Neighborhood. It’s where your home is and – well you, know- it’s where your heart is. And your car. And your bike. And that horrible sweater Auntie Libby re-gifted you last year. But if your dream home is smack dab in a nightmare neighborhood, you can forget sleeping like a baby at night. So here it is: our five top tips for stalking that perfect LA neighboorhood where you’ll always feel at home.
1. START TALKING
Start talking: Talk to friends, talk to friends of friends, talk to anyone who already lives in the area. Talk up the cashier at the local Vons. Take a minute to chat with the mail carrier. Just keep in mind though that these are other people’s opinions based on their specific sensibilities. So take it with a grain of salt if someone unilaterally shoots down one area. If your friend Jane says Silver Lake is disgusting, it might have more to do with the fact that her trifling ex Nathan lives there and she’s just not into hipsters anymore.
2. MAP IT OUT
The L.A. Times’ Mapping L.A. which is an interactive guide that provides boundaries and info up for the 114 (!) ‘hoods in L.A. You can see exactly where each neighborhood begins and ends and pull up vital stats likes schools, income, demographics and news. Hey, did you know that South Bay’s population is 735,964 and that 33.8 percent of residents 25 and older have a four-year degree? See? Told ya it was nifty.
3. GET LOST
After stalking out a few apartments for rent in Downtown LA, or homes for rent in Pasadena, get in your car and get lost. Drive around in various directions just taking in the area and noting various things that would annoy you if you lived there. Are there are lot of one-way streets? Does it look like most of the parking is by permit only? No designated bike lanes for an avid cyclist like yourself? How close are the freeway entrances? Could the potholes there double as Olympic-sized swimming pools? Do this with a friend who doesn’t mind taking the wheel so you can really pay attention to the area instead of screaming at Siri’s ridiculous routes.
4. BUST THAT MOVE
Ok, it’s time to put your nosy-Nancy pants on. Your assignment: brake for any moving trucks you see outside homes in your potential new neighborhood. Whether the people are moving in or out, they’ll be able to provide valuable information and a fresh perspective about their reasons for putting down roots or high-tailing it out of Dodge.
5. MEET UP
Join a local Meet-up group: This suggestion is three-fold: 1) Meetup.com can be a great way to start pre-making friends; 2) It’ll let you see if there are people in your potential new neighborhood with same interests as yours, i.e. singles groups, Mommy and me classes, etc.; and 3) It’s yet another way you can find current residents whose brains you can pick. Even if you can’t physically attend the meet-up events you find, Meet-up group organizers are notoriously welcoming and you can email them through the site for any suggestions/advice.
Photo credit: AirBnB
“Top Tips” is a series of helpful rental advice brought to you by the lovely real estate agents at The Rental Girl , a leasing agency with branches throughout Los Angeles. Each branch is operated by a unique agent who specializes in her area. All agents at The Rental Girl are California licensed Real Estate agents who specialize in helping renters and home buyers with all their real estate needs.