Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

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Bustoff
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Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Bustoff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:22 am

We have been searching for retirement locations. We currently live in the Midwest where both summers and winters are pretty unpleasant. Southern California was our ideal first choice, but the cost of homes there made it unrealistic.

I'm early sixties and spouse is late fifties. We love outdoor physical activities which include golf (my main obsession), running and hiking. My biggest fear in retirement is turning into a couch potato.

We looked hard at Florida and had lots of visits there, but have no desire to be there in summer. And snowbirding down to FL still left us living with hot and humid summers here in Missouri. Definitely don't want the expense and headache of second home there, or anywhere else.

So recently, it occurred to us that Arizona might be a good spot because of its proximity to California, Southwest Colorado, several national parks and much more.
It also dawned on us that we could leave the Phoenix/Scottsdale area to escape summer and within 6 hours be in a rental in Southern California. Seems like a halfway decent compromise in that we get a little taste of California thrown into the mix.

Problem is we've never spent any time in AZ other than driving through on a road trip or a layover at Sky Harbor.
I would really appreciate your thoughts and advice on retirement in or around the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.

Did you sell your house first and then rent?
We would rent until we were familiar with the area, but where???
If we want to leave AZ for the summers, would you recommend a home or condo in retirement communities where golf is included or something else?
Last edited by Bustoff on Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

IronMantis
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by IronMantis » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:29 am

You might find a lot of great information here: http://www.city-data.com/forum/phoenix-area/
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Bustoff
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Bustoff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:38 am

IronMantis wrote:You might find a lot of great information here: http://www.city-data.com/forum/phoenix-area/
Thanks IronMantis.
Last edited by Bustoff on Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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HueyLD
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by HueyLD » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:53 am

............
Last edited by HueyLD on Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thenextguy
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by thenextguy » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:10 am

Not really answering your question, but have you considered Palm Desert, CA?

rec7
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by rec7 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:13 am

A lot of California people like Reno how about Reno?

Browser
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Browser » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:24 am

Lots of folks obviously live in Phoenix during the hot summer months. Most of them work there or don't have a lot of bucks to afford a summer escape so they don't have a choice. If you have a choice and have the energy to set up a summer household out of the Valley I'm sure you'll want to get out of there. Summers seem to be getting even more miserable -- starting in July you have to deal with the monsoon rains and the humidity. Just add a little humidity to 105 degrees + and what do you have (yes, a sauna). Many people just head a few miles north to Prescott, Payson, Flagstaff, etc. Quite nice at those elevations in the summertime. But if you want a pretty nice year-round climate check out Prescott. Has a 4-season climate but not hot in summers and not too cold or snowy in the winters. Housing more expensive than what's available in the Phoenix area. Not too far from Phoenix when you want the benefits of the metro, and you'll have to drive there for the airport.
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Bustoff
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Bustoff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:58 am

thenextguy wrote:Not really answering your question, but have you considered Palm Desert, CA?
Funny, you mention that. We were at the Marriott in Palm Desert a year ago. It's beautiful there. But aren't their summers as bad as Phoenix?
Last edited by Bustoff on Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thenextguy
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by thenextguy » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:01 pm

Bustoff wrote:
thenextguy wrote:Not really answering your question, but have you considered Palm Desert, CA?
Funny, you mention that. We were at the Marriott in Palm Desert a year ago. It's beautiful there. But Aren't their summers as bad as Phoenix?
Oh yeah, it's not any better in terms of heat, but it is closer to the nicer weather in SoCal.

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Bustoff
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Bustoff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:12 pm

Browser wrote:Lots of folks obviously live in Phoenix during the hot summer months. Most of them work there or don't have a lot of bucks to afford a summer escape so they don't have a choice. If you have a choice and have the energy to set up a summer household out of the Valley I'm sure you'll want to get out of there. Summers seem to be getting even more miserable -- starting in July you have to deal with the monsoon rains and the humidity. Just add a little humidity to 105 degrees + and what do you have (yes, a sauna). Many people just head a few miles north to Prescott, Payson, Flagstaff, etc. Quite nice at those elevations in the summertime. But if you want a pretty nice year-round climate check out Prescott. Has a 4-season climate but not hot in summers and not too cold or snowy in the winters. Housing more expensive than what's available in the Phoenix area. Not too far from Phoenix when you want the benefits of the metro, and you'll have to drive there for the airport.
Browser - Thanks for the suggestions. We will look into Prescott.

AZAttorney11
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by AZAttorney11 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:18 pm

Nope, don't move here. There are scorpions, snakes, man-eating coyotes, and it is 125 degrees year round.

But seriously, Phoenix and Scottsdale are wonderful, wonderful cities. The summers really aren't that bad if you're healthy, and you never, ever have to shovel sunshine. You cannot beat an Arizona winter. Depending on your price range, I would strongly consider something in Central Phoenix (Arcadia or Biltmore area), Northeast Phoenix (Desert Ridge), anywhere in Paradise Valley, or anywhere in North Scottsdale (where home prices get really high, really fast).

You also need to visit Prescott, Sedona, and Flagstaff. One of the best things about Phoenix is that you can get a completely different season by driving two hours north. It is mid 60's in Phoenix right now, but people are skiing in Flagstaff.

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Minty » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:18 pm

I lived in Tucson for some years; it is cooler than Phoenix in the Summer (although still hot) and some people like it much more than Phoenix. Lots of great golfing opportunities, plus skiing in the winter on Mt. Lemon.
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zbxb006
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by zbxb006 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:53 pm

I live in Phoenix now, will be retiring soon, and am looking for alternative locations in Arizona. Looking for not quite so hot in the summer and not too cold in the winter. Top of my list is Prescott (a bit expensive), followed by Payson (smaller town, more trees), Benson (even smaller, rural, large acreage avail).

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BigFoot48
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by BigFoot48 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:40 pm

We've lived in Scottsdale (11 years), Tucson (13 years) and rural SE Arizona east of Benson (4 years - much too rural!) and visit Sun City West frequently, and like Tucson the best now (although Scottsdale in the 1980's was wonderful). The Sun Cities have some nice houses and lots of retail and services in the area, and a whole lot of golf.

I also suggest renting a place in the summer and seeing how the lifestyle suits you. A couple from NY bought a house across from us, with he planning on playing a lot of golf, and a year later the for-sale sign went up - they were just too far from family, or so they said. Our electric bill is $1,300-$1,400 yr for a total-electric 2,300sf house, with $600-$700 for heating/cooling at $0.11kWh.
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AZAttorney11
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by AZAttorney11 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:50 pm

Something I forgot to mention. You will not have any issues being a coach potato in Phoenix. There are countless hiking trails all over the Valley, and there are plenty of lakes within 30-60 minutes of Phoenix that you can enjoy watersports. Arizona is such a beautiful state, and there are so many outdoor activities that getting exercise is not a problem.

thenextguy
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by thenextguy » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:56 pm

BigFoot48 wrote: Our electric bill is $600-$700/yr at $0.11kWh.
That's pretty good. Your place must be pretty energy efficient. My bills are quite a bit more in Las Vegas at about the same rate.

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HueyLD
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by HueyLD » Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:00 pm

..........
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BigFoot48
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by BigFoot48 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:04 pm

thenextguy wrote:
BigFoot48 wrote: Our electric bill is $600-$700/yr at $0.11kWh.
That's pretty good. Your place must be pretty energy efficient. My bills are quite a bit more in Las Vegas at about the same rate.
I'm sorry, I was reading the heating/cooling part of my electrical use spreadsheet! Total bill for a total electric house is $1,300-$1,400/yr with a high efficiency heat pump installed in 2011 dropping A/C costs by about $200/yr to the $600-$700 amount.
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thenextguy
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by thenextguy » Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:06 pm

HueyLD wrote:
thenextguy wrote:
BigFoot48 wrote: Our electric bill is $600-$700/yr at $0.11kWh.
That's pretty good. Your place must be pretty energy efficient. My bills are quite a bit more in Las Vegas at about the same rate.
That's because Vegas is hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. And even gas heat requires electricity to run.
Tucson is a little cooler than Vegas, but not all that much. They are pretty similar.

AWH_CPA
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by AWH_CPA » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:01 pm

Born and raised Scottsdale native. Phoenix is an amazing place to live. I agree that if you can afford it, staying in the north eastern part of the valley is the place to be. Lots of golfing in Scottsdale. Although it gets expensive for the better courses from Dec to May. If you can afford it, belonging to a club is the way to golf. There are some cheaper clubs out there as well. (Moon Valley?, Biltmore?)

From Oct. to Mid May you really cannot beat the weather. The remaining months it does get hot. But even the humid month of August isn't terrible as the humidity only gets to the 50% or so. And thats usually only for a few days after a big storm comes through. June and July are hot and dry. Go to the lake or head north if you want to be outside. (Or take advantage of the amazing 5 star resorts in scottsdale that are usually super cheap since no one is using them.)

Lots of cultural events, sports and relatively inexpensive cost of living depending on where you buy.

Feel free to PM if you have any more questions.

tallgirl1204
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by tallgirl1204 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:11 pm

I want to second Prescott area. It's warmer than Flagstaff in the winter, cooler than Phoenix in the summer. Nice little downtown, all of the amenities in terms of places to shop (including Trader Joe's). It's on my list for when I get older.

If you have more $$ to spend, want a bit smaller community and don't mind tourists, Sedona/Cottonwood/Clarkdale are worth checking out. Lovely trails, and a vibrant art community.

As for Flagstaff, its winter is much more gentle than the Midwest (although it's a "real" winter with snow), it's a college town and has hiking/biking galore. It's rough around the edges-- think hippies and cowboys-- and a pretty expensive housing market, but those of us who live here wouldn't go anywhere else. (ETA: except of course possibly Prescott-- and then only if/when I need to move downhill-- Flagstaff is at 7,000 feet and older folks sometimes find that the oxygen levels matter).

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by mickens16 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:25 pm

I grew up in Phoenix and if I was to go back to live (retire) I would look at North Scottsdale, Northeast Phoenix, and North Peoria. The traffic in the East Valley (Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, and Mesa) IMO is worse than North Phoenix. If you want to look at Paradise Valley, expect to pay a nice ransom. I've been to Tucson many times and would never live there. There are nice places north of Phoenix that you may want to look at, such as Sedona. It's not as hot during the summers and the area is beautiful. If you have any questions let me know. Good luck.

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by etf » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:29 pm

I spent some time living in Tucson and can say that it sounds like it would be the perfect fit for you. Weather is miserable May-August, but the rest of the year is really nice. Lots of golf (or proximity to it).

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:42 pm

We have spent time in Anthem, AZ. It is on the north side of Phoenix next to Cave Creek. I think the population of Anthem is about 20,000. We love S. California, but the cost and number of people just don't make it an option for us. We also want to avoid the hurricane zones of Florida. Although I do really like Florida. We are more "desert heat" people and prefer a nice pool to the ocean. (I know, I know).

It has a good mix of amenities and yet is still quiet. We have spent time there in July to "test" the heat. I love it warm, so even the "more humid" times don't seem bad.

Especially if you have a pool. You can get a really nice 5 bed/3 bath home with a pool/hot tub for ~$250k in Anthem.

A couple of friends already have their home in Anthem. The VRBO it and use it for their vacations. I am being patient and will buy when the kids are out of the house.

Keep us posted on your thoughts of different areas.
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Bustoff
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Bustoff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:12 pm

Great comments!
I really like the idea that in Arizona you can be in completely different climate within a few hours drive. Can't do that in Florida.

I'm curious how others decided whether to join a golf club in North Scottsdale like "AWH_CPA" mentioned above, versus living in an over-55-community like Sun City.

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by AWH_CPA » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:25 pm

Bustoff wrote:Great comments!


I'm curious how others decided whether to join a golf club in North Scottsdale like "AWH_CPA" mentioned above, versus living in an over-55-community like Sun City.
Just to be clear. If you are looking at the North Scottsdale private clubs, expect to pay high six figures for the house, another 30-80k for the membership. Now that I think about it, it takes a lot of $200 rounds of golf to get you to the added costs of the private club.

If you are rolling in the dough then go North Scottsdale private club. If you have dough but not a lot but still like the idea of a club atmosphere then think the Moon Valley area. (7th street and Thunderbird if you want to zillow homes in the area) or simply buy wherever in North Phx/Scottsdale and pay the $ for the rounds as you go.

The over 55 community is better described in my opinion as the over 80 community. Complete with golf carts on streets and dinner waits starting at 430 pm.

AZAttorney11
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by AZAttorney11 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:39 pm

AWH_CPA wrote:
Bustoff wrote:Great comments!


I'm curious how others decided whether to join a golf club in North Scottsdale like "AWH_CPA" mentioned above, versus living in an over-55-community like Sun City.
Just to be clear. If you are looking at the North Scottsdale private clubs, expect to pay high six figures for the house, another 30-80k for the membership. Now that I think about it, it takes a lot of $200 rounds of golf to get you to the added costs of the private club.

If you are rolling in the dough then go North Scottsdale private club. If you have dough but not a lot but still like the idea of a club atmosphere then think the Moon Valley area. (7th street and Thunderbird if you want to zillow homes in the area) or simply buy wherever in North Phx/Scottsdale and pay the $ for the rounds as you go.

The over 55 community is better described in my opinion as the over 80 community. Complete with golf carts on streets and dinner waits starting at 430 pm.
This is good advice.

OP, if you're going to live in Phoenix proper, you generally want to be north of Indian School Road and East of the 51 (state highway). The main exception to this is Moon Valley and the historical district (although I wouldn't want to live there if I was retiring to Phoenix). I would stay away from the avenues; Phoenix is divided into a grid system. The roads that run north and south that are located east of Central are streets, and the roads that run north and south that are located west of Central are avenues. Stay away from the avenues (there are some exceptions).

Next time you're in Phoenix, visit Moon Valley in north central Phoenix (older, established neighborhood without the cookie-cutter homes), Desert Ridge in northeast Phoenix, the Biltmore/Arcadia areas (between Indian School and Lincoln, east of 24th street, but west of Tatum), Paradise Valley, and north Scottsdale.

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Bustoff
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Bustoff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:24 pm

AWH_CPA wrote:
Bustoff wrote:Great comments!


I'm curious how others decided whether to join a golf club in North Scottsdale like "AWH_CPA" mentioned above, versus living in an over-55-community like Sun City.
Just to be clear. If you are looking at the North Scottsdale private clubs, expect to pay high six figures for the house, another 30-80k for the membership. Now that I think about it, it takes a lot of $200 rounds of golf to get you to the added costs of the private club.

If you are rolling in the dough then go North Scottsdale private club. If you have dough but not a lot but still like the idea of a club atmosphere then think the Moon Valley area. (7th street and Thunderbird if you want to zillow homes in the area) or simply buy wherever in North Phx/Scottsdale and pay the $ for the rounds as you go.

The over 55 community is better described in my opinion as the over 80 community. Complete with golf carts on streets and dinner waits starting at 430 pm.
Thanks for clearing that up. High six figures for a house is not an option for us. I don't know if this is realistic but I was hoping we could find a place somewhere between $250-$350. In 2011, friends of ours bought a house for $265,000 adjacent to Troon North at Alma School Pkwy and Dynamite Blvd.
Last edited by Bustoff on Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BigFoot48
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by BigFoot48 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:33 pm

Bustoff wrote:I don't know if this is realistic but I was hoping we could find a place somewhere between $250-$350.
You could have a house on a golf course for that in Sun City West.
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AZAttorney11
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by AZAttorney11 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:53 pm

Bustoff wrote:
AWH_CPA wrote:
Bustoff wrote:Great comments!


I'm curious how others decided whether to join a golf club in North Scottsdale like "AWH_CPA" mentioned above, versus living in an over-55-community like Sun City.
Just to be clear. If you are looking at the North Scottsdale private clubs, expect to pay high six figures for the house, another 30-80k for the membership. Now that I think about it, it takes a lot of $200 rounds of golf to get you to the added costs of the private club.

If you are rolling in the dough then go North Scottsdale private club. If you have dough but not a lot but still like the idea of a club atmosphere then think the Moon Valley area. (7th street and Thunderbird if you want to zillow homes in the area) or simply buy wherever in North Phx/Scottsdale and pay the $ for the rounds as you go.

The over 55 community is better described in my opinion as the over 80 community. Complete with golf carts on streets and dinner waits starting at 430 pm.
Thanks for clearing that up. High six figures for a house is not an option for us. I don't know if this is realistic but I was hoping we could find a place somewhere between $250-$350. In 2011, friends of ours bought a house for $265,000 adjacent to Troon North at Alma School Pkwy and Dynamite Blvd.
2011 was at or very near the bottom of the Phoenix area housing market. Your friends are likely up $100,000 or more on that home.

$300,000 to $350,000 can get you a single family, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house (1,600 or so square feet) in certain parts of north Scottsdale. It can buy you a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath (1,900 or so square feet) in Desert Ridge. It can buy something that needs repairs in the Biltmore/Arcadia areas. It can buy something nice in Moon Valley. $300,000 to $350,000 will buy you a mansion in Anthem. $300,000 to $350,000 will buy you a beautiful home in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, or Tempe.
Last edited by AZAttorney11 on Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AZAttorney11
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by AZAttorney11 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:54 pm

BigFoot48 wrote:
Bustoff wrote:I don't know if this is realistic but I was hoping we could find a place somewhere between $250-$350.
You could have a house on a golf course for that in Sun City West.
But then you'd have to live in Sun City West :wink:

Browser
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Browser » Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:11 pm

Sun City area used to be nice -- about 20 years ago. Now it's swallowed up in the metro and there's too much traffic and congestion. You used to be able to do convenient shopping at lots of small close-by grocery stores and you could drive there in your golf cart. Now you can only go to crowded supermarkets and malls. You still can drive there in your golf cart on a 4-lane street and hope you don't get killed. You need a car to go anywhere and do anything. Nothing is within walking distance and it's all spread out all over the geography out there. It's like living in any other overpacked suburban area in the US. Not really my cup o tea, though I do live there in the winters as a legacy thing. If it weren't for the weather in the Valley in the winter, I'd never go there. Phoenix is like the 5th largest metro area in the country. The air quality is horrendous. Don't even think of driving on the freeways during the long rush hours 7:00 - 9:30 am and 3:00 - 7:00 pm. If you want to live in a metro-plex then pick one with more cultural amenities than Phoenix has. It has great winter weather, that's about it IMO.

Oh, then there's the matter of healthcare. When you have thousands of seniors on Medicare packed into the same area, what's your guess about the quality of care? Sun Cities area is probably not a good place to settle for that reason alone. I haven't a clue about how to locate a competent physician out there so keep my finger crossed that I won't need one when I'm out there.
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Bustoff
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Bustoff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:29 pm

Browser wrote:Sun City area used to be nice -- about 20 years ago. Now it's swallowed up in the metro and there's too much traffic and congestion. You used to be able to do convenient shopping at lots of small close-by grocery stores and you could drive there in your golf cart. Now you can only go to crowded supermarkets and malls. You still can drive there in your golf cart on a 4-lane street and hope you don't get killed. You need a car to go anywhere and do anything. Nothing is within walking distance and it's all spread out all over the geography out there. It's like living in any other overpacked suburban area in the US. Not really my cup o tea, though I do live there in the winters as a legacy thing. If it weren't for the weather in the Valley in the winter, I'd never go there. Phoenix is like the 5th largest metro area in the country. The air quality is horrendous. Don't even think of driving on the freeways during the long rush hours 7:00 - 9:30 am and 3:00 - 7:00 pm. If you want to live in a metro-plex then pick one with more cultural amenities than Phoenix has. It has great winter weather, that's about it IMO.

Oh, then there's the matter of healthcare. When you have thousands of seniors on Medicare packed into the same area, what's your guess about the quality of care? Sun Cities area is probably not a good place to settle for that reason alone. I haven't a clue about how to locate a competent physician out there so keep my finger crossed that I won't need one when I'm out there.
Thanks Browser. Where would you choose ?

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by TonyZ » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:34 pm

I moved to the Phoenix area (from Michigan) in 1983 and lived and worked there until I retired in mid 2013. The area has a lot to offer but it's hot, congested, traffic is heavy and has a litany of other undesirable feature. (Did I mention it was hot?) Even though you do acclimate to the weather to some extent, it can be unbearable when you go months with daily highs over 100 and multiple spells of day at 110 to 118 (and yes, it has reached over 120). You don't even want to know about the summer (monsoon) dust storms (they're referred to as "Haboobs".

When we retired in 2013, we sold our home and moved to Green Valley AZ which is about 25 miles south of Tucson; 30 miles or so north of the border. We're about 2000 feet higher in elevation than Phoenix (3000+ at our home). That makes a big difference. We are a higher desert environment, 10 degrees or so cooler than Phoenix, get a little more rain than Phoenix, air is much cleaner and traffic is non-existent. It also tends to cool down after sunset much moreso than Phoenix, Those things being said it may not be for everyone, Green Valley is a non-incorporated retirement community with a population of 30,000 or so, many of which are only part year residents. Property prices are significantly less than Phoenix but no big city amenities (we do miss the restaurant options that Phoenix offered). Tucson (pop approx. 500,000) is an easy drive and provides bigger city activities/amenities that are easy to access.

The majority of homes are in HOAs, deed/age restricted and also require membership in Green Valley Recreation, a non-profit corporation. This means an initial buy-in fee of approx. $2500 plus annual dues of less than $500 per year. For this you get access to 13 recreation centers. All have pools, six of the major centers have very good workout facilities, Additionally there are numerous activities to participate in at little or minimal cost. If you get bored here, it's your own fault. There are also six or so golf courses nearby with more in Tucson. Hiking in the Santa Rita Mts. is great and southern Arizona as a whole (with numerous other mtn. ranges) has great outdoor options available.

However, As I said, Green Valley is a retirement community and that life style may not appeal to everyone. I'm 63, pretty active and enjoy it greatly. We have not regretted the move.

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Glenn » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:48 pm

I've lived in the Phoenix area for 36 years and find it amusing when people merely say "summer is hot".

>Summer is unbelievably hot. Roasting. Unrelenting. You step out of the house in the morning and the heat slams into you as a physical force. Then the sun comes up.

>Summer lasts five months. June through October.

The good news, I agree, is that the mountains provide escape. Above 7,000', summer is delightful...especially the monsoon. The ideal, if you can afford it, is two homes - one in the desert and one in the high country.

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by heyyou » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:51 pm

One way to buffer the heat in desert climates is to live at slightly higher elevations. Payson AZ may work if you can get by on two or three golf courses, Chaparral Pines (private with public access), maybe Rim Club (private), and the municipal one. At 4800' elevation, the summer heat is moderate and the winters are still sunny with mid-20 degree nights and daily highs in the low 50s. That 30 degree daily temperature range from low to high is common for deserts.

The hiking is excellent due to the surrounding national forest and considerable topography. Twenty miles either direction from town, is 2000 feet different elevation. Go higher in the summer to the tall pine forest and the little lakes, and lower in the winter to the desert and Roosevelt and Apache Lakes. Risks include forest fires and small town dining and shopping (one Home Depot, one WalMart), so you drive the hour and half to the the city occasionally.

Consider looking at planned communities (with golf courses) that are on the distant edges of the cities, near the national forest boundaries. Fountain Hills, Anthem, Gold Canyon, and Green Valley are examples. Sierra Vista is another town with middle elevation that is at the base of a tall mountain. Page Arizona is distant from big airports, but does have amazing hiking and boating opportunities.

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by fishnskiguy » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:28 pm

Hey Bustoff,

We feel your pain.

We loved our 22 years in the mountains of Colorado. Unfortunately my wife developed a sever allergy to grasses and our home on a golf course didn't help one bit. She also has mild scleroderma which really affects blood circulation in her hands during cold weather. So after much thought, we two former ski instructors at age 70 and 67 have moved to Sedona AZ.

It is just about the perfect compromise. Housing ain't cheap but that's the only hurdle. Everything else isn't too bad, cost wise. At 4500 ft. elevation it's 15-20 degrees cooler than Phoenix. Very importantly, when it gets to be 100 F in Sedona (not common but not rare either) we can run up the hill to Flagstaff in thirty minutes and be at 80 F at 7000 feet and spend the day in comfort.

As a couple who came to the conclusion that a summer place and a winter place was just not us, Sedona was just about perfect for us. Check it out.

If you like golfing, you will love Sedona.

Chris
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:40 pm

Glenn wrote:>Summer is unbelievably hot. Roasting. Unrelenting. You step out of the house in the morning and the heat slams into you as a physical force. Then the sun comes up.

>Summer lasts five months. June through October.
I lived in AZ for 14 years. I agree with the above but would include May as a very hot month as well. I strongly recommend setting up camp there for a short while during the hottest part of summer to see if you can handle it. The heat is so extreme that it can't be described. You must experience it to see if it truly is something you could deal with.

By the way, Tucson is a bit cooler and a nice town. However, you'd be further away from Northern Arizona and many parts of California compared to the Phoenix area.

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by jlawrence01 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:42 pm

etf wrote:I spent some time living in Tucson and can say that it sounds like it would be the perfect fit for you. Weather is miserable May-August, but the rest of the year is really nice. Lots of golf (or proximity to it).

I live in Tucson year-round. May and June are unpleasant BUT they are 5-10 degrees cooler than Phoenix. July and August are fairly pleasant with the monsoon rains in the evening often pulling temperatures into the 70s most evenings. During the "wet" summer, we generally run out air condition from 10 am - 4 pm when the rain begins.

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by jlawrence01 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:07 am

Bustoff wrote:We have been searching for retirement locations. We currently live in the Midwest where both summers and winters are pretty unpleasant. Southern California was our ideal first choice, but the cost of homes there made it unrealistic.

Problem is we've never spent any time in AZ other than driving through on a road trip or a layover at Sky Harbor.
I would really appreciate your thoughts and advice on retirement in or around the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.

Did you sell your house first and then rent?
We would rent until we were familiar with the area, but where???
If we want to leave AZ for the summers, would you recommend a home or condo in retirement communities where golf is included or something else?

I relocated from the Chicago Suburbs to Green Valley, AZ in the past year. We wanted to get away from the cold winters, the high taxes and COL in Chicago, and the congestion. Our initial thought was to move to E. Kentucky or E. Tennessee, but could NOT find a community that would meet our needs. A good number of my neighbors have relocated from the Midwest.

We looked at Phoenix/Scottsdale but passed. There were three reasons. The congestion around Phoenix reminds me of all the traffic in the Chicago area. The cost of living is pretty high. Also, the Phoenix area is very hot, often 5-10 degrees higher. That does not seem like much, but it turns unpleasant into unbearable.

We rented a place in January and February 2014 in Green Valley. We looked around the area and really liked it. Our area has 14 swimming pools and twelve fitness centers with a large number of clubs to join. There are lectures available weekly, a number of movies and the like that are free. In other words, there is a ton to do besides the seven gold courses and the like. Except for the winter months, there is no traffic in the area. In the area, there are a lot of good hiking trails.

Housing ranges from $55-900k depending on the size of property and what you are looking for.

In March, we purchased a condo. In April, we placed our IL condo for sale and it sold in six weeks. We moved our household goods in July.

There are rentals available in any community at any time of the year. Obviously, the rentals are cheaper off-season as many snowbirds return home.

I live in a community where you pay $2500 at closing for a permanent membership to Green Valley Recreation and $450 per year. That covers everything BUT golf. I would not buy into a community with golf included as I do not golf. In my opinion, I do NOT want to pay for a golf course that I will never use. Also, while you will golf a lot in your 50s, will you be that anxious to be doing it 20 years from now? Hopefully yes, but who knows?

In this area, if you are a couch potato, it I your own making. I have yet to hook up cable as I am rarely home.

You did not mention whether you have children. That usually is the factor as to whether Midwesterners move to Arizona. Most full time residents here have older children or no children. Some neighbors spend October-may in AZ and own a cottage up north. Others are 2-5 month snowbirds as they do not want to be away from the grandchildren. On the other hand, if you are living in AZ, you will find that some of the children do eventually migrate to Phoenix.

I would STRONGLY recommend that you come down and make a month-long visit to the communities that you are interested in. Remember, it will cost Yu between $8-15k to move your household down to AZ, on average so that you do NOT make a mistake.
Last edited by jlawrence01 on Sat May 26, 2018 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Browser » Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:23 am

You might try this website to see what comes up. Administers a questionnaire and gives you the top 20 retirement spots that fit your tastes. However, I'm not sure how highly I can recommend it - I just took it again and it came up with Phoenix and Tucson as my top 2 picks. I specified a mid-sized town as my preference so don't know why Phoenix showed up. However, their algorithm must do some tradeoffs. When I took it before, Payson Arizona was my top pick. I probably specified a small town as my preference that time.

http://www.findyourspot.com/
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Browser » Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:44 am

I second Green Valley. Seemed quite nice when I drove down from Sun City to scope it out back around 2006 in the height of the real estate bubble. It's small, mostly a retirement haven, about 50 miles or so south of Tucson. At that time they were building out a big Robson retirement community and some folks prefer that lifestyle with the golf course and social opportunities. I'd probably pass on that because they have a tendency to be nicer when they're new and then get overbuilt and too congested for me. Even though Green Valley was nice, it somehow seemed a bit remote to me even though pretty close to Tucson. I haven't spent much time in Tucson but one good thing about being near it is that the U. of Arizona with it's medical school is located there. I'm becoming more of a bug on having access to good medical care as I age and being close to a major University hospital and medical school is a plus for me. Besides, maybe you'll bump into Dr. Andrew Weil down there!
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by mlebuf » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:05 am

Hi Bustoff,

We bought a house in Paradise Valley in February 1996, moved here, are still in the same house and love the area. We came out here in early September 1995, looked at houses, decided this was where we wanted to live and later bought a house. No regrets whatsoever.

Climate: I tell people that Phoenix has two seasons: spring and hell. Actually, how bad summers are depends on your perspective. I moved here from New Orleans and find the summers to be no big deal. Yes, it's hot but you don't sweat like you do in the South or Midwest where the humidity is much higher. In AZ you go from an air-conditioned house, to an air-conditioned car, mall, restaurant, theater, etc. during the summer. As long as you are inside, you feel cool, dry and crisp. Summers in AZ don't drain my energy as they did in the humid South. Believe it or not, we are friends with a couple who live in Shreveport, LA that come out here to spend the summers. Being that we don't want to live in a climate with snow and ice, the trade-off of hot summers for mild, sunny winters is fine with us. It's nice to be able to wear shorts from the middle of March until the middle of November. For those who like cooler summers, it's common for them to leave Phoenix around Memorial Day and return around Columbus Day.

If golfing is your passion you'll find no shortage of courses here. That's the good news. The bad news is that you probably won't enjoy golf in the summers unless you want a 5:30 a.m. tee time. You probably don't want to be on a golf course after about 8:30 because that summer sun can be brutal and shade on golf courses is almost nonexistent. Wear a straw hat and use sunscreen if you plan to spend lots of time outdoors at any time of the year. Arizona leads the nation in skin cancer rates. We have about 315 days of sunshine and only 6-8 inches of rain per year. Despite that, we have no water shortages or water rationing as you see in some other parts of the country.

For those who like winter sports or cool summers, Flagstaff is a 2-hour drive up I-17. As others have recommended I suggest you look in the NE part of the Valley. You may want to come out here during the summer and spend a week or two to see how the weather suits you. Hotel rates are very cheap at that time of the year. If you like it when it's hot, you'll love it the rest of the year. One of the nice things about this area is that it's pretty much immune from natural disasters such as hurricanes, blizzards, earthquakes and tornadoes. We have the Monsoon in the latter part of summer where we get thunderstorms with some flooding and an occasional dust storm. Compared with the storms, floods, etc. that I witnessed in the South, it's a walk in the park.

Metro-Phoenix has over 4.3 million people and people continue moving here in large numbers. Cost of living is moderate, the political climate tends to be conservative and you'll find plenty of Midwestern transplants here. Commuter traffic can be bad but being retired, that should not be a problem for you While no place is utopia, the only real negative for most people is the summer heat. Other than that, we find it to be a great place to live.
Best wishes, | Michael | | Invest your time actively and your money passively.

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by CFM300 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:24 am

Why not slide a little further east to Albuquerque, NM?

Much better weather than Phoenix. Equally affordable housing. A small fraction of the traffic.

You still have to shovel a lot of sunshine, though. :beer

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Bustoff
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Bustoff » Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:59 am

BigFoot48 wrote:We've lived in Scottsdale (11 years), Tucson (13 years) and rural SE Arizona east of Benson (4 years - much too rural!) and visit Sun City West frequently, and like Tucson the best now (although Scottsdale in the 1980's was wonderful). The Sun Cities have some nice houses and lots of retail and services in the area, and a whole lot of golf.
BigFoot48 - thanks for sharing. In your opinion, comparing Scottsdale and Tucson, which town has the better mountain views?
Also, can you explain why you prefer Tucson over Scottsdale?

P.S. ....... and thank you for all your contributions to this forum.

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Bustoff » Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:43 am

fishnskiguy wrote:Hey Bustoff,

We feel your pain.

We loved our 22 years in the mountains of Colorado. Unfortunately my wife developed a sever allergy to grasses and our home on a golf course didn't help one bit. She also has mild scleroderma which really affects blood circulation in her hands during cold weather. So after much thought, we two former ski instructors at age 70 and 67 have moved to Sedona AZ.

It is just about the perfect compromise. Housing ain't cheap but that's the only hurdle. Everything else isn't too bad, cost wise. At 4500 ft. elevation it's 15-20 degrees cooler than Phoenix. Very importantly, when it gets to be 100 F in Sedona (not common but not rare either) we can run up the hill to Flagstaff in thirty minutes and be at 80 F at 7000 feet and spend the day in comfort.

As a couple who came to the conclusion that a summer place and a winter place was just not us, Sedona was just about perfect for us. Check it out.

If you like golfing, you will love Sedona.

Chris
Thanks Chris! Congratulations on finding your sweet spot. Sounds wonderful! We had friends that moved back to Phoenix in 2011 and
they always said they would move to Sedona in a heartbeat if they could afford the housing. I'm afraid to look!

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BigFoot48
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by BigFoot48 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:55 am

Bustoff wrote:BigFoot48 - thanks for sharing. In your opinion, comparing Scottsdale and Tucson, which town has the better mountain views?
Also, can you explain why you prefer Tucson over Scottsdale?
There's no doubt that Scottsdale is one of the great cities to live in, but it's become expensive to own a home there in recent years. My previous two houses there per Zillow were valued at $500k and $700k last year and there are much nicer homes in the foothills area of Tucson (actually in Pima county) that can be bought for that much. So home values are better in Tucson, but it's not "Scottsdale", and frankly neighborhood and feeder roads are not in good repair in parts of Tucson and Pima county (we ride bikes and tend to notice this).

I liked Scottsdale when we lived there but since leaving Phoenix has boomed and its much more crowded place now. Most of Scottsdale north of the canal was open desert when we were there and now it's full of homes and development. I prefer the medium size town Tucson is, with a large university, great medical facilities (why we no longer live in rural AZ), and all the expected retail and restaurants. Downtown Tucson is kind of a sad place though, but they keep trying to revive it and now a fancy trolley runs 4 miles from the UofA to downtown.

It would be hard to wrong with either place if you can find a neighborhood you like. (We almost bought a house up in Cave Creek which has probably exploded since then.) And isn't it interesting that one can get a view of most any place now via Google - makes getting to know an area a little easier!

One thing I noticed after living in Tucson for a few years and then going back to Scottsdale was how green Tucson is compared to Phoenix. When I look out from a hill here I see a lot of green trees and vegetation. Up there I'm more likely to see just houses. You can get some mountain views in Scottsdale but I believe they are easier and cheaper to get in Tucson as it's surrounded by mountain ranges. Here's ours on one of the occasional snow days (rarely get snow at our house):

Image
Last edited by BigFoot48 on Sat May 26, 2018 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bustoff
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Bustoff » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:45 am

mlebuf wrote: Climate: I tell people that Phoenix has two seasons: spring and hell. Actually, how bad summers are depends on your perspective. I moved here from New Orleans and find the summers to be no big deal. Yes, it's hot but you don't sweat like you do in the South or Midwest where the humidity is much higher. In AZ you go from an air-conditioned house, to an air-conditioned car, mall, restaurant, theater, etc. during the summer. As long as you are inside, you feel cool, dry and crisp. Summers in AZ don't drain my energy as they did in the humid South. Believe it or not, we are friends with a couple who live in Shreveport, LA that come out here to spend the summers. Being that we don't want to live in a climate with snow and ice, the trade-off of hot summers for mild, sunny winters is fine with us. It's nice to be able to wear shorts from the middle of March until the middle of November. For those who like cooler summers, it's common for them to leave Phoenix around Memorial Day and return around Columbus Day.
My wife reminded me she was in Tempe on a business trip several years ago during the summer. She claimed to have seen a line of people all standing in a sliver of shade being cast by lamp post.
I'm hoping that suffering through years of unbearable heat and humidity during Missouri summers will help us in adjusting to AZ summers.

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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by BigFoot48 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:58 am

I much prefer AZ heat to FL humidity. I once flew out of Sky Harbor and shortly later they closed the airport because is was 122F and their charts that dictated takeoff settings (IIRC) didn't go that high. Later that day one of our home AC units failed and my wife was not too happy. Tucson is about 10F cooler due to higher elevation most of the year and there's a noticeable difference between 100F and 110F. (Although I do love my remote start car in the summer!)
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Bustoff
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Re: Retirement in Arizona - Seeking Advice

Post by Bustoff » Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:01 am

BigFoot48 wrote: Image
Okay BigFoot, that's not fair!
Spectacular view!

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