MONTECITO HEIGHTS – High up on a hill, a two-bedroom Montecito Heights home welcomes would-be buyers with its panoramic views as well as the sight of a dilapidated Victorian Mansion across the street. Max, 32 and Miriam, 29, who are looking to purchase their first home, are checking out the renovated bungalow. They’ve been renting in Echo Park for quite some time but have decided it is now time to make the leap to home ownership. With a modest Los Angeles budget of $475,000 and a year’s worth of research in their back pockets, these first-time buyers know they can’t get everything they want – and with that they are weighing space versus location.
What features are you looking for in a home?
Miriam: A Yard
Max: Miriam’s a set designer and set painter, and she’s got a lot of equipment, so we want to make sure that she’s taken care of.
Miriam: It’s a little tough here. But a lot of places have a garage where I can just pull up and dump my stuff off. But we’ll trade, for a view.
Max: We know with our price range we can’t really get something that’s necessarily in the best area. So it’s condo with walkability or something like this. It’s hard to figure out where we want to be with that [decision].
What drew you to the Montecito Heights area?
Miriam: Really just looking in the areas we can afford. We like the area and we know that it could be a good investment property in the future.
How Many homes have you looked at so far?
Miriam: This is like our seventh house. We’re still new.
Have you had any home search horror stories?
Miriam: No horror stories. But everything always looks smaller because everyone uses wide-angle shots in their pictures. Other than that we’ve been pleasantly surprised with everything we’ve seen.
How are you finding the market? Is the first-time process at all scary?
Miriam: No! Not at all. We have a Realtor we work with and she’s really cool. And we had been looking online for a year before we were even ready, just to kind of get an idea of what we could afford.
Marni Epstein is an entertainment, music, and lifestyle Journalist and resident of Echo Park. She has previously worked in the film and digital media industries with FOX and Sony Pictures Entertainment. She is currently also pursuing a Masters in Historic Preservation.