Tired of the east coast, they followed their hearts to Los Angeles. But where would they end up living?

Preet Patel and Anusha Gandhi lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Jersey City, NJ when the pandemic hit, trying to change their priorities.

For Dr. Patel, a doctor who grew up in Queens, the early, terrible days of Covid-19 in New York were grueling. “Covid has hit healthcare workers really hard emotionally and in terms of stress,” he said. “It definitely changed my perspective on the things I wanted out of my career and my life.”

Ms. Gandhi, who is from Florida, worked from home for her private finance job and missed her Manhattan office life. “I was definitely going crazy and hopping back and forth between two rooms,” she said.

Dr. Patel had recently completed his residency in anesthesiology and began a one-year scholarship at Rutgers University that gave him the chance for a fresh start in 2021. Los Angeles was high on the couple’s wish list.

“It was one of those, ‘Oh, wouldn’t that be nice?'” Said Dr. Patel.

Los Angeles “felt like it was similar to New York, but in a warmer place,” said Ms. Gandhi.

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The couple, who married in 2018, first visited town together for a friend’s wedding in 2015, and loved the sunshine and lively restaurant scene. They returned six years later to spend a week looking for an apartment. With a budget of up to $ 4,000 per month for a new rental, they were looking for areas that felt reasonably walkable and would be close to Ms. Gandhi’s Los Angeles office. To ask for help, they hired a local real estate agent, Daniel Lipshutz of Keller Williams.

Dr. Patel wanted to be closer to the west side of Los Angeles in the hope of establishing a clinical practice in the area. Beverly Hills would have been the shortest route for Ms. Gandhi, but she found it “too quiet, too residential”.

West Hollywood, just to the east, felt right with its central location and numerous restaurants and bars, many within walking distance of lovely apartment complexes. And their timing was coincidental: Just when the sales market in Los Angeles hit a fever rise – with houses selling well above asking price within days of launch – the rental market was kind of exactly the opposite, said Lipshutz, with plenty of inventory and landlords, who offer discounts.

The couple found the apartments they toured in Los Angeles larger than those in New York and New Jersey, but the buildings were smaller and had fewer amenities. They hoped to find a gym and pool on site. And they definitely wanted at least 1,200 square feet, a washer and dryer in the unit, and two bedrooms so they could have extra space for guests – and a baby.

A balcony or outdoor space was also on the list to maximize the sunny new environment. “We wanted the apartment to feel like California,” said Dr. Patel.

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