Find an apartment in Los Angeles: web sites and tips

Hi guys, as I told you in the past “episode”, I have just moved from Italy to Los Angeles (LA), and the first thing I had to do was definitely finding an apartment!

Fortunately, there are several helpful web sites to find an apartment in Los Angeles, but for sure they are not gonna suggest you the best place for you to be living in, so you would need to get informed about some of the following things:

1- Your budgetfind an apartment in los angeles

2- Your willingness to walk or to buy/rent a car or to pay for a Uber/taxi every day

3- The area you want/need to be living in (or the place you need to reach and to be close to)

4- If you want/need an already furnished or an unfurnished apartment

5- How long you will be living in LA

6- Which kind of services you would like to have in your building or at a walking distance from you

Indeed, many web sites request for you to choose an area, and anyway most of the posts that you are gonna find are named as the areas where the apartments are (instead of the address), so you will need to know the names. Of course, you can find those here on the Google Map of LA, where you will see the area written in uppercase in a different color (usually light brown).

The different areas are even different in term of prices and services. In the richest areas, such as Beverly Hills, most of the buildings or complexes have the pool and the gym inside. If you haven’t a car and you are planning to go around by walking, look at the services at a walking distance from your supposed apartment (such as the grocery stores or the resturants!).

I am gonna suggest you the three websites that I used to find an apartment in Los Angeles.

  • The first one is Craiglist (FREE, but you can contact people only through the web site).

There, under “Housing” you can find the room/shared section, where you will set the area and your requests, such as private room, private bathroom, furnished or not, pets allowed or not, and so on. Having the private bathroom is very common in LA, so you are gonna find many apartments with the opportunity to have your own bath, whose are definitely more expensive. The list of the “areas” is not really specific on this web site, so by choosing Central LA you would get results from most of the areas of LA and even something from Santa Monica, exept for Venice Beach and Downtown.

  • The second one is WestSideRentals (the FREE version is limited, the PRO one requests you to pay)

I had the opportunity to use the account of a friend of mine, which has bought the PRO version for a couple of months, and of course the PRO is better than the FREE, allowing you to see the exact address and the contacts, to search in specific areas and to save your searches. The FREE version is helpful but more time consuming and less comfortable.

  • The third one is Roommates (not FREE, payment required)

This web site is particularly helpful if you are looking for a roommate to share an apartment with. You can look for someone that holds an apartment, or for someone that is looking for a roomate as well, someone that you should like and which likes you, and which has your same “needs” in term of area, budget and so on. That is really helpful if you already live il LA or you can spend a short time in a temporary apartment which allows you to meet the people or to better plan everything.

Somethings you should think about are:

1) you can really save money by finding an apartment with someone, because if you are gonna take a new (empy) apartment the lease would be cheaper (since most on the times those are unfurnished, but you can find very cheape places where to buy what you need)

2) if the apartment is unfurnished you will need to buy (and maybe transport) the furnishment by your own, think if it’s comfortable to you

3) if you rent a new apartment most probably you will need to sign a long term lease (usually 1 year) and you, or you both, will be requested to have a good credit.

4) if you rent a room in an apartment already full, most probably they are gonna offer you a month-to-month lease, and your room will be probably furnished, but the lease would be more expensive

I would suggest you (1) to start looking for your room/apartment no more than 2/3 weeks before your arrival in LA (maybe more if you look for a roommate), (2) to ask the landlords or the roomates to wait for your arrival and to schedule some appoitments with them before coming in LA, (3) to bring some cash with you to pay the first lease or the deposit (if you are not a US citizen). At the same time, I would also suggest you to book a temporary room (I did that on Airbnb) for at least 1 week (I reserved 10 days), which would give you sufficient time to meet the owners or the roomates, to look at the apartments, and to figure out which area you prefer.

Los angeles is a big and spread city, and the public transportations are not very helpful, but you would find more information on the next “episode”.

See you soon!!

Nancy for OnesAbroad

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