Should I move my suburban family to Los Angeles?
August 14, 2012 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Should I move my suburban family to Los Angeles? I have an interview this week for a job located in Santa Monica. A Great Job. I'm worried / concerned / freaked out about moving my comfortable family from their comfortable house and comfortable schools to expensive West Los Angeles.

The Job - This is truly a fantastic opportunity for me. I'm very, very confident they will make me an offer. The company is well-established, very solvent, and the money / benefits package are quite good, but not great (for what I do). They salary is about $110,000, and they have all the standard corporate extras, vacation, sick time, insurance subsididized, etc. I would really, really like to take the job.

Me - I'm right in the middle of my career. I've been working independently as a contractor / consultant for over five years, so have had no "benefits" whatsoever. I don't work... I don't make money. My best year, money-wise, was a little over $100,000, and this year looks like I'll bring in about ninety. Work can be sporadic, and lean times hurt for sure. When the recession hit, I made about fifty that year.

I lived in Los Angeles in the 80's and really like it, so I know I'll be confortable there.

The Family - Wife and kids. My wife works occasionally and part-time (by choice) as an artist / painter and takes care of the household the rest of the time. In our neck of the woods, she is well-respected and could easily work full-time should she ever choose to do so. She brings in about $20-30K a year. The kids are in elementary and junior-high (private schools). They are not at all "street-smart". They are just smart.

The Bigger Picture - My wife's family and my mother all live in our current city. The grandmas are our sole baby-sitters. Not only do we have a nice home, we also have a rental house that I take care of. We are, you know, settled.

Advice? - I know we won't be able to afford a home in Santa Monica, so I'm looking at other possibilities. Burbank? Glendale? I don't mind commuting, so I have options. Is it possible to afford a 4 bedroom in a nice area within reasonable commuting distance and still pay for private schools? If we're in an area with good schools, they can go to public.

I'm really looking for real-world experience with this kind of major move. Of course, everyone has their own, different story, but I don't know anyone personally to ask. Practical Los Angeles living suggestions are welcome as well.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (30 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
First of all, do the math on that money. Do a Cost of Living Comparison. You may be taking a pay cut to take a job in California. Factor in your benefits, bonuses and retirement.

How does your wife feel about it? Is she enthusiastic or does she hate the idea?

Your kids are young enough that a move won't be a giant upheaval for them. Moving away from family and grandmas is kind of big though.

You ask if it's possible to find a 4 bedroom in a nice area. Well sure, how much do you want to spend?

If your familiy can look on this as an adventure, and are looking forward to moving to California because it's awesome, then it's worth it to take the job.

Let's talk about California for a bit. The state budget is a disaster, the electric utilities were maniuplated so very easily by Enron, earthquakes. I lived in California for 20 years, I loved it, but every love affair ends for a good reason.

Santa Monica is beautiful, if I won the lottery, I'd buy a house in Pacific Pallasaides in a heartbeat. But $110k isn't all that much compared to how high the cost of living is.

Unless this is a fantastic rung on your career ladder, with the potential to lead to bigger and better things, it may not be the right move for you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:03 AM on August 14, 2012

Hmmm, I have a good friend who just landed a job in west Los Angeles and makes $108,000 a year. She can't even afford a one-bedroom apartment with just her husband and baby. Her husband works, too, but I don't know his income. Anyway, at $108,000+, they can't really make it with a family of three in a tiny place.

As far as commuting, my understand is that commuting is so tough that people often have a house 90+ minutes away and commute, or they have a house 2 hours away and have a tiny studio apartment in town where they stay during the week, only seeing their families at home on the weekends.

Also, the 80s were over 30 years ago, by the way.

I think you have a lot more you need to consider, first.
posted by TinWhistle at 7:15 AM on August 14, 2012

Speaking as someone who has made big moves to different cities, and who is self-employed with a stay-at-home spouse, and with grandparents in the same community, I think you are better off where you are now.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:27 AM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

To phrase it differently, you're asking if you should move your kids away from their extended family, happy home, and private schools so that you can take a steady job that most years probably pays less money (on a cost of living basis), commute through the legendarily awful LA-area traffic, and live in a place that you loved 25-30 years ago. To me, few jobs are worth that.
posted by griseus at 7:30 AM on August 14, 2012

Where are you moving from? That might give us a better idea of what the money and cultural differences might be.

I agree with the above that you would most likely not be able to afford all the nice things (great house, private schools, etc) in west LA on 110k (or even 140k if your wife continues to work), although I'm not at all convinced about Tin Whistle's anecdote about not finding an apartment for 100k+ in west LA. I know lots of people who make less than that who have decent places on the west side. I know that's not what your asking--just pointing out that the situation's not as grim as it's being painted.

Also, I know you said you're okay with commuting, but I would never (never!) plan to live in Burbank/Glendale and commute to Santa Monica. Unless you had a ton of flexibility in your schedule and could work early morning to early afternoon or something, you're easily looking at 2 hours each way, every day. That seems like madness to me, and I've had some nasty commutes over the years.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 7:43 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Commuting from the Valley to Santa Monica would be a daily, hellish nightmare. My wife commuted from West Hollywood to Ventura (~10 miles, Sunset to 405); on a good day it took 45 minutes, on a bad day it took 1.5 hrs. I never drove from the Burbank area to SM via the 10, but I don't imagine it would be pleasant...and that's a 20+ mile drive. On preview: what Bella Sebastian said!!
posted by puritycontrol at 7:47 AM on August 14, 2012

As a counterpoint to TinWhistle's friend: when I lived in L.A., everyone I knew managed to rent apartments on far less than $108K. I myself had a nearly 1,000-square-foot apartment (albeit in Sherman Oaks) on a family income that was, some years, just a bit more than half of $108K.

I suggest you check out the Valley. It has a more relaxed, suburban feel, and housing is somewhat cheaper. Sherman Oaks, Encino, and Van Nuys are pretty much a straight shot along the 405 and not too far from Santa Monica, and tons of people do that commute. Burbank and Glendale would be miserable.
posted by serialcomma at 7:48 AM on August 14, 2012

$110k gross does not support a comfortable middle class lifestyle for a family of four anywhere near Santa Monica.

To have a nice house in a safe neighborhood with truly good public schools (or low-tuition private schools) on that salary, you'd be living deep inland and far, far away -- 90 minute commute each way if you're lucky, probably more, much farther than Glendale or Burbank -- not only a drag on the family life and your health and sanity, but a real expense in gas and wear and tear on your car.
posted by MattD at 7:48 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is there any possibility of you landing a fantastic, well-paying job with benefits in your area?

Please don't underestimate the value of having loving grandparents close by - not just for free daycare, but for your kids' emotional and social benefit. I'm so grateful to have my grandmother (and her sister, my great-aunt, who didn't live nearby but visited a lot and grandma and I visited her) in my life. So, so grateful. I'm almost 50 and they've both been dead for years and I still remember them with love. Kids need extended family.

They're also settled in their school. It's tough being the new kid at school. If they are doing well now, the change might be rough on them and their new school not up to snuff and they might not do as well.

Finally, the cost of living in the LA area is stratospheric - $100K really doesn't go very far, believe it or not. The traffic is from the innermost circle of hell - please believe me when I say it is HELLISH. A long commute is actually linked to poor health and lower quality of family and personal life.

For me, this job would have to be pretty damn compelling - as in "make or break my whole career" - for the pluses to outweigh the minuses. You have to decide whether it's worth it. If you live in a place where the set-up you have now is as good as it will ever get, I can see where the offer is tempting. Definitely consider what it will mean to your family and talk it over with them. And do take the kids' views into account - unhappy, school-hating, rebellious kids will make the whole family unhappy.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:48 AM on August 14, 2012

I have lived in that area, and I absolutely loved it. But my wife and I both worked, and for every year we were there, we made over three times the income you're talking about. It depends on your standards, of course, but I personally would have a very hard time living there on that amount of money (because the housing I'd be able to afford wouldn't be where I want to live).
posted by primethyme at 7:49 AM on August 14, 2012

Hmmm, I have a good friend who just landed a job in west Los Angeles and makes $108,000 a year. She can't even afford a one-bedroom apartment with just her husband and baby. Her husband works, too, but I don't know his income. Anyway, at $108,000+, they can't really make it with a family of three in a tiny place.

I don't think this is standard. It's possible that they can't afford whatever it is they really want, but $108k+whatever the husband is bringing in is beyond reasonable to afford a one-bedroom apartment in west LA.

Plenty of normal working people live in Los Angeles/Culver City/Santa Monica proper. Teachers, Salesmen, Accountants, etc. There's no question the real estate market is inflated compared to other places, and depending upon what those places you come from are, that may be a significant increase, but it is simply not true that one can't afford to rent a one bedroom apartment [in a nice, safe, convenient area] if one makes less than $108k a year.
posted by atomicstone at 7:55 AM on August 14, 2012

You do not want to live east of the 405 until the construction is finished.
posted by brujita at 8:01 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was in your boat twenty years ago. We moved to the Santa Monica/Venice area successfully. However, it was just a younger me and my wife, no kids, no nearby relatives/friends, a lot more flexible, and we built up to where we are now. With kids nearing college age, a comfortable niche carved out, the idea of being outbound to somewhere equally cool and significantly less expensive at this point sounds like a nightmare to me, even with a potential lower cost of living. It would not be something I do willingly.

That said, it would be doable. However, the level of comforts and material things may take a sharp curve in ways you may or may not expect. There are plenty of families in and around Santa Monica who happily live on less. But I suspect it's a completely different lifestyle than you and your family are currently accustomed to. Commuting isn't always the nightmare folks here describe, and millions do it every day no worse for the wear. It's one thing to commute from the San Fernando Valley, another to commute from Palmdale or Pomona (which boggles my mind, but people do every day for years).
posted by 2N2222 at 8:05 AM on August 14, 2012

It seems the consensus is that 110,000 won't go very far near where you will be working and that transportation is a nightmare. Leaving aside the issues of stability and proximity to family, you should take these issues as a negotiating point for salary. Rather than ending the interview process because it's a bad deal, tell them that you would like to take the job, but based on your analysis for cost of living disparities for where you are now vs. LA, you can't in good conscience move your family. Then offer a new number, one that preserves to some extent your standard of living from your current job / place of residence.

If they say no, it's not such a loss because it would have sucked to live on that salary anyway, and if they take your new offer (or one slightly less) then it's a win-win. If they really want you, they'll be open to negotiation.
posted by permiechickie at 8:21 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Without exception, every family I know who made a move like this with a middle-school aged kid had many challenges that they believed they would not have faced had they not moved. On top of the fact that middle-school kids are often well ensconced in their social cliques and not always very welcoming to newcomers, in the LA area I have seen an exaggerated focus on physical appearance that can be very hard for kids who 1) don't have the standard Hollywood look, and 2) are 14 years old and hate the way they look anyway. It shouldn't necessarily be a reason not to move, but it is definitely worth considering this particular potential impact especially for your older kid.
posted by gubenuj at 8:23 AM on August 14, 2012

I was in your boat thirty years ago. We moved to the Santa Monica/Venice area unsuccessfully. However, it was just a younger me and my wife, no kids, no nearby relatives/friends,

.... but when we had our first kid, I moved because we simply couldn't anything more than a 1 bedroom apartment. For less that we paid for that 1 bedroom apartment per month, we bought a 3 bedroom house in Fort Worth with minimal down payment.

It would not be something I do willingly.

Same here.
posted by Doohickie at 8:44 AM on August 14, 2012

While your salary won't put you in the top ranks of household income here, you do have the chance to move your family their comfortable life and into a place where there a zillion new things to discover. Grandmas can always come visit, and maybe even decide to move with you. Yiur wife can find new inspiration and more artists than she can shake a stick at.
Without knowing where yiu live now, I can't really speculate about what areas of knowledge and experience will be different, but I do think that LA is unique. I've lived here since 1984 and I've learned so much--everyday I meet people who have jobs I didn't know existed, who dream big, who create big (Mars rover team guy lives right down the block--Our dogs are pals.)
And if this is truly a real career boost for you, I think you should take a serious look. There are great private schools here and fine public schools, which take a little work to finesse, but nothing impossible. You might not be able to buy a house right in the beach, but you have equity and resources which many people don't have out here.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:05 AM on August 14, 2012

It seems the consensus is that ... that transportation is a nightmare.

Transportation is not necessarily a nightmare. When I lived in the area, I had a 15 minute commute. Piece of cake. People who claim that transportation in LA is always a nightmare either have lived in the wrong places (relative to where they work) or have not lived in LA at all. You just have to choose the right location to live in. But of course, that's where the cost can become an issue (and I also have a pet theory that many of the reasons people complain about LA really boil down to not having the money to live the way they want to here -- if you have enough money, or the right attitude, it can be a wonderful place). My experience is that if you want to purchase a nice, decent sized house in a nice neighborhood within a short commute of Santa Monica (Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Santa Monica, etc.), you need to have a price range measured in seven digits, not six. You can buy places for less than that (or rent for less than that mortgage), but for my taste and the lifestyle I prefer, they weren't places I wanted to live. Either they were too small, too run down, not in the kind of neighborhood I wanted to live in, etc.

This is not conjecture, it is based on actually living in the exact area, and spending a lot of time looking at and thinking about housing. But everyone's expectations and standards are different. My unacceptable neighborhood might be someone else's dream, and vice versa. And everyone has a different idea of the tradeoffs they're willing to make. These are decisions only you can make.

I recommend two things before making your decision:

1. Go online to somewhere like Redfin or WestsideRentals to see what housing is available in your general price range that meets your needs, and where it is located.

2. Spend several days physically in the area, driving around, looking at those neighborhoods that have the houses/apartments/condos you can afford. Find out where the grocery stores are, where the schools are, and so on. Think hard about what it would be like to live there. You may come to the conclusion that you're happy with what and where your income will get you, or you may not, but I don't think this is something we can answer for you.
posted by primethyme at 9:19 AM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

I work in Santa Monica and live in the valley. The commute is unpleasant. I have co-workers who survive just fine on one income, with children, and live in Santa Monica. However they do not live in 4 bedroom houses, they typically live in 3 bedroom townhouses or apartments, and their kids go to Santa Monica public schools (which are excellent BTW, the same cannot be said for LAUSD as a whole, so if you live outside SM you will need to choose very carefully).

Private school here is typically around $30k a year per child once you include all the extra fees, so I don't think you could realistically continue to send your kids to private school.

Living in this area means a compromise. Only the super-rich can afford to live in a single family home on one income, so most normal people live in townhouses, or commute from further away. Santa Monica is expensive because frankly, its a great place to live. Its a trade-off you should think through, and consider if you are willing to give up something, and whether Santa Monica (or LA) offers something you are interested in, in return.
posted by Joh at 9:24 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

There is definitely some of that NYT Lifestyle section "people making $200,000 a year can't make ends meet!" going on here. As atomicstone says, $110,000 is far more than you need for an apartment of whatever size. You'd be more than comfortable.

What it won't get you is a 4 bedroom house and a yard in west L.A. in a good school district or with an expensive private school. You're definitely looking at a commute if that's what you want and are working in Santa Monica.

Do you absolutely need a house? A big part of living in a city is often higher density housing. It's a feature not a bug. Requiring a 4 bedroom house is really going to cut down your available options.
posted by Justinian at 10:23 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

I have lived in Los Angeles most of my life, and do so currently in SM/Venice area. Here is the biggest dilemma as I see it, and why you are ultimately probably taking a big financial hit with this move (unless where you are coming from is New York or San Francisco):

Let us assume that the commute is tolerable for you from a more distant local. In fact, despite what people say, there are ways to make it more doable but they usually involve changing the TIMING of your commute. If you leave from virtually any location within 30-40 miles of Santa Monica at 6 am, you will largely beat traffic. If you leave work before 2 pm or after 7:30 you will still hit some traffic but considerably less so.

But here is the thing. 4 bedrooms in SM is going to be really tough on your budget even as a rental. At the same time, buying a place in that range would probably be crippling if you don't already have $200k in cash laying around. So you move to the valley or further aways and suck it up? The problem you then run into is that SM actually has the best, and perhaps only tolerable public school system by most standards. So now you are contemplating moving a distance away, commuting, and either sending your kids to bad schools or paying $15-30k per kid per year on private school. You are contemplating doing so while at the same time, leaving an awesome support structure with effectively free nanny's for your kids.

If I were you I would do the following: Sit down and look at housing prices all over the vicinity, and get into some online resources about the schools. Put a clear cut dollar value on those extra benefits you'll be getting. Think hard about whether you really need 4 bedrooms. I feel like there is a big jump in price you'll be paying for that last room. Then decide if the SM public school system is up to snuff for your purposes. If it is, I would then factor that in versus the potential massive expense of private school for multiple kids if you choose to live elsewhere. It may be the case that housing+schooling+time saved in commute actually makes overspending for housing in SM more sensible from a financial standpoint.

If the move turns out to actually be a financial hit when cost of living is considered (it will be), that doesn't mean it's not worth it for all the other upside that comes with it (job satisfaction, weather, stuff to do in LA, etc.). But you really should have a rough estimate of how much this is going to cost you.

Since you're anon, feel free to MeMail me if you think I can be of help.
posted by drpynchon at 10:34 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

From looking at a couple of housing calculators online, and assuming you have a decent savings and credit, you should be able to afford a house that's about 650,000. Which will get you a modest four bedroom in Santa Monica, again according to the calculator. When balancing that against Craigslist, it looks like that might be a smidge optimistic, but Culver City can work (and is cheaper) or Westwood.

A lot of people here are pretty much full of shit on living in LA — a lot of them either have never lived in LA, so are repeating received wisdom — or lived there a long time ago, or maybe just didn't do that great a job of living here to begin with.

Assuming you've got a reasonable interview process, you should be able to look around the neighborhood of your job for housing while you're here scoping it out. The important thing is to live close to where you work — commutes can be killer, but they're not mandatory given flexibility about your location. Further, the schools in West LA are all pretty solid: Santa Monica is renowned, Culver City is regularly honored, and even the LAUSD schools in West LA regularly show up in surveys of the best California schools — most of the "value added" LA Times rankings favored West LA LAUSD schools.

So yeah, talk this over with your family, but realize that LA is one of those things that Ask Metafilter does really poorly, usually with a mixture of stereotype, superstition and snobbery.
posted by klangklangston at 11:42 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think 650k is definitely a smidge optimistic, klang, for what the OP is looking for. If I'm understanding correctly. The modest 4 bedroom in SM would have to be really modest or perhaps not in a great area. But I could be wrong, I guess.

I think (as you said) Culver City would be a better bet and a commute from CC to SM is not a big problem; I used to do it constantly. I'm just not familiar with the schools there.
posted by Justinian at 12:06 PM on August 14, 2012

$650k will not get you a four bedroom in Santa Monica, I don't think. Culver City? Maybe. But a 4 bedroom house in a good school district is going to cost you.

I was born in Los Angeles, I have lived in LA all my life (including ten years in Santa Monica; I grew up near Pasadena, which I would strongly not advise in terms of the commute but which is nicely suburban, as is a lot of LA honestly ), and I LOVE LA. There is a lot your family will love about LA, too. The weather is great. The food is good. We have all kinds of awesome stuff happening. As an artist, your wife might really enjoy it. And I actually don't think traffic city-wide is that horrendous. BUT traffic getting in and out of SM right now is THE WORST because of 405 construction. That's not going to last forever, but it might bite you for a little bit. It really super sucks at this particular moment in time.

I actually don't think Sherman Oaks to Santa Monica is that terrible a drive, though -- it's right down the 405 (insert construction caveat here) -- and Sherman Oaks is slightly cheaper, more family oriented, etc. That might not be a terrible compromise for you guys. You will just have to gut out a little traffic angst. And if your career takes off, you guys might be able to afford the beach house down the line. Come out with your family and nose around and see how it feels.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 12:37 PM on August 14, 2012

There's no need to guess. The information is freely available online. Here's exactly the four bedroom places you can get for $650k or less in Santa Monica. At the time of this posting, that returns 0 results. You can tweak the search criteria to see what is out there.
posted by primethyme at 12:45 PM on August 14, 2012

Given the fact that yes, LA is going to be more expensive and taking the job means a major change and move for your family, these are things you want to discuss with your spouse:

- You say this is A Great Job, "truly a fantastic opportunity:" Is it a job that will pay huge dividends down the road - career success, opportunity for promotion and more money, experience at a terrific company?

- If yes to the above, is this kind of opportunity something you would be highly unlikely to find where you are now? Are you at a career dead end that this job will push you out of?

- If yes to both questions, if you pass up this job to keep your family where it is, will you be kicking yourself and regretting it? Resenting your family for keeping you away from the job opportunity?

If yes to all the above, then you still want to look at the impact of a move on your wife and children (will you be able to afford an area with good schools? will your wife be able to establish herself in LA? She may want to work full-time when her kids are out of the nest). Can you negotiate yourself a better salary and benefits (which are "good but not great" right now)?

All these are things you want to take into consideration. If this is truly a plum job that you wouldn't find where you live now then the scale will tilt more towards moving if your wife and kids are on board.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:09 PM on August 14, 2012

One additional and possibly useful piece of info to consider. You can live outside of Santa Monica (West LA is cheaper - Mar Vista etc) and permit your kids into Santa Monica schools. If you work in Santa Monica (and can prove it) then you are as I understand it, guaranteed to be granted the permit. Its worth looking into, as you can get the good SMMUSD schools without paying the Santa Monica housing premium. I just permitted my eldest into SMMUSD this year. I don't know if there will be any issue with your junior high student, as something changes with permits after 6th grade, but its worth looking into if you are researching all your options..
posted by Joh at 1:46 PM on August 14, 2012

I lived very comfortably as a single person (and paying on six figure student debt) in Culver City on about 75k. I had no problem renting a nice one bedroom and could have afforded a two bedroom no problem.

Santa Monica is very expensive, but there are plenty of areas to live that are a reasonable commute away that are very reasonably priced. That being said 4 bedroom house probably out of your reach. I rented a room in a nice 4 bedroom house that wouldnt be a bad commute to Santa Monica and I want to say our overall rent was around $3500 at least. And I couldn't speak to the school district. I think private school on that salary would be utterly out of the question in LA though. From what I gather it's essentially the same price as sending your kid to college.

I think you could make it work, especially if your wife works, but the kids would have to go to public school and to get into a good school district you'd likely either be taking on a long commute or settling for a much smaller place. LA is not San Francisco or NYC or even DC in terms of price. For being a major world city it's surprisingly reasonable, but it still ain't cheap and only is cheap in comparison to people coming from Sf or NYC or DC.
posted by whoaali at 7:58 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think your note implies two kids? If so, and you want 4 bedrooms to have a "guest" room or an office, consider that for anything less than months-at-a-time stays, it would be far cheaper (and actually much more pleasant for everyone) to put up grandma(s) and other guests at a nearby hotel or B&B for the two or three weeks a year they're out. That means you're now looking at three bedroom places and that's going to be a lot more affordable. And if the desire for an extra bedroom was for an office, there are lots of creative ways to shoehorn one of those somewhere else in the house. Just an idea on that front.
posted by maxwelton at 10:52 PM on August 14, 2012

Yes, buying that big of a house within reasonable commuting distance of Santa Monica is going to be tough. Are you ok NOT owning a house? How important is that? If you can get over owning a house and are ok with renting, I think you have much better options. If you can get it down to a 3 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica, you'd be much happier I think. Santa Monica has excellent schools so you eliminate the need for private school tuition. The hardest thing to get over is that you are making a good deal of money and still can't afford a house. That seems to be the big topic of conversation around here. You just have to be ok with that. Believe me there are plenty of people like you who live here just fine. There's also a lot of money, big houses and general fancy-ness so if that's likely to bother you, it can make you feel like you never have enough.

Here's where I would start if you want to poke around: Westside Rentals will give you an idea of how many 3(?) bedroom apts/houses are for rent in the areas you might like. It has more listings than craigslist and padmapper and is worth the money. Spend some time driving around those areas and see what you think. Secondly you might want to talk to a school scout who can give you an idea of what school would be a good fit for you--public, private, charter. There are a lot of charter schools around that you might not know of unless you live here. I used LA School Scout--very helpful advice.

You also might want to check out Playa Vista--you can both own or rent there. It's more like a planned community, but it has a nice park, farmers market, community events, a few shops, close to the beach. I'm hearing some really great things about the school they are opening there--STEM focused. Some smart and involved parents over there. It's only K-5 now. I don't know what the middle school is for that area. Also, Manhattan beach is supposed to have good schools, but I don't know the housing situation. Feel free to memail me if you want to talk more. Good luck!
posted by biscuits at 11:44 AM on August 15, 2012

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