rent in.

South Pasadena is great, but you're going to have a tough time buying anything there with your budget. Renting, yes, definitely. You might be able to buy a condo, of if you're lucky, maybe a tiny house in need of updates. South Pasadena is a wonderful place, though - extremely safe, great schools, very walkable, convenient (and on the light rail), great sense of community, beautiful. Some neighborhoods are more convenient than others, but there are no "bad" (as in unsafe) areas, and even the convenience thing isn't a big deal: it's just not that big of a place, although the different parts of the city do have different feels to them. It's all nice, though.

We signed our last lease in South Pasadena about 2 1/2 years ago, pre-housing bubble burst, but in our case (and in our neighbors') we realized that we could rent something for $2,000/month that would sell for around $600,000 or more.

South Pasadena has a lot of rentals, but they seem to go fast. You can rent a house (they also have a lot of bungalow courts, which are a CA thing; I think the first one was in Pasadena, actually) or an apartment. We found our place (which we only left because of a job transfer - I hated to leave) on Craigslist, but had to be willing to make a decision on the spot. A lot of families live in South Pasadena, but it's certainly an appealing place for young people without kids, too.

If it was me I'd rent, and would go with either South Pasadena or Pasadena, depending on what exactly - beyond safety and availability - you want out of a community. South Pasadena has more of a small town feel, while Pasadena feels more like a city. Both have access to the Gold Line (although not all neighborhoods in Pasadena have ready access), which would be a real perk if you're working in downtown LA (or just want easy access in general - the Gold LIne is great, and brings you straight downtown to Union Station, where you can connect to other train/subway lines, as well as to the Flyaway bus to LAX). You don't mention public transportation as an issue, but if it matters I lived in South Pasadena without driving, and worked (and got around) in Pasadena without driving. Traffic around there also wasn't as bad as it was in some other parts of the LA area, although of course that's all relative. A lot of people in South Pas work downtown, and either take Gold Line or drive city streets to get there. It's not a bad commute.
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Old 05-09-2009, 11:05 PM
 
1,712 posts, read 5,343,199 times
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100% agree with uptown urbanist. South Pasadena is a real treat. So are parts of Pasadena, but a lot depends on what you are looking for.

Definitely rent for now. You might find out that you fall in love with some part of LA that you haven't heard of... you will want to explore the city before buying.
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:25 AM
 
4,033 posts, read 8,308,388 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katiec723 View Post
We are coping with two decisions. First: buy or rent. We're a young couple looking to rent a place in the $2-2500 range. We're realizing that similar places are on the market between $350-500K. If it were you at this complicated time in the market, would you make the buy or rent decision?

Second, where to do it...we like Toluca Lake, some areas of Burbank, Pasadena, and South Pasadena. We're looking for somewhere safe that would be easy to rent in when we moved.

Would love, love, love your insights.

Thanks!
At your price point, you will probably not be able to purchase a home in those cities. You CAN purchase a condo/townhome in that price range. There are starting to be some Burbank houses listing under $500K and a few under even $400K, but you may not like what they are. And it appears that the real estate prices may come down in price even more.

I think you might like all three areas and perhaps you ought to pattern where you live around where your work will be. I'd be happy to live in any of the places you listed.
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:47 AM
 
9,716 posts, read 12,948,659 times
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I agree with everyone else: Rent first.

You'll have more time to find a place that you really love to buy.

Toluca Lake's biggest drawback is that it's really Los Angeles so you are served by the LAPD, LA utilities, etc. Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena are all separate cities from LA so they have separate police forces, etc. (They also share some things between the three of them so that helps keep the costs down.) There are other towns in the same area that you might like like Montrose or La Crescenta or La Canada or Eagle Rock or Alhambra. You really need to live here awhile to realize how much there is to choose from.
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Old 05-10-2009, 01:22 PM
 
17 posts, read 49,232 times
Reputation: 21
Yup. great time to buy, but you dont know where yet.

could be a buy, then want to move later, situation, as you discover other neighborhoods.

get out here quick!! rent for a few months, then look to buy. the market should stil lhave some deals in a few months (recovery isnt gonna happen that quick).

toluca lake is cool. i like it. pasadena, i'm a HUGE fan, but its a bit removed.

best to see what YOU like first, then pull the trigger. but seems you already got some good ideas there (i agree with your choices, and im a native)
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