If you are thinking about moving to LA, either temporarily or permanently, I really advise you to go there yourself. Book a hotel or a Roomorama accommodation for a week and then try to get a feel of what area you want to live in. If you have a specific area in mind (e.g. you are already or soon-to-be employed at a certain area) you might want to start there. Here’s what to check for when you are viewing apartments in LA:
Parking in LA is hideous to say the least. The bigger apartment buildings usually have some sort of parking structures, but some (okay, I would say a lot) of them will charge a certain fee for monthly parking (not included in the rent). If your preferred apartment doesn’t provide you with one, there are a lot of monthly parking structures in DTLA (Downtown LA), which is still preferable because street parking could be pretty competitive.
Simply put: how far is your preferred apartment to a bus stop/subway station? And to the nearest supermarket? Living in LA, I found that often times taking the bus and/or subway is more preferable than having to worry about where to park, or to pay exorbitant parking fee. A reliable grocery store is also vital for your budget. A corner store, for instance, a half gallon of milk could easily go over $3, where as it would cost $3 or less in a supermarket like Ralph’s or Von’s. If you are somewhat impulsive or not in the habit of planning your grocery shopping, it is wise to try to find an apartment within a walking distance to a supermarket.
This goes beyond saying. I can only give you this advice: research, research, research. The last thing that you want is to be boarded up in your room after dark because you are too scared to go out at night. When you decide on an apartment make sure that you walk around the area to see how it feels. Check the area again at night if you have to. As a result in living in Jakarta several years ago, I naturally avoid any areas that are deserted at night.
My husband and I were lucky. We found an apartment near where we rented an Airbnb accommodation for a week, so we were already familiar with the area. Well, sort of. We did not do any research though, we were just too happy to find a place to live. It was not until a week or two later that we looked up more about our neighborhood, which apparently considered as one of the ‘scary’ places. Granted, our previous three-months sabbatical in Asia made us view things a bit differently and our concept of safety can be open to interpretation, but seeing families walking up and down the street even at night made us feel safe. The fact that everything, even LA Live, is in walking distance makes it a fun place to live.