Los Angeles Housing Options for Relocating Employees: Part 3, Apartments
In part 3 of our series on Los Angeles Housing Options for relocating employees, we focus on apartments. There are many reasons why clients should encourage transferees to buy instead of rent. For those employees who are not ready or prepared to buy, renting an apartment may be helpful for several reasons.
Advantages to Renting Apartments in Los Angeles
No Maintenance and Upkeep
Renting apartments basically frees the renter from ownership responsibilities. Those who own apartments must take care of the following:
- Maintenance of the building
- Structural issues including anything that might break
- Upgrades to fixtures and decorating
- Incidentals such as light bulbs and batteries
- Landscaping and upkeep of grounds, yards, trees
- Secure access
- Parking areas
Access to Amenities
Many apartments are located in or near areas with direct access to desirable amenities. Renters often benefit from being near:
- Tennis courts
- Swimming pools
- Hot tubs
- Trails for walking, hiking, biking
- Shopping areas
Relocating employees may benefit from renting in an area if they are unsure where to settle down. A short-term rental with a plan to buy in six months or a year offers transferees flexibility and time to further research locations for the best fit.
Rents in some markets exceed the cost of home ownership. Relocating employees who choose to rent do not build equity since they do not own the property. They also are not able to claim home mortgage interest as a deduction; this is a major benefit to those who buy homes.
Budget-Friendly Neighborhoods for Los Angeles Apartments
Several neighborhoods in Los Angeles are known for lower costs and budget-friendly rental rates on apartments. Each neighborhood is distinctly different in character and amenities, so transferees can usually find one that meets their preference.
San Fernando Valley
Lake Balboa is a district in the San Fernando Valley. The neighborhood is known for a large amount of park area including Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area, Lake Balboa, and Woodley Park. The area has many charming post-war houses in a suburban setting.
Van Nuys is a mostly residential area centrally located in the San Fernando Valley with mid-priced homes and apartments. Van Nuys Boulevard is known as a great street for shopping. Woodley Park features baseball diamonds, play areas, barbecue pits, an archery range, and cricket fields.
Close to Hills, Parks, and Mountains
Tarzana is named after Tarzan, the main character in the book “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The area is close to many parks, and offers easy access to hiking in the nearby hills. This is a quiet and suburban area located just north of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Central Los Angeles Location
Koreatown is known for its lively nightlife. It also has a wide variety of shopping malls, stores, and markets. Various architectural styles give clues to the neighborhoods history, once the center of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Near the Pacific Ocean
San Pedro is known for having a number of locally-owned shops in town, with bakeries, butchers, and a small-town feel. It is located on the harbor, with Rancho Palos Verdes to the west, and Long Beach to the east. San Pedro is home to the Korean Bell of Friendship, given as a gift to the US by the South Korean government to symbolize friendship between the two nations.
Los Angeles neighborhoods have much to offer residents and visitors. Transferees looking for apartments should work with a Realtor® that has knowledge of the city and the market for apartments in various neighborhoods.
Expert Tips about Los Angeles Apartments
GMS spoke with Erik R. Brown of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Realtor®, TV host, speaker, and author of “One in a Million: Everything You Need to Know to Find the Best Realtor®.” Erik agreed to share his industry knowledge and market expertise on Los Angeles housing options for relocating employees.
Erik knows that researching the particulars of a local market provides renters with the knowledge they need to be successful in their search. As Erik notes, “Moving to Los Angeles? Then you’ll want to know these top tips as you decide to make the move.” In part 3 of a 3 part series, Erik shares his 9 top tips for finding and renting apartments in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Housing Options: Apartments
9 Top Tips for Finding and Renting Apartments in Los Angeles
1. Set your parameters.
Good process makes good business, so set the stage right to map your way to success. Since Los Angeles vacancy rates are so low and bidding wars are common, start by setting your parameters: How much do you want to spend? Try using a Rent Calculator to determine how much you want to spend on an apartment. How many bedrooms do you need? What amenities do you want? What location is best for proximity to work and recreation?
2. Review and create realistic expectations.
Here are some good examples:
- Expectation #1: LA is one of the most expensive cities in the US. You won’t find apartments as nice as what you are used to unless you’re moving from NY.
- Expectation #2: You might have to buy or rent a refrigerator, washer, dryer, and in rare cases a stove.
- Expectation #3: If you rent a single family house, you will most likely have to pay for water and all the utilities.
3. Understand looking in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is unlike large East Coast cities where the majority of rentals are listed on a central listing system like the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). In these cities, you can work with one broker to show you what is on the market. Either the tenant pays the broker fee or the landlord does. By comparison, the majority of landlords in the current Los Angeles market advertise their property for free on the internet, without the use of a broker or MLS-type service.
4. Get to know your neighborhood options.
Los Angeles is a huge city comprised of several large and small neighborhoods. Many of these neighborhoods are actually sub-cities. Initially, getting to know them all can seem overwhelming. To help your search, do this: gear up your Google skills. Schools, safety ratings, walkability, traffic maps, local amenities, and many other lifestyle questions differ by area. Know as well that “LA traffic” is a real challenge. Having a shorter commute can make or break your daily life in Los Angeles. If you’re having trouble choosing among the more than 450 neighborhoods, contact me directly and I will send you a “Neighborhood Knowledge Checklist” I share with my clients.
5. Begin your search.
The internet is by far the most helpful resource to find apartments. Websites such as those listed below are popular for various rental types.
Rental Sites for Apartments and Homes:
www.Craigslist.org (be careful of scams)
Rental Sites for Short Term Rentals:
Rental Sites for Rooms:
However, you should understand that many landlords in Los Angeles are “old school.” Many landlords don’t have email or own a computer. All they have to do is put a “For Rent” sign in the front yard and the place is rented within 24 hours. And that’s exactly what they do. After you have narrowed down the area you are looking in, start driving around. Be on the lookout for “For Rent” signs and start calling about apartments right away.
6. Be prepared to get your move on.
Los Angeles tenants give 30-day notices to move out and most landlords wait until the tenant has moved out before they list the property for rent. Once a property hits the market, it rents out typically very quickly. Many times, vacancies rent within 24 hours. It typically takes under 30 days from the time a landlord lists a property to the time the new tenant moves in.
That means: be prepared to move quickly once you start looking. We cannot stress enough the importance of being prepared to apply. We deliver this message every day, over and over and over. So many unfortunate renters miss out on rentals because they had to go home, fill out an application and gather their documentation. Every landlord will ask you for the same information, so why wait to get your documentation in order? As difficult as it is finding suitable apartments, once you find the right space, you want to be 100% prepared to get it.
7. On the flip side, do not attempt to find a decent rental months in advance.
Since it can take less than 30 days to find a rental, it is nearly impossible to search in advance. If you have been looking within 30 days of your move-in date and you are down to the wire, you need to check your expectations.
8. See the place in person.
Once you find a place you like, call or email and ask to set up a time to view it. You will likely deal directly with the property owner, on-site manager, or a management company. This is key to ensuring you will not get scammed or deceived by an online listing.
9. Speaking of…Avoid These Rental Scams.
Before signing the lease, run through these telltale signs to spot a rental scam:
- The rent is below market rate. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Many times, rental scammers in Los Angeles will list a home below market and ask for a money wire transfer before they let you view the property. Although affordable rates are not a guaranteed verdict of a rental scam, it is a sign to investigate further.
- Inability to prove ownership: A landlord who you have never met at the door, spoke with on the phone, or who has no reputable online reviews is suspicious. Be cautious when a landlord cannot provide proof of management.
- Inaccessible landlord “Owners” who claim they cannot meet you at the property because they just left the country or they are traveling are most likely a scam. We recommend calling them directly to verify they actually exist.
- Viewing fees: Any landlord or homeowner who requests money to view apartments is most likely running a scam. No landlord would ask for money upfront before a renter files paperwork and sees the property.
What Should Employers do?
Employers should share helpful information about apartments in Los Angeles with their relocating employees. This will help transferees and their family members learn about neighborhoods and amenities in the city. As a result, relocating employees will have valuable information to help them easily find several apartments that meet their requirements.
Employers should also provide as much information about the new location as possible. They should work with a qualified and experienced Relocation Management Company (RMC) that can provide many useful resources to assist relocating employees and their family members. Destination spotlights that highlight many aspects of a location are helpful reference materials to share with transferees during their pre-decision process. Video destination spotlights are a great resource to visually show employees and their family members their new location.
Global Mobility Solutions’ team of corporate relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients understand how to identify and share valuable real estate and neighborhood information with transferees. Our team can help your company share helpful information on apartments in Los Angeles that will give transferees peace of mind as they go through their relocation process.
GMS was the first relocation company to register as a .com. The company also created the first online interactive tools and calculators, and revolutionized the entire relocation industry. GMS continues to set the industry pace as the pioneer in innovation and technology solutions with its proprietary MyRelocation® technology platform.
Learn best practices from Global Mobility Solutions, the relocation industry and technology experts. Contact our experts online to discuss your company’s need for information about apartments in Los Angeles to share with your transferees, or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.