Arizona residents, I need advice!

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by SD33, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. SD33

    SD33 Mouseketeer

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    Hey everyone,

    My wife and I will be vacationing in Scottsdale in September. The reason for the trip is two-fold. One is to relax and to take in the beauty of the surrounding area. The other is to explore other cities and look for homes as we are considering moving to the Phoenix area for an internship I have for school.

    I know this isn't www.city-data.com but I thought I would try my luck here since the DIS boards haven't let me down yet. Where should we look?

    A little about ourselves and what we are looking for. We are both in our late twenties and are looking to start a family soon. We don't care about a vibrant nightlife or anything that you might think a normal twenty-something would want. We just want a safe community where we could buy a 2000 or so sq. ft. home with a swimming pool for around 250k to 300k. I will be working as a school psychologist and she is a dental hygienist so we aren't super confined on jobs. I am planning on looking at Gilbert and Chandler, but that is as far as I have gotten for now. Not even sure if I am on the right track.

    Any advice you AZ residents, or former residents, have would be welcome. Thanks!!!
     
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  3. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    We have lived in the Mesa/Gilbert area for 12 years now and (other than this time of year's heat) really like AZ. I was just reading an article in the AZ Republic recently about how the falling home prices have helped more people buy in more established areas on the Valley like Gilbert or Chandler rather than having to go out to the very edges.

    I have my kids in Gilbert public schools and my sister has hers in Chandler schools and we are both very happy with them. There are also lots of charter schools. And it seems like there is a dentist on every corner around here!:rolleyes:

    I think one of the nicest things about the area is that you can be out of town within half an hour to open desert for recreation, or less than two hours up to the mountains for cooler weather, snow, etc. And it's only about 6 hours from Southern California (and DLR of course).

    Just my .02,

    PHXscuba
     
  4. Desert Dwellers

    Desert Dwellers Mouseketeer

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    I'm about to run out the door right now, and will be back later to provide more info, but, I have lived in Chandler for 10 years now and I love it. I'm happy with the schools, the shopping, the city parks, etc.

    This is a good time to buy right now. We had a huge housing boom, and then the bubble burst. It should have, the houses here were way overpriced. Now, I'm seeing very nice houses going for much less than $100 per square foot. I just saw something from a local realtor, I think the average was around $80 - 85 per sq foot. Really affordable right now.

    I'll get some links to you later that might be of interest. I hope you get some other input, but for me, I can really recommend Chandler.

    **************

    No one else has posted, so I'll just edit to add:

    I found an MLS listing for Chandler - not recommending the realtor per se, just to give to an example of what you get for the money.

    http://www.easymooselisting.com/content/listings.html?proptype=*&minprice=-1&maxprice=-1&bed=-1&full=-1&selectvirtualprops=1&propertyCount=17&show_listings=1&ag_id=1289704&pageclicked=1


    Here's another realtor.

    http://www.billryanchandler.com/Featured_Listings/page_163204.html

    Here is a link to the city website with a story about Chandler being picked as an All-American City.

    http://www.chandleraz.gov/default.aspx?pageid=40

    Chandler has grown a lot in the last 10-15 years. Many of the residents are transplants from other areas of the country, so you should find it welcoming to new residents. It's a young population, not me, of course, but the average age is around 35, so you should find many people in the same stage of life as yourself.

    If you have any specific questions about Chandler, or Scottsdale for your vacation, I can try to answer or ask around for you.:)
     
  5. SD33

    SD33 Mouseketeer

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    Thank you both so much for the information, and especially the links! I am looking at them with my wife right now. Most helpful!

    And loving these home prices :cool1:
     
  6. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    I have lived in AZ since I was about 3 months old. I was raised in Tempe as my dad was a professor at ASU for 37 years. I have lived in Chandler for about 20 years now. I am partial to the East Valley. Chandler and Gilbert seem to be the places that are still growing and offer a great family environment with parks, schools, etc. Good luck!
     
  7. SD33

    SD33 Mouseketeer

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    One more question...how long does it take to truly acclimate to the summer heat? Or does everyone just hide out in air conditioned homes? I'm from the Seattle area so we hide out pretty much all winter. Who likes 35 degree weather with rain? Terrible stuff. Anyway, I don't mind hanging out indoors for the better part of three months, and having a pool to sit by sounds nice. I know it gets excruciatingly hot down there so what do most people do to cope?
     
  8. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Hey, I've been here all my life and I still hide out in the A/C in the summer. Seriously, if you like the outdoors, you get used to it. As mentioned, the great thing about the valley is you can drive a couple of hours out of town and get into cooler areas like Flagstaff, Show Low or Mt. Lemmon outside of Tucson. You have to remember too that except for during Monsoon, it is a dry heat!
     
  9. Desert Dwellers

    Desert Dwellers Mouseketeer

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    I lived in Indiana and Wisconsin before moving to AZ. And for three months during winter, we're stuck inside. So we're stuck inside for three months during summer, same thing. But it's so much better here.

    When it's 10 degrees and the roads are snowy and icy, I still had to go to work. When it's 110 degrees, it's uncomfortable, but at least my car won't slide off the road. And when a big blizzard was coming, we would all run to the grocery store and stock up on milk and bread and be stuck in the house until the snow plow came to dig us out. Today, it's 110, but we're not stuck inside. The malls and restaurants are air conditioned. The movies are a great place to be. This morning, my daughter had ice skating lessons, and I was very comfortable at the ice rink. ;)

    Here is a link to the Arizona Republic's website so you can get a sense of the Phoenix metro area.

    http://www.azcentral.com/

    Here's a link to the Things to Do section. It might of help when planning your Sept. trip, plus give you an idea of how we spend our summers.

    http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/
     
  10. SD33

    SD33 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks again for the info! From what you guys have said, it sounds like we would be able to hold up just fine. I checked out the things-to-do site. Very helpful!
     
  11. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

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    It took me a couple summer to adjust to the heat, but I was usually more worried about my small kids in the heat. Everywhere is air-conditioned (sometimes overly so) and there are waterparks, pools, splash pads, etc. galore.

    People avoid doing much outside during the heat of the day unless it's in the water, but the mornings and the evenings are fairly pleasant once you get over the shock of going out to pick up the newspaper and it's already warmer outside!

    If the heat is the only thing you are worried about, don't fret. It all sounds insane until you're having Christmas dinner outside on the patio bragging to the snowed-in relatives.:) Unless you have medical issues that are a problem in the heat, I'd say go for it!

    PHXscuba
     
  12. Zoesmama03

    Zoesmama03 DIS Veteran

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    Its not a bad area I just don't like it here much at all. I've lived in the east valley the majority of the last 17 years or so. The times I haven't lived here I had brief residency in Florida. My biggest problems with the area is the dust and allergies I face here. To me coming back to the valley from clean fresh air I can tell the difference and I definitely notice the dust I'm inhaling. :( Overall its a decent place to live. House prices are pretty great right now and we do have lots of decent free charter schools in most the cities. My dd goes to a charter after a bad experience with the Mesa public schools. Tempe and Chandler were better schools when I was attending school those many many years ago. I went to Tempe high school and it was much better than the Mesa school in my zone.

    It is nice to not worry about warming cars up in the winter(may have 1-2 freeze nights you may need to scrap a thin layer of ice off window unless you want to wait for your defroster, I've found a credit card works well ;) ) and everything is in close reach. And some very cool day trip options and even weekenders(to California, Vegas etc). But I prefer Florida to here even humid. After only one summer in Florida last year I was dying this year with the oven dry heat. And its still going strong sticking in the 100s this month too. UGH. We have had two cooler mornings but its raising back up for the weekend.
     
  13. azdisneylover

    azdisneylover DIS Veteran

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    You will love Scottsdale, and Arizona! I'm a came from Southern California in the early 80s for work, and never went back. We used to live on South Mountain, now we live in Avondale (bit closer to Disneyland and CA!). For me, the only time I found it hot was in 1990, or 1991 when the official weather was 122 and the airplanes were grounded because of it! Swimming in the pool that day didn't cool us off even with the aerator! :lmao::rotfl2: I guess I have acclimated well, or the Good Lord is preparing me for somewhere else when I die! LOL:lmao:
    The Valley has some great spots, and not so great spots, just like the rest of the country. The West Valley includes Peoria, Glendale, Surprise, Avondale, Goodyear, Tolleson, Buckeye, just to name a few. If you are a sports fan,you will love it! We have the major sports teams, plenty of golf, shopping, and zoos! There is so much! The biggest thing for me was all the cacti! I was used to regular trees.
    Have a wonderful visit to AZ!
    ps If you decide to get wallpaper for your home, I am married to the Best Paperhanger in Az!:love:
     
  14. BecomingObsessed

    BecomingObsessed I'd rather be in Fantasyland.

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    Don't discount the NE Valley. Especially if you want to grow roots for your family! The Paradise Valley area is worth taking a look at. I say this as a lifetime resident of the west side of town. I personally like the Arrowhead area, but again, I'm partial because I'm a native and it's what I know best :goodvibes
     
  15. hurleysweety

    hurleysweety <font color=deeppink>DISPrincess in Training<br><f

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    I have many friends in their late 20s who live in and LOVE the gilbert area. There are a bunch of new homes in your price range and they are absolutely stunning with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, open floor plans, nice fixtures, giant tile floors. The area is definitely growing with lots of people that are starting families and many of the retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues cater to that lifestyle. I think you'll enjoy it very much as the heat continues to cool down.

    Welcome to AZ!
     
  16. mainstreetmagic

    mainstreetmagic Mouseketeer

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    I have lived in the Mesa/Gilbert area since 1995, and I am an office manager for a dental office. This is a fantastic area to raise kids. My daughter just graduated from the Gilbert School system, and I was completely satisfied with her educators and her group of friends. This is a great time to buy a home, too. Home prices are SOOOO much lower than they were a few years ago, and you will be able to purchase a lot for your money!

    For your wife, though, heads up... it is a tough job market for the dental field right now, and hygienists are having a really hard time finding anything more than part time. It seems to be that way for the whole dental field. People would rather pay their house payment than have a deep cleaning or agree to a crown, so offices are suffering. It's probably that way nationwide, but I can just give you a view of this area. :guilty:

    Good luck with your move. Hope you find all that you are looking for!

    Amy
     
  17. SD33

    SD33 Mouseketeer

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    Mini Trip Report:

    So, we just got back from Disneyland and Arizona. You all know how fantastic Disneyland was so I'll just stick to my impressions of Arizona :cool2:. In a nutshell, DW and I fell in love with the place. I was born in San Diego and lived there for 7 years. My family would go back just about every year for a visit and every time we would I would want to live there again. Not anymore. After seeing the greater Phoenix area, we are both hooked. We loved the dry heat (it was 100 most days), the palm trees, the golf courses, the swimming pools, and the abundance of shopping and dinning. It also seemed less hurried and materialistic than coastal southern California (although that isn't saying a whole lot). The sunsets each night were worth the whole trip. I thought people were photoshopping stuff when they made the sky purple over the desert at night. I couldn't believe the purple/midnight blue color we got each evening. Absolutely beautiful.

    We also looked at houses in Gilbert and Chandler. Again, unbelievable how far your dollar goes down there. My wife was in heaven running around the show rooms of the new homes looking at floor plans and amenities. She had previously been somewhat opposed to a move, as she wants to be closer to family in Washington. Not so much anymore lol.

    Also, we stayed at an amazing resort near Scottsdale, the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa. Best resort we have both ever been to and that's accounting for the Mandalay Bay in Vegas, among other pretty nice places. I think we just liked the rustic old-school Arizona charm combined with the modern flare. And that's kinda how all of AZ felt to us--a combination of old-west and new urban. Pretty cool vibe.

    Old Town Scottsdale was another favorite spot of ours. I would love to go back down there and hit a different local restaurant every weekend. We are Happy Hour junkies and it seems like they have plenty of that sort of thing going on.

    Anyway, we are back in Washington now and it's been drizzling pretty consistently since we got home. The air did seem fresher when we got off the jet here. That's one thing Washington has going for it. But we are already missing our nightly swim in the 80-90 degree evenings. Talk about relaxing. I haven't slept that good in a long time.

    Thanks again for all the advice and opinions! We are planning on going back down again soon...this time, I don't think we will be driving over to California half way through the trip. We want to stay in Arizona and see the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Flagstaff. Any hotel, resort, or sightseeing recommendations are welcome!
     
  18. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

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    Great to hear enjoyed our great State! October is my absolute favorite time of year in Arizona. The fall leaves are in full color in Flagstaff and the mornings and evenings start cooling off here in the Valley. If you enjoyed the dry heat, you'll love our Fall and Spring even more!
     
  19. Danibelle

    Danibelle DIS Veteran

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    Agree with above! I got very sick with allergies after 5 years in the desert. I have since lived on both coasts (I'm presently in SC) and am doing better. I have traveled to FL in all seasons and prefer the heat with humidity rather than the feeling of being microwaved. That said, DH vastly prefers AZ!
     
  20. justhat

    justhat <font color=teal>DC DISer<br><font color=red>pick

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    We just moved to AZ in July, but we're in Tucson, not the Phoenix area. I originally really wanted to be somewhere in Phoenix, but my husband's job offer was much better in Tucson so here we are. We moved from Washington, DC, so the climate is quite different, and we got here in late July, so full on heat!

    So far we like it here, which I was skeptical about because I really preferred Central AZ to here. It's a pretty good city, just smaller than the Phoenix metro area. My husband and I are both 30, and we have 3 kids, so pretty much like you said, nightlife is of little importance. The public schools are iffy, but that's the case throughout AZ honestly. We are in the best Tucson district, but my oldest is in a charter school and my 2nd starts K there next August (he's in their private preschool now). I'm pretty satisfied so far with their charter school and we have 1 or 2 of the top 10 schools in higher grades (I know Basis is one of them).

    And if you think houses are cheap in Phoenix, come to Tucson! Our sales tax is also less than Phoenix, so overall it's a pretty cheap place to live.

    So it's an area worth considering if you're open to just more than Phoenix. I hadn't really considered it till this job offer, but I'm glad we did now cause we're happy here.
     
  21. Desert Dwellers

    Desert Dwellers Mouseketeer

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    SD33, I checked back a couple of times to see if you had a trip report, today I see I missed it. But I'm glad to see you enjoyed your time here in AZ.

    The Westin Kierland is really beautiful. I love the shopping and dining at the Kierland Commons. You had some really hot weather while you were here, so I'm glad you found it managable. This coming week we should have some really nice, cool evenings, so I'm pretty happy.

    The city of Chandler won another recognition - 100 Best Communities for Young People. Have to do my Chandler PR and pass it along.

    http://www.azcentral.com/community/chandler/articles/2010/09/23/20100923chandler-youth-city0924.html
     

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