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The Curbed Los Angeles moving guide

Everything you need to know to make the city your home

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.

Once you’ve settled in, consult Curbed LA’s beginner’s guide to Los Angeles for everything you need to know about experiencing, enjoying, and making sense of this complicated place. —Jenna Chandler

Should you move to LA?

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.

A bungalow house in the foreground with a nice porch, vines growing on it, with plants and red flowers growing in the front yard, and a white picket fence. Two more bungalows behind it on a pretty sunny block.


▸ How to pick a neighborhood

Let this advice be your guiding light: Live as close to your work as possible.

▸ Which LA do you really live in?

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.

▸ How LA locales got their names

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.

A midcentury modern style home has a bright red door with a staircase leading up to it. Two large trees in the foreground of the image frame the house.


▸ The Los Angeles renters’ guide

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?

▸ The Los Angeles homebuyers’ guide

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.

▸ Is it better to rent or buy?

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.

▸ Know your (renter’s) rights

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.

A detail of a staircase and entrance way of a beautiful, white stone apartment building. The staircase has a white iron detailed railing, patterned green tiles on the staircase. Sun dappled light on the side of the building, and very lush, green around the entrance.


▸ Guide to rent control in Los Angeles

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.

▸ How to fix (almost) anything in your neighborhood

From installing speed humps to planting trees to dealing with noisy construction sites, here’s how to remedy many quality-of-life issues.

A bright and sunny living room, with a lit fire in the fireplace, two brown leather chairs on either side of the fireplace, and a blue and brown toned painting above. A large plant in a white planter is in one corner of the room, bookshelves with another small plant and books on the other side of the room.


▸ Inside LA’s best homes

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.

▸ A maximalist designer brings “organized chaos” to an Angelino Heights Victorian

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.

▸ A Ladera Heights designer finds—and remakes—her midcentury dream home

Natalie Myers, of LA’s Veneer Designs, set her sights on finding a low-slung midcentury home that she could make all her own.

▸ “Moving to LA rekindled my sense of inspiration”

An artist and her husband create a colorful sanctuary in a 1920s Spanish Revival bungalow in Glendale.