The costs of living in Los Angeles is are 33% above the national average. One of the main reasons is the costs include in having a car, which is practically a necessity. The price of basic household items can also deviate wildly, depending on the area.
Movie stars and multi-millionaires call some of Los Angeles's finer neighbourhoods home and the stores prices reflect that. Choosing your neighbourhood will define your costs. If you live in low-key Westwood, your commute to work may add up, but local restaurants and housing will be reasonable. If you choose to live in upscale Beverly Hills, housing, dining and living in general will cost a fortune.
To get the area you want for a price you can live with, a simple formula may be employed. Divide your monthly income (after tax) by three. Not much more then a third of your income should go to rent to insure that you can pay for the cost of living. If this figure doesn't net you the desired lifestyle you still have options. Make more money, consider a different neighbourhood, or consider a different living arrangement by taking a house mate.
There are many different apartments and many different ways to search and rent one. If you are arranging a rental from out-of-town or have more money then time, using a real estate broker can be a pain-free way of getting the job done. A broker is responsible for finding apartments that fit your criteria and making appointments to fit your schedule. This convenience has a price, usually in Los Angeles, one can expect to pay about a half month's rent as a fee, but this varies and it is recommended to shop around before selecting a broker. To find a broker, you can check newspaper advertisements or online classified ads. Listings are also common in the yellow pages in the phone book. If you are employed with a company, they may have a broker they work with and you may be able to use them by contacting your human resources department to use the broker. Pay attention to reviews by former customers to make sure you get your money's worth.
Apart from the option of using a broker, a magazine of housing listings is available for free at local shops and grocery stores. While there are many listings, they usually have more large apartment complexes listed. The classified section of the Los Angeles Times has a variety of listings in the paper and is also accessible on-line. Unfortunately, the on-line listings refer to another online apartment listing when you try to see details of the classified ads so the easiest way to check out listings is by buying the paper.
Also, many places, in and around Los Angeles, are listed by simply placing a sign in front of the apartment. Sometimes only a number is listed so it can be helpful to write notes about the place and call the number on your cell phone.