Palos Verdes is an umbrella term for a number of predominately residential communities found in the southern portion of the city of Los Angeles. Palos Verdes' numerous cities and suburbs are all found on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, which is known for its green rolling hills and its vast ocean views.
 
Palos Verdes is essentially made up of four communities, which includes Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates. All of these communities offer homebuyers a little something different.

Palos Verdes Estates faces the Pacific Ocean and is known for its cliff-filled filled beaches and residential neighborhoods. Palos Verdes Estates is one of Southern California's most expensive neighborhoods and was one of the earliest master planned communities in the United States. The area maintains its signature aesthetics and architecture because it is protected by an Art Jury, which is a non-governmental organization that must approve any exterior alteration to any building, fence, sidewalk, or other structure. Because of this, Palos Verdes has a Mediterranean town ambiance with clay tile roofed villas and maintenance of spectacular ocean and city views.

Another community in the Palos Verdes' area is Rancho Palos Verdes, which sits atop the bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. This area is most well-known for the Palos Verdes Hills which have grand views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Catalina Island. Rancho Palos Verdes was incorporated as a city in 1950 with fewer than 500 homes built. Most of the housing development in this area took place between 1950 and 1970, with ninety percent of the homes being built. This community offers everything from mansions to single family homes, but the majority of real estate in this area consists of slightly upscale homes. This area is also under strict planning and development controls which regulate the types of homes built here.

The Rolling Hills community of Palos Verdes' is one of the most exclusive and consists of a single gated community. Therefore, residents work, shop, and attend school in the other towns in the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The Rolling Hills community works to maintain a rural character, with no traffic lights and various large open spaces. This community consists of 2,000 people and is governed by a city council and a homeowners association. More than half of the homes in Rolling Hills have nine or more rooms and the median home price is around $1,100,000.

Rolling Hills Estates is a mostly residential community under the Palos Verdes umbrella. This area is also more rural, boasting 25 miles of horse paths, ten miles of bicycle paths, and six parks. This community essentially winds itself through the other three communities that make up Palos Verdes. Homes in this area range from everyday suburban to lavish. There are 28 different neighborhoods in Rolling Hills Estates, all with specific character and architectural style and all subject to tight building controls.