Don't be afraid to make a serious list of what you absolutely must have in a new home to help your search. If an all-bills-paid apartment is important to you, then write it down. If location is at the top of your list, make sure to be adamant about it. Just because there is a huge four bedroom house for rent in a somewhat dicey area does not mean you should accept it. It means you need to grow a spine and stick to your guns! Speaking of the number of bedrooms, this should also grace your list, as well as the number of bathrooms you require and whether or not there are washer and dryer connections and a dishwasher. Everyone has their own list of must-haves and absolutely-nots, so don't be shy about being thorough.
Once you have your list compiled, you just need to get some basic documents in place and you are ready to search. Give yourself at least a month before you plan to move to find your perfect place. You will need to bring your identification, your rental and work history, and your credit references. You should also be prepared to place a security deposit down to hold your new bit of real estate once you find it. You have to be quick in this market or someone else will undoubtedly swoop in and take your dream home. However, if you have your security deposits in order and are happy to cough up the expected application and credit check fees, you should have no serious issues with your move. Except packing and unpacking of course!
Neighborhoods in South Whittier vary from one block to the next in terms of the types of homes available and average rental prices. To be bluntly honest, some neighborhoods are considered a bit sketchy still, but there are great efforts on the part of the city as well as its residents to change that.
Rivera Rd/Byron Rd:This area is very close knit and urban with plenty of row houses to attest to that fact. The average rent here is relatively high, but not over-the-top expensive. The Rivera & Bryon neighborhood is filled with mostly young, accomplished, professionally employed singles. It is also considered a pedestrian-friendly area with a very short commute to and from work each day. $$$
Nogal Ave/McGee Dr:This little treasure of a neighborhood is tucked just alongside of Sante Fe Springs Rd and has a somewhat suburban feel, even though it is absolutely urban based on the population density. Still, it feels like a neighborhood should feel! Well tended yards, mature trees and well shaded large homes! This is a very desirable area to live in and it will set you back a little each month if you choose to do so. The vacancy rate is currently at 7.2%, so if you are serious about finding a rental or a home that is possibly a rent to own, now is a great time to act. $$$$
Mulberry Dr / Greenleaf Ave -This neighborhood is another pricey one, but still quite affordable by California's standards. Many single family homes built before 1969 fill this area of town. Row houses are present as well, as are town homes, but it is predominantly made up of medium to large stand-alone houses that add charm and beauty to the area. This neighborhood is an excellent choice for families just starting out, as well as for young professionals or those about to retire. It is truly a place all ages can enjoy. $$$$
Danbrook Dr / Villa Dr -A very posh area of South Whittier; expect to find mostly owner occupied, medium to large homes (3-5 bedrooms on average), many with pools in their backyards and 3 or more cars in the driveway. The average commute from this neighborhood is quite short. A mere 15-30 minutes each day and voila... no stressful gridlock! The neighborhood, like all in this city, is still considered to be urban, but it feels a bit more secluded from the harried lifestyle of cities, such as nearby Los Angeles. There are some apartments and condos for rent in this upscale neighborhood, and if you are lucky you might find one with all bills paid! $$$$
Painter Ave / Lambert Rd -Just minutes from Kennedy Park and located close to Laurel Elementary School, this is a wonderful neighborhood for families or those who just love being outdoors. The average rent in this area is mid-range, not cheap, but certainly not at a level that would leave your bank account shriveled up and puny at the end of each month. Many who work in manufacturing or professional sales jobs live in this area, as well as some retirees and high level executives. It is an eclectic mix for sure, but that fact is wholeheartedly embraced by the locals in this neighborhood! $$$
Somerset St / Shoemaker Ave -This neighborhood is made up of charming row houses and is also very urban. It is only minutes from Sierra Vista High School and Frontier High School, which makes it an excellent place to live if you have high-school-age children at home. This is a highly pedestrian neighborhood where most people know each other on sight and are happy to stop, talk and swap neighborhood gossip. The average rent in this area is very affordable, but not considered cheap by any means. This neighborhood is fantastic for those on a budget or just starting out professionally. The commute is generally short, about 15 minutes tops unless you are living in South Whittier and working elsewhere. $$$