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Move from IL to AZ - Advice on Area, Neighborhoods, Schools...

My husband and I have strongly discussed moving away from the Chicagoland area. We are considering AZ because of my husband's job has a possibility to transfer there. The job would be located in Chandler. We have never been to AZ and plan to visit a few times before we would make this important decision but I have some questions to help me get started on researching this area.

I have been pointed in the direction of the Chandler and Gilbert area. We currently live in a very family friendly suburban area near Chicago. We really want to be in an area that focuses on families and where families are very involved in their children's activities and school.

We want to be in a neighborhood that would allow us to trade-up. My husband's income should increase by quite a bit over the next 5 years and we want the option of purchasing a home and then trading up a few years later without switching schools. Can anyone suggest an area for me to start focusing on? I have come across Power Ranch, any thoughts on this area?

We have a 10 year old daughter that is very involved in soccer and just about every school activity. We have a 1 year old son and are planning to have at least one more child in the next couple years. We want to live in a neighborhood with lots of kids around.


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There are several neighborhoods that are as you describe, but Power Ranch is kind of a drive from Chandler... and it is in Higley school district for High School - which doesn't have as good a reputation as the Gilbert school district. My brother lives there and loves the community, but not the High School. I am unfamiliar with the specific neighborhoods you need to look at, but wanted to warn you about Power Ranch. You shouldn't have any trouble finding what you want. This time of year, though, we also have bad weather. The "winters" from November through March are wonderful, though!

I lived in Gilbert....very family friendly. The last thing I read was about you not liking the weather. ARIZONA IS MISERABLY HOT from end of April into October. If you don't think 115 is bad than you will be OK. You eventually learn to adapt...early morning outings/activities...good luck


I moved her from the South side of Chicago, Palos area. I have lived in Chandler for 5 years & love it! Gilbert is great! I think you should look for homes in the Kyrene School District. You will be VERY happy! That would mean to live in Chandler, Tempe & part of Ahwatukee. These areas are comparable to Orland Park/Palos area. Ahwatukee is a bit more expensive. I have lived there also. Call or email me & I can help you. By the way I have been a Realtor here for the past 8 years & go back home @ least 1x/yr.


Good Luck!
Kimberly ###-###-####
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Hi T
As everyone else has said Chandler and Gilbert are the best places to live. The school rankings (48 out 50 ) are a bit misleading. Since they encompass the entire state and the testing does not take into account the language difficulties in some areas. So I would not let that worry you. Anyway if you are interested in trading up I know someone who works for a Amberwood Home Builders and could answer your questions I know they have a program for that but I don't know the details. If you would like her information send me a message. We live in Gilbert in a neighborhood called Shamrock Estates and the school in the subdivision is Chandler tradtional Academy. It is a charter school and there is a waiting list most years to get in if you do not live here. I think someone else already mentioned it. the only school that I know of that you do not want is Ben Frankilin, that is if you are not mormon. It is technically not a mormon school but it may as well be. There is a large population of mormon followers here and they do stick to themselves. They are so involved in the church/temple that they really do not have time to socialize with "outsiders". OKay I think that is all I have to add. Let me know if you want my friends info for the trade up program.
Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, most would say the Southeast valley is the most family friendly. I am a native to Phoenix (central area,) but moved to Chandler in 2006.

It sounds to me like you need to start your search with schooling. Once you've found the schools you are most comfortable with, then start feeling out the neighborhoods within that district. I suggest this because the Southeast valley is so large, that at least this would help you narrow things down a bit. Check out: http://www10.ade.az.gov/ReportCard/Default.aspx

I am a Realtor and would love to show you homes when you visit and earn your business! I'm with DPR Realty www.dprrealty.com. I was previously a 5th grade school teacher, but left teaching in 2005 and have been doing residential real estate since.

Let me know if I can help.

Hi There,
As a native Arizonan (a rare breed!), I sure hope that if you decide to move to AZ, you will grow to love it here as I do. Sure, the summers are hot and will take some getting used to, but nothing totally unbearable. I grew up in Gilbert but live in Mesa now only because we can't afford to live in Gilbert. Still, I love Mesa too and there are many nice areas that are very family-oriented with great schools (such as north Mesa).

With that said, as a Mormon, I just felt I needed to set the record straight. I don't know all of these situations, and I do know that there are Mormons who come across as cliquish, just as there are some of every kind of people who come across that way. It bothers me so much that there are people in my religion who act that way, though, because it is not what our church teaches or believes in at ALL! I think it's just human nature to surround yourself with people who you have a lot in common with. The whole "birds of a feather..." concept. We don't mean to exclude or hurt anyone; it's just hard sometimes to get out of our comfort zone. I want you to know that if you were my new neighbor, Mormon or not, I would be one of the first ones at your door, bringing you cookies and setting up play dates with your kids! :)

You should also find comfort in the fact that to us, Christian family values are HUGE. We believe in abstinence before marriage, no drinking or smoking (ever), using clean language, modesty in dress (but don't wear dresses all the time (: ), and love to have good, clean fun! And no, not all Mormons follow these principles perfectly, but we try our hardest, and we believe in Christ as our Savior so we repent and keep trying when we mess up. So if you are in an area where there are lots of us, rest assured that those are the kinds of kids your kids will grow up with. Is that such a bad thing?

A lot of people in your part of the country may not know a lot about Mormons and there is a LOT of misinformation out there. If you want to know what we're all about, you can go to www.mormon.org

Sorry for the rant; I just didn't want you to get scared off by Mormons before you even meet one. Best of luck to you and your family in whatever you choose!

Hi-my name is S. Atkinson and I have lived here my whole life, I think Power Ranch is really nice, along with a place called McCormick Ranch (in Scottsdale) and a place in Gilbert called the Islands. If you want any info on these places, let me know I am in the mortgage business and work with a bunch of really informative agents if you are interested. They can always put you on a search, free of any obligation if you want. Take care, good luck in your potential new residence!

S. Atkinson
Peoples Mortgage

There are several neighborhoods that are as you describe, but Power Ranch is kind of a drive from Chandler... and it is in Higley school district for High School - which doesn't have as good a reputation as the Gilbert school district. My brother lives there and loves the community, but not the High School. I am unfamiliar with the specific neighborhoods you need to look at, but wanted to warn you about Power Ranch. You shouldn't have any trouble finding what you want. This time of year, though, we also have bad weather. The "winters" from November through March are wonderful, though!

Momma T,

I have not read all the responses that you have received, but I myself live in Power Ranch. We have a 10 year-old and 3 year-old. The neighborhood is very family friendly, and the association offers a ton of stuff to do. Our “sub” community is very close and we know all of our neighbors.

If you want your child to go to a school close to where you live make sure you look into the two different phases. The school in the neighborhood is good and it is a k-8 which means at some point your children will go to the same school. If you have questions let me know.

We also lived in Chandler the Ocotillo area and loved it. We increased our house size five years ago. What a great time to buy in our area.

Choose something near your husband's job. People in Arizona can't drive and freeways are totally inadequate (not nearly enough of them) a long commute makes your life much less enjoyable. If your husband is likely to work near the Chandler/Gilbert area it's a great area for families. Gilbert is really family oriented with lots of activities for families, lots of great schools and lots of kids. If you decide you want to live in Gilbert or Chandler and your husband is going to work in Phoenix you want to find something near a freeway - (near is 2-3 miles).

Downtown Phoenix is a dump, Urban living here is a scam - north Phoenix (85022 or 85032) is great for commuting and there are some very nice areas next to some less expensive areas up there. Tempe would be a good choice too with lots of parks and lots of activities but most importantly a short commute to Downtown Phoenix (you don't want to be too close to the University though)

If he works in Phoenix, Power Ranch would be an especially bad choice with an hour plus of commute each way and the nearest freeway about 8 miles away - Power Road is terrible morning and evening. It's only one lane part of the way and the road construction in that area is never ending, they like to close all of the roads so you have to scramble for a path home along with everybody else, sometimes we spent hours trying to get from the freeway to our house (6 miles) - it's ridiculous. It's also irriatitng to drive past miles of corn fields and vacant land to get to your postage stamp sized lot in a suburb of the suburbs. You get used to it but we recently moved OUT of that area and we can't believe we were used to that! On the other hand if he works in Queen Creek (Power Ranch is in Queen Creek) and you rarely have to leave, it's a less expensive area, Queen Creek is very family friendly and it's a slower area more rural, country, the choice of schools is limited compared with Gilbert, Chandler, Phoenix and Tempe. I chose a school that was 15 miles from my house (Southern & Val Vista) when I lived out there and a friend of mine who just moved in to Power Ranch chose a different school about the same distance away from her house on Gilbert & Guadalupe (that's only about 3 miles from my kids' school). If you want school choice NORTH GILBERT is where you want to be (Between Baseline and Ray and between Higley and Country Club). Oh, and beware of people telling you all the new stuff being built by Power Ranch, the new mall is north of there 6 or 8 miles in Gilbert and a lot of businesses are closing because of the bad economy so some of the services that just came to the area will go away. For example we had pizza delivery for 2 years then lost it again.

We're near Val Vista & Guadalupe (Gilbert) now and we LOVE it, there are close stores, parks, a really nice rec center, a whole host of public, private and charter schools, shopping, a close post office, the US 60 is right up the road and in a pinch the 202 Red Mountain is a good route into Phoenix as well.

As far as trading up goes, Mesa seems to be cheaper than Gilbert and is right next door. Although there is a good mix of less expensive and more expensive houses in Gilbert. Take a look at the 85234 zip code.

The weather is great here, it's hot for about 4 months out of the year but you don't have to scrape that off of your car before you can drive somewhere. The winters are beautiful, snow is a couple hours away in the winter if you ever miss it. It's best to rent at first so you can see what you like, rental houses are easy to find right now. People here move a lot so you can find a house to buy in the area you like relatively easily.

I have lived in Az for 16 years now. I LOVE it. We moved here from CA. I think Gilbert is a great area. I dont live in Gilbert just because we coudlnt afford a house there. We live in Queen Creek. I work for Gilbert Public schools and wouldnt put my kids in any other school district. As far as power ranch I think its a different school disctrict but a great neighborhood. I do recomend coming here in the summer...like say July. It gets pretty darn hot. Of course you would love the winters..my kids dont need to wear anything more than a hoodie! Good luck! If you need a real estate agent..we know a great one for those areas.

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