photo credit: www.aliveasart.com
We get tons of emails and calls from STRESSED OUT would-be renters who are about to move to LA for the first time and they don’t know what to do, where to live and “OHMYGODIT’SSOSCARYOUTTHERE, RENTALGIRL!”
We’re here to tell you… It’s going to be ok, guys. It really is. So take a few deep breaths (“they” recommend ten for ultimate relaxation), and please keep reading for some tips that will save you time, worry, heartache, and typing in all caps. No need to yell, we’ve got your back.
Moving to a new city, especially a large metropolitan city, is no small feat. Congrats, you are embarking on an exciting new adventure. It doesn’t have to be painful, ok? Just give yourself a plan. Here is what we recommend:
Step 1: Find a short-term rental, preferably furnished. Over your cries of, “But all my STUFF! I should just find a place for a year and stick with it!” We say, sure. You COULD do that, but a year is a long time to be stuck somewhere. Breaking a lease is no fun. So put your furniture in storage. You want to place time on your side in a situation when it decidedly isn’t. Take control. What you’ll want to do is find a month-to-month type of situation, in an area near your new work, (in LA, 5 miles can often equal a 10-20 minute drive on surface streets, so keep this in mind). Talk to some of the neighbors, make sure they feel safe and comfortable living there, and you should be fine in the short-term. This first place is simply a stepping stone. Check out the following sites for short-term/corporate housing/vacation rental-type situations: Oakwood apartments, Execustay, Vacation Rentals by Owner, AirBnB (while you’re on this site, scroll down and check out their Neighborhood Guides), Craigslist’s subletting section, and of course, you can always try the furnished rentals section of our site as well.
Step 2: Research. You think you can do this before you move out to LA and just find the perfect place as soon as you arrive. But chances are, you are wrong. Reading about neighborhoods from other people’s perspectives, getting the low-down from LA locals and friends, these are all useful to some extent. But only you know you. You know what makes you tick. What calls to you at night and what gets you out of bed in the morning. Whether waking up to quiet, tree-lined streets with chirping birds will cause you to be bored out of your gourd, or completely charmed, only you will know. And reading about all the hipsters in an area might sound like a turn off, but once you walk the streets in Los Feliz (for example), and feel the vibe, you might think, hey, I like this. This is me.
Step 3: After 1-3 months of driving around on the weekends and checking out different areas of LA, visiting local coffee shops and markets, check in with yourself. What do your “feels” tell you? It’s important, because now is the time you are going to pick your future home for likely the next year, and sign an actual lease.
Step 4: Check out sites like ours (TheRentalGirl.com, and sign up for our VIP list so you get new listings as they come in), Craigslist, Westside Rentals, Zillow, Trulia, Padmapper. You’ll want to give yourself a good 30 days (but not longer, because they’ll be rented by the time you’re ready to move) to check out apartments.
Have questions? Contact us and we’re happy to give you some more pointers: