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Trying and Failing to Find A $400,000 Home in LA

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Writing in March's Los Angeles magazine, Lesley Bargar recounts her experience trying to find a home for under $400,000. With that budget, she's looking around Eagle Rock, Highland Park, etc. How'd she fare? Not so well. Where she started and where she ended up:
Currently lives in: Rent-stabilized Silver Lake fourplex.

First house: 1920s ranch house in Montecito Heights, short sale. Result: Didn't make an offer.
Second house: Three-bedroom in Eagle Rock. Excerpt: "When somebody says there’s a three-bedroom at $369,000 in Eagle Rock, you’d be right to picture a crack den or roomy camping tent. But to see granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, new floors, and a fenced-in, 8,000-square-foot backyard, I understood why the listing said “hurry”—despite the salmon stucco exterior." Result: Numerous bids, home sells for $438,000. Lost out.
Third house: Blue Craftsman in Highland Park, foreclosure. "You never know what awaits when you walk into a foreclosed home. Owners facing eviction sometimes strip a place down to its wiring. The lawn may have died after months of neglect. Squatters may have invaded. This particular house’s proximity to Occidental College made it an ideal location for a party. Or several parties." Result: Submitted a bid of $355,000, upped it to $370,000 and lost out when the home sells for $380,000.
End result: She's still living in her Silver Lake apartment.
· Distress Test [LA Magazine]