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Phoenix AZ / desert home questions
Old 09-08-2009, 11:34 AM   #1
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Phoenix AZ / desert home questions

The gal & i are going down to see her Mom in 29 Palms Ca - plan is to take care of business for a few days, then rent a car and head over to the Phoenix area to scope out potential snowbird housing. We are small town people, but want to be within an hour or so of a major airport and comparable distance from major hospitals. Be good to have a Costco within easy range. Air quality is of some import, as is a dark night sky. In looking at the Phoenix area I see that the Estrella mountain area may block city lights (and smog) for places south and west of them. Ditto for places to the West of the White Tank mountains. Also interested in having mountains on the horizon to give some visual interest.

Your impressions on air quality, dark night sky and viual interest for those areas?

Have also looked at the East side of Phoenix, the Apache Junction / Gold Camp /Gold Creek areas. Spendier, seem like better mountain views, maybe safer? On the down side, it looks like all of Phoenix would be lighting up the sky at night. Superior Az looks like real pretty terrain and probably out of the smog (?), but over an hour to a Costco or Trader Joe's.

Suggestions and impressions are most welcome. Not golfers, Tucson or Sedona are much prettier to us, but I think Tucson is going to be getting too hot in the future and Sedona is too remote and $$$. Taxes are of some interest - we will also be glancing at Laughlin Nevada as we pass through - that would be much easier for the gal for caring for her Mom and dealing with the estate at some future point.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:40 AM   #2
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85207- the best-kept secret in the Phoenix metro area.
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:02 PM   #3
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Lived in Tucson and preferred it to Phoenix. Might want to keep it on your radar screen for a future trip. Tucson is big but not like Phoenix. It's hot but a little cooler. It's cost of living is average. It's scenic, down to earth, and has a big airport. Kind of laid back and the foothill neighborhoods are beautiful.
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
Taxes are of some interest - we will also be glancing at Laughlin Nevada as we pass through - that would be much easier for the gal for caring for her Mom and dealing with the estate at some future point.
Please report on your expert evalutaion of Laughlin. My brother just came back from there. He wants us to go in together on a condo, get part time jobs in a Sport Book and live la vida dulce tearing apart the football lines. He says that there are a lot of very cheap places around.

Ha
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:37 PM   #5
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Please report on your expert evalutaion of Laughlin. My brother just came back from there. He wants us to go in together on a condo, get part time jobs in a Sport Book and live la vida dulce tearing apart the football lines. He says that there are a lot of very cheap places around.

Ha
I'm pretty negative going in, so bear that in mind on any evaluation I give.

BTW, for other AZ lookers, this is the best search tool I've found thus far - like the way the thumbnails on the places popup as they are moused over. Also no need to decloak to a RE agent.
Advanced Search - Search MLS Listings
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:18 PM   #6
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My boss lives in Wickenburg and loves it. It is 60 miles NW of Phoenix and he does the commute four days a week. However, it is about 60 minutes from the Costco off I-17. Our friends are also looking out west since she is retired military and wants to be near Luke AFB for the benefits. She said there were still a lot of deals out there although there was an article in today's paper that 85 to 90 percent of foreclosed homes have been stripped.
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:44 PM   #7
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Take a look north - north Scottsdale, north Phoenix, maybe Carefree. These areas are higher than downtown and offer good city lights if you get into the foothills. Costco (and everything else) is within 11 minutes of my condo in north scottsdale. Look for something close to Loop 101 for easy access to anywhere in the valley. I've seen smog a few times from far away while hiking in the mountains - it seems like it may hover in the downtown lower area.
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:06 AM   #8
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It's a lot cooler weather since it's at 7,000 feet, but Flagstaff has clear air and night skies. They have an astronomical observatory there as well. We are thinking of moving to Flag after early retirement next summer.
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:41 AM   #9
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We passed through Flagstaff a couple of years ago and loved it. Spent a very nice afternoon just walking around. There were no "attractions" so to speak, and nothing particularly quaint, but the mountain weather and general vibe of the place made it seem like a great place to live.

It got two thumbs up from us. If one of those old downtown buildings had been converted to condos we would probably be living there now.
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Old 09-12-2009, 09:46 AM   #10
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I've often thought Prescott would be a nice place to live.

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Old 09-12-2009, 01:59 PM   #11
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It's a lot cooler weather since it's at 7,000 feet, but Flagstaff has clear air and night skies.

I went through Flagstaff last Tues around 11 am. It was a perfect sunny 75 degrees. The temp rose about 1 degree every 2 minutes as we headed downhill to Sedona
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:51 PM   #12
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I lived in Phoenix for eight years, then two years in San Francisco, and now I've been in Tucson for nineteen years. It's kind of a cowtown, pretty shabby next to relatively glitzy Phoenix, and that's just the way I like it. Four degrees cooler on average, which is actually fairly significant. Not many pretenses, not much traffic. Forty per cent Latino, sixty miles from the border, a pretty friendly small-town feel. When I'm not overseas, it's where I call home.
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Old 09-13-2009, 07:53 AM   #13
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My boss lives in Wickenburg and loves it.
When I saw the first poster's question this was the first thing that popped into my head.

I probably wouldn't consider it if I was still working unless my job was up NW like USAA or Amex but it's definitely a cool little town that feels removed from Phoenix yet close enough to use the airport without planning too much around getting there.

I assume it's a few degrees cooler too. I've got no hard data on that but there is a distinct change in natural vegetation around Wickenburg that is usually indicative of slightly different temperature ranges.

Quote:
I went through Flagstaff last Tues around 11 am. It was a perfect sunny 75 degrees.
My problem with Flag is when they show the weather reports in the winter and the low is 7 degrees up there. Heck even in months that are nice in many places they are already dipping below freezing at night. Isn't it nuts that a place I can drive to in 2 hours from Phoenix can be that much colder?

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Please report on your expert evalutaion of Laughlin.
We were talking with our blackjack dealer in Laughlin a couple weeks ago, she said most who work there live across the river in Bullhead City AZ since it's much cheaper.
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Old 09-13-2009, 08:20 AM   #14
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I don't think I could stand the heat down there, so we have been casually noodling around farther north. Fort Collins looks promising on a number of levels, but I could imagine seeing it get "loved to death" by the time we retire. Have to keep poking around.
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Old 09-13-2009, 08:29 AM   #15
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How about Bisbee? It's a neat little town that's down South in AZ but at about 5000 feet so you don't get the extremes in either direction like Phoenix or Flag.



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Old 09-13-2009, 11:15 AM   #16
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How about Bisbee? It's a neat little town that's down South in AZ but at about 5000 feet so you don't get the extremes in either direction like Phoenix or Flag.




I've considered Bisbee - it seems a bit remote from Tucson and Costco (I use costco as a way of saying major suppliers/home Depot/pretty much anything you want without having to wait a week for the local hardware store to truck it in from the valley - which is the 29 Palms experience)(also i really like Costco). Have never been there, but have wanted to go since finding out about the Shady Dell Welcome to the Shady Dell! and reading trip adviser comments about it - just seems like my kind of place. Great pictures of yours - didn't get that impression from Google earth!
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:42 AM   #17
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Bisbee is really a small town. Really a small town. And remote, as you say.
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiuxiu View Post
When I saw the first poster's question this was the first thing that popped into my head.

I probably wouldn't consider it if I was still working unless my job was up NW like USAA or Amex but it's definitely a cool little town that feels removed from Phoenix yet close enough to use the airport without planning too much around getting there.

I assume it's a few degrees cooler too. I've got no hard data on that but there is a distinct change in natural vegetation around Wickenburg that is usually indicative of slightly different temperature ranges.



My problem with Flag is when they show the weather reports in the winter and the low is 7 degrees up there. Heck even in months that are nice in many places they are already dipping below freezing at night. Isn't it nuts that a place I can drive to in 2 hours from Phoenix can be that much colder?



We were talking with our blackjack dealer in Laughlin a couple weeks ago, she said most who work there live across the river in Bullhead City AZ since it's much cheaper.
Went through Flagstaff in the distant college days one December in a car with a broken out and plastic covered side window. Pretty, yes, but I remember the cold real well - have the same problem trying to sell my honey on Bend Oregon - she remembers Bend winters from her young broke hippie days and has an aversion. Trying to be rational, our main interest in escaping the valley in Oregon in the winter is to get some sunshine - don't really know that being outside is a big factor and we can now afford things like heat and walls that don't let the wind blow through.

I've looked at Wickenberg homes on the net and may drive through there, there's a river, and the desert looks different in a high country kind of way - temperature? dunno. Speaking of which - didn't realize Tucson is cooler than Phoenix! Wish the homes there were fewer mobile homes and patio homes and condos and more houses advertised.

We cruised through La Quinta Ca. (up in the cove) yesterday - saw a real nice 1951 build on the upper edge of the cove right next to public land. A double lot, pool, view, and attractive to us house. $400k offends my sensibilities though - especially for a winter only house, and that 105 and up summer heat is kinda over the top for year round. Most of the other houses were jammed up against their neighbors. Just not that social a guy.
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:09 PM   #19
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Wickenburg area has lots of varied elevation so you see a plenty of neat homes that are perched on hills.

They're currently in the process of rerouting the Phoenix<->Vegas traffic around the outside of town using a couple roundabouts that have everyone all confused, as is usually the case with new roundabouts in America. I'm not sure if that's better without the constant stream of impatient vehicles clogging up the downtown just to pass thru or if it's worse losing some tourist bucks from people stopping to waste money.

Tuscon is definitely cooler than Phoenix, especially at night. I read somewhere that Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is one of the biggest heat islands in the United States, standing out like a big infrared block in the evening.
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:47 PM   #20
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I went through Flagstaff last Tues around 11 am. It was a perfect sunny 75 degrees. The temp rose about 1 degree every 2 minutes as we headed downhill to Sedona
Oh no kidding! That curvy road going to Sedona is pretty dramatic! A good rule of thumb is that it gets about 10 degrees warmer for every 1,000 foot drop in elevation. I'm willing to put up with the cold winter temps in Flagstaff in order to be close to the Grand Canyon and be able to satisfy my backpacking addiction. For a while we actually looked at Page, AZ which is right next to the Glen Canyon Dam on the AZ/UT border. A bit milder than Flagstaff but access to the Canyon is tougher. We have not ruled out Prescott either, even though it's a 40 mile longer drive to the Canyon.
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