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Old 02-07-2010, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Lomita, CA
4 posts, read 16,243 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi all- My wife and I recently got pre-approved for a home loan. We don't know our cap but we're thinking we don't want to go above $450k for (hopefully) a single family residence. We have two very young kids and two mid-sized dogs. My wife works in Huntington Beach and I work from home, but take night classes at UCLA. While we're not opposed to Orange County, we'd rather stay somewhat centralized and stay in LA County.

We currently rent in Lomita and would love to find something in Torrance, primarily for their school district, but the home inventory in our price range is pretty scarce. I would imagine if we did find anything, it would be in the 90504 or 90501 zips. I realize 90505 and 90503 are pretty much out, and we don't even want to bother w/ east Torrance / West Carson (90502).

We've also been looking in Lakewood (90713, 90712) and North Long Beach (90808) recently and have found comparable, near-turnkey homes in and around our price range. We driven the areas a fair amount recently and it seems fine, but we don't have the day-to-day on the ground knowledge of the area.

So I'd like to get your opinions on the following: how do Torrance and Lakewood/N. LBC stack up against each other? Quality of education-wise? Crime-wise? Commute-wise? Amenity-wise? etc.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 02-07-2010, 10:59 PM
 
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 17,028,691 times
Reputation: 1884
Stay out of North Long Beach. Education quality will suffer unless you're lucky enough to secure a move to another school in the district and crime/neighborhoods are iffy, really street to street.

90713 is the most desirable part of Lakewood probably. Pretty much all good. Schools will be solid(6-8 out of 10). The area in the southeast section has schools that are more middle of the road(east of Woodruff, south of Centralia), but it's still a nice neighborhood, just a lot of the smaller and cheaper homes.

90712 you will want to stay east of Lakewood Blvd or east of Clark Ave, which pretty much puts you in the same area/demographic as 90713. West of Lakewood Blvd identifies more with North Long Beach and puts you in the area where Paramount School District encroaches, which is the worst place you can go(Lakewood is split up in to 4 districts, ABC, Long Beach Unified, and Bellflower all have good schools in the district, and Paramount is absolutely not where you want to go). Lakewood Country Club is on the southwest portion of the city and also is fairly nice, but directly to the north gets in to the bad part of 90712.

The heart of Lakewood(essentially the areas I mentioned) are very nice for a young family and the commute to HB will be okay(you'll want to get through the 605/405 interchange early though because it is a bottleneck, or take surface to the 405S down Bellflower or Woodruff), but UCLA will be a hike from anywhere in southeast LA County
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Lomita, CA
4 posts, read 16,243 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks bhcompy, great bits of info there!

This weekend, my wife and I actually saw and fell in love with a property that was just a block east of Lakewood Blvd and smack in between South and Candlewood. The neighborhood seemed fine but at closer inspection of the listing, the home is in the Paramount School District. Most likely a deal breaker there.

Does anyone know if zone variances difficult to get?
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Lakewood, CA
33 posts, read 76,810 times
Reputation: 15
We live in 90715 Lakewood in a small strip between the San Gabriel River and the I-605. Still pretty nice, and housing is reasonable. We are also in the ABC School District, and although the schools our kids would normally have to attend due to proximity (Aloha Elem., Fedde Middle, Artesia High) are in the war zone, ABC has the a "school of choice" program that lets us place our kids in exceptional schools, including Whitney Charter (7-12) which is rated #3 in the US. I am hearing that Long Beach's school district isn't as good, but I can't confirm. A few parents on our street also use the Los Alamitos district over the line in OC.
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Old 02-08-2010, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Southern California
890 posts, read 2,414,217 times
Reputation: 794
I live in Carson, and use to work in Huntington Beach for 4 years, and now work in West LA for the past 9 years (near UCLA).

Driving to HB took about 30-45 minutes. Most of the heavy traffic is when the 22 & 605 merges into the 405 South.

My drive to West LA (exit Montana) via 405 North varies. It can take 30 minutes is if I leave before 6 am; and can get easily 1 to 2 hours during heavy rush hour.

Anytime after 3pm, the traffic is slow going back south.

450k in Torrance, you can probably find a 2 bed 1 bath in Old Torrance.
I'm not sure if that's the price range for Torrance P.O.

My house in Carson was 550k back in 2003, and value has dropped to the 420k in 2009.

As for school, I send my kids to private school. My D14 applied for Torrance High, but I need a waiver and waiting approval.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Lakewood, CA
17 posts, read 38,698 times
Reputation: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by fadedgrey View Post
Thanks bhcompy, great bits of info there!

This weekend, my wife and I actually saw and fell in love with a property that was just a block east of Lakewood Blvd and smack in between South and Candlewood. The neighborhood seemed fine but at closer inspection of the listing, the home is in the Paramount School District. Most likely a deal breaker there.

Does anyone know if zone variances difficult to get?
The location you are describing east of Lakewood Bl. between South and Candlewood is actually in the Bellflower Unified School District and would be Stephen Foster Elementary or ILC Elementary schools. Those are both excellent schools, my kids go to one of them. West of Lakewood Bl. would put you in the Paramount District. Those listings are wrong half the time about the schools, so you can't trust them.
I mostly grew up in this area and am raising a family here off of Bellflower/South, it is a really nice family friendly city.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Anaheim
1,827 posts, read 3,295,170 times
Reputation: 1157
Quote:
Stay out of North Long Beach.
Fadedgrey:

The zip code 90808 is NOT north Long Beach. 90808 is the east side of town and is DEFINTELY worth considering.

It's the 90805 zip code that bh compy was warning you about.

Zip codes are not always the best way to go in neighborhood selection; in this case, however, it will work.

As always, check it out yourself.
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:42 PM
 
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 17,028,691 times
Reputation: 1884
Quote:
Originally Posted by EelRiver View Post
The location you are describing east of Lakewood Bl. between South and Candlewood is actually in the Bellflower Unified School District and would be Stephen Foster Elementary or ILC Elementary schools. Those are both excellent schools, my kids go to one of them. West of Lakewood Bl. would put you in the Paramount District. Those listings are wrong half the time about the schools, so you can't trust them.
I mostly grew up in this area and am raising a family here off of Bellflower/South, it is a really nice family friendly city.
The best bet, of course, is to go the Bellflower and Paramount district websites and verify this(and you should on every house in borderline areas of Lakewood, since 4 districts creates a bit of confusion).
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Lomita, CA
4 posts, read 16,243 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you: wsflco, Joseph Marnix, EelRiver, mrsltd, bhcompy. The info you've all provided is very helpful and much appreciated!

I misspoke about that property off Lakewood Blvd. It was west of Lakewood Blvd, not east. But it's good to know where the boundary line is for the school districts.

I also mistakenly called the 90808 area 'North LBC.' Definitely a world of difference there.

It's unfortunate that 1) Lakewood doesn't have their own unified school district and 2) the east torrance area past Normandie is zoned for LAUSD. Ah well, guess you can't have it all.
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:12 AM
 
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 17,028,691 times
Reputation: 1884
Lakewood has been trying for at least 20 years to get their own district. The school districts that exist have a large interest in staying in Lakewood(100k population and very family oriented means a lot of kids and a lot of money) and the state education department has bowed to the pressure from those districts(of which ABC and Long Beach wield significant clout). One day, if we're lucky, Lakewood will have it's own district, but it looks unlikely for now, and because of it, a lot of kids get stuck in the absolutely terrible Paramount district
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