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Old 04-24-2018, 08:08 PM
 
53 posts, read 44,154 times
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Hi folks. We will be relocating to SoCal from Dallas this summer. We were originally focused on OC and San Diego fearing the dreaded LA traffic. However, we are both sort of stay at home parents as I work from home and on a plane. So I figured we should give LA a fair shot! Especially since we prefer all the perks of a big city (Chicago is my original home, have lived in many other major cities).

Would love some local perspective.

A little about us:

I am 40 and wife is 32, we have a 2 year old boy and a baby girl in the oven;-).

We do quite a bit of international travel and very much enjoy diversity. I am black, wife is white. We see value in kids interacting with many races and social levels rather than in a “virtual bubble” of you will. While we of course value quality schooling we do not require the absolute best or insist on private schooling. We are both products of average schooling and came out OK ;-). Plus I think it is great for kids to see the social and cultural kaleidoscope - others that have more to keep them humble as well as those that might have much less to keep them appreciative.

The blessing and curse is that we can live just about anywhere... which makes it really hard to narrow down. I work from home or am on a plane and wife is a stay at home mom-preneuer. Hence we just need access to shopping nearby, parks, family activities, other young active families and access to airport that isn’t over an hour if possible. Sidebar I do have an emerging tech company that will eventually have an office and will be staffing developers and other professionals. So the area should not be ultra remote. We need some yard beyond a pool and a minimum 3-4 car garage. Want to be in the $1.2m-$1.8m range.

We’ve spent the last week in OC and San Diego and just decided to extend the trip and spend the rest of this week in LA vibing with areas and looking at homes.

So far we’ve looking online at Woodland Hills, Calabasas, Tarzana, Encino, Sherman Oaks. Any other suggestions?

Last edited by Evoking; 04-24-2018 at 08:21 PM..
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Old 04-25-2018, 06:37 AM
 
514 posts, read 242,311 times
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I would think Dallas would be a much better place than Los Angeles.
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Old 04-25-2018, 07:49 AM
 
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The areas you listened are in the San Fernando Valley and while are nice areas, particularly Calabasas, you may want to check out:
South Pasadena
Los Feliz
Franklin Hills
Highland Park
Silverlake
These areas are more in LA proper and if you can use Burbank airport for some of your travels that would be a bonus for you.
A neighbor in Highland Park is going to sell their revamped 3 bedroom, 2 bath house soon for around 900k. The only box it doesn't tick for you is the two car garage - the bonus though is additional outdoor parking because the house is on a rare double lot. Of the areas I listed, HP is the most diverse, close to downtown and within an hour of LAX, though Burbank Airport is closer - you may even want to check out Burbank.
Good luck and welcome to California!
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Old 04-25-2018, 08:36 AM
 
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All the areas you listed in the Valley have options in your price range. But you'll get less house for your money compared to Dallas, and the house will likely be on the older side, especially somewhere like Encino. So if you're looking for a home with a good-sized yard and a large garage, you'll probably have to do a bit of searching as those opportunities will be fewer and far between.

All these areas are quite diverse and there are plenty of activities, shopping, etc. Some folks will say that the Valley is a boring, suburban area that is a bit disconnected from core LA, so it would be almost like living in any other city with adjacent suburbs, except that it's becoming increasingly congested.

With regards to schools, the only downside is that with the except of Calabasas, the other areas you've listed are part of the city of LA, which means they belong to LAUSD. And to put it nicely, LAUSD isn't exactly the greatest public school district. You will find solid LAUSD elementary schools and possibly middle schools in these areas because they serve the immediate area, which is affluent with parents who are generally more invested in their children's education and probably better resources. The problem is that once you get to the high school level, it's a larger mix of kids, many of whom come from lower income areas where problems creep in and it just becomes more crowded. That's just the reality if you look at test scores and read anecdotes of various social issues at some of the public high schools.

One key question is, how often do you expect to travel, and if so, would it typically require you to fly out of LAX? If you can mostly fly out of Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, then your commute won't be that long. But if you have to go LAX mostly, that will be a little longer trek coming from the Valley, especially from Woodland Hills and Calabasas. Those are good areas, but their problem is they are far from core LA. At that point, you might as well be in OC or SD. The plus side of Encino and Sherman Oaks is that they are right by the 405 and the areas of the Valley closest to the west side. And that's another reason why Encino and Sherman are essentially the most expensive parts of the Valley.

I'd recommend driving around to get a feel for the Valley and then to drive around other areas in LA that fit within your price range so that you can see everything first hand.
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:34 PM
 
53 posts, read 44,154 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Town View Post
I would think Dallas would be a much better place than Los Angeles.
Dallas def has its advantages. But it has no mountains, no ocean and a bit too Bible Belt conservative. After 19 years it’s time for change ;-)
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:35 PM
 
53 posts, read 44,154 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socal88 View Post
All the areas you listed in the Valley have options in your price range. But you'll get less house for your money compared to Dallas, and the house will likely be on the older side, especially somewhere like Encino. So if you're looking for a home with a good-sized yard and a large garage, you'll probably have to do a bit of searching as those opportunities will be fewer and far between.

All these areas are quite diverse and there are plenty of activities, shopping, etc. Some folks will say that the Valley is a boring, suburban area that is a bit disconnected from core LA, so it would be almost like living in any other city with adjacent suburbs, except that it's becoming increasingly congested.

With regards to schools, the only downside is that with the except of Calabasas, the other areas you've listed are part of the city of LA, which means they belong to LAUSD. And to put it nicely, LAUSD isn't exactly the greatest public school district. You will find solid LAUSD elementary schools and possibly middle schools in these areas because they serve the immediate area, which is affluent with parents who are generally more invested in their children's education and probably better resources. The problem is that once you get to the high school level, it's a larger mix of kids, many of whom come from lower income areas where problems creep in and it just becomes more crowded. That's just the reality if you look at test scores and read anecdotes of various social issues at some of the public high schools.

One key question is, how often do you expect to travel, and if so, would it typically require you to fly out of LAX? If you can mostly fly out of Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, then your commute won't be that long. But if you have to go LAX mostly, that will be a little longer trek coming from the Valley, especially from Woodland Hills and Calabasas. Those are good areas, but their problem is they are far from core LA. At that point, you might as well be in OC or SD. The plus side of Encino and Sherman Oaks is that they are right by the 405 and the areas of the Valley closest to the west side. And that's another reason why Encino and Sherman are essentially the most expensive parts of the Valley.

I'd recommend driving around to get a feel for the Valley and then to drive around other areas in LA that fit within your price range so that you can see everything first hand.
I will typically travel no more than once per week. Good feedback on schools!

Regarding the house, we like charming older homes. Can also do a well executed tract subdivision. So yes, we will have to drive around a lot.

Side note. It’s interesting that some consider Woodland Hills not “LA proper”. It totally feels like city to us less high rises. Busy, tremendous density of retail, diverse etc. We were just at a Starbucks in Woodland Hills and there we noted biz people, hipsters, homeless and even a crazy person. The ambiance of the area and people would definitely match parts of “Dallas proper”.

We may even want more suburbia with two small kids. We want ACCESS to LA. Not sure we want to live there just yet. Calabasas and other burbs might fit better? And I see what you mean if we go too far out we might as well do north OC like Anaheim.

Btw, I really need a 3 car if not 4 car (can do lifts in a 2 car if must) because I have exotic and collectible cars. Often older homes have low ceiling garages disqualifying their 2 cars.

Last edited by Evoking; 04-25-2018 at 02:45 PM..
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:53 PM
 
186 posts, read 465,572 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Town View Post
I would think Dallas would be a much better place than Los Angeles.
Lived in Dallas for 10 years, now South Bay LA (since this year) and lovin' it. Wouldn't live in Dallas again even if given a free home. Not terrible, mind you, but what we need isn't there - weather, beach, alpha city, diversity without the *need* for so-called tolerance. By this I mean I think tolerance is a bad word. It implies something is being tolerated (thereby elevating the 'tolerator', feh) rather than simply not noticed because it is not unusual. The former may be present in Dallas, the latter is in evidence in LA. As a mixed-race family, methinks OP would be far happier LA even without considering other factors.

And this is just me, but "being on a plane" around once a week tells me to live within a short distance of the airport. To me that means less than 5 miles. Plenty of good and comfortable housing in your price range in that radius. Large yards, pools and 4 car garages perhaps not so much though :-)

It's all about what you can compromise on. Perfection doesn't exist. At any price.
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Old 04-25-2018, 03:46 PM
 
868 posts, read 868,497 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evoking View Post
I will typically travel no more than once per week. Good feedback on schools!

Regarding the house, we like charming older homes. Can also do a well executed tract subdivision. So yes, we will have to drive around a lot.

Side note. It’s interesting that some consider Woodland Hills not “LA proper”. It totally feels like city to us less high rises. Busy, tremendous density of retail, diverse etc. We were just at a Starbucks in Woodland Hills and there we noted biz people, hipsters, homeless and even a crazy person. The ambiance of the area and people would definitely match parts of “Dallas proper”.

We may even want more suburbia with two small kids. We want ACCESS to LA. Not sure we want to live there just yet. Calabasas and other burbs might fit better? And I see what you mean if we go too far out we might as well do north OC like Anaheim.

Btw, I really need a 3 car if not 4 car (can do lifts in a 2 car if must) because I have exotic and collectible cars. Often older homes have low ceiling garages disqualifying their 2 cars.
Calabasas is a nice area with solid schools and newer housing stock. If you go to the airport once a week, then having a long drive just once a week may be worth it. The only tough thing is finding a 3-4 car garage.
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Old 04-25-2018, 04:09 PM
 
Location: South Bay
7,141 posts, read 19,533,775 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evoking View Post
Regarding the house, we like charming older homes. Can also do a well executed tract subdivision. So yes, we will have to drive around a lot.
There are not many charming homes in the valley unless you like midcentury ranch homes. there are also some midcentury moderns, but they are more scattered in upscale neighborhoods that match your budget. I think your biggest challenge is going to be the garage. Your budget is low for a house on a big enough lot to support a 4 car garage. Even 3 car garages are not common. I'm sure they exist, but this requirement will greatly limit your options.
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Old 04-25-2018, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Chicago
302 posts, read 416,911 times
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One of my close friends is in a similar line of work -- he's in tech, works remotely from home, and occasionally has to travel. He lives in Silverlake and usually flies out of Bob Hope airport.

When I went on vacation and visited LA this last winter, seeing him happened to be my first stop. Due to our respective schedules, I ended up having to drive from LAX to Silverlake right at 5PM on a weekday, in rush hour. With myself not knowing my way around super well (I know basics), I was able to use all sidestreets and get from LAX to Silverlake in an hour and a half. Went up La Tijera to La Cienega and then worked my way over. So my guess is if it wasn't rush hour and if I drove more often, if I didn't fiddle with the music, and if I knew my way around it'd probably be quicker.

Most of the cool stuff in LA (though the entire region is super cool) is in a dense stretch from DTLA heading west to Santa Monica/Venice. I'm not sure which neighboroods are kid-friendly/etc, but the West Hollywood/Sunset Strip area leaning over to Beverly Grove/Bevery Hills area is centrally located as you can go from there to either DTLA/Silverlake/Los Feliz or to the beaches in approximately the same amount of time.
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