« on: December 16, 2007, 08:29:26 PM »
Sorry...with finals I haven't been checking back much...
Housing was a bit difficult. The first thing to know about LA is where NOT to look for housing. This includes most of the area around the school (the restored historic parts of K-town are fine, but some of it near Macarthur park is scary at night). Campus itself is quite safe though. Also, I didn't want to live in downtown, or anything South of Olympic (as town starts getting fairly scary and gang-ridden the further south you go... though of course exceptions exist). Good rule of thumb... stay mostly northwest of downtown.
Many people live in Los Feliz, Silverlake, West Hollywood, and Park Labrea. Some live in Westwood near UCLA. Others are happy with more reasonable rents in North Hollywood and the Valley. I found a very affordable place in Hollywood. While I wish I could be in West Hollywood, my budget didn't allow it. Also, I'm lucky to live within walking distance of the Hollywood/Highland metro stop. The metro goes right to school, and it's about a 10 minute trip for me. Most people drive, but LA Drivers are extremely aggressive, and I didn't want to start off driving here. The metro is growing in popularity with my peers, and we are trying to get the school to start covering metro passes. As a rule, try not to live more than a 30-45 minute drive from school. I have some classmates who commute from Pomona, Orange County, and other places far from school. They may save money on rent, but they get to school at 6 am... Not worth it for me.
Be expected to pay more than you did in the city you are coming from (unless that city in New York) for a smaller apartment. Also, find an area you like, and check things out in person. Online searches yielded no results for me. Many places will have for rent signs. Call them and set appointments. If you don't have friends you can stay with while you're in the area, you might want to reserve a week in June or early July to hunt for apartments.... This can get really expensive though....
Also, there is a roommate matching list. Many of the people on this list have places already, and this can be a good place to start. The only thing is that most of the students here are from LA, and they don't have the largest picture of reasonableness when it comes to finances. While I only pay 825 a month in rent, many of my classmates wouldn't flinch paying 1400 a month or higher. So make sure you find someone who you are compatible with in this way.
But, there is hope. I only got off the waitlist 2 weeks before classes started, moved from cross-country, did not know LA at all, and I found a 2 bedroom, 2 bath in a great area for 1650 a month. I was lucky, though, that the day I got here, a friend from high school told me that she was moving to LA and needed a roommate... So I didn't have to deal with that side of things. . . Otherwise, I'd be looking for a studio.
Also, make sure that your building has lock on the outside door with a buzzer for guests. Furthermore, look for a place with their own garage, because a building with street or not its own parking is a headache in the making (both for you and for your guests).