New to LA:  Roommate/Apartment Hunting!

New to LA: Roommate/Apartment Hunting!

Just moved to Los Angeles or thinking of moving here? I’ve got you covered!

It’s here! The “NEW TO LA” series is here to help those of you making the move to the City of Angels. Follow along as I pull together a starter kit to help you settle in and get familiar with your new city.

That said, subscribe to The Local List e-newsletter to stay looped in to “New To LA” content. That’s right! Local Listers get first dibs on the “New to LA” series + related updates. It’s easy, promise.

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Okay, now where were we? Ah, yes!

Having moved around a lot myself, I get it. Sometimes we just need a little help getting our feet on the ground. That’s where I come in!

The City of Angels has lots to offer, but can often feel overwhelming if you’re new to town and trying to figure it all out - from all the freeways, different neighborhoods to explore, meeting new people, and so much more!

Trust me, I’ve been in your shoes - I did’t know anyone when I first moved to Los Angeles and would have loved to have had access to resources and a community like La La Local to help me settle in.

To help kick us off, I’m starting the "New to LA" series with a focus on HOUSING. When making the move, you’re going to need shelter - whether you're looking for roommates or your own place, you have to start somewhere. But where? Glad you asked!

Here are THREE starting points that I and others have found helpful when making moves and looking for housing!


1. Westside Rentals - Most people in LA (or So-Cal for that matter) turn to Westside Rentals for their rental hunt. I did this too, but didn’t personally have much luck. That said, I know friends and people who have. The catch? You pay a fee to access an online rental listing. Although you have to pay a subscription/log-in fee to access their rentals, what's helpful about this platform is it does make it easy to filter places by neighborhood, price, and any other prerequisites you require (hard wood flooring vs. carpet, pets or no pets allowed, parking or no parking, etc.). Honestly though, it's 50/50 when it comes to Westside Rentals, at least from what I've seen among friends. Regardless, in a competitive rental market be sure to act fast if you see something you like.

Tip: Ask around and see if anyone has a Westside Rental account/log-in they’re not using. I know when a few of us were looking, we shared a log-in to search for rentals (apartments, condos, roommates, and more). Otherwise, you can pay a small subscription fee to access Westside Rental listings for up to 30 days. Often people find a place before their 30 days is up and don’t have use for their log-in anymore, so they’re happy to pass theirs along for the remainder of their subscription. It’s not too much to get your own log-in, but every bit helps!

2. Craigslist - Don’t knock it. I know it’s not always the first choice for most people, but I’ve found all my past rommates and housing through Craigslist. I’m also still very close friends with all my old roommates - from London, Berkeley, to Venice Beach! That said, just be smart about the places you’re checking out (go with a friend) and don’t overlook the posts with no pictures (or crappy ones - e.g. poor lighting). True story: All/most of the rental ads I answered, visited, and later lived in didn’t have great pics or any photos in their original post. Bottom line, nothing beats seeing the place or meeting your future roommate(s) in-person.

Fun Fact: My current place I actually found through a crappy Craigslist ad with an outdated picture, and yet I fell in love with the place when I pulled up and stepped into the apartment. Lucky for me, the ad didn’t do my little place justice. I was one of the first to see it. A hidden treasure for sure. See? It happens!

3. Facebook - Spread the word through your Facebook community + profile posts. Goes without saying, but let people KNOW what you’re looking for and ASK friends and groups to post/share through their network. Bottom line: Get the word out! It’s a great way to crowdsource help in finding housing or roommates in a new city. You never know who knows who, and wouldn’t it be nice to find a place referred by a friend (or friend of a friend)?

Tip: If you have the chance to find temporary housing (e.g. month-to-month) or a shot-term room rental arrangement for your arrival, it could be ideal. Why? Because LA is a city made-up of many, many neighborhoods - each one with their own vibe and scene. Doing so would allow you to explore LA all before signing a long-term lease without ending up somewhere you don’t like. It also gives you time to figure out where you’re spending your time (west side vs. east side) and what your commute to/from work really looks like (no joke, 45-60mins is the average work commute in LA), and any other ‘hidden’ elements not obvious upon first arriving.

Hope these tips help you GET started. Happy hunting!

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Were these tips helpful?

As I continue to build the New to LA series, feel free to comment below with any other topics or subjects that would be helpful for those settling into LA. What might you have wanted to know ahead of your move or once you landed?

Let me know. Comment below. Would love to hear from you!

Lulu Leon - Human Rights Researcher

Lulu Leon - Human Rights Researcher

Rachel Bush - Founder of Honey & Hive Creations

Rachel Bush - Founder of Honey & Hive Creations