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Old 03-26-2015, 05:39 PM
88 posts, read 104,564 times
Reputation: 111


Ok, I might be being melodramatic, but this quite possibly could be the last home we ever buy - so we want to get it right! Our family will be relocating to Tucson this summer for work. My husband is military and will retire in Tucson. We lived there (Rita Ranch) for 9 years once during his career and loved it so much, we're thinking this may be our last stop. We are planning to buy, but want to make the right neighborhood choice. We've talked to friends and realtors, and while there are lots of opinions, none vary much from the same choices they made many years ago, so I'm looking for fresh thoughts.

Here's what we want:
at least 2300 sf home, price range $245-$280K
no more than 30ish minute commute to DM, the shorter the better
frequent back/forth to Phoenix, so I10 access would be a huge plus!
we have a preschooler, so need good schools all the way up - elementary w/i walking distance
community feel with festivals and farmer's markets and block parties
bike friendly

what we do:
kid's museums
morning walks/runs
biking (leisurely, not full on El Tour de Tucson)
organized youth sports

We've lived in the suburbs all our lives, and before our little "surprise" came along, we planned on retiring in a more urban mixed use area. Toys and sports equipment put a kink in that plan, but I was hoping to find something that could combine best of both.

Do you have any suggestions for communities that would fit the bill? So far, Continental Reserve and Rita Ranch are the front runners - but I worry about traffic/commute for Continental Reserve and I worry Rita Ranch is still "too far away" from what we do. Rancho Sahuarita is totally out. Tanque Verde/Sabino/Foothills seem too far from I10. (Again, we foresee much back/forth w/Phoenix, so want it to be as convenient as possible.) Any thoughts?
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:52 AM
191 posts, read 155,874 times
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I have always like the area along Silverbell in the foothills south of Continental Ranch. There are three main drawbacks though. One you have to drive everywhere, two the home selection is not great, and finally there aren't a lot of families with children in the area. On the plus side though is its really close to the U of A and downtown especially the neighborhoods going up Grant and Speedway from Silverbell. Also a lot of the homes have views. You would also want to check out the school ratings. Marana might be worth taking a hard look at especially with children.
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:59 AM
88 posts, read 104,564 times
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Thanks Paradiseca for the suggestion! Do you mean the entire way down Silverbell - from Cortaro to Speedway? Or are you talking more about the area sort of surrounding Ina (between Ina/Belmont)?

Also, if all the way down, is either east or west of Silverbell preferable?

A follow up question to my original post - is "The Loop" that well used? Most locals I ask have never heard of it.
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Old 03-27-2015, 02:34 PM
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The Loop would probably be more used if it was complete. Most riders use it for out and back rides and most of the riders are recreational riders. You wont see many riders on carbon bikes going 18 mph or better. Quite a few people also use it to walk, especially late in the afternoon. From my house I have to ride 4 miles on city streets and then ride a 12 miles segment out and back. Its nice because there isn't any traffic

Use the Tucson Multiple Listing Service for your house hunting. You can focus on the westside by selecting west for your area search. When I used your parameters of 245-280K, two car garage, and at least 1800 SF I ended up with nine homes after starting with 332. All of them were in the foothills. TARMLS.com is better than Zillow as its updated everyday and is what the realtors use.

The newer houses on the east side of Silverbell and north of Grant in the flat area are tract homes and are generally smaller and spaced closer together. The ones around Grant and Speedway going up the hill from Speedway are especially attractive due to the proximity to the University of Arizona and downtown. The older homes in the flat area and south of Speedway are in Barrio Hollywood. The neighborhoods are hit and miss in the area off Speedway plus there is also some pretty shoddy construction in some of the areas. Further up Speedway towards Gates Pass the houses are pretty nice.
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Old 03-30-2015, 12:24 PM
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I spent a number of years in the Reserve area. Spectacular homes with a quiet, safe, and family-oriented atmosphere. Continental Reserve has a very tightly wound association that demands a high level of compliance; no weeds or ATVs out in front! Saguaro National Park West is half a mile out the door, and Walmart, Safeway, and any other convenience is just 3-5 minutes down the road. I-10 was widened about two years ago, so traffic--even at its peak--is not a problem. I could routinely commute from the Reserve to the downtown area in 23 minutes. Alternatively, you can take Silverbell all the way to the city center in about 30. The Reserve backs up to the mountain and has great views and seems less congested than Rita to me, but I don't have much experience with Rita. Also of note: I could drive from Continental Reserve to Gilbert in 90 minutes. The Twin Peak interchange onto I-10 is just 2 miles away. A new, upscale shopping center is under construction right now at the same interchange. Good for the economy and for something to do, but may add some considerable traffic to the area.
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Old 04-01-2015, 04:11 PM
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,875 posts, read 14,994,406 times
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Have you thought of Civano? Beautiful neighborhood, good schools, educated and civic-minded neighbors. Walkable, bike-friendly, the Inn at Civano for when you have out-of-town guests.

Their neighborhood website: http://civanoneighbors.com/

History of Civano as a sustainable, planned community: Community of Civano in Tucson, Arizona : UnSprawl Case Study : Terrain.org

You can buy (existing home or a new-build) or rent there to test it out: Civano Tucson Real Estate - 66 Homes For Sale | Zillow
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Old 07-20-2015, 10:38 AM
88 posts, read 104,564 times
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So, here I am, several months later (a little less than 2 months in Tucson) and not much closer to knowing where to live than I was back then. What I do know... Sahuarita is still out. Civano has beautiful homes, but the lot sizes are just too small. Most of the new builds along Houghton Corridor have very small lots as well. (We want a pool size lot, so are trying to find a minimum of 7500.) We loved the new Silverbell Preserve division, especially with their generous lot sizes, but those lots come at a premium that doesn't fit our newly increased $300k budget. We loved the area south of CR, along Silverbell as paradiseca suggested, but you're right. The houses are few and far between, and most are at least $30K out of our price range. (Speaking of which, why does it seem everything I love is priced at $329,900? What is that magic number?) Going out to visit a few more today - fingers crossed this will be it.
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