Is It Worth Moving to Los Angeles?
I am Dave Robles and I grew up in LA, Silverlake to be precise – which is now the epicenter of cool – I have a personal connection to this vibrant city. At just 15 years old, my first job was at the iconic Mann's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, you know, the one with the famous handprints right there on the Boulevard of Stars. It was as LA as it gets, working premieres and rubbing shoulders with celebrities. Well, when I say "rubbing shoulders," I mean more like fetching Cokes for David Lee Roth. I crossed paths with the likes of Michael Jackson and other stars who graced the theater. Those were the days, and I've got some great stories from that time.
But as life moved forward, my journey took me across LA's diverse landscape. From the valley to Orange County, from the beaches to the east side, my next job required me to traverse the city, block by block. So, when I share my insights, you can trust that I'm not offering some watered-down Los Angeles realtor opinion. I'm here to give you the genuine lowdown, straight from an LA native who knows the ins and outs of this sprawling city. Today I own and run Think Real Estate, a Los Angeles Real Estate Company with agents who specialize in neighborhoods all throughout Los Angeles
Let's dive into the highlights of Los Angeles – and trust me, there's plenty to love! First off, the weather is like a dream with around 300 sunny days each year. Picture temperatures in the comfortable 70s, with low humidity! It's tough to beat LA's fabulous weather. This city is surrounded by stunning beaches on one side and awe-inspiring mountains on the other plus expansive deserts are in the mix too, promising endless adventures. Imagine this: you can hit the waves for a morning surf, then swap your board for skis and hit the slopes in the afternoon. Where else on Earth can you enjoy such an incredible combo?
The food scene in Los Angeles is also top-notch! We're talking Michelin-star restaurants and some of the most mouthwatering street food you'll ever lay eyes on. LA is a hub of foodie diversity. Our city is home to folks from all around the world who've gifted us with an array of incredible cuisines. You've got your classic Mexican delights, that's a given, but we're also talking fantastic Thai, Korean, and authentic Ethiopian flavors that'll transport you straight to distant lands. Whatever you're craving, LA's got you covered. And hey, if you're all about healthy eats, don't you worry – we've got you too! Our city boasts some seriously imaginative vegan and vegetarian spots. Here's our secret: our food is so darn good partly thanks to the treasure trove of produce we get from – up north on the 5 freeway, right in central California.
Los Angeles boasts an incredible array of housing options that truly stand out on a global scale. Whether your heart desires a charming bungalow, a Spanish-style abode brimming with character, or the sleek lines of a mid-century modern home with sweeping views, you'll find these homes for sale all right here. From cozy condos to majestic castles, our city caters to every preference, ensuring there's a perfect fit for everyone. Moreover, some of the world's finest architects have etched their genius into the Los Angeles landscape, enriching the architectural tapestry.
Diversity thrives in LA's neighborhoods, each offering its unique flavor and vibe. Seeking that hipster haven? Look no further than Highland Park Homes, Silver Lake Homes, or the vibrant Venice Beach Homes. Speaking of Venice, its bohemian charm has evolved, and nowadays, it's a playground for those with a hearty bank account. Musicians might resonate with Laurel Canyon or Studio City – they practically share a backyard. Acting ambitions? Explore the realms of North East Los Angeles, also known as "NELA." From Eagle Rock to Highland Park, Echo Park to Silver Lake, there's something for every aspiration. While A-list actors claim Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, or the prestigious bird streets, tech enthusiasts gravitate towards Westchester, Marina Del Rey, Playa del Rey, or the tech haven of Venice Beach.
For those of us considered "normal people," home searches often end up in the neighborhoods of Glendale and Pasadena. Although the latter isn't technically Los Angeles, we all share the spirit of this vast city. Whether it's the Valley or Mid-City, each neighborhood has its unique charm. Navigating LA's expanse might seem daunting, but my advice for newcomers is simple: have fun exploring! Immerse yourself in the diverse flavors of these communities, plant your roots where you feel a connection.
If you're an artist, writer, or a doer with a passion for the arts, LA provides a haven where you can immerse yourself in a multitude of activities every single night. Whether it's the magic of live theater, the soul-stirring music at iconic venues like the Hollywood Bowl, the Greek Theater, or the vibrant atmosphere of smaller clubs scattered around, there's always something to experience. And let's not forget sports – with the Rams, Dodgers, Kings, and Lakers, LA's sports scene has something for everyone. Trust me, if you find LA boring, you might just need to spice up your own life a bit!
Moreover, LA stands as a magnet for tech companies that have set up substantial bases here, including the likes of Google, Hulu, Snapchat, YouTube, and SpaceX. It's a melting pot of innovation and creativity, making it an exciting place for professionals in the tech world.
Now, as much as LA has its share of excitement, there are some challenges to be aware of. First and foremost, the cost of living is no secret – it can be quite high. Even with a great realtor at your side, your dollar might not stretch as far as you'd hope, especially when it comes to housing. You might need to scour hard to find a decent place within a budget, and a hefty price tag doesn't guarantee spacious accommodations. Add to that the taxes – with sales tax around 10 percent and state income taxes potentially reaching as high as 13 percent, it's important to factor in these costs.
And then there's the infamous LA traffic. While we're a city of dreams, we're also a city of traffic jams. The distance between two points might look short on the map, but the reality can be an hour-long commute, especially to places like Beverly Hills. Despite our sprawling urban expanse, LA has a public transit system known as the LA Metro. It encompasses buses, railways, subways, bike paths, and microbuses, providing options for getting around the city. Admittedly, LA's vastness can pose challenges to seamless public transportation, but there have been improvements over the years. I fondly remember the early days of the rapid transit district, or RTD, which we often referred to as the "rough tough dirty" home from Chinese Theater adventures at 1 o'clock in the morning. While LA's transportation system has come a long way since then, I can't help but wish for a smoother connection between our subway or light rail system and LAX. Even so, if you were to ask most Angelinos about their favorite public transportation, you'd probably hear one resounding answer: Uber.
Navigating LA's expanse can be a bit of a challenge, and that's because this city spreads out over a whopping 500 square miles. To fully savor the LA experience, you've got to put in some effort. Imagine going out for a nice dinner – you might find yourself behind the wheel for about 45 minutes. Sure, there might be closer dining options, but if you're craving that particular restaurant, be prepared for a bit of a journey. It's just the nature of the sprawling beast that is LA. Even my beloved beach excursions require a dedicated commitment. A day at the beach isn't just a leisurely stroll; it involves a full-day adventure, with over an hour spent going from your door to the sandy shores, and another hour plus back home. Yet, the magic of the ocean breeze and sun-kissed waves makes every minute worth it.
Let's talk about crime – an aspect that often gets undue attention. On a scale of 1 to 100, based on FBI data, violent crime in Los Angeles scores a 29, whereas New York clocks in at 28, with the U.S. average at 22. For property crime, LA records a score of 35, compared to New York's 25 and the U.S. average of 35. While LA might occasionally get a bad rap for crime, it's essential to remember that the city's vastness means crime rates can vary greatly depending on the neighborhood or even the specific streets within that neighborhood. Admittedly, while the numbers might not be ideal, it's worth noting that crime isn't an exceptional concern when compared to many other major cities. So, while it's prudent to be cautious, it's also essential to maintain perspective and understand that LA's safety is a nuanced topic.
Lastly, I want to address one of the city's most significant challenges: the ever-growing unhoused population. LA has the largest number of unhoused individuals in the country, and it's a reality we can't ignore. As you drive through the city, it's hard to miss the approximately 40,000 people who sleep on the streets every night. Many freeway underpasses have become small makeshift communities, and if you look closely, you'll see families struggling to find a place to call home. I understand this issue personally, having grown up poor and worked my way up. When I see these individuals, I don't perceive laziness; I see people who are deeply hurt and facing immense challenges. While I don't claim to have all the answers, I do believe that addressing homelessness requires a social services approach rather than simply a law enforcement one.
Mayor Bass's recent action of signing a $13 billion budget, with $10 billion dedicated to tackling the homeless problem, reflects a genuine commitment. It's a step in the right direction, and I hope she's prepared for the significant task ahead.
So, to sum it all up, is living in Los Angeles worth it? Well, it's not a one-size-fits-all answer – just like any city, LA has its pros and cons. But if you take the time to understand the city's quirks, appreciate its diverse neighborhoods, and put in the effort to embrace all it offers, LA will reciprocate that love. It's a place where you can live an extraordinary life, surrounded by the vibrancy of the City of Angels. Thanks for joining me on this journey. If our insights resonate with you, we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. And if you're feeling that LA could be your kind of city, reach out, and let's talk about your home search.