Alright! You're moving to LA and trying to figure out a safe, cheap(ish) place to live, that will be convenient to your yet-to-be-acquired job. You've been looking at posts on craigslist, but aren't familiar with the neighborhoods in this far-away-land of "the Valley." If you're planning to stay in the greater LA area, take a look at these pointers below, regarding this popular (and cost effective) section of Los Angeles.
"The Valley," generally refers to the areas bordered by the 405, 101 and 170 freeways. Depending on who you talk to, this may include the cities of Sherman Oaks, Studio City (also Valley Village and Toluca Lake), Van Nuys, Glendale, North Hollywood and Burbank. All of these present good housing options.
The map above shows what Google considers to be Sherman Oaks. The safer and more desirable areas of the Valley, particularly between Sherman Oaks (starting at the 405) and North Hollywood (ending around Cahuenga Blvd on the far right, beyond the map shown above) tend to be between Magnolia boulevard on the north side, and Ventura boulevard on the south side. The tiny side streets south of Ventura and north of Hollywood also present good options, when you can find properties that are renting in these areas. These side street properties tend to be rental houses, which are located in more residential neighborhoods.
Safety wise, you generally want to avoid the northern area of Van Nuys that is near Panorama City (anywhere north of Oxnard street is a gamble) and Panorama City itself.
Doing a brief survey of current listings in the Valley, these are the price ranges you should expect for rental properties in these regions.
1 bed/1bath $1295 to $1750
3bed/3bath $1895 to $3200
Not a ton of 1 bedrooms in this small area
3bed/2.5 bath (house or condo) $3300 to $4299
1 bed/1bath $1050 to $1275
3bed/2 bath $1950 to $2500 (house)
1bed/1bath $1295 (cottage) to $1495
3bed/2bath $2995 to $3300
1bed/1bath $1200 to $1700
3bed/2bath $3400 to $3495 (apartment or house)
1bed/1bath $1200 to $1775
3bed/2bath $2250 to $3500
When working out how much you can afford in rent, keep in mind that utility costs will be separate. The more roommates you have, the easier it is to manage these extra costs. There are apartments and houses larger than 3 bedrooms, but they can be harder to find. It’s easier to look for places, once you’ve determined how many roommates you are going to have (and what prices each person can afford). Perhaps the person who has the master bedroom alone will pay more, or give the roommate with the smaller room the parking spot in the garage, to even things out. Or to save money, you may want to get single beds and double up in each of the bedrooms.
When agreeing to be roommates with someone (a former roommate or friend of a friend or otherwise) be realistic about your expectations and share those with your potential roommate. Do you like to host dinner parties? Or do you prefer your home to be a quiet sanctuary? Though these may not seem like big ‘make or break’ items initially, these are the things that can wear on friendships over time, or cause someone to move out! As a way to practice growing in this new grown-up stage of your life, find out what behaviors make your roommate feel respected, and discuss ways that you can make living together an experience that will be enjoyable for everyone involved.