Casa Grande vs. Apache Junction, AZ: Second Home / Future Retirement / Investment (Phoenix: apartment complex, rent)
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As much as I like Gold Canyon, I don't think it will work for the OP. His original post included building an artist studio on his lot. I don't think that is going to be possible in an HOA community, and I think that most (all?) of GC is HOA's.
I think there are plenty of areas in east Mesa and AJ that would meet the OP's requirements. There are probably areas on the west side of the city too, but I'm not that familiar with that end of town. I agree that New River might be an option. Casa Grande might work BUT is flat in comparison to other areas, which I think would be a dissapointment for the motorcycle rides. Also CG doesn't meet the lake requirement - though in all honesty, I'm not optimistic that the OP will ever find good sailing lakes in Arizona.
Last edited by Jkgourmet; 10-24-2011 at 09:31 AM..
Agreed that the one thing the OP mentioned about the lake is a drawback to the CG option. As far as hills...yeah, there are the superstitions east of AJ, but it isnt a long ride at all from Casa Grande up into the areas along hwy 77 or even hwy 79 (Oracle, Kearney, etc..).
Again, COST is a major factor - the OP wants to stay in the 100K-150K range. Might not be able to get EVERYTHING on the list for that price. But I agree, either AJ (there ARE nicer areas of AJ), CG, or even Santan Valley may meet their requirements....
They just need to come out here and spend a couple of days at least checking areas out...and I reccommend you do it in the summer - so they can see if the heat is tolerable. Although at least initially they seem to be looking for a winter home....
Wow. Thanks - everyone! - for all the feedback. Sounds like I might have a few more cities to investigate on Google!
FWIW - I had a long-term work assignment, many years ago, in Tempe. And it was during your blistering summer months! So yes - I am familiar! Summers in AZ are kinda like Winters in San Jose: You just stay inside as much as possible!
I suspect we'll want to maintain "Dual Citizenship!" CA in summer and AZ in winter - but who knows???
One of the posters (I forget who - sorry - and I'm on a new screen and don't want to scroll back!) brought up a good point about HOA's. I definitely don't want "restrictions" about what we can do with our property. Clearly, we won't be painting our house hot-pink! - but the idea of having hassles/ordeals over building a shed in the backyard?! Well, I just don't want to go there!
Ooh - that made me think of something else, too! We have three small dogs and I don't want to deal with pet restrictions either (or "No, you can't store your boat in your own backyard" yada-yada!)
HOAs definitely have their advantages - i.e. front-yard/common-area maintenance and such. But being in a desert, I highly doubt we'll be worrying about keeping a lawn trimmed!
Nope. I think I want to avoid HOAs, if I can!
Please tell me that not ALL of the newer housing developments have HOAs!
And yes - whenever we get a bit closer to moving from "Dream" to "Reality" Stage - we definitely will schedule another trip to AZ to scope it out up-close-and-personal!
This last trip was *just* for the Jimmy Buffett Concert (and yes, we got stuck in gridlock!!!) - so we really weren't planning on looking at Real Estate... It was just something that popped into my head while we were there!
Lastly: Just for point of reference, yes we are in San Jose - but we're "on the fringes" of SJ. Where we live is very suburban (think 1970's tract-housing development with cookie-cutter houses). But being on the fringes is a double-edged sword. We actually are pretty close to twisty mountain roads (Santa Cruz Mtns), and have all of life's conveniences (Home Depot, Costco, Starbucks a-plenty!). At the same time, we are stuck driving *through* Urban San Jose to get anywhere (Don't EVEN get me started on my Bay Area Traffic Rant!). I actually do like the idea of being borderline country, though.
And no, I don't expect to get EVERYTHING on my Wish-List - but aim high, right?!
Anyway - thanks again for all of the feedback! :-)
Non HOA - AND - newer - AND under 150K is going to be a tall order anywhere EXCEPT the outskirts. Even most of CG's newer stuff is all HOA, though there are exceptions. The problem is, like anywhere, the non-HOA places tend to be those with larger lot size (here that means over 10K sq ft - the 7K you mentioned is more the "standard" lot size here vs CA - for example my home is a pretty standard tract home (with HOA) here in Casa Grande and me lot is 8300 sq ft), and that means more cost, OR, further away from the city services....there definetely ARE places on the outskirts of CG that would still fit your bill for your budget, BUT, you will be 5-10 mins outside of the main parts of town, so you would need to drive in to even go to the grocery store etc...
Now, the positive side of that is you ll have your "chickens etc" type feel since much of the AZ outlying desert (in all directions) is still agricultural in nature.
My guess is that the outlying valleys of AJ and Santan Valley to the east, and Goodyear and Buckeye to the west will all have similar areas in your price range. They are all newer "exurbs" where the newer building is pretty much all HOA, and the older areas are still around since they never got built out to that point yet....
I moved to Casa Grande on July 1. Everyone here is overweight because it is too hot to go outside for exercise in the summer.
I have yet to meet a person with a brain. This is a blue collar town. If you are coming from San Jose you will be very disappointed. I lived in Sacramento for 12 years and there is no comparison. I don't think there is a bookstore here.
I love the weather here, even in the summer when it might reach 115. The east end of town near I10 is very safe, except a woman my age disappeared two blocks from where I live last week while taking her morning walk.
There is one 4 mile long main drag where most of the businesses are (Florence Blvd). The streets here are straight and flat and very easy to navigate. The parking lots of businesses are large and without speed bumps.
You can get police reports on the Tri Valley Central newspaper website. Crime is mostly shoplifting and domestic violence.
I love the physicality of Casa Grande but the people are just not my type. But I'm single and you are married and that might make some difference. Also, people in Arizona are not like people in California. They are less friendly and more cliquish.
Though my experience after a few years here (also moved from California) is somewhat different - for example I hit the LA Fitness in town for exercise, and the CG Mountain trail is now open and this time of year is perfect for that - I do agree that there is more of a blue collar feel here...that only makes sense as the higher paid employees were able to move to Chandler/Gilbert etc even during the higher priced boom. BUT, I ve met many nice people here and when I do need more "culture" its not a bad drive up to Phoenix proper. I hit many D-backs games, there are some good museums in Phoenix (though not New York or Chicago caliber), and again as I said there are things to do down in Tucson as well.
But no, CG is not a High Tech corridor - it will be interesting to see how things change when/if the new "Phoenix Mart" center gets built next year...that will bring in a large influx of new people with a different vibe. Planning commission meetings for that project are next week....
As for a bookstore - yeah...would be nice to get a Barnes/Noble type place in town, and maybe a nice steak house or a PF Changs...for now I head to Chandler for those things. They just didnt quite make it here before the housing collapse.
Finally, yeah, wierd about the missing woman - although other than friends/relatives say this is very out of the ordinary, there is no indications of foul play so far.
I appreciate you at least took the time to provide supporting information to your views - even if I slightly disagree with a couple of them.
One thing I think you should keep in mind, especially when thinking of a retirement home, is how close to medical care it will be. As we get older and the body falls apart, that should be a major consideration. While Casa Grande does have a hospital, it might not have the care you would need and could be shipped up to Phoenix or down to Tucson for more specific care which could also mean added costs. It would be one of the reasons I wouldn't suggest a place like Maricopa. 20 minutes to the nearest major medical facility could prove to be fatal in some cases.
Good point. I will say though after recently watching my mother's health problems worsen and her eventual passing, her stay at CGMC offered much more than it did even a year ago as far as specific procedures. They now have a Cath Lab on site so no more going to Chandler for stents etc...and the UMC (University of Arizona Hospital in Tucson) staff is now actively competing to get some of the Casa Grande patients. My mom had the HEAD of UMC ortho department perform her hip surgery here in Casa Grande on a Sunday morning...and then offered all of the follow up care here in town at a local urgent care facility.
They understand the growing senior population and the medical professionals from both directions want that business and as such are trying to make it as convenient as possible.
This post wasnt so much for the OP as for others googling etc...
Just in case you didnt hear - they did find that missing woman dead in a field near her house but there were no signs of foul play. They are still investigating however it appears it may have been natural causes.
I wouldn't choose either CG or AJ from your original post. Queen Creek is the place you need to check out. The best sailing around here is Lake Pleasant. There are many sailboats docked there and they have clubs, "meets" etc focused on Lake Pleasant. http://www.lakepleasantsailing.com
It's a long, long way from QC to Lake Pleasant though. New River/Anthem area would be better in that regard.
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