Best Method - finding a guesthouse Los Angeles?
April 16, 2016 12:37 PM   Subscribe

I would like to find a *reasonably priced* guesthouse in the Los Angeles area, specifically in or near Glendale/Pasadena/La Crescenta/Montrose.

I checked the online rental sites, Craig's list and the Recycler, but they all only have super expensive places or obvious scams listed. I created a webpage listing all the reasons I'm a great pick for a tenant... just not sure where to place it so older less tech-savy property owners will see it. Is there some great new site that everyone knows about? Where would older folks look for a tenant for their guest house, room over garage, etc?
I welcome all ideas! :)
thanks for your kind assistance
posted by ConnieL to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Mod note: Hey there, I removed the link to your site, since we discourage anything that could be construed as advertising/seeking views on AskMetafilter. Instead, you can put the link on your profile page if you'd like people to see it - click on "My Profile" and you should get a text box where you can put the URL to display it on your profile.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:59 PM on April 16, 2016

"Older folks" with a guesthouse to rent will use a real estate agent/property manager, who will put it on Westside Rentals. It's still the primary game in town. I saw tons of guesthouses, back/front houses, and poolhouses on my last round of searching for just plain houses.

But they probably will not be interested in your profile website. Write a cover letter for your application with all your selling points, and submit it with the application.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:00 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

On that note, since they tend to use real estate agents, that means the rental might be on the MLS listings as well, which you can get access to in many ways.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:02 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

> *reasonably priced* guesthouse

You might not be able to find this. LA is in the middle of a housing crunch, and apartments everywhere are shooting up in cost, including guesthouses. Let's be honest-- who wouldn't want a private guesthouse over an apartment where you share walls and washing machines with neighbors? That's why they're more expensive.
posted by bluecore at 2:02 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I had automatically assumed you meant "reasonably priced for Los Angeles", as in "under $2500", which is do-able (on the East side of town, at least), but yeah, if you're coming from elsewhere you may be suffering sticker shock.

A guesthouse implies a large enough lot for a second freestanding building with plumbing (mother-in-law apartments and garage apartments will run cheaper than a guesthouse, but it's still a zoning issue so you don't find them as frequently as you'd expect), which is tough when land is at such a premium. People who own a house with a guesthouse that they're renting out are often a particular kind of rich like "used to be richer and now property taxes are taking an unhealthy bite" so they're not really overjoyed about having a backyard roommate and need every penny of rent they can get, which is often a lot because of neighborhood desirability.

I did run into a bunch of front house/back house situations - in some cases it was just two similar small houses crammed onto one lot, in other cases there was a big house/little house arrangement but both of them were being rented out separately.

In any case, Westside Rentals has search categories for it, and the scam level on WR is the lowest of all available rental methods because it takes some effort to list there.

Note that almost nothing remains listed more than about 10 days, and most rental properties will have one short open house the weekend after the listing goes live and will be rented by the following Monday or Tuesday. We showed up with a checkbook and our cover letter/resume in hand to fill out the application and background check right then.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:24 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

We are currently looking for a roommate at the moment, and are using Craigslist. It's a bit more casual than Westside Rentals, but that works better for us and I prefer it because of that. I would imagine there are others like me, so keeping all avenues open should give you a broader search.
posted by Vaike at 2:37 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I lucked into an amazing guesthouse in Silver Lake a few years back. It was listed on Craigslist.
posted by roger ackroyd at 6:55 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

You might like the adorable "courtyard" apartments which were built in the 20s -50s. Los Angeles also has charming duplex and 4-plex apartments from the early 20th century.

You could extend your region to include South Pasadena and Eagle Rock.

Curbed LA has frequent overviews of the rental marketplace. When curbed LA reports on guesthouses, they are often found on craigslist! Use the search term "back house" for converted garages.
posted by ohshenandoah at 7:28 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can do this. I lived in a very inexpensive (for LA) guest house in one of those towns a few years back. In addition to Craigslist and Westside Rentals, check with local management companies like Beven & Brock.
posted by karbonokapi at 7:30 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've had more luck with Craigslist than Westside Rentals, but a lot of landlords (especially single unit or small buildings) still seem to use paper signs, so it never hurts to drive around and see if anything crops up. Seconding the advice about timing and being ready to sign up right away. There are some Facebook groups that might be helpful though I think most people are just posting their Craigslist links, but let me know if you would like the group names.
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:04 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I found a reasonably priced guesthouse last year in the exact area you are looking, through Westside. (I saw the listing about fifteen minutes after it was initially posted, went straight there after work (about an hour later), and the landlord told me there had already been a dozen calls in that time. Luckily, I brought all my paperwork (pay stubs for proof of income, ID, etc.) and put a deposit down right then and there.

Westside is definitely the place where older landlords, like mine, prefer to list. My landlord told me that they would never use Craigslist after using it once and getting tons of scammy calls and shady people. The other option is to just drive around the neighborhoods you're interested in and look for signs, which is still a thing in LA, especially for older people.

The rental market in LA is crazy and getting crazier. My advice is to know exactly what you're looking for (not just price and location, but amenities, light, etc) and be prepared to jump on it immediately when you find it.
posted by dadaclonefly at 10:32 AM on April 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

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