Well, the apartment hunt has been interesting. First of all, I determined before I got here that I wasn’t buying a place initially. I’d like to get my sea legs here first, be sure I want to be here (and where) before I make that kind of commitment. Besides, I think the market has some correcting to do. So, it’s been an apartment hunt.
I have found a few things out. First of all – Los Angeles brokers and rental agents seem to be total flake jobs. I have been ignored, blown off, and pretty stunned at the way they operate. Today, I had one make an appointment to show me a place and just not show up. Yesterday, I had one – after four days of ignoring my e-mails and calls about her ad – call to tell me I could see the place if I arrived within three minutes. Another responded to my request for pictures of her listing with: “please go to craiglist.” Another called to thank me for dropping by the building that day, reiterate that they still didn’t have anything for me, and pass along the fact that her boss wanted to go out with me. Yet another looked like something out of an Elton John video and tried to distract me from the fact that the place I came to look at was no longer available by reminding me over and over that the washer and dryer in the unit he was showing me didn’t need quarters.
Private owners and their property managers have been far easier to deal with.
I’ve looked at a lot of places. The challenge I face is that my choices are extremely limited if I want to stay true to:
- The kind of space I want to live in (modern, open-concept, lofty kind of space like my old place in Boston.)
- The part of LA I want to live in (West side such as Santa Monica, Venice, etc.)
There are very, very few spaces like that on the West side. My friends warned me about this. I heard them, but underestimated how rare they really are.
There are dozens of gorgeous loft spaces in downtown LA, but I have zero desire to live in downtown Los Angeles.
I found one space I really, really like, in Venice. It’s super funky, modern, cool, very open. It feels right. It’s a third of a mile from Abbot Kinney and about the same distance from the beach, inside the infamous “Oakwood Pentagon”. The place has wonderful views, tons of light, is in a convenient location, but it’s perhaps the oddest neighborhood I’ve ever seen. Three million dollar contempo glass and steel homes with luxury cars in the driveway sit closeby collapsing crack sheds that would look more at home in the Ninth Ward. New Jaguars are parked not far from an old, rusted out Winnebago with a tarp over it. This is a part of Venice that is both healing and emerging, one might say. Recovering from a difficult past, it now runs the gamut from ultra-nice to gritty working class – but in much more of a back-and-forth fashion than a gradual one.
But, having no willingness to compromise on the where of the living nor the space in which I do it, I suppose I could compromise on something.