Flintridge China

Thinking about moving to LA with a family?

I'm an English guy currently living in China with my Chinese wife and 4 year old boy. I have been offered a job in LA. I don't know anything about LA or any of the cities or neighbourhoods. The office is located downtown on south hill street. Would it be worth moving with a salary level of $75,000? Where is a good place to live with a family that is convenient for the office? What kind of lifestyle could we expect? And finally what are the education options? Thanks.

You should be able to rent a nice apartment, nothing fancy, in someplace like Pasadena, South Pasadena, Glendale and nearby areas on $75,000. You wouldn't be able to buy a modest house in a nice neighborhood in those areas, that would require about a $200,000 salary, but you might be able to buy a condo. You would likely not want to live very close to downtown LA, it's not safe or very nice, commuting is a hassle, but you'd get used to it.

In the LA area, you need to check on the exact area, as neighborhoods can change block to block. It is usually obvious if the building is in a neighborhood you'll be comfortable with.

You should check with your employer to find out what your net pay will be, after taxes, health insurance, etc.

LAUSD doesn't have many really top schools, and most of their good schools are in the very expensive neighborhoods. Other local school districts have better schools overall, like South Pasadena (safe quaint little town, great schools), Pasadena (elementary schools mostly, they have a Chinese dual language immersion program at one school), Sierra Madre (Pasadena schools, but great elementary school), La Canada-Flintridge, La Crescenta / Glendale, Arcadia, Alhambra, Monterey Park. Private K - 8's generally run from about $6000 - $30,000 yearly, Catholic schools on the lower end, tuition is less in lower income neighborhoods, where they have mostly Catholic schools. Private high schools run about $12,000 - $30,000+, Catholic schools on the lower end, more schools on the higher end.

The San Gabriel Valley has many Asians, if that's a concern for your wife. The Westside, near the beach, is a slower commute and the prices are higher.

Other areas in LA to consider; Los Feliz, the north end of East Hollywood, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Burbank, Culver City, Beverly Hills (expensive, but you might find a rental in your budget). Burbank, Beverly Hills, and Culver City are not LAUSD, they have their own school districts and some good schools.

If you map where all of the cities/neighborhoods I mentioned are, this gives you an idea of the distance you'll likely want to live from downtown LA.

Public School Info:
http://www.greatschools.org/
http://www.schooldigger.com/

LA Neighborhood Info:
http://projects.latimes.com/mapping-la/neighborhoods/
http://www.lalife.com/

Real Estate Listings
http://www.realtor.com/
http://www.movoto.com/

Apartment Rentals
http://www.padmapper.com/
http://hotpads.com/

Good luck!


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