Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

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Watty
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by Watty » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:54 pm

anonenigma wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:55 pm
CheepSkate wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:50 pm
Three thoughts.

1) My 3/2 house on a quarter-acre lot on a charming and quiet street in a safe neighborhood 10 minutes from my downtown cost me $155k just last year. My payment is under $1k for a 15 year loan.
Where? Can I have one of those? Or three?
In probably a third of the metropolitan areas the country.

There are also a lot of small towns and rural areas that are not included in a metropolitan area.

See the last page of this PDF of the median home prices by metropolitan area.

https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/f ... -11-07.pdf

That was from this web site.

https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-st ... ordability

It will vary by area but in many areas you can still get an acceptable home for less than the median price.

If you look at the top of this report you will see that overall the median US single family home only cost $280K. $150K is on the low end but there are lots of nice(and not so nice) places where you can get a very nice house for around $250K.

For example when I was toying with ideas of different places to retire there were lots of nice college towns with very affordable housing. During the financial crisis in 2008 moving to a low cost college town where I could buy a house for cash and retiring was sort of my fallback plan in case things got even worse and I lost my job.

anonenigma
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by anonenigma » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:54 pm

Watty wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:54 pm
anonenigma wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:55 pm
CheepSkate wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:50 pm
Three thoughts.

1) My 3/2 house on a quarter-acre lot on a charming and quiet street in a safe neighborhood 10 minutes from my downtown cost me $155k just last year. My payment is under $1k for a 15 year loan.
Where? Can I have one of those? Or three?
In probably a third of the metropolitan areas the country.

There are also a lot of small towns and rural areas that are not included in a metropolitan area.

See the last page of this PDF of the median home prices by metropolitan area.

https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/f ... -11-07.pdf

That was from this web site.

https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-st ... ordability

It will vary by area but in many areas you can still get an acceptable home for less than the median price.

If you look at the top of this report you will see that overall the median US single family home only cost $280K. $150K is on the low end but there are lots of nice(and not so nice) places where you can get a very nice house for around $250K.

For example when I was toying with ideas of different places to retire there were lots of nice college towns with very affordable housing. During the financial crisis in 2008 moving to a low cost college town where I could buy a house for cash and retiring was sort of my fallback plan in case things got even worse and I lost my job.
Misread. I thought he was talking about being 10 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles. I'm staying here in L.A.

misterjohnny
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by misterjohnny » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:16 pm

LA Native here for 54 years.

The LA real estate market is quite diverse. Pasadena market is different than the Westside, and much different than the San Fernando Valley. I live in the South Bay area and it is a great place to raise a family. Schools that are not part of LA Unified School District. Small cities with NIMBY groups that keep the areas liveable. Much less homelessness. Drawbacks: it is far from a lot of the key employment hubs, like downtown, the studios, the universities.

LA real estate took a big hit in the late 80's when the defense industry took the cold war "peace dividend". When I grew up in the 70s, half the dads of my classmates worked in the defense industry. Right now there is a boom on the westside driven by Google, Hulu, and others as part of "Silicon Beach". Prices in Westchester and El Segundo are just crazy. Building in Marina del Rey is out of control, as is traffic. Santa Monica streets are often at a standstill.
The other boom we are seeing is in Hollywood. More money is being spent on new TV production than ever before, and it's not close. The streaming wars have created so much new content (that nobody is watching), with much of that production in the LA area. It isn't sustainable, but LA is much more diversified than it was in the 80's. If the tech boom AND the TV production boom collapsed at the same time, you would see an impact.

As for earthquakes, it depends on where you live. After every major earthquake the building codes get better (and more expensive) as they learn more about what survives and what doesn't. For the most part, single family houses won't be a problem. The Northridge earthquake in '94 was a 6.7. Only 1000 homes were "red tagged" and had to be replaced. 6000 were yellow tagged and could be repaired. This is out of 1.7 million SFH in LA County. Earthquake insurance usually has a 15% deductible, so a $500,000 structure value (typical for a 1.5m house) would be $75,000. My location in the south bay and the high deductible has meant I have never bought earthquake insurance in my 30 years of home ownership. I might feel differently if I lived in Sylmar, or even Palm Springs (much closer to high risk faults).

Don't buy a house in the LAUSD unless you plan to send your kids to private school. Catholic schools are suffering from low enrollment these days and are a great value if you are either Catholic or you don't mind a little religion in their lives. At the High School level, the religion is greatly reduced and I could recommend a lot of great catholic High Schools, ranging from $10,000 - $20,000 per year. Non religious schools will run double that. Great practice for paying college tuition :)

As others have said, this is a lifestyle choice not a financial choice. With a 15 year time horizon you should do fine as long as you buy in a good area. Historically the upper middle market has held its value best. High end and low end tend to get clobbered in downturns here.

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Artsdoctor
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by Artsdoctor » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:37 pm

Poppy,

With your income and your long-term plans, you'll be fine buying and I'd encourage it. Since you've been living here for a while, you probably understand the traffic situation. I happen to enjoy driving in LA but we live about 2 miles from work so any driving is for non-work travel. If it's appropriate, try looking for a place close to where you work. Or at least strongly consider living as close as is reasonable.

The numbers you're describing don't really concern me given your income.

A-Commoner
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by A-Commoner » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:29 pm

Which part of LA are you looking to buy a house at? LA is a big city. The good public schools are in the South Bay, Cerritos, the affluent sections of San Gabriel valley, La Canada Flintridge, Porter Ranch/Granada Hills, Santa Clarita. $1,25 M will buy nice homes in these areas which are family oriented suburbs that surround LA. If you prefer to stay closer to the center, West LA is where you want to be but $1.25 million won’t buy as nice a house.


poppy42 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:11 pm
Hi all,

Long time lurker here - thank you all for your awesome retirement/investing advice over the years!

My husband and I live in Los Angeles with our one and only child, who is 3. We are in our late 30s. We both work, we both like our jobs, we have family here. We like living in LA but don't love it, but we're going to stick with it for now.

The plan is to spend the next 15 years living here, working hard, enjoying our jobs, enjoying our kid, and socking away money. When our kid is grown up we'll figure out what comes next.

We rent, and we're trying to figure out whether buying a house makes sense. We currently rent in a great area with good schools, but we want to move from our current small apartment to a house with a yard. We are going to wait until at least 2021 to move to see what happens with the election and the market. Housing prices in our area are insane.

The current minimum prices for a house we would want - school district and commute wise - are currently around $1.25M or $5K/month in rent. You could easily spend more than that for a "modest" 1500 sq ft 3 bedroom house. We are hoping this might come down, but it's SoCal, so no guarantees.

We currently make about $500K combined. We max out our retirement accounts (401K, backdoor Roth, mega backdoor Roth). We have excellent credit and no debt.

We have $250K of down payment money in a CD earning about 2%. We have emergency savings. Our current expenses are about $8500 a month:

$3500 rent
$2000 daycare
$1800 monthly expenses
$1200 529 contributions

We plan on sending our kid to public elementary, so that $2K in daycare costs will be going away in a couple years. We may save for private middle/high school, and then figure out if we actually need it when the time comes.

I know we can technically afford the monthly payments on a $1.25M home, especially with 20% down. But it just seems like SO. MUCH. MONEY. And then there's the maintenance. The possibility of fires and earthquakes. And the very real possibility that we might want to peace out after 15 years and go somewhere cheaper and more relaxed.

WWYD in our situation? Should we try to stretch for a 15 year mortgage? Should we take out a 30 year mortgage and pay it off like it's a 15? Should we take a 30 year mortgage and pay it off normally and see where we're at in 15 years? Are there mortgage scenarios we should consider that I don't know about? We recently found our that friends of ours are paying interest-only on their $1M mortgage, which seems insane and irresponsible to me, but hey, they have a $2K monthly payment and a nice place. Maybe I'm missing something?

Any advice appreciated. I didn't grow up in CA or with money and psychologically paying over $1M for a house still messes with my head. Some days I still can't believe we pay as much as we do in rent on an apartment.

Count of Notre Dame
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by Count of Notre Dame » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:48 am

If you make a good income, you can have a lot of things you want but not EVERYTHING you want. My wife and I bought a $2M house on income of around ~$750k, but we drive 10-year old cars rather than the $100k Range Rovers we see being driven around our children's school.

To each their own!

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poppy42
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by poppy42 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:48 pm

Thank you all for the thoughtful replies. CA is indeed its own animal. In LA, the housing values in many areas have skyrocketed, and technically in a lot of places it is cheaper to rent than to buy. The $1.25M house renting for $5K is real. I just checked Zillow and there are many homes for rent in the areas we are looking that rent for $4-6K that you could never buy for $1.25M.

That said, the intangibles of buying are very real, too. I know I would be very happy planting trees and seeing a garden evolve over a decade. I'd like my child to grow up in something that is "our home". My husband and I love DIY projects and would like to be able to decorate and renovate a home. Right now in our rental we aren't even allowed to paint the walls!

A previous poster in LA hit it on the head when they said they felt paralyzed about what to do in the LA housing market. Even if you have the money it boggles the mind to spend over $1M on a house that needs work and is in a crappy school district. That's the thing - I know we could afford more on our income, but I don't want to overspend in case one of us loses our job suddenly. Here the sky really is the limit as to how much you can really spend. You really have to hit the $2M threshold in the city here to get out of the category of homes that anywhere else would likely be considered "modest".

As for geography specifics - we are looking at the southern SFV (from Encino to Studio City) and parts of the westside and in the city as well. Having a non-hellish commute is VERY important to both of us. I love the South Bay and parts of the San Gabriel Valley, but just too far for us to drive, personally.

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poppy42
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by poppy42 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 1:01 pm

misterjohnny wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:16 pm
LA Native here for 54 years.

Don't buy a house in the LAUSD unless you plan to send your kids to private school. Catholic schools are suffering from low enrollment these days and are a great value if you are either Catholic or you don't mind a little religion in their lives. At the High School level, the religion is greatly reduced and I could recommend a lot of great catholic High Schools, ranging from $10,000 - $20,000 per year. Non religious schools will run double that. Great practice for paying college tuition :)
Also, I have heard this a lot from people who have been in LA for a long time - however, as someone with a little kid, who has lots of peers with kids in LAUSD elementary schools, it seems that there are a LOT of public schools and public charter schools in LAUSD at the K-5 level that have a lot of parental involvement, great community, engaged teachers, and happy kids who are doing well academically. I am confident that we can find a public elementary school in LAUSD for our so-far neurotypical, social kid. Of course we are looking at other centrally located "better" school districts (Santa Monica, Culver City, Beverly Hills) but those are $$$ when it comes to housing.

I know that many parents in my generation in LA (I hate the word but, um, millennials) are committed to giving public school a go, at least at the elementary level. I really don't think LAUSD is "all bad" as many people assume or say it is. LA is a massive city and LAUSD a massive district with a wide range of schools. I think the gentrification has really made things in the schools come a long way.

KFBR392
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by KFBR392 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 1:53 pm

The idea that you have to spend $2M to get a house a tick above modest doesn't ring true to me. Perhaps my definition of modest is more... well, modest than yours. Some very fine 3/2 homes can be found in Valley Village or even Sherman Oaks for $1.2M. If you want to spend $1.5, you can get a modest home in South Pasadena with terrific schools to boot. But yes, if you're talking about a 4 bedroom smart home with a pool and the latest appliances in a good school district, then your $2M number is more accurate.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:00 pm

KFBR392 wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 1:53 pm
The idea that you have to spend $2M to get a house a tick above modest doesn't ring true to me. Perhaps my definition of modest is more... well, modest than yours. Some very fine 3/2 homes can be found in Valley Village or even Sherman Oaks for $1.2M. If you want to spend $1.5, you can get a modest home in South Pasadena with terrific schools to boot. But yes, if you're talking about a 4 bedroom smart home with a pool and the latest appliances in a good school district, then your $2M number is more accurate.
For $1.25M in South Pasadena what you get is truly modest. Unless you're willing to buy a fixer and spend a year of your life rebuilding.

For $2M, you're looking at a decent house that doesn't need work.

misterjohnny
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by misterjohnny » Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:12 pm

Yes, there are good K-5 schools in the LAUSD, especially the charter schools. Once you get to the middle schools, they drop off fast. Still some good specialized middle schools (STEM or Art focused). Good thing is, there is a ton of data online to compare schools. You don't just have to take the realtors word for it. In their speak, every area has good schools.

freckles01
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by freckles01 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:42 pm

everytime i see a post about home buying in LA, i'm so glad i bought when i did because i could not afford it today even in my "hood"

but having said that, owning a home is a huge responsibility and can be very stressful- but i remind myself i have to live somewhere and it might as well give me some equity for the stress. plus its close to my job, easy commute is priceless for my mental health.

with kids, its usually more expensive to buy a house in a good public school district vs renting, unless you want to spend the morning driving across the city dropping them off. i've worked with parents who rent and move as needed for public schools and then buy a house further out out of the city or move to another state.

gotlucky
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by gotlucky » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:49 pm

I've lived in the Westwood/Santa Monica area most of my life. I've owned a home and/or rental property since the early 90s. The housing market will either seem 1) crazy-expensive euphoric or 2) so bad that everyone will be scared to buy. It always seems like you are overpaying. My parents thought they were overpaying when they bought a house near UCLA in the 60s for $30k. I don't think prices will always go up. But if you buy because you want to have control of your living situation rather than as an investment, you will probably wind up happier and you'll likely at least keep pace with inflation over long periods, ie. don't expect to make money on your home and you'll probably be fine.

When I look at other regions and their slightly cheaper home prices, I usually find LA is fairly valued if not a small bargain. There are things here you can't find anywhere for sure, like high-paying creative jobs and, of course, amazing weather (I rarely run my heater or A/C so my utility bills are negligible). And while the westside is mostly white and asian, I find that I can still interact with people from all over the world with different backgrounds in social settings. We retired in our 50s so it's the year-round beach access, social and family ties, my kids' schooling, and the abundance of inexpensive high-quality food (raw and prepared) that keep us here. Sure, LA has big-city problems (crime and homelessness) and a disproportionate number of inconsiderate, self-aggrandizing people but they are easy to spot and avoid (hint: they usually aren't from LA and they ask you "what do you do for living" within 3 minutes of meeting them). However, there are far more very intelligent, hard-working, open-minded people that come here. Most of the native Angelenos are just like everyone else and most of the foreign immigrants who come here on student visas are humble despite being wicked brilliant.

My kids went to local LAUSD elementary schools and are now in LAUSD magnets, which are full of ethnically and socio-economic diverse families who are focused on education. Navigating the magnet system requires effort, organization and a network of other parents, thus the coveted, hard-to-get-into magnet schools have somewhat self-selected these families. Our elementary school was predominantly upper-class white and asian and the test scores reflected that. Many of my neighbors choose private middle and high school and most of them rant about their kids having to deal with fund-raising for new computers and entitled classmates who go to Cabo for the weekend or who "summer" in France. Also, private schools are in the business of schooling, so their interests don't exactly align with educating their students (I'm biased, but I feel like most private schools are given eagle eggs and then try to take credit when eagles hatch). My kids have friends who take a bus 3 hours a day just to go to a decent school and whose parents can't watch them play high school sports because they work. If these kids wind up successful, I think it was their schooling that played a big part. As a result of my kids seeing this, they don't complain much about having 3-year old phones, wearing hand-me-downs, or that we cook 95% of our meals. But you'll have to ask me in about 20 years if I think public school was the right choice for them.

Saving$
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by Saving$ » Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:56 pm

123 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:17 pm
celia wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:02 pm
... you will get all your money back when you sell...
This is never guaranteed.There have been numerous times in the past when housing prices in Los Angeles and Southern California have declined significantly, the mortgage crisis of 2007 comes to mind. Significant declines, sometimes lengthy, can happen in any market. There is nothing to guarantee that you will not have to sell in such a decline due to changes in personal circumstances. Retired people can often wait declines out but people who are working may need to move on to other career opportunities.
To break even, all you have to get back when you sell is your money less the amount you would have paid in rent over the years...

Valuethinker
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:06 pm

gotlucky wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:49 pm

My kids went to local LAUSD elementary schools and are now in LAUSD magnets, which are full of ethnically and socio-economic diverse families who are focused on education. Navigating the magnet system requires effort, organization and a network of other parents, thus the coveted, hard-to-get-into magnet schools have somewhat self-selected these families. Our elementary school was predominantly upper-class white and asian and the test scores reflected that. Many of my neighbors choose private middle and high school and most of them rant about their kids having to deal with fund-raising for new computers and entitled classmates who go to Cabo for the weekend or who "summer" in France. Also, private schools are in the business of schooling, so their interests don't exactly align with educating their students (I'm biased, but I feel like most private schools are given eagle eggs and then try to take credit when eagles hatch). My kids have friends who take a bus 3 hours a day just to go to a decent school and whose parents can't watch them play high school sports because they work. If these kids wind up successful, I think it was their schooling that played a big part. As a result of my kids seeing this, they don't complain much about having 3-year old phones, wearing hand-me-downs, or that we cook 95% of our meals. But you'll have to ask me in about 20 years if I think public school was the right choice for them.
One thing which struck a chord (having family in UK & Canada) is the ancillary costs of a private school education.

The schools are always fundraising for something - there is always something. And the lifestyle of some of their peers (private jet trips for ski weekends, etc.) are something. Fathers who use helicopters to beat the holiday traffic to the beach resort area.

That said, state (ie public, a "Public" school in Britain is a private boarding school) schools now have to raise money, the impact of nation-wide budget cuts has been so severe that they have to (local taxation does not finance the public schools; we have very low property taxes by North American standards, but conversely local government gets most of its revenues from central govt).

inbox788
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by inbox788 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:13 pm

Saving$ wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:56 pm
123 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:17 pm
celia wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:02 pm
... you will get all your money back when you sell...
This is never guaranteed.There have been numerous times in the past when housing prices in Los Angeles and Southern California have declined significantly, the mortgage crisis of 2007 comes to mind. Significant declines, sometimes lengthy, can happen in any market. There is nothing to guarantee that you will not have to sell in such a decline due to changes in personal circumstances. Retired people can often wait declines out but people who are working may need to move on to other career opportunities.
To break even, all you have to get back when you sell is your money less the amount you would have paid in rent over the years...
How do you account for the minor plumbing repair that would have required a call to the landlord? Or other landlord/tenant interactions? Properly accounting for all the cost transfers, such as utilities (i.e. water/sewage) and taxes, is difficult enough without bringing in all the other factors.

Are you counting the opportunity cost or risk you took? Instead of spending down payment and credit, you could have put that cash in a CD, a balanced fund, a total market fund, Amazon stock, and even invested on margin.

And in Los Angeles, you have to worry about Earthquake Insurance. There's also the homeowner vs. renter insurance that adds different costs and benefits. Ultimately, it's not so much about breaking even as buying a different experience. There are benefit to longer ownership, but ironically, the incentives sometimes lock you in, and keep you from moving to better opportunities.

cowbman
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by cowbman » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:58 pm

I'm thinking about accepting an offer in Norwalk. I'm not used to traffic (Have had long commutes, but they were against traffic, and quit that job after 3 years). DW and I aiming to have children soon, so schools will be important. I've looked at South Pasadena, Rossmoor/Los Alamitos/Seal Beach, and the South Bay. My preference is for the South Bay, especially if I can take the Green line and Scooter/Uber the rest of the way. I'm concerned about air/water quality in the area though with all of the refineries, not to mention ridiculous prices. Seems like PV has better air, but then I feel like I'm doomed to sit in the car all my life. Thoughts? Advice?

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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by willthrill81 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:24 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:00 pm
For $1.25M in South Pasadena what you get is truly modest. Unless you're willing to buy a fixer and spend a year of your life rebuilding.

For $2M, you're looking at a decent house that doesn't need work.
:shock:

I know that that's what the prices are, but it still shocks me. I understand how the supply and demand mechanism led to those prices, but I still don't understand why there's been that much demand.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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unclescrooge
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by unclescrooge » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:17 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:24 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:00 pm
For $1.25M in South Pasadena what you get is truly modest. Unless you're willing to buy a fixer and spend a year of your life rebuilding.

For $2M, you're looking at a decent house that doesn't need work.
:shock:

I know that that's what the prices are, but it still shocks me. I understand how the supply and demand mechanism led to those prices, but I still don't understand why there's been that much demand.
Because there's a lot of money (both foreign and domestic) chasing great schools (supposedly #10 in the state) with little inventory.

Or you go to a neighboring zip code with cheaper housing, but bad schools and pay $35k/kid for private schools.

I don't know what constitutes a good or bad school - I'm just passing along what other people tell me to be their truth.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by unclescrooge » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:22 pm

cowbman wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:58 pm
I'm thinking about accepting an offer in Norwalk. I'm not used to traffic (Have had long commutes, but they were against traffic, and quit that job after 3 years). DW and I aiming to have children soon, so schools will be important. I've looked at South Pasadena, Rossmoor/Los Alamitos/Seal Beach, and the South Bay. My preference is for the South Bay, especially if I can take the Green line and Scooter/Uber the rest of the way. I'm concerned about air/water quality in the area though with all of the refineries, not to mention ridiculous prices. Seems like PV has better air, but then I feel like I'm doomed to sit in the car all my life. Thoughts? Advice?
PV/Redondo Beach are 20 minutes to the freeway. That would be a dealbreaker for me.

Long Beach is seeing a revitalization, if you're open to that. It's quite close to Norwalk.

gotlucky
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Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by gotlucky » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:40 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:24 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:00 pm
For $1.25M in South Pasadena what you get is truly modest. Unless you're willing to buy a fixer and spend a year of your life rebuilding.

For $2M, you're looking at a decent house that doesn't need work.
:shock:

I know that that's what the prices are, but it still shocks me. I understand how the supply and demand mechanism led to those prices, but I still don't understand why there's been that much demand.
Los Angeles or California is not the greatest place to live and it has it's share of problems. But most of the people that live here choose to do so because they are tired shoveling snow or dealing with with muggy, sweltering summers with mosquitoes and cockroaches the size of small pets. Coastal California is culturally diverse and more egalitarian than the rest of the world. Some people value that and some don't. The ones that value it drive the demand.

That being said, I wouldn't want to live anyplace (SF, NY, DC or any big coastal city) unless I could comfortably earn an above-average income for THAT area. There are just too many people who are willing to pay 50% or more of their income to live in these places because they cling to the hope that they will "strike it rich" there. This leads to people comprising their values.

I'm a native. I like (but not love) it here. However, I'm not Caucasian, so I feel that there are only a hand-full of cities in the world that I can live and not feel that that is an issue.

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LilyFleur
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:36 pm

Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by LilyFleur » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:01 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:22 pm
cowbman wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:58 pm
I'm thinking about accepting an offer in Norwalk. I'm not used to traffic (Have had long commutes, but they were against traffic, and quit that job after 3 years). DW and I aiming to have children soon, so schools will be important. I've looked at South Pasadena, Rossmoor/Los Alamitos/Seal Beach, and the South Bay. My preference is for the South Bay, especially if I can take the Green line and Scooter/Uber the rest of the way. I'm concerned about air/water quality in the area though with all of the refineries, not to mention ridiculous prices. Seems like PV has better air, but then I feel like I'm doomed to sit in the car all my life. Thoughts? Advice?
PV/Redondo Beach are 20 minutes to the freeway. That would be a dealbreaker for me.

Long Beach is seeing a revitalization, if you're open to that. It's quite close to Norwalk.
Long Beach has some rather unsafe areas but on the west side towards El Dorado Park there are some very nicely maintained neighborhoods. The school districts aren't great, though. Los Alamitos has a wonderful school district. I think Seal Beach may be in the Los Al school district.

PV is very pricey and gorgeous, with excellent schools and really wonderful hikes with views of the ocean. Redondo is not low crime.

Be sure to go on realtor.com, go down to the neighborhood map and click on the "crime" button. You will learn a lot.

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willthrill81
Posts: 13906
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:17 pm
Location: USA

Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by willthrill81 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:40 pm

gotlucky wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:40 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:24 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:00 pm
For $1.25M in South Pasadena what you get is truly modest. Unless you're willing to buy a fixer and spend a year of your life rebuilding.

For $2M, you're looking at a decent house that doesn't need work.
:shock:

I know that that's what the prices are, but it still shocks me. I understand how the supply and demand mechanism led to those prices, but I still don't understand why there's been that much demand.
Los Angeles or California is not the greatest place to live and it has it's share of problems. But most of the people that live here choose to do so because they are tired shoveling snow or dealing with with muggy, sweltering summers with mosquitoes and cockroaches the size of small pets. Coastal California is culturally diverse and more egalitarian than the rest of the world. Some people value that and some don't. The ones that value it drive the demand.

That being said, I wouldn't want to live anyplace (SF, NY, DC or any big coastal city) unless I could comfortably earn an above-average income for THAT area. There are just too many people who are willing to pay 50% or more of their income to live in these places because they cling to the hope that they will "strike it rich" there. This leads to people comprising their values.

I'm a native. I like (but not love) it here. However, I'm not Caucasian, so I feel that there are only a hand-full of cities in the world that I can live and not feel that that is an issue.
I'm glad that you enjoy living there.

Personally, we really enjoy having four distinct seasons, and being close to excellent skiing (the season starts in two days! :D ) is important to me. We don't have muggy summers, nor do we shovel much snow. The only pests we have are yellow jackets, and they're not bad.

My DW and I both loathe really big cities. By the end of our second day, we're consistently ready to leave. The traffic and bustle is not at all to our liking. We much prefer being close to nature while at the same time having the amenities of a moderately large city nearby, though we actually live in a small outlying town. I often tell people that we live very happily in Mayberry.

As they say, different strokes for different folks.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

cowbman
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:10 pm

Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by cowbman » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:42 am

LilyFleur wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:01 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:22 pm
cowbman wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:58 pm
I'm thinking about accepting an offer in Norwalk. I'm not used to traffic (Have had long commutes, but they were against traffic, and quit that job after 3 years). DW and I aiming to have children soon, so schools will be important. I've looked at South Pasadena, Rossmoor/Los Alamitos/Seal Beach, and the South Bay. My preference is for the South Bay, especially if I can take the Green line and Scooter/Uber the rest of the way. I'm concerned about air/water quality in the area though with all of the refineries, not to mention ridiculous prices. Seems like PV has better air, but then I feel like I'm doomed to sit in the car all my life. Thoughts? Advice?
PV/Redondo Beach are 20 minutes to the freeway. That would be a dealbreaker for me.

Long Beach is seeing a revitalization, if you're open to that. It's quite close to Norwalk.
Long Beach has some rather unsafe areas but on the west side towards El Dorado Park there are some very nicely maintained neighborhoods. The school districts aren't great, though. Los Alamitos has a wonderful school district. I think Seal Beach may be in the Los Al school district.

PV is very pricey and gorgeous, with excellent schools and really wonderful hikes with views of the ocean. Redondo is not low crime.

Be sure to go on realtor.com, go down to the neighborhood map and click on the "crime" button. You will learn a lot.
Thanks for the advice, but LB puts back in the refinery problem, along with traffic and worse schools. I'm thinking of adding West Torrance to the search too, especially since they are extending the train there. Anyone with advice on air/water quality and refinery issues? Seal Beach I believe is in Los Alamitos schools too. PV is expensive, but less so than most of the beach cities.

gotlucky
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:44 pm

Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by gotlucky » Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:46 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:40 pm

I'm glad that you enjoy living there.

Personally, we really enjoy having four distinct seasons, and being close to excellent skiing (the season starts in two days! :D ) is important to me. We don't have muggy summers, nor do we shovel much snow. The only pests we have are yellow jackets, and they're not bad.

My DW and I both loathe really big cities. By the end of our second day, we're consistently ready to leave. The traffic and bustle is not at all to our liking. We much prefer being close to nature while at the same time having the amenities of a moderately large city nearby, though we actually live in a small outlying town. I often tell people that we live very happily in Mayberry.

As they say, different strokes for different folks.
I'm not sure I'd enjoy it if I didn't live in one of the more coveted areas and we didn't figure out a way to maneuver the public school system. Our peak incomes should never have allowed us to live where we do as we never grossed more than $200K and many years we just hoovered right around the 15%/25% federal tax rate.

Other than Colorado, Oregon and higher elevation parts of New Mexico and Arizona, where can you be close to skiing without bad winters and horrible summers? It sounds like a great place to retire.

As I said in my previous post, if I didn't have family/social ties and I didn't have school-aged kids, I probably wouldn't pay the premium to live here.

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willthrill81
Posts: 13906
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Location: USA

Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by willthrill81 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:23 pm

gotlucky wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:46 pm
Other than Colorado, Oregon and higher elevation parts of New Mexico and Arizona, where can you be close to skiing without bad winters and horrible summers? It sounds like a great place to retire.
Eastern Washington. We only get 1-2 feet of snow in the valleys, but the mountains get far more. At the end of the 2017-2018 season, when Schweitzer Mountain, fewer than two hours from us, closed for operations in mid-April, they had 435 inches. We have five resorts within a two hour radius and several more a few hours further. We're seven hours from Big Sky and headed there in January. :D

And yes, it is a great place to retire, so much so that we've been getting large numbers of retirees from the Seattle area and northern California for several years, enough to really bump up real estate prices, though they are still reasonable.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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poppy42
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:30 pm

Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by poppy42 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:02 pm

gotlucky wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:40 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:24 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:00 pm
For $1.25M in South Pasadena what you get is truly modest. Unless you're willing to buy a fixer and spend a year of your life rebuilding.

For $2M, you're looking at a decent house that doesn't need work.
:shock:

I know that that's what the prices are, but it still shocks me. I understand how the supply and demand mechanism led to those prices, but I still don't understand why there's been that much demand.
Los Angeles or California is not the greatest place to live and it has it's share of problems. But most of the people that live here choose to do so because they are tired shoveling snow or dealing with with muggy, sweltering summers with mosquitoes and cockroaches the size of small pets. Coastal California is culturally diverse and more egalitarian than the rest of the world. Some people value that and some don't. The ones that value it drive the demand.
OP here - just noting that I live in coastal SoCal and get a few cockroaches the size of small pets in my home every year. It's been in every place I've lived here so I know it isn't limited to an issue with my current home. I also see massive roaches regularly on the streets of LA. At least they aren't the flying kind :|

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LilyFleur
Posts: 731
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:36 pm

Re: Homebuying in Los Angeles - Advice Needed

Post by LilyFleur » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:07 pm

poppy42 wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:02 pm
gotlucky wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:40 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:24 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:00 pm
For $1.25M in South Pasadena what you get is truly modest. Unless you're willing to buy a fixer and spend a year of your life rebuilding.

For $2M, you're looking at a decent house that doesn't need work.
:shock:

I know that that's what the prices are, but it still shocks me. I understand how the supply and demand mechanism led to those prices, but I still don't understand why there's been that much demand.
Los Angeles or California is not the greatest place to live and it has it's share of problems. But most of the people that live here choose to do so because they are tired shoveling snow or dealing with with muggy, sweltering summers with mosquitoes and cockroaches the size of small pets. Coastal California is culturally diverse and more egalitarian than the rest of the world. Some people value that and some don't. The ones that value it drive the demand.
OP here - just noting that I live in coastal SoCal and get a few cockroaches the size of small pets in my home every year. It's been in every place I've lived here so I know it isn't limited to an issue with my current home. I also see massive roaches regularly on the streets of LA. At least they aren't the flying kind :|
Gross!
I live in coastal SoCal and, in the place I've lived for 8 years now, I haven't seen one cockroach. Just house
centipedes, but evidently they prey on cockroaches.

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