Anyone from Arizona?

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Thread: Anyone from Arizona?

  1. #1
    Member Array StcLurker's Avatar
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    Anyone from Arizona?

    Well its snowing again, I've had it with winter, I'm sick of it . at the moment moving to Arizona is more of a long term goal, but can anyone from there (or that lived there) give me some pros and cons about the state?

    I'm interested in the Scottsdale area, mainly because when I googled "Arizona's most livable city" that's what came up. Well that and there is supposed to be 300 days of sunshine a year

    I'm also interested in what the job market is like down there (granted I'm sure theres at least one tow company down there that would hire me). but what kind of $$ does a guy need to make a living down there?

    thanks all

    ps: if it seems like I'm rambling, I probably am...its been a long day
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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array SpencerB's Avatar
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    I live in Scottsdale(well kind of I am at FT Knox now) But my parents live in Mesa, I have worked in Phoenix/Chandler/Gilbert I can definitely try to help. I love it here, the 300 days of sunshine is definitely accurate, I think we had more than that this year. The AZ unemployment rate has been hovering around 10% for awhile. Money wise right now it is pretty inexpensive to live if especially if you can buy a foreclosed home right now. It all depends on what part of the valley you want to live in. Scottsdale tends to be more expensive housing/rent/gas then Mesa/Gilbert/Chandler and certain parts of Phoenix but all of those cities have their nice and new areas and their older areas. Anymore questions feel free to ask or PM me, I will try to help you as much as I can.

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    I am so with you. Born in Maine. Grew up in Pittsburgh. Lived in the east. Transferred to Tucson. Thought I moved to Mars. After moving from torrid Florida the Tucson dry heat was a walk in the park. After three months I began to warm up to the desert (yes, pun intended). The mountains in my backyard. Tired of the heat, drive forty five minutes and you are at 9000'. If I had any doubts, the first week in January my wife and I were having coffee at our favorite cafe, mountains behind us, ten in the morning in shirt sleeves. Also a tenth of the traffic mess Phoenix has. I hope I can retire here. The downs: crime. It's bad. No one is immune. School system is suspect. Work is hard to find & trades make a good deal less than elsewhere from what I have observed. Housing prices are coming down. It's a buyer's market.
    "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." Eccl. 10:2

  5. #4
    Senior Member Array tbrenke's Avatar
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    Born in WA, lived around for many years with 4 of them in the US Navy. The last 12 have been in the Seattle area. it took me 2 years of sending out apps to land a job down here but it was so worth it. I live in Suprise and work designing electronics for a company near the 101 and I-17 cross. the traffic in Phoenix is nothing compared to Seattle. My family has lived here for 2 months now and it has realy rained once. ONCE LOL, I love it.
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  6. #5
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    Six inches or rain is the yearly average. Stuff grows if you choose to water it. Coming from New England, I was shocked at the postage-stamp sized lots (a half-acre lot is not common in the suburbs here) and garage doors being the major architectural feature of the front of most homes, and tile roofs. But, I got used to it.

    Property taxes are low but you get nicked with state/county/local sales taxes which run 8-9%. The income tax is modest. We soak the business travelers and tourists with a rental car surcharge that amounts to about 40%. Right now the state is close to economic crisis (but nowhere near as bad as California) because they foolishly built the state economy around building homes and retail, instead of industry, but there is a core industry in aerospace (Honeywell, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics) and high-tech manufacturing (Intel, Freescale, Motorola). Jobs for skilled, educated workers are available, but you'll have to look for them. Jobs in the building trades or for unskilled labor are almost non-existent.

    As the previous posts indicate, real estate is close to the bottom of the market, so if you choose your area and property wisely, you'll get good value. Beware of and thoroughly research future highway projects if you take a liking to property in under-developed areas.

    Public schools in the K-12 range are probably in the worst 20% of the nation... all too obvious, since I came from the opposite area. Some individual schools excel, but that's not the norm... I watched three stepchildren go through a large suburban high school that had mediocre standards at best, and at graduation the superintendent thought 3 kids out of 2500 going to Ivy League schools was a feather in his cap. Like it or not, the state chose to invest in higher education at the expense of K-12. The good news is that the state university and community college system is well-established, well-funded, and career-oriented, and the cost is quite reasonable although not the bargain it was just 5 years ago. Bottom line is, if you have school-age kids, charter schools or private schools are the path away from mediocrity.

    I miss the snow, but I can drive to it! The White Mountains are about 4 hours east of Phoenix, and Flagstaff is an even shorter drive. This state has a lot of recreational activities, and decent roads to get you to them.

    Scottsdale is OK, but from my East Valley perspective you pay a lot more in taxes and for food and fuel just to say you live in Scottsdale. I was fortunate that as a corporate relo my realtor kept me close to my job in Tempe.

    Overall, moving out here from the snowbelt was an adventure, and it remains so. No regrets about the move, and the comments above are not meant to be disparaging but rather as things to open your eyes to before you make the move. Feel free to pm me with specific questions.
    Smitty
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  7. #6
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    Drinking coffee by the pool in the morning, snow skiing in the afternoon!
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    I could not agree more! On the money.

    Oh, one more thing. Banks don't think Phoenix/Tucson housing has reached rock bottom so tough to get a mortgage. I recommend renting for a year or two. Way too many friends upside down on their homes.


    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Six inches or rain is the yearly average. Stuff grows if you choose to water it. Coming from New England, I was shocked at the postage-stamp sized lots (a half-acre lot is not common in the suburbs here) and garage doors being the major architectural feature of the front of most homes, and tile roofs. But, I got used to it.

    Property taxes are low but you get nicked with state/county/local sales taxes which run 8-9%. The income tax is modest. We soak the business travelers and tourists with a rental car surcharge that amounts to about 40%. Right now the state is close to economic crisis (but nowhere near as bad as California) because they foolishly built the state economy around building homes and retail, instead of industry, but there is a core industry in aerospace (Honeywell, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics) and high-tech manufacturing (Intel, Freescale, Motorola). Jobs for skilled, educated workers are available, but you'll have to look for them. Jobs in the building trades or for unskilled labor are almost non-existent.

    As the previous posts indicate, real estate is close to the bottom of the market, so if you choose your area and property wisely, you'll get good value. Beware of and thoroughly research future highway projects if you take a liking to property in under-developed areas.

    Public schools in the K-12 range are probably in the worst 20% of the nation... all too obvious, since I came from the opposite area. Some individual schools excel, but that's not the norm... I watched three stepchildren go through a large suburban high school that had mediocre standards at best, and at graduation the superintendent thought 3 kids out of 2500 going to Ivy League schools was a feather in his cap. Like it or not, the state chose to invest in higher education at the expense of K-12. The good news is that the state university and community college system is well-established, well-funded, and career-oriented, and the cost is quite reasonable although not the bargain it was just 5 years ago. Bottom line is, if you have school-age kids, charter schools or private schools are the path away from mediocrity.

    I miss the snow, but I can drive to it! The White Mountains are about 4 hours east of Phoenix, and Flagstaff is an even shorter drive. This state has a lot of recreational activities, and decent roads to get you to them.

    Scottsdale is OK, but from my East Valley perspective you pay a lot more in taxes and for food and fuel just to say you live in Scottsdale. I was fortunate that as a corporate relo my realtor kept me close to my job in Tempe.

    Overall, moving out here from the snowbelt was an adventure, and it remains so. No regrets about the move, and the comments above are not meant to be disparaging but rather as things to open your eyes to before you make the move. Feel free to pm me with specific questions.
    "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." Eccl. 10:2

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Husker View Post
    Drinking coffee by the pool in the morning, snow skiing in the afternoon!
    Yup!!!
    "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." Eccl. 10:2

  10. #9
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    Wow, thanks for the input everyone (and keep it coming). I'm more that open to suggestinos other than Scottsdale (like I said, thats what came up when I googled). I don't actually want to live in a big city (but I don't want the middle of nowhere either).

    aznav: I'd be renting for a while anyway, I can't afford a house and I would want to get a feel for the different areas before committing to one area.
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  11. #10
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    Really, it depends on where you find work. The city of Phoenix is geographically enormous and you could both live and work in Phoenix but have something like a 20-mile commute.

    Tempe is home to ASU, the nation's largest university (based on enrollment). Within 5 miles of campus, the majority of the real estate is occupied by faculty, staff and students. To the east is Mesa, a city of about 450,000. There are some wonderful areas of Mesa, there is a strong Mormon community there, but it's also home to a significant crime problem. FWIW, the new LA police chief was recruited from that position in Mesa.

    My suggestion is to let your employment drive where you end up living. Since you'll rent for a while, that will give you time to scout out the areas that you like the best.
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  12. #11
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    Homes are being built literally 30 miles in every direction from central Phoenix. I'd stay central until the work situation becomes stable, then decide if that's the area you like. As a rule, the farther out you go, the cheaper the prices, but the travel can be rough. You'll pay dearly to have a Scottsdale address.
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    so after some more research, I'm kind of interested in the Prescott area now. can anyone tell me anything about that? like does it snow, and typically how much? what is the area like?

    thanks all
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  14. #13
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    Prescott is a neat area, kind of midway between Phoenix and Flagstaff, and at about 5000 feet. Yes, it snows there, but while you'll see snow on the ground for a good part of the winter you won't get three feet of it hanging around like up in Flag or the White Mountains (higher altitudes).

    Prescott is the old territorial capital (when Phoenix was just a stage coach stop) and has some New England charm in the architecture of its older homes, since it was folks from there who invested in the mining business a bit before the Civil War. But in the past 100 years since Statehood and when Phoenix became the capital, the Prescott economy has suffered and today relies more on tourism than real industry. When the building boom was upon us, there was a lot of growth in Presoctt and they even have a big shopping mall or two now (ugh). The late Bill Ruger had a few square mile ranch up there, but now the last parcels are being sold off in 10-50 acre semi-developed lots, albeit for "reasonable" prices. "Cosmopolitan" is not a word I would use to describe Prescott.

    I would consider retiring up there to miss the brutal heat of the Phoenix-Tucson "flatlands," but only if I didn't have to rely on substantial income from a job to support myself.

    What is your situation? Are you in the beginning, middle or end of a career? What is your trade or occupation? Are you financially independent? Do you like suburban living or do you prefer a frontier life? Answers to those questions would be helpful in steering you to areas you'd like, or should at least look into, out here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddjob View Post
    Well its snowing again, I've had it with winter, I'm sick of it . at the moment moving to Arizona is more of a long term goal, but can anyone from there (or that lived there) give me some pros and cons about the state?

    I'm interested in the Scottsdale area, mainly because when I googled "Arizona's most livable city" that's what came up. Well that and there is supposed to be 300 days of sunshine a year

    I'm also interested in what the job market is like down there (granted I'm sure theres at least one tow company down there that would hire me). but what kind of $$ does a guy need to make a living down there?

    thanks all

    ps: if it seems like I'm rambling, I probably am...its been a long day
    I would stay out of metro phoenix and move rural personally.

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    What is your situation? Are you in the beginning, middle or end of a career? What is your trade or occupation? Are you financially independent? Do you like suburban living or do you prefer a frontier life? Answers to those questions would be helpful in steering you to areas you'd like, or should at least look into, out here.
    I don't really have a "career" per say (my wife just got her bachelors degree in something to do with business though), I would consider my trade to be a professional driver (I have a CDL and a very good driving record). I wish I was financially independent (if I was I would already be posting from AZ :) ). the area I live in now is about 30k people and thats about as big as I would want to live in.

    whats important to me is:

    1 minimal to no snow

    2 not too hard to get a job

    3 good area to raise kids

    4 minimal to no snow
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