Southern California Dopers, suggest a good place to buy a house, please.

Tired of shlepping between my condo near downtown Long Beach and my
job near Westfield Plaza (also known as the Fox Hills mall) and wanting to
have space for a workshop where I can hammer, drill and saw with out
disturbing my condo neighbors or getting sawdust and metal filings in the
carpet, I have decided to look for a house. Preferably one closer to work.

I wanted to keep the price under 275K but could a little over 300k. So far,
most of the places I have seen have been in neighborhoods where the
residents have bars on their windows or they have been too close to
a freeway or airport. Yes, I have consulted a few realtors and they have
sent sent me lists of properties that are not much different than what
I have found on my own.

I thank you for any suggestions you may have.

Here is a link to a property.
http://www.trulia.com/homes/California/Los_Angeles/sold/2076015-6211-S-Verdun-Ave-Los-Angeles-CA-90043

It is a solid middle class African American neighborhood that is close to Fox Hill Mall.
Lot’s of long term residents and some anglo’s that did not flee during the white flight years of the 60’s and 70’s. Most of the homes were custom or semi-custom. You will have LAPD helicopter fly-overs, but the neighborhood itself is safe.

A friend grew up on this street, so I just happen to know about it.

I immediately thought of Baldwin Hills, which is not far from phxjcc’s suggestion, but I’m a little concerned that you’re not going to be able to find the right combination of price and distance with all you’re looking for. But Baldwin Hills has a lot of single professionals and is generally fairly safe.

Look in West Adams- sure a lot of the houses have bars on the windows (like ours), but we live on a nice quiet street and I’m friendly with all my neighbors. It’s really great! Most of the houses, built in the 1920s-30s or so have a small garage in back where you could have a little shop, and maybe expand. The location is fantastic- I used to ride my bicycle from home to the Howard Hughes Center every day for work, and I went right by Fox Hills. You could get a pretty decent house for $300K if you looked for a while and jumped on it when it went up for sale.

I’ve been holed up in the south bay for many years, but I think Westchester and Palms are pretty good. I’d stay away from the sea of condos in Ballona Creek; they’re incredibly cramped, and if you look up “liquefaction” in the dictionary, it’ll have a map of Ballona Creek.

If you could deal with the commute from Long Beach, howzabout Lomita or parts of Torrance? When I was looking (2010-2011), there were also quite a few townhouses on Western in San Pedro that seemed like good deals (and some offered a surprising amount of privacy).

Also, be pre-approved and be patient – I literally looked for 18 months before buying a house 15 months ago.