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Old 04-07-2012, 03:07 PM
 
2 posts, read 3,615 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello fellow CD community,

We are a family looking to buy in the Westside. We enjoy an outdoor life style, love music and art, and like to explore (food, places to see). Looking for a 3bd/2ba single family home under 1mil.

My new job will be in Century City, wife works near Sunset/Bundy. Would like to limit to 30 minutes commute to office (7am-5pm schedule) for both of us. I also go to downtown a few times a month for clients visit and can handle up to an hour. Need an area that's safe, clean with easy access to public amenities - parks for our active children, sports programs/gyms and libraries. Need good elementary schools, may look into private for higher grades. Access to public transportation will be a plus. Prefer quieter neighborhoods with less congestion or cut thorough traffic yet still a convenient location.

Started looking in West LA, Westwood, Culver City, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Rancho Park. How do you rank these communities, based on best money/location ratio to our requirement (we don't mind fixers)? Any particular pockets we should focus on? Is west of the 405 better? Traffic pattern is a challenge as we get familiar with the areas. Are there any idiosyncrasies between neighborhoods that may work better for us? Also for the long term, which neighborhoods are up and coming, or for those that are established, able to weather market downturn better?

Appreciate any insight you can bring to us!
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Old 04-07-2012, 03:18 PM
 
120 posts, read 432,606 times
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i am sure others will provide you more in-depth feedback, but everything in your post points to mar vista.
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:55 PM
 
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Thank you Nick for the Mar Vista recommendation. It's high on our list.

Any other tips regarding the different communities? If I carpool with my wife, which area is better to wade through the heavy congestion near where she works in Brentwood in the afternoon?
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:42 AM
 
33 posts, read 96,824 times
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Hi Eclecticstuff, overall your list of nabes are all wonderful parts of town with great parks, libraries, and access to art, events & exploration. Off your list however, Rancho Park, Culver City & SaMo have more highly rated schools to offer especially in the elementary stage & many options for private. Since you will be working in CentCity (wife in Brentwood), Rancho Park and Westwood will be most optimal for commute as they lie adjacent to CentCity and an easy drive to Brentwood so carpooling could be ideal. Since you mention public transportation & going to downtown, Culver City and Rancho Park may be golden choices with the expo train coming soon and the 10fwy is a quick jump for the car option. Despite being in the heart of the Westside....Culver City & Rancho Park are quaint, safe & mostly quiet. I used to work in SaMo...it is a great little city but strangely, getting to and from CentCity can be challenging especially during rush hours despite the proximity (the traffic nuance you mention.) Sections of Marvista are also wonderful (especially by Santa Monica Airport and just south of National) but since schools were a factor, you may get more mileage with a home in Rancho Park or Culver City. Not too familiar with schools in Westwood as it's an older nabe with more mature habitants therefore elementary schooling is no longer a key choice for many (maybe someone else can post more info in this) Also, WW is tough under a mil. And "no", West of 405 is not necessarily better...great pockets just east of 405 (Westside Village, Cheviot Hills, Rancho Park, Culver Crest area of CCity)
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:35 PM
 
927 posts, read 2,241,779 times
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Rancho Park or Chevoit Hills, all the way!
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:00 AM
 
Location: Earth
17,444 posts, read 24,981,180 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoyoma02 View Post
Rancho Park or Chevoit Hills, all the way!
Since schools are a consideration Cheviot Hills can safely be ruled out. It shares the same schools with some of the westside's poorest neighborhoods. Rancho Park is slightly better but it's still LAUSD.

Those areas are more or less "glorified Culver City", have worse schools than Culver City, and aren't any cheaper than Culver City - so why not just move to Culver City instead?
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:04 AM
 
4,342 posts, read 9,135,709 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eclecticstuff View Post
Started looking in West LA, Westwood, Culver City, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Rancho Park. How do you rank these communities, based on best money/location ratio to our requirement (we don't mind fixers)? Any particular pockets we should focus on? Is west of the 405 better? Traffic pattern is a challenge as we get familiar with the areas. Are there any idiosyncrasies between neighborhoods that may work better for us? Also for the long term, which neighborhoods are up and coming, or for those that are established, able to weather market downturn better?

Appreciate any insight you can bring to us!
You don't need any advice on the bolded portions. Theres MAYBE 50 SFR meeting the criteria you set forth listed on MLS for public sale. Its not a stretch to go on Redfin and scan each of them.

The criteria I used was:

Minimum 3 bed, minimum 2ba, SFR, minimum 1500 sq ft. I did the "use mapped area" for locations near the work locations you cited.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:47 PM
 
33 posts, read 96,824 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majoun View Post
Since schools are a consideration Cheviot Hills can safely be ruled out. It shares the same schools with some of the westside's poorest neighborhoods. Rancho Park is slightly better but it's still LAUSD.

Those areas are more or less "glorified Culver City", have worse schools than Culver City, and aren't any cheaper than Culver City - so why not just move to Culver City instead?
Easy there.....
Not to take anything away from my vote for Culver City but the OP was asking for options on the westside based on job location, schools, info on established neighborhoods that would hold values through time. Also, the OP would consider private for high schools. Cheviot Hills and Rancho Park are great options based on those criterias and ea have their own nuances to offer with quaint streets yet in the heart of WLA. To call them "glorified Culver City" with worse schools seems like a misrepresentation IMHO. So what if they are part of LAUSD, there are several elementary schools options nearby that rank very high on the Great Schools chart:
Overland Elementary 10
Clover Elementary 10
Castle Heights Elementary 9
Westwood Elementary 10
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:46 PM
 
Location: SoCal - Sherman Oaks & Woodland Hills
12,977 posts, read 30,589,758 times
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Perfect. OP, copy your OP and give to your realtor. Which realtor are you currently working with?
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Old 05-20-2012, 01:15 AM
 
632 posts, read 663,172 times
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Agree re the posts on Mar Vista, Rancho Park and Cheviot Hills. I would also look quite closely at the West LA area that is immediately adjacent to Santa Monica i.e. east of Centinela and probably west of say Bundy or maybe Barrington (v gd for the commute from Brentwood). Some parts of the area have a lot of apartments, but many streets still have a decent number of SFR on good size lots (6500 sq ft and up) at "reasonable" prices - recent sales of fixers between 1100 and 1500 sq ft seem to be in the $650-750,000 range. Like a lot of parts of LA, and definitely like Santa Monica, lack of inventory is currently a real issue.

With some exceptions, that area is not incredibly well served by cafes, etc, but I would think it's possible that that might start to change over the next few years. Much of it is within walking distance to Yahoo, Google, Universal etc at 26th and Colorado whose employees have a fairly limited choice in terms of nearby places to eat so maybe the surrounding areas will start to develop a bit.

Pay attention to where the Expo is going to go - want to be close enough to take advantage of it, but not so close as to be bothered by any additional traffic. There's also no substitute for driving, or better yet, walking through the area to get a feel for traffic and noise issues. Centinela and Bundy are both busy streets, but the streets in the area between them can be surprisingly quiet.

I've also heard that the area around/west of Olympic and Sawtelle is worth looking at as well for SFR fixers in reasonable neighborhoods. It's closer to the 405 but again once you get off the arterial routes, it's fairly quiet.

Despite its reputation, there are still some good options for elementary schools in LAUSD, but you really have to do your homework. Use the greatschools site and also look through all the parts of Ask A Magnet Yenta, excellent, current, user-friendly info provided by other parents who have/are also navigating the system. Middle and high schools options are generally not too great, but you indicated you could look at private for that level and there are some charter schools that might work too.

Santa Monica is a great place to live and has decent schools, but it's not cheap. Still, if you can afford to get in there and are looking to hold on to your place for 5 years or longer, there's a reasonable chance you'll hold your value and some. It's a beautiful area, has good schools, and always seems to have many people looking to buy at virtually all levels of the market. Even in the current environment.

You could also consider renting in Santa Monica for a while. It would give you a chance to more thoroughly check out the different areas and SMMUSD is also accepting applications for inter-district permits again. This means that if you did end up moving out of the area, you could apply to have your kids continue on at their school on an inter-district permit until they finish. It's not guaranteed, but I know several people whose kids are currently doing that so it is possible.
Good luck!
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