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Old 07-04-2012, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Declezville, CA
16,613 posts, read 34,655,635 times
Reputation: 16957

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The abundance of gum trees will make you feel at home (guess where they were imported from back in the 19th century). The prices in restaurants and the shops will make you happy.

Speaking of gum trees, you'll be able to snag some snags and meat pies at this place. Also lamingtons and Tim Tams, Violet Crumble, etc. They'll even make you a flat white if you ask.

As for Aussie-style burgers, well... beetroot and a fried egg on a burger aren't popular here. Good luck finding pavlova. Same goes for VB, Toohey's and any other decent Aussie beer. Plenty of 'roo urine to be had, unfortunately. (Foster's).

Welcome to the United States.

P.S. Prawns are shrimp here.
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Old 07-04-2012, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Santa Monica
139 posts, read 181,144 times
Reputation: 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynda88 View Post
So what are we looking at in rent for a 3 bedroom place?
A three bedroom in Santa Monica will be tough to find for a reasonable price. The further from the ocean you go the neighbourhood rents decrease.

British ex-pat here by the way! Welcome.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:10 PM
 
626 posts, read 644,432 times
Reputation: 1153
Congratulations!

Like much of urban Australia, $100,000 is an ok salary. It is neither startlingly high nor low, but it is a solid, decent amount that you can live on fairly comfortably. You'll still need to watch how you spend it, but cars, clothes, food, gas, etc will all be considerably cheaper than Australia. If you are from Sydney or Melbourne, the cost of housing won't be any great shock and will be very comparable, possibly even slightly cheaper here, depending on the area. Health insurance costs are horrible but the care is generally very good and there's no real alternative.

Assuming you don't have family here for support, with an infant and toddler I would focus on finding somewhere that's going to give your husband the shortest possible commute you can afford. Eagle Rock and Mt Washington are very cool areas, but I think the commute could be quite hard.

Santa Monica is great for families, very mild climate, very walkable, and would be an ok commute (around 20-40 mins, depending on time of day), but it is pricey. Expect to pay around $4000 a month and up for a smallish 2-3 bedroom single family home, although you can find cheaper if you are persistent (we were very lucky to get one for $3000). It has some really great parks and recreation facilities aimed at families, lots of opportunities to meet other stay-at-home caregivers. I am the fulltime parent of a 6 yr old and 10 yr old and we've met a really good and diverse group of families through school and parks, we know all our neighbours, it's a strong, tolerant community. We walk or ride bikes many places, and have been able to stay a one-car family so far. I love it, but there's other places I would live quite happily as well.

Places that are cheaper and in some cases closer to your husband's work include Rancho Park, Mar Vista, Culver City and parts of West LA. I don't mind the Fairfax/Miracle Mile area, but it is a lot more dense and considerably hotter than areas closer to the coast (which may not be an issue depending on where you are from in Australia). There are some reasonable places east of La Cienega and north of W 3rd St, and lots of cafes, etc around there and it's close to Wilshire and Robertson, but again it will be hot and dense and probably not as many families around there either (although I could be wrong on that).

Pay careful attention to the schools in the areas you are looking at. Your kids are young now, but school rolls around faster than you think and there's a big variation in the quality of public schools. Santa Monica, which is a separate district, has pretty good schools right through. LAUSD goes from one extreme to another at elementary level, but there are actually a number of good public elementary schools around if you look. It gets harder at the middle and high school levels to find something reasonable. Culver City also has its own system which has a reasonable reputation.

There seems to be quite a lot of competition for SFHs at the moment on the westside (but not as difficult as it can be in Sydney). Definitely look at Westside Rentals, has the best stream of credible listings. Start looking now on their site as a guest to get an idea of rents. Also get out and walk around the areas you are considering. I'd never come across it until moving here, but lots of places rent through a sign on the fence/in the front yard, and it also means you get a feel for the neighbourhood a little bit as a pedestrian. Most places require a minimum 1 year lease agreement, going monthly after that.

Best of luck, there is much to enjoy about living in LA.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Declezville, CA
16,613 posts, read 34,655,635 times
Reputation: 16957
Another thing: You won't have to worry about doing the Aussie wave.
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Southern California
890 posts, read 2,542,199 times
Reputation: 797
Regarding Healthcare for new job. I remember that when I switched from one job to another, my current employer's policy for Medical coverage has a 90-day delay, meaning I could not be covered until after my first 90 days as an employee. Something to check upon.
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:49 PM
 
7 posts, read 6,243 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fontucky View Post

Speaking of gum trees, you'll be able to snag some snags and meat pies at this place. Also lamingtons and Tim Tams, Violet Crumble, etc. They'll even make you a flat white if you ask.
Fontucky- BIG THANKS for this link! I can live without Violet Crumble, but Vegemite, meat pies and good coffee are non-negotiable necessities. I'm a native New Mexican though and I was actually born in LA, so I'm on top of the lingo My husband is the Aussie.
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:53 PM
 
7 posts, read 6,243 times
Reputation: 11
Crestico, Cloudwalker and Joseph- your advice is a such a help- honestly going to go by what you say. I'd ideally love Santa Monica because of the weather and non LAUSD school district so will get on Westside Rentals and have a go at finding something for us.

WHYYY is LAUSD dogged so much on these boards?

Also if anyone has healthcare info- as in whether or not our Aussie travel insurance will cover us for the first 3 months, or if we should buy private health insurance- and if so from whom, it'd be much appreciated.
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Old 07-06-2012, 02:24 AM
 
33 posts, read 95,722 times
Reputation: 35
Lynda88, check "Redfin". It's a real estate site but you can click on the "school" button in the search option. This will give you a visual map of all schools and their rating by "great schools". This can help you hone the areas with the better school districts. From there you can decide how far from your DH's office you'd prefer to live. In general, try to keep his commute at minimum as he will appreciate it greatly. There are definite options for schooling and your budget is doable as long as you stay with
in your means. Generally speaking, Santa monica, Rancho Park, Beverly hills and culver city have good schools systems with rating in the 10s and like other posters mention, all are relatively close to you DH's work.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:30 AM
 
4,261 posts, read 9,008,338 times
Reputation: 3262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynda88 View Post
WHYYY is LAUSD dogged so much on these boards?

California School Performance Maps

You'll notice that many of the elementary schools have pretty good scores. Now de select elementary on that map, and select secondary. You'll see that other than some charter schools, LAUSD schools are far and few between on the westside, and also that they do not perform well. The difference between schools in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Culver City vs Los Angeles Unified are drastic.

Los Angeles Unified busses in students from out of the area. So you get kids from rough neighborhoods at schools in upscale areas. This does contribute to low test scores and also an unsafe environment. Furthermore, LAUSD ciriculumn emphasizes social studies conforming to the politics of those running the school board. This means less math, english, and science, and more humanities type stuff. Again this contributes to lower test scores.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:10 PM
 
626 posts, read 644,432 times
Reputation: 1153
The devil is in the details with health insurance. Clarify with your husband's employer exactly when coverage starts for both him and dependents (sometimes there is a stand-down period for dependents). The HR people are usually conversant with coverage and should be able to help.

In our case, coverage started immediately for all of us on my husband's start date, but pre-existing conditions weren't covered for the first three months. We had a couple of fairly minor pre-existing conditions, but just stocked up on the relevant medication before we arrived and took the risk of self-insuring for those conditions for that period. If you had a more serious condition that had the potential to lead to being hospitalised, you'd need to figure something else out.

Check directly with some Aust travel insurers. A number of them (eg Southern Cross) won't provide cover if you establish permanent residence in another country or don't intend to return at the end of your travel, but some of them do. They are all a bit different so need to call and/or check the fineprint.

Great Schools is a useful website, but check the reviews as well as their API scores tp get a more rounded picture of a school. Also check out Ask A Magnet Yenta, if you are looking in LAUSD. The main problems with LAUSD seem to be constant budget problems (death by a thousand cuts) and its vast, unwieldy size. And poor morale from ongoing strife between teachers and district administration. But the schools where there is strong parental involvement seem to do fairly well in spite of it all.
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