The City of Angels, La-La Land, Tinseltown. No matter what you want to call it, Los Angeles is a highly desired destination. And with a culture geared toward creatives, stunning beaches, and lots of diversity, it is no wonder that so many people love this vast metropolitan area. If you are one of those people and considering a move in LA, here are 7 tips to make sure you have the best moving experience possible.
1. Give Yourself a Time Cushion
While you should always give yourself a time cushion on moving day, it is imperative when moving in Los Angeles. When people complain about the traffic in LA, they aren’t exaggerating—it is often worse than the notoriously congested streets of NYC. For this reason, you are going to want to give yourself a generous amount of time for your move, especially if you are renting a truck or moving equipment that is due back at a specific time. The last thing you want to pay on top of moving expenses is late fees! You may also want to download an app like Waze that gives you real-time traffic updates so you can avoid accidents and delays.
2. Keep Your Commute Short
You know that traffic that we were just talking about? It will also significantly impact your commute time. Therefore, try to score a place as close to your workplace as possible. This can save your hours a week in commute time and keep you from being stuck in a hot car during a traffic jam.
If possible, test the drive between a prospective neighborhood and your workplace beforehand to get a feel for how long the drive will be. This is important because, with 4 million people in LA, distance doesn’t always coincide with time—it truly depends where you have to drive through.
3. Find a Home with an Assigned Parking Spot
LA may be home to the US’s third-largest transportation system, but it is very spread out, so public transportation can only get you so far—especially if you are trying to get from point A to B quickly or efficiently. Therefore, a lot of locals opt to have their own vehicle. If this is your situation, look for a home with designated parking. While finding a home with parking isn’t 100% necessary—they can be hard to come by— it will make your life a lot easier.
Designated parking will keep you from circling your block a few times looking for a parking spot, and help you avoid the dents that tend to happen when you are parked on the side of the road. Also, while roadside parking is common, LA is known for confusing, almost contradictory, parking signs and rules. So if you misread them, you could be left with a hefty fine.
4. Calculate Your Expenses
LA is the city of dreams, glamour, and expensive housing. According to Numbeo, the online cost of a living database, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost you around $2,240. While buying that same apartment would cost you $7,943 per square meter. Keep this in mind when you are looking for a place to live and make a budget to see what you can afford.
Looking to save money? Hunt for a home outside the city center, read up on how to move to LA with no money and check out the next tip.
5. Split Costs with a Roommate
To help with costs, you may want to consider jumping in with a roommate or two. Ideally, they would be people you know, but strangers or people recommended by friends is also an option. Just be sure to evaluate them thoroughly. Here are a few questions to help with the process:
- Do they have steady employment? Lots of people come to LA to make their Hollywood dreams come true, so it isn’t uncommon to find hopefuls with spotty income.
- Did they have roommates before? This can assure you they know how to share space—something that does not come naturally to everyone.
- What is your gut feeling? Don’t dismiss your instincts, especially if they are telling you something isn’t right.
- You can find roommates through online classifieds or roommate finding apps like Roomie, Roomster, or BunkUp. There are also LA Facebook groups dedicated to roommate searches as well.
6. Understand the Weather
It is no secret that LA is no stranger to the sun. After all, the warm weather is a big part of why many people opt to move there. However, one lesser-known fact is that the nights get rather chilly. These cooler evenings are something to keep in mind for a couple of reasons:
Air Conditioning: Since it cools down so much in the evenings, many apartments don’t have air conditioning—and they genuinely don’t need it. So don’t let a lack of AC be a deal-breaker.
Moving Attire: You might be gung-ho to declutter your winter clothing if you’re coming in from a colder climate, but don’t go overboard. If your move extends into the evening, you will be glad to have a warm sweater. Warmer clothes will also come in handy if you decide to explore Frazier Park—one place that actually gets snow in the LA area!
7. Check If Your Apartment Includes a Refrigerator
Yup, you read that right. Many LA apartments don’t come with refrigerators meaning you will have to buy your own. So if you have perishables that you want to move from one apartment to the next, double-check with your landlord to see if your new place includes a fridge.
No fridge? Consider eating down your pantry and fridge a couple of weeks before your move, so you don’t waste food. You can buy a secondhand fridge from used warehouses. Or, there is always the option of buying new if you want to spend a bit more.
Like moving to any city, LA has a lot of ups and downs to navigate. But don’t worry, you’ve got this. By doing research, you are already more prepared than the majority! And if you need a little extra help along the way, remember that real estate agents and professional movers are only a call, email, or text away.