With more affordable options in the West, people aren’t flocking to Los Angeles like they did a decade ago. But LA is still magnetic. Aided lately by a robust economy, a flourishing art scene, and prosperous tech and digital media industries, LA—perennially famous for its glorious weather and natural beauty—continues to lure newcomers.
With a population of 3.9 million, LA is the second-largest city in the U.S. And that’s not counting the other 87 cities that make up Los Angeles County (yes, the jurisdictions are confusing). It is a vast, diverse, sprawling place, and the prospect of finding a home, or even a neighborhood, probably feels daunting, if not downright intimidating.
This guide will give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about moving to LA—from how to pick the perfect neighborhood to deciding whether to rent or buy to navigating the region’s web of rent control laws.
The Los Angeles that you’re dreaming about is simultaneously far more spectacular and far more exasperating in real life. Before making up your mind about whether to give it a go, keep these 15 things in mind.
FIND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Let this advice be your guiding light: Live as close to your work as possible.
It takes a lifetime to learn the name of every neighborhood in Los Angeles, let alone the seemingly erratic boundaries. Luckily for all of us, a local took it upon himself to build an interactive map outlining 472 cities and communities that make up LA County.
Tarzana, named after the King of the Jungle. Garvanza, an ode to garbanzo beans. These are the origin stories of the names of nearly two dozen neighborhoods.
FIND YOUR HOME
If you decide to rent, you’ll be in good company, as more than half of Angelenos do. But what’s the best way to find a place, and will you need to enlist the help of a realtor?
Have you scrimped and saved to buy a place? Now it’s time to plunge into the house-hunting process, and if you’re on a budget, it’s going to get competitive. Here’s a rundown of what to expect.
The decision largely hinges on how much you pay in rent, and whether you plan to stick around Los Angeles for some years to come.
Once you find a place, educate yourself on the protections afforded to you as a renter—including the ones your landlord doesn’t want you to know.
The rules are confusing—but important. Rent control can save renters money in the long run and provide cash payments in the event a renter is forced to move out.
From installing speed humps to planting trees to dealing with noisy construction sites, here’s how to remedy many quality-of-life issues.
Tour a half dozen of our favorite homes, like an art-filled sanctuary in the Hollywood Hills and a contemporary hilltop oasis in Mar Vista.
Designer Gere Kavanaugh bought her house in the early 1980s and slowly transformed its interior into a showcase for treasures made by friends, artisans, and herself.
Natalie Myers, of LA’s Veneer Designs, set her sights on finding a low-slung midcentury home that she could make all her own.
An artist and her husband create a colorful sanctuary in a 1920s Spanish Revival bungalow in Glendale.