Are California’s sunny coastline, rolling hills, and towering mountain peaks calling your name? Or maybe you’ve received an exciting job offer and are in the midst of planning a move to the Golden State.
Despite a steady stream of Californians making the move to other states, the Golden State remains one of the country’s most popular states to move to thanks to its pleasant climate, rich cultural landscape, and wealth of job opportunities. A whopping 31 cities in California appear on WalletHub’s 2018 rankings of the best cities for jobs, with opportunities in sectors ranging from agriculture to technology.
The job market may be strong and the endless sunny days may feel irresistible, but there are drawbacks to living in the Golden State: the cost of living is higher in California, and affordable housing can be hard to find, especially if you are moving from out of state and aren’t familiar with your soon-to-be new locale.
Whether you’re moving for work, family, or personal reasons, if you’re considering making the move to California, it’s important to understand the local real estate market and its unique conditions. We’ve teamed up with Los Angeles Realtor Jane Peters to help you navigate the California real estate market. Keep reading for Jane’s best tips for moving to Los Angeles—California’s largest city.
If you are considering a move to California, specifically the Los Angeles area, here are some things to take into account.
1. Pick a Neighborhood
Los Angeles is a city like no other. It is basically a series of neighborhoods, and the main challenge for a newcomer is to choose the right one. Consider the following:
- Where you are going to be working? Ideally, you are going to want to avoid the renowned parking lot that is L.A. traffic. Using Google Maps is a good way to estimate your commute time.
- Which school would you like your child to attend? This page will help you research the various school districts and help you narrow down your school of choice. There is another challenge here as well, and that is you will have to make sure that the home you choose is actually in that school's district, because two houses in close vicinity could be in different school districts.
- What kind of housing can you afford? Do you want to rent or buy? Your price range and the type of housing you prefer is going to determine the neighborhood you will be researching.
- What kind of lifestyle do you enjoy? Outdoor, urban, ocean living, downtown living, etc.
- Do you need to be near public transportation? Car-centric Los Angeles is heavily invested in its metro rail system and is constantly working on new lines. Also, Los Angeles is slowly becoming a bike-friendly city, so this might be something to consider when planning your commute.
This informal map of L.A. County neighborhoods and cities, put together by Eric Brightwell, provides another great overview.
2. Understand the Market
Will you need a short-term rental with an aim of buying a home, or a long-term rental? Short-term rentals can be difficult to find in Los Angeles, with the majority of landlords looking for a minimum one-year lease. The Los Angeles rental market is competitive right now so you will probably need help navigating it.
TSI TIP: If you’re considering a short-term rental prior to buying, you may also want to ship your belongings into storage till you find your forever home.
Do you have an understanding of the Los Angeles real estate market in terms of prices, the market trends, etc? As stated above, your price point will determine which neighborhoods you can afford.
If you are relocating to Los Angeles from another country and have no credit in the U.S., it can be challenging to get a rental property. If you wish to buy a home and need to get a loan, there are only a handful of lenders who will be able to help.
3. Understand the Process
Real estate is local and it is important to understand what is involved in the purchase of property in each area. Please take a look at my outline of the buying process, which is specific to the Los Angeles area, and read through some of my buyer tips for answers to some questions you may have.
4. Get Help
Moving to a new city may seem overwhelming. Find a real estate agent who is going to help you familiarize yourself with the city and educate you on the current market, whether that be for rentals or sales.
I also advise that any soon-to-be-Californians spend some time in Los Angeles to prepare everything prior to their move so the only thing they need to concentrate on is the move itself.
5. Helpful Resources
TSI offers great tips on helping with your big move. If you’re moving from out of state, their moving and shipping resources can help you plan your move from A to Z. Don’t want to leave all your stuff behind? TSI specializes in long distance small moves.
If you are going to be renting before you commit to buying a home, check out this Storage app that will make your life easier.
A big thanks to Jane Peters for sharing her tips for moving to Los Angeles!
Need help planning your move?
Check out our moving and shipping resources.