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Old 06-07-2012, 12:54 PM
Location: Tucson
205 posts, read 719,774 times
Reputation: 378


My wife and I are heading to Tucson next week for eight days to consider it for retirement. Wanted to come in June to see the heat at its worse although we've lived in the DC area for most of our lives so should be used to summer weather (maybe not 108!). Real estate prices seem like they are still depressed although sales in the last sixty days look like they have skyrocketed. Are people suddenly moving to Tucson in droves?

She is attracted to a 55+ community called Sunflower out the Marana way. We're pretty active seniors and would like to be in a community with a pool and some other amenities and NOT surrounded by little ones. Plus, $180K for a 3BR home in a nice community is unheard of here - not even close.

I've read a couple hundred threads here about Tucson and have come away with the "decide for yourself" outcome. Seems as many people like it as dislike it. I guess if you are seeking employment and good schools, it might not be ideal but for us, it's a consideration at this point.

One of my concerns is traffic - I hate traffic!!! But I hate I-95 in DC traffic where thirty miles is sixty minutes on a good day and hours on a bad one. So how bad is I-10 north of the city? I don't see us spending a lot of time downtown although south of city seems to be were authentic Mexican cuisine can be found so we will be going there once a week or so.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:10 PM
Location: Oro Valley AZ.
1,024 posts, read 2,691,905 times
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My parents actually live in Sunflower, been there since 2003 I think, and they love it there. There is a pool and spa, tennis courts, picklball, lots of different activities avialable, here is a link to the website Sunflower at Continental Ranch. It is at the north end of the Contintental Ranch area, so not much traffic, there is a Safeway and Walgreens and various small restaurants on Twin Peaks as you enter into the area just a few minutes away. Then within about a 10-15 minutes drive there is just about averything you need in the way of restaurants and shopping. Walmart Super Store, Frys Grocery store, Home Depot, Kohls, new movie comlex, restaurants to numerous to mention. Golf course too. All pretty easy driving. Depending on what you like to do; you might find you seldom needed to battle the Tucson traffic in town. Not many homes on the market there right now, only seven at the moment, and only one of them is 3 BR, but some of the 2 BR will have a hobby room etc. But yes, homes are moving fast overall and prices are starting to show increases. My parents think Sunflower is a great place to live.

Heritage Highlands is another 55+ community not to far from the Sunflower area. It is a gated community in a wonderful master planned community called Dove Mountain. Overall home prices there are going to be higher than Sunflower, but are still some in your price range. Very nice place to live with all the amenities, pool and spa, tennis, clubhouse and it has it's own golf course. So if you happen to be a golfer that could be a real plus.

Last edited by RickTucsonHomes; 06-07-2012 at 02:33 PM..
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Old 06-08-2012, 01:33 AM
Location: West of the Catalinas East of the Tortolitas
4,922 posts, read 8,388,997 times
Reputation: 8040
Transview: Tucson Freeway Cameras

This site will give you traffic cams all along I-10, so you can see traffic in real time. You may have to let the program make changes to your computer if the cameras don't run, but it's not a big issue. I think you'll find Tucson traffic more like a Sunday drive compared to I-95 in DC. If you Google "Traffic Cams Tucson, AZ" you'll get a good list and can choose which ones you want to view. Also, if you have Google Earth, and you know the address of a prospective home, you can enter the address in the search line, and it will take you to the house. You might even have the option to enter street view, which will put you in front of the house to view it, and others on the street. It's a good way to "preview homes" to get an idea what you'll be seeing when you visit.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:35 AM
Location: the AZ desert
5,037 posts, read 9,009,807 times
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Sunflower is lovely. We looked at homes in there recently. The only reason we didn't wind up there is because we didn't come across the "perfect house" for us. If we had, or if we waited long enough until one came on the market, we would have been very happy living there.

Heritage Highlands, which Rick mentioned, is another lovely community.

Not far away are two other very nice active adult communities, with a lot of amenities. They're in the small city of Oro Valley, which is a suburb of Tucson to the north. One is Saddlebrooke, which is a Robson community, and the other is Sun City Vistoso, which is a Del Webb community. (I think Sun City Vistoso just changed their name to Sun City Oro Valley, so you may see it listed either way.)

The traffic in any of these areas, even at it's very worst, is nothing at all like DC's. (You're going to laugh when you see it.)

I'm not a real estate professional, but to answer your question about people moving down in droves... I don't know if that is entirely the case, or if many have been sitting on the sidelines waiting to purchase, to see if the market continued to fall. In my limited observations, it seems as if prices have not only stabilized, but have started to climb a bit in some areas. Coupled with very low interest rates, for those who are financing, I think some of the fence sitters decided it's best to finally take the plunge.
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:01 PM
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,870 posts, read 15,994,934 times
Reputation: 29204
I used to live in Washington, DC, first in Bethesda and then in the district at Wisconsin and McComb.

To me, the humidity in Washington made the heat much less comfortable than it is in Tucson. I'm no fan of 100+ temperatures anywhere, but that expression, "But it's DRY heat," actually has some merit.

As for the traffic, you have to have a multi-car pile-up going on in Tucson before the traffic gets as bad as it is is every day on the Beltway. The people in Tucson who complain about traffic are:
1. Natives who've never lived anywhere else (and who are rightfully frustrated by this town's lack of a cross-town expressway ... and by expressway here, I mean a multi-lane boulevard) and
2. People who have retired here from villages in Minnesota, the Michigan Upper Peninsula, and the like.
The only thing that won't be a picnic here to someone from Metro DC is the trip from Tucson to Phoenix. It's a straight shot on I-10, but the road is partially only four lanes and with semi-trucks in the slow lane, leaving you on the left with some people wanting to seriously exceed the 75 mph speed limit. If you plan on spending a lot of time in Phoenix, I might suggest you explore its infinite suburbs, but if you'll mostly be sticking close to home, I wouldn't expect you to find traffic in Tucson an issue.

Two things I personally had a time getting used to:
1. How far Tucson is away from everything. I drive to San Diego often (now that's a super-easy drive) and it takes 6+ hours, depending on where you're going in huge San Diego Co. In that amount of time, a DC resident could get to Baltimore, Philly, NYC, the Shore, Wilmington, Richmond, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, etc., etc. Here your choices are: Phoenix, San Diego, Las Vegas, or Palm Springs. Not exactly a cornucopia of variety.

2. Anywhere in Southern Arizona, the streets roll up really early. People are oriented to getting up to enjoy the cooler mornings and they go to bed early. Even office workers are more likely to work 7 am to 3 pm than 9-to-5. It's difficult to find a restaurant here that's still seating people at 9 pm.

But if you're not into running around, don't let the heat or the traffic stop you from checking out Tucson and its environs. The cost-of-living here will enable you to have a lifestyle that's a significant step up from one of America's most expensive metros.

My brother is a corporate officer of La Posada in Green Valley, AZ, a short distance south of Tucson. He says the thing he hears most often from residents there is, "We shouldn't have waited so long to come here."
La Posada - Retirement Community - Home Page - Green Valley, Arizona | La Posada Green Valley

tom4416, other people here have given you some good suggestions of additional attractive active adult communities. As far as that lifestyle is concerned, I have yet to meet a single person who bought a house in one and said, "This isn't for me," and left.

Best of luck on your exploration.
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:18 PM
Location: Tucson
205 posts, read 719,774 times
Reputation: 378
Lots of great information, really appreciate it. I don't see us ever going to Phoenix unless airline reservations dictate it. We're not party people, don't need a lot of outside entertainment, mostly exercise (gym, swimming, Miatas) and enjoy a laid back lifestyle. Don't play golf, will never play golf and so don't want to pay the monthly maintenance to maintain a golf course in the community (what does it costs to irrigate a golf course in Tucson ). We like to travel, mostly in the US and Caribbean and so would enjoy travel groups that seem to exist in the adult communities.

Although I hate being classified as a cotton top, it is what it is . I've always thought people in the Southwest were extremely friendly if a little bit "different". Our area here is so stressed out that most people are on the verge of a heart attack and have few social skills. Just being around laid back folks would be nice.

I thought we run down to Nogales, Mexico while we were there until I started reading about how it's now safe any longer and I guess the shuttle bus doesn't run across the border any longer -sad. My wife's parents have a place in Puerto Penasco and apparently even that can now be sketchy at times. I say all this because one of my concerns is that this change may eventually find its way all the way to Tucson which would not be a good thing (although I like your Governor's approach!). I love diversity, not crime.
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Old 06-09-2012, 08:02 AM
101 posts, read 243,281 times
Reputation: 86
As RickTucsonHomes stated Sunflower is great. I use to live in that area, well not exactly inside Sunflower but one of it's surrounding communities.

Anywho, you will find that they have all kinds of ammenities to enjoy from parks, swimming (2 pools iirc) ease of shopping and since they opened the on/off ramps to the I-10 from Twin Peaks it couldn't be easier to get anywhere.

It's very quiet over there, not much traffic. However, you are surrounded by other communties, communities with children. There is also a Elementary School right there across the street from one of the "main" enterances into Sunflower. So there will be "little ones" about but not next door.

Good Luck in your search and Welcome to Tucson.
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:35 PM
2 posts, read 6,032 times
Reputation: 15
Hi Tom,
I found this link and read your message with interest. My husband and I are planning a move in Sept 2014. Did you make the move and if so, how do you like it?

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Old 04-30-2014, 12:26 AM
Location: the AZ desert
5,037 posts, read 9,009,807 times
Reputation: 8288
Originally Posted by Katmt63 View Post
Hi Tom,
I found this link and read your message with interest. My husband and I are planning a move in Sept 2014. Did you make the move and if so, how do you like it?

Hi Kat,

Since you're brand new here (welcome!), you may not know about some of the forum's search features. While you are waiting for Tom to reply, you may want to read some of his previous posts about Sunflower. (Yes, they moved there and apparently love it.)

Go to one of Tom's posts in this thread. Put your cursor over his name and click. You will see "Find all posts by tom4416" and click on that. It will take you to all of Tom's previous posts, which you can read from there. Below is a screen shot.

Happy reading!

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Old 04-30-2014, 02:39 AM
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,870 posts, read 15,994,934 times
Reputation: 29204
Kat, Yes, do read Tom's more recent posts about Sunflower. He likes it and had contributed a lot of good information on Marana to C-D Tucson. I can see why he enjoys it there. I live about four miles away, so I've been around that area quite a few times. It's an attractive community.

The thing that impresses me most, every time I drive through there, I always see people walking. An unusual site in suburban Tucson. I think in the active adult communities they have more to get to that's close enough to go on foot. The fact that Sunflower has a lot of amenities but NOT a golf course makes it less expensive than other over-55 places. And if you do want to golf on occasion, the attractive (desert style), cost-effective public course called Crooked Tree is in nearby Arthur Pack Park, a large Pima County Park.

There's a modern, clean-looking little strip mall with essentials like a Safeway and a Walgreens really close to Sunflower but the highway access makes it easy to get to other locations from there, too. And as Jenmar noted, Sunflower's proximity to communities that are not age restricted makes it seem less like the grandparents have been sent to Siberia. That's one of the things I like about Sun City Oro Valley, too. It's mixed in with non-restricted communities.

Good luck with your choice.
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