House Hunters: Los Angeles Loft Edition

Hello, my people!

Remember that time I didn’t blog for two months? Yeah, that just happened, mostly because the past two months have been crazy. In summary:

  • I got a new job (same company, but different position); and
  • I moved; and
  • I went on a Thelma and Lousise-esque trip with one of my best friends through the Southeast United States- sans murder and car cliff diving. Really, sans everything from that movie, less the theme of two chicks on a road trip. You get the idea.

This post will be focused on how to rent a loft in Los Angeles, however. Once again this blog features a very wise friend, J.P, who kept me focused and realistic about my needs in a future home.

Let me back up a second and let you know why I picked Downtown Los Angeles as the site of my future home: (1) cool, affordable, urban housing (2) I can take the train to work and (3) gives me a creative space to write and think deep thoughts and drink craft beer while not having to be a hipster.

J.P., being the good samaritan and Costco ambassador that he is, decided to come with me the first day I looked at places. Now, as a note, I negotiate contracts for a living. I should be ruthless with leasing agents. I should see through all of their shenanigans. I should want to know what the utilities situation is. But nope, some of these folks saw through me and caught me, hook line and sinker.

J.P. saved me from myself, though. He made me document my “needs” and “would be nice to have” criteria for my new place.

Needs

  • Security (I’m a 27 SWF moving 4 blocks from Skid Row. I’m optimistic, but not naive. A gal should always have safety on her list)
  • Laundry on site (again, I’m 27. I’m getting a little old for the general population of the Historic Core to see my undergarments).
  • Close to Metro
  • Parking- have you seen the “Shit LA People Say” YouTube video? If not, go see it now. Look, here’s a handy link. This will explain everything you need to know about Angelenos and their maniacal addiction to their cars.:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xzA-Op1soo

Would be nice to have

  • Exposed brick walls
  • Rooftop pool
  • Hot security guard (hey, eye candy and safety? Where can you go wrong with that combo?)
  • On-site place to work on my fitness

Now, I present to you the 3 properties we took under serious consideration:

1. A Room With a View

The first place I really liked was an 800 square feet loft at the SB Tower, located on 600 Spring St. SB Tower was built by the same dude who went on a tear and developed a lot of the old bank buildings and insurance houses from the 1920s into trendy lofts in the historic core. SB is his newest baby, and I took a look at a place on the 11th floor.  It had the unicorn of DTLA amenities: a balcony. Suddenly, that made it to the “needs” list. The leasing agent dug her hooks in when she showed me the rooftop pool. Yep, that went on the “needs” list, too. Rent would be 200 over my budget per month. Ouch. But a pool! And a balcony! I took an application immediately.

2. Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?

The second place under serious consideration was Santee Court, located between 7th and 8th streets on Los Angeles St. While the neighborhood was a few blocks from where I wanted to be, Santee featured 4 buildings in a village-like atmosphere. Their manager was absolutely delightful and totally turned on the charm when he saw me arrive. He told me about community supper clubs and Halloween parties and other general fun times (JP, being the logical person that he is, was looking in the kitchen cabinets while I was oohing over the possibilites of appetizers to bring to the progressive dinner potluck).

The loft under consideration was over 800 square feet, with huge windows that opened up over the Los Angeles Flower Mart.  Also, there was a rooftop pool. And then I was fully convinced that I needed to live in a place with not only a rooftop pool, but a rooftop driving range and basketball court. Who cares if it was $300 over my monthly budget? I could hit balls with a cocktail in my hand whilst the sun set over Los Angeles. Also of note, parking was free, but offsite in a slightly sketchy garage. But seriously, guys. Rooftop driving range. What else do you need?

JP, however, put things in perspective. If I found a cheaper place I would be able to afford to play actual golf. “Really, Catherine, do you want to just hit balls alone in a cage all night?”

Maybe he had a point. But I really loved the place and the light. I was blinded by social activities. Another application went into the hunting folder.

But then, oh then, I finally got smart. Realizing that we are all only as strong as our network, I shot an email to my aunt/3rd mom Leeza to see if she had any tips and tricks for finding a place as she recently was looking for one for her daughter. Whoa, did she over deliver. Into my life came an agent, who I will recommend to everyone and anyone I know. She truly is amazing, and showed me the next place.

3. Rowan Away with my Heart

The Rowan Lofts are located on 460 South Spring Street in the heart of the Historic Core. I was immediately taken with two things: (1) The bottom floor is occupied by a craft beer and wine shop that turns into a bar (have I mentioned it’s been a personal goal of mine to live above a bar? Check!) and (2) gorgeous, light infused lobby with (gasp) a smokin’ hot Security Guard. I was already sold.

The loft was on the 11th floor, and while it was only 600 square feet, it felt bigger due to the nearly floor to ceiling windows. In between the windows? Bricks! Kitchen? Bosch appliances! Bathroom? Big enough to have a party, or guests sleep in (which may have to happen cause the rest of the space is small). And the big surprise was a standup washer dryer in the unit. The price tag was even $200 UNDER my budget. Seemed awesome.

I immediately called JP, and we weighed the pros and cons. He said that I was wise enough to make a decision on my own.

I eliminated the SB Tower property upon learning through Yelp that the walls are thin and the building operates similar to a hipster frat party 24/7. JP was proud.

I then had a hard time with the final decision: Big place with a driving range on a roof + awesome communal atmosphere (there’s a reason Santee is so highly rated on the interwebs) but dodgy parking vs. Small, safe, modern place with no rooftop, but a beautiful garden and hot tub on the bottom floor with secured parking on site.

The pragmatist in me won.

I now find myself happily at The Rowan, but not without the help of my amazing agent and my dear friend.

Proof that even the most laateedaa of us can make an adult decision.

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2 thoughts on “House Hunters: Los Angeles Loft Edition

  1. Ryann Moore says:

    Love it, lovely post and need to see the place SOON! Like how soon can we possibly schedule…. seriously…

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