sdphill wrote:Since we are on the topic of housing, where is everyone looking to stay? I live on the East Coast, so I won't be able to look like my West Coast peers, but I will be flying in for a week to search and just want to have it narrowed down by then.
I'm wondering this too. Are the Terrace Apartments a good choice, or is there a certain area that's best?
I've been looking like crazy on rent.com and craigslist. Get ready for a monster reply!! Here are my thoughts on what's going on:
Re: Terrace - if you're okay with going back to dorm life and the price doesn't bother you, it's probably very nice to be walkable distance to class. Plus, you don't have to buy a parking pass, which I think will save you 400/semester. +what you're saving in gas. Still, I think you could get a single in downtown for about the same price if you're looking for more independence. I'm coming from the East Coast, too, and I want to make friends! But I think I'd rather have a studio or 1 BR and host dinner nights to make sure that happens. :-)
Timing - so I'll be out visiting the first week in April. My original plan was to go out and nail down some plans ASAP, but the apartment complexes I've contacted (only 3 at this point) have all said that they won't know availability until around July or so. What I think I'll do is go out, tour, and then narrow down my list to places I would or would not live in, and then get on the waiting list for all of them and commit to where ever I hear back from first... a little more stress than I'd like, but it seems to be my only option since I can't be flying back and forth!
Specific neighborhoods - I've PMed a little bit back and forth with some of the 1 and 2Ls over on ask a 1L about the areas they recommend. One of them said that your options are basically live close to campus in a not-so-nice area, or live farther away in a nicer area. I think some people really like downtown - I did not - so it's hard for me to speak objectively.
If you want to live close to campus, your choices are: Terrace, Downtown, Koreatown (aka "Mid Wilshire"), and Mid City. The farther north of Wilshire, the "nicer" it is. Same goes the farther out west you go.
My personal take on all these places... I stayed in downtown LA last year and I didn't feel comfortable walking around certain areas at night. I've had plenty of experience living in shadier areas, but every time I went walking in downtown past dusk someone was trailing me or talking to me... it bothered me as a single female. But I am very ignorant and it is entirely possible that there are parts of downtown that I missed that are much livelier (in a good way) at night and safe/walkable. Anyone with conflicting data, chime in! As for Koreatown, I just don't like the vibe of it... though there are some cheap, nice apartments there. Mid City, I haven't actually been able to find many apartments there.
If you're going for a commute, there's Culver City, Palms, and Miracle Mile located NW of USC... and Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park, and Atwater Village located NE. To me, all of these areas have a lot of good things going for them. (There are plenty of other places, but it seems like these are within 30 minutes commute and will be more populated by 1Ls than, say, Santa Monica). I think Miracle Mile is probably ideal because it's central to all of LA... not too terrible of a commute, plus you'll be closer to bar reviews compared to people out in Los Feliz.http://www.streetadvisor.com/search/nei ... california
I like this website because it gives thoughts on specific 'hoods and streets. I've also found it helpful to look things up on a google streetview for those of us who can't drive a few hours for a look-see.
Pricing: So, USC's recommended budget for housing is $900/month - I believe that includes utilities. I think that is pretty difficult to do without having a flatmate. In my list of apartments where I'll be touring, the prices range from 950-1450. I've noticed that studios for nearly all of USC's recommended apartments start around 1400.
Tonight I went and made an excel sheet with apartment complexes that fit my needs (I set my budget to $1500/month and required that there be parking and a laundry room) to look at relative distances from campus and see what my options really are. If anyone is interested in seeing it, just shoot me a PM! I don't think I'm looking for a roommate but I would absolutely love to live near other 1Ls! Also, I'll be taking pictures of places when I go in a few weeks and would be more than happy to help out any East Coasters who won't have a chance to visit before move-in. So far the only way I can eliminate places is by looking them up on BBB/yelp... but I don't entirely trust yelp since the reviews are so variable at a lot of places.
The complexes that are at the top of my list right now are: Museum Terrace (Miracle Mile), Waverly Gardens (Silver Lake), and Riverglen (Los Feliz).
I hope this is helpful and not overly obsessive. :-) I just care a lot about quality of life... hence me going to USC!
ETA: I'm also happy to make a google doc for people who don't want to bother with emailing. Whateva works.