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Thread summary:

Moving to Arizona: Phoenix, great schools, job market, housing, traffic.

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Old 03-05-2007, 02:35 PM
 
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Probably a couple of years down the road, but me and wife are thinking of relocating to a phoenix suburb. We currently live in the outskirts of Chicago, and some things that are important to us are low crime rate, schools (for when we eventually start a family), job market, social activities, like softball leagues for example. I've done a lot of research on Arizona recently and see the lack of cultural interests in the area being brought up a lot, but honestly they aren't really that important to us. Either is the bar scene. Affordable housing is very important! (200K-250K) range. What are some towns to check out? My wife and I are actually vacationing in Arizona next week. We were there two years ago and really liked it. I'm a little worried about the extended heat in the summer...but wondering about some of the other things I mentioned. Your help is appreciated! Thanks.
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Old 03-05-2007, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
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Exclamation 30 minutes NO more!

Find your job first, then look for a home within 30 minutes drive each way. Don’t live more then 30 minutes away from the workplace. The rush hour traffic is bad and you don’t need spend money on gas in stop and go traffic on the freeways. Every area of the Phoenix metro valley has homes in the price range that you are looking for. Every area in the valley has crime, good and bad schools, and social activities. If you’re visiting in a week or so, you’ll enjoy seeing alot of the valley for homes, but LOOK for the JOB first! If you’re worried about the summer, come for a visit in July or Aug. and see what it’s like outside in the heat. Many people can’t take it. Just like many people can’t take the winter cold, wind, and snow in Chicago.
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Old 03-05-2007, 08:39 PM
 
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In all honesty the traffic is not a real big concern for me. Sure, I'd like a fast commute, but being from Chicago, I'm used to it. I don't work terribly far now and it still takes me anywhere from 35 to 75 minutes (bad weather). The crime is a concern, and obviously I'm somewhat used to that as well. My biggest concerns remain the job market, real estate prices, and of course the heat. You're right, we will need to come down to Phoenix in July to see if we can deal with it. The last time we were there it was March and when we go next week it'll be in the 80's. I've also read how Phoenix isn't very cultural. That's not a real big concern either since I'm not one that goes to an Opera or a Museum too much! As sad as it may be, I do like the suburban lifestyle at this point of my life. Some of the cities that have interested me the most are Peoria, Surprise and Gilbert. These seem to be "lower" crime areas and provide more affordable housing. Of course, a lot can change in two years when we finally decide to move. Thanks for the feedback! I welcome others as well...especially on the towns i mentioned or others I'm not aware of that fit the same description. Thanks!
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Old 03-05-2007, 08:43 PM
 
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I should also mention...that I'm locked into moving to Phoenix. I do however enjoy the west. Ideally, I'd love to live in San Diego. I love it there...but I know I'd never be able to afford it (unless I win the powerball tomorrow!) I really would like to live in a mild climate. I can't take the cold and ugliness of a Chicago winter much more. I'm sure there are a lot of travellers that read these posts...All sugestions are welcome...I think you can see from my few posts what I'm looking for. Thanks everyone.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
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Lightbulb Ain't no WINDY city here

Traffic is bad in Phoenix metro and the suburbs because people don’t think about their drive time to work and back. Yeah,,,, too many of people who also feel the same about drive time on the streets and freeways. They all to get together about the same hours each day and tie up traffic all over the place; only problem then is that there’s a BIG BROWN CLOUD that forms over the entire valley for everyone to breathe. Gas isn’t getting more plentiful and soon there may not be enough for all of the unbelievable people to drive to work and back. Public transportation is very limited in the area and only a few ride the bus and get out of their cars. The air isn’t improving, and people who don’t care enough to help eliminate some of the driving are only adding to the problem rather then being part of a solution to it.

Chicago and most other cities have WIND blow through there cities each day. This doesn’t happen everyday in the Phoenix valley. We don’t get WIND to blow the brown cloud out of the area so we just breathe it in most of the time. Don’t feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t have a problem with the traffic, and pollution ~ we have thousands of people each month moving into the area who feel the same way!

Now just think for a minute about what type of city and environment you want to live in ~ in the next 10 years after you move here; then re-think the driving time again. Phoenix isn’t like windy Chicago here you can smell the cars.
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Old 03-17-2007, 09:40 PM
 
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Just got back this evening from a week long trip to Phoenix...and i have to say i'm still very fond of it. I'm happy it was near 100 most of the week. This gave us a better idea of what the dry heat was like. I know it's prolonged and hotter in the Summer..but it didn't bother me much. I rather have that the the 35 degrees we had when we landed in Chicago. I got to check out the areas I mentioned in the earlier posts...Surprise, Peoria, and Gilbert. I really seemed to like the Northwest Valley area...from the quick drives we took. I guess the crime issue is still abit of a concern for me..simply because it's so spread out. Being from Chicago..I realize stuff can happen anywhere, anytime..but as a general rule...I know certain areas to stay out of. We stayed at a very nice resort in Scottsdale and took a drive about two miles to the south on Tatum/44th..and it seemed like it wasn't such a good area anymore! I guess I'm more perplexed about that than anything! We really didn't drive through too much rush hour traffic...but like I said earlier..I live in an are of two lane streets and it takes me about 45 minutes to go about 15 miles to work everyday...plus I know what traffic is like IN chicago...so that'as not a big concern either. Finding a job is! I'd like to hear other peoples opinions as well...especially young couples/families that moved from Chicago. Thanks! I really miss the 90's we had this week
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Old 03-17-2007, 11:42 PM
ejk
 
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Hi! We moved here from Chicago 2 years ago so my perspective is a lot different from that of people who have lived here a long time. We have family in Peoria. When they moved there, it was all farmland, nothing like it is now. Now it is like somebody picked up Schaumburg (my hometown) and dropped it into the desert.

At the time we moved, we wanted Peoria, but were looking at Surprise; with the housing boom, the waiting lists were hundreds of names long with the prices going up every month. We were able to buy a 2600+ sq ft home in the Sundance part of Buckeye for less than the sale price of our small, 35 yr old home in the far NW suburbs. People around here think Buckeye is "way out there" but in comparison to the Chicago suburbs, we consider it rather close! Especially when you consider the amount of people commuting to the Loop from places like South Elgin. They are also complaining about the recent spike in housing prices, and rightfully so, but again, still much cheaper than Chicago. Yes, the pay in Chicago tends to be more but it is very disproportionate. Living in Phoenix, you still come out on top.

In retrospect, although we do love Surprise, it does not have easy expressway access (although eventually they will have the 303) so Buckeye probably was a better fit for us. We're right off of 10 which is very convenient, though traffic is bad and will continue to get worse. Surprise relies heavily on Bell Rd which can be a nightmare, and there are only so many ways to get around that since not a lot of streets cross over the river. My parents live there and this is their biggest complaint. Some people in Surprise complain about the noise from Luke-- we get some too but it is not as loud here. Either way that would not be a factor for us. It's not like they are buzzing your house all night.

Buckeye has a lot of potential and is kind of seen by many as the seat of the next big boom but that could be in 5 years, could be in 20 years... It is too early to say at this point. We have a couple of major shopping centers going in, and there is a new mall going up just a few miles East, in Goodyear. A large resort is planned for Verrado (a community within Buckeye) and I believe Phase 1 is slated to open next year. And there are a lot of other things in the works-- we just have to be patient and wait.

If you plan on staying for a while, and are not looking to turn around and sell within a year or two, you would get more for your money in Buckeye. But if you are unsure or you are looking for an area that is already well developed, you'd be better off in a place like Peoria or Surprise. My husband works out of Gilbert and travels all over the Valley as part of his job. The East Valley is generally seen as better off, and to some extent that is true-- it's much more established. But overall the roads tend to be more congested. Of course that can vary by neighborhood, too. The WV has more room to expand, and they have planned a little differently. Here in Sundance there is barely any traffic yet, but we already have brand new, 6 lane roads, just waiting for cars... they'll get here, someday. In the meantime we are kind of enjoying the quiet.

Sorry so long-winded, but I hope that was somewhat helpful! Good luck with your decision All the areas you mentioned are very nice. You are right, I'll gladly take 110 over 25 any day. But it's not always a dry heat. When the monsoon comes, so does the humidity-- but to me, it just feels like a bad Chicago August.
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:07 AM
 
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Default Thank you!

Thanks for all the good info.We drove through Surprise last week, and I can see how Bell would be very congested. That is the type of area I'd like to be at though. I'm not too familiar with Buckeye, but will begin researching. I'm very used to the congestion as far as traffic goes. I bought a new townhome in Round Lake a year and a half ago and it takes me 45 minutes to get to Vernon Hills every day...plus it seems like they build the roads first in the Phoenix area before they build the houses...not the case here! The population of Round Lake has gone from 5K to 15K in 5 years...and all the streets are two lanes. The job market seems pretty good as well out there. As you saw in my earlier post, I just got back from AZ last night, and already miss it! I love many aspects of Chicago, but I get depressed everytime I arrive back at O'Hare from out west. I would trade our beautiful skyline for the terrain out west any day! Thanks for the info!
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Old 03-18-2007, 12:58 PM
ejk
 
126 posts, read 594,497 times
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You're welcome!

I also just realized that I didn't clarify one thing- when I said "far NW suburbs" I was talking about Chicago. Prices in Surprise (far NW Valley) are nowhere near that yet!

One more thing, schools out here are not as good as they are in Illinois. The state regularly falls behind the national average in math, reading and science. We have a few years before our child is old enough for school but we are already considering going the private or charter route. Unfortunately, most of the districts are still struggling with the recent boom, and many of the schools don't have enough history yet to give an accurate picture of how good or bad they'll be. Just one disadvantage to everything being so new.
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:21 PM
 
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Default Schools

I'm hoping they get better by the time we have kids! Won't be for a while though so there is plenty of time! How's the area for rec. activities, mainly co-ed softball leagues, volleyball, etc...
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