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Old 08-14-2009, 09:57 AM
10,630 posts, read 23,954,180 times
Reputation: 6716


Not what you want to hear, I know, but I agree with the others: rent first. Your budget isn't very much, given what you want. The tax credit is nice, but you're young, don't know the city (this is the BIG issue, and it's going to take far more than a month to get to get a grip on different neighborhood options) and you could end up losing money in the long run if you make a snap decision now and come to regret it. You can rent something nice for far less money than you'd put towards a mortgage, save that extra money, buy in a year or so when you know what you want, and you'll still likely come out ahead both personally and financially.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:18 AM
Location: Sherman Heights, SD
61 posts, read 176,630 times
Reputation: 32
Originally Posted by meyia View Post
Hi everybody, thanks for all the advice. I've found this website very useful so far.

Here's my story:

I'm 25 years old, have 40 K in the bank, have been pre-approved for a 3-400,000 dollar mortgage, and I'm moving to L.A. next month. Absurdly, I'm moving from Detroit, where I can buy a mansion for 80 grand. Frusterating. Either way, I'm looking to move to a neighborhood where I will be able to afford to buy a 3 bdrm (I'm moving with a couple friends) as well as be in a cool area. When I visited last, I spoke with a Realtor who pointed me in the direction of a few areas like Valley Village, Atwater Village, Cerritos, and a couple others. I really didn't feel like there was a click with any of those spots though - I'm looking to be in an area where there's a sense of community and a significant amount of young people...my favorite that I saw was Silver Lake, but it seems like houses start around 5-600 K there. I don't want to buy a condo because of HOAs.

Does anyone have any suggestions for neighborhoods I should check out? Or even streets? Any advice is appreciated. A somewhat central location is very preferred - I'm a musician, and will likely be working all over the L.A. area. But I'd like to be able to buy a somewhat nice place for my money, yet also be in an exciting area.

Thank you!
Downtown los angeles, pico unio.
Try that neighborhood. Pico Blvd, Union St, Washington Blvd, Adams Blvd
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:26 PM
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
74,960 posts, read 87,396,476 times
Reputation: 45520
Originally Posted by BRinSM View Post
maybe check out eagle rock, mt washington, and north hollywood. the areas that are already considered cool are well beyond your price range. trust me i know. my wife and i are in a very similar situation financially and have no interested in buying way out in the burbs. we just continue to rent waiting for prices to come down and our incomes to go up.
I was going to say Eagle Rock as well. that is about the only place I can think of that would come close to meeting the OPs needs and desires. maybe even Pasadena, I am not sure of the prices though.

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Old 08-14-2009, 03:39 PM
Location: NoHo (North Hollywood)
448 posts, read 1,423,979 times
Reputation: 262
Default You may not want to wait until next year

Originally Posted by meyia View Post
I know - others have recommended the same, that I wait a year before deciding. And I hate to rush it. But right now, I have the capital for a down payment, and they're only offering the $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers until this November 30th, and it'd be a shame to miss out on that. I'm planning on staying out there for at least a month before putting in any offers, maybe even longer.

You're absolutely right about November being the deadline for the tax credit. A lot of people think it is until the end of the year. That is a big part of the reason I ran out and bought a house. I close escrow next Friday in North Hollywood. My house is in the price range you mentioned and it's within the NoHo Arts District. Having lived in the surrounding neighborhoods of Valley Village, Toluca Lake and Studio City, NoHo (middle to southern parts) might meet your criteria of the younger crowd. Being 28 and this being my first house, it's exciting and nerve wracking at the same time.

Good luck with your purchase. Honestly house buying in terms of the when and how much is somewhat of a gamble. You never really know when the bottom of the market is reached and sometimes it's too late because everyone else is jumping in to buy a house and then you get priced out of the market. There's no exact science to it. My philosophy when I put my offer on my house is do I think this is a good price for the size of house, quality of life, and location?

It's interesting really. I've met my soon to be neighbors and 2 houses are occupied by musicians and the house I purchased used to also be owned by a musician.

Last edited by LABornandRaised; 08-14-2009 at 03:47 PM.. Reason: I'm not yet 29...not sure why I'm rushing myself. LOL
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:45 PM
10,630 posts, read 23,954,180 times
Reputation: 6716
I think it would be difficult to find something in Eagle Rock for that price, but maybe prices have come down more than I realize. In Pasadena it may be possible, but for that price they'll either need a lot of work or be in a more undesirable neighborhood.

I think it would be different if the OP knew the area, but given that she doesn't, it sounds like a bad idea, tax credit or no tax credit.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:35 PM
5,409 posts, read 11,549,078 times
Reputation: 2251
eagle rock and highland park are my suggestions. maybe closer to mt wash (if possible)
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:07 AM
Location: Los Angeles
3 posts, read 107,589 times
Reputation: 16
Meyia, Look in Sunland-Tujunga. You'll find a better house there for less than anywhere else in LA. (And fresher air...)
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:36 PM
Location: DFW
219 posts, read 553,049 times
Reputation: 162
I'm somewhat in the same boat as OP except my budget is slightly higher although I probably being more financially conservative. I've been looking as well, and prices have definitely come down and will continue to erode, in my opinion. There's really a lot of pending foreclosures lurking out there. $300-400k is enough to get something reasonable for the OP's needs in a good area.

But still, the best bet is to rent for a while, learn more about this city, and see where the market goes. As others have said, don't feel compelled to take advantage of the tax credit- you have to think for the long-term, not through November 30.
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:24 PM
Location: LA
304 posts, read 841,825 times
Reputation: 98
Hi and welcome to LA!
Born and raised here I think it is the coolest place on Earth. Everything you could ask for is doable or nearby.

As for your house shopping, yes homes cost more but there are good deals available now relative to what weve been seeing.

$300-400 range will not get you anything in Valley Village. Justa as well you dont care fr it.
SilverLake might be a great area for you but as you said there is nothing good of a single family species in that range. Some condos are available in that range.

Adjacent Echo Park is bubbling with new cafes and young people sprucing up old homes. It is very near downtown so it is an amazing location. Adjacnet the other way to Silver Lake is Atwater. It is improving by leaps and bounds and many professionals have brought businesses and ideas there so it is now quite pleasant.

Best to know what type of place you live in now. Where will you be working? Schooling?
What past times do you do? Tolerance for a commute?

What is true about LA is that it is so huge many villages have sprung up where old commercial areas once were. One's sense of community varies from person to person. SOme people need a local bar, some need to see people like themselves, some need art galleries, or dog parks, or a college, or shops, ....
it all depends on how you like to live your life.
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:59 PM
9 posts, read 12,776 times
Reputation: 13
Thanks for all the info.

I'm a musician, and I'll most likely be working all around the area, that's why I want something somewhat centrally located.

Can anyone tell me the deal with Mount Washington? I saw some AWESOME houses for sale there in my price range - on top of hills with beautiful views - and it's pretty close to the action of the city. Am I missing something? Is this a high gang-activity area or what? I've even looked at the city stats and everything checks out - I mean, it's not great, but at least average schools and crime rates. And I love being outdoors and climbing, hiking, running - it looks like Mt. Wash is right near a couple parks. I can even go swimming and snorkling in the LA river! Kidding.

I'm still checking out NoHo as well - it just seems like the properties I saw in Mt. Wash were MUCH bigger and nicer than NoHo.

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