After 3 exhausting days of combing Craigslist, WestsideRentals, and the streets of Santa Monica, I found the place that I'm going to live in next year! It is a 2-bedroom 2-and-1/2-bathroom penthouse apartment in West LA, and I will be sharing it with another incoming Anderson student. While West LA doesn't have the charm of Santa Monica, it also doesn't have the high prices! You get a lot more for your money.
I originally thought that I wanted to live by myself near the beach in Santa Monica, but that proved to be too costly, especially since I will be bringing my dog. It also makes a little bit less sense for my first year of b-school, as it is a pretty long commute to school (~30 minutes), and I will likely be on-campus a lot. My new place will only be a 5-10 minute drive, I hope, and it is also only about a 2 mile bike ride. The only possible problem with living so close (yet not right next to campus) is that it will be harder for me to get a parking pass, as UCLA doles out parking passes based on your zip code. I may have to carpool for a while until I get my hands on one.
Anyway, the place is amazing. It is on the top floor of a 4-story building, and it is located on the southern border of the Veterans Administration, which means we will have a huge grassy expanse right next to the place. We will have very easy access to the 405, which means that I can quite easily shoot down to the airport to pick up Liane when she's in town. We're within walking distance of some decent shops and restaurants, although the area is nowhere near as convenient for stuff like that as are parts of Santa Monica and Westwood. It is bright and open, and, on a clear day, you can see the ocean a few miles away from the patio. We've got 2 subterranean parking spots, heat and A/C, modern appliances, and laundry in the unit. And the owner/landlord seems VERY cool and flexible. He is allowing us to start our lease in the middle of August and end it in the middle of June with the option of extending it month-to-month thereafter.
The kicker with this place is that the owner-landlord has offered to leave any or all of his furniture, dishes, art, etc, that we want! Talk about a money-saver! We've basically got a fully-furnished apartment. Now, I won't necessarily have to retrofit my car with a hitch and drive across country with a U-Haul trailer in tow.