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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.

Thanks

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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

Hi,

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.

http://www.ade.state.az.us/schools/schools/districts.asp

Good Luck!
Kimberly ###-###-####
or ____@____.com

More Answers

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!
A.

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
###-###-####
____@____.com

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.

Hi,
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.
M.

I'd say you are on the right track, Gilbert and Chandler are very nice family friendly towns. Power Ranch does seem to have what you are looking for; now that the 202 is up and working it is easily connected to many areas. It is also very family friendly. It is very hot here in the summer, even though you are used to humidity, the heat of the summer is like walking into an oven.

The school system in Az is rated at #48 or 49 out of the 50 states. You may want to research the schools you hope to send your kids to before you decide on a location. There are alot of charter schools to choose from.
Good luck as you make your decisions1
C. Willis
Protecting families from toxins in their home.
www.LiveTotalWellness.com/Arizona

Hi M. T,
I am familiar with these areas. Power Ranch is a newer neighborhood with all tou are looking for. New developments with a ranches scattered surrounding. An older but GREAT community *with their own school is called "The Islands". Man made "ponds" you folks would call them= =D that sit the houses on the banks of these. Red Mountain area is another good community.
May I suggest:
You can Google Map these and any area to get a feel for the surroundings.
azcentral.com can give you the crime reports for any zip code or area. Now every neighborhood has their reports so do not be alarmed. LOL You would be surprised.
My sons dad and that entire side are from Chicagoland and he is their weather man here. LOL

Hi M. T,
My husband is from Chicago and moved to Tempe in 92. He is currently a realtor with Coldwell Banker. He would be happy to send you any info on any area you are interested. We currently live in the Warner Ranch Estate in Tempe, that is in walking distance to Mariposa elementry school and Cororna de Sol High School which are in the Kyrene school district. It was one of the reason we moved to Warner Ranch. I absolute love the neighborhood and town, I belong to several great moms groups in Tempe. Good luck. Send me an email if you would like more info. :)
If my husband were writing this he would say "Go Bears!"

I see you have a ton of responses but here is my two cents.

Gilbert is definitely a good area to live in. (Gilbert is in the top ten safest cities in the U.S.) Chandler is nice as well but is a lot older. I noticed that someone mentioned "the Islands" in Gilbert. Yes, that area is beautiful but it is also on the way down. The area hasn't been kept up and the values in that area are going down. That neighborhood has also had its crime rates on the rise (significantly) over the last year.

Power Ranch is a very nice area. They have a beautiful clubhouse and parks for the kiddos. I wouldn't buy near power road/germann road. There is an airport that is growing in that area and all you will hear are planes. Also, there are two apartment complexes in that area that are hot crime spots.

In the area of germann rd/ranch house parkway is a neighborhood called "Agritopia." This community is really well built and one of the few areas that held there value with the recession. There are pools, parks, and a school all within the neighborhood. It is really a neat place. The houses are also well built. They have basements (very rare in Arizona) and also have storage (also very rare in arizona).

I hope that helps!

Goodluck!

We also relocated from IL to AZ 6 1/2 years ago and we live in Chandler. My sister just moved from IL to AZ and lives in Gilbert. Both towns are exactly what you are looking for. The subdivisions are great, so you won't need to narrow it down that much because there's so many great ones to choose from. Concentrate on the home first, then see if the neighborhhood matches what you need. You'll love the weather! We're never going back to IL!

I prefer Gilbert over Chandler, but both are awesome. I grew up in Chandler and live in Gilbert currently with my husband and children. The public parks, pools, and splash pads are better in Chandler, but the schools seem to be better in Gilbert. I hear great things about the Gilbert school system. Eduprize is a charter school nearby that is supposed to be phenomenal. I've heard so many parents gush about that school that I put my son on the waiting list even though he was only 3 years old. Power Ranch is lovely with a gorgeous park/splash pad and pool, but my favorite neighborhood that I've come across in this area is Agritopia (they have a neighborhood pool). The builders really wanted to have a community feel to the neighborhood and it's adorable. You've just got to visit the neighborhood to see how quaint it is. Everyone I've met who lives there has nothing but good things to say about it. I love my neighborhood (Cooley Station) but I still like Agritopia better. Even though I live in Gilbert, where I live it is in the Higley School District boundaries, which I do NOT hear good things about, so make sure it's Gilbert District and not Higley if you move here and plan on sending your kids to the neighborhood school.

If you need a referral for a Realtor, my husband and I just purchased a home with the help of a delightful Realtor named Andy who was great to work with and helped us find a very good deal. His phone number is ###-###-####. Good luck!

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 live in the Power Ranch neighborhood and it is very family friendly. A friend of mine has her children going to Power Ranch Elementary which is in the south part of the development and she has been happy with their progress. There is a brand new elementary being built on the north part of the development (by my house). I can't say enough good about it and it's a lot of fun to live in this area. It is also nice because the new mall has been built and it's not too far from here. It's fun to go to as well.

Hi,

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.

http://www.ade.state.az.us/schools/schools/districts.asp

Good Luck!
Kimberly ###-###-####
or ____@____.com

Our address is Gilbert, but the schools are Chandler. My kids go to a private school, so I can't speak for the schools.....
but I really love our location/neighborhood.
It is called Felty Farms (Gilbert) on Lindsay/Ocotillo roads. It is a nice friendly neighborhood, still being built up. Something to consider.
We are close to shopping and activities, but it has a country feel. I don't know about "trading up" but there are houses from "very affordable" to quite expensive, so I suspect it would be easy to get a bigger house in this neighborhood when you are ready.
Good luck in your search!

The best advise I can give you is to talk to an experienced realtor that knows the Chandler/Gilbert areas. All I can do is recommend a realtor who actually lives in Chandler not far from the area you are looking into. He works alot with families and therefore is quite familiar with family oriented neighborhoods. The best part is that he is a NO- SALES-PRESSURE realtor. Give him a call, you won't regret it. His name is Joseph and works for Independence Realty ###-###-####.

Good luck on whatever you decide to do.

M. T,
Power Ranch is a great neighborhood. They do have a school in the neighborhood but it is part of the Higley School District wich is an undesirable district. They have had some funding issues, teacher issues and lots of parents who live in the Gilbert/Higley area have their children in differenct school districts. Even if you have a Gilbert address your child may not be able to attend a Gilbert School. Gilbert Schools and Chandler Schools are great! I live in Gilbert and send my son to a Chandler School that is in Gilbert called Chandler Traditional Acadamy. Pretty much any place you choose to live in Chandler or Gilbert will have some great neighborhoods. Just check out the schools and if you don't care for the school in your district try another district. Just be sure to get on the list early. Good luck!

The "east valley" is where you want to go...and that's where you have been sent. The east valley includes the cities of Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, & Mesa. Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa are very family-friendly areas. And depending on where your husband's job is in Chandler, if you were to move to any of the other cities, it shouldn't be more than a 20 minute drive to get to his work if you were to move to another city.
That's the most advice I can give you at this point. You should have a relaitor help you when you get ready to move. Houses are very cheap right now so the timing couldn't be better as long as you both have jobs already.

Gilbert is an amazing city for families. Chandler is too but the prices there are a little higher. Gilbert is a new city - up and coming I mean - I think it just start really getting popular within the last 3 years. I was going to move the Power Ranch area but I have had a couple of people telling me that the houses are nice but are getting way too crowded. A MUST: 1) www.greatschools.net 2) Find out where hubby will work exactly b4 buying a house. I work in Scottsdale and it's 40 miles north of here (ugh!). We moved here from NY 6 months ago and love Gilbert a lot!

Hi T,
We moved to Gilbert from Newport Beach California six years ago and LOVE the area. We have lived next door to Power Ranch and in Towne Meadows Elementary/Highland Junior and Highland High school area. My fiancee has a child that goes school in chandler and from "our experience" Gilbert school district rates higher and we are in favor of Gilbert over Chandler by far. I have a child that is in advanced learning classes and one that tends to struggle a little from time to time and Gilbert schools are supportive in every situation. We were petrified to move from Newport Beach because every school was a blue ribbon school and it is hard to find a blue ribbon school in Arizona. With that being said, after a time of adjustment (a year or so) we came to love the schools. I am not Mormon (Baptist) and my children and I have not found it uncomfortable to live in Gilbert in any way. Power Ranch is a beautiful community with loads of family involvement. I really think YOU are on the right track. Good luck and if you need anything mailed to you or need someone to get information for you I would be gled to help. Have a great day:o)

Hi, My name is D. and I have lived in the Chandler area for about 38 1/2 years. I also am a Realtor. I have been in Real Estate just over 9 years, I am very familiar with the areas you are asking about. I would like to be of assistance to you and your family, in choosing a home here in Arizona. I do rentals and resale or new homes, so if you would like to contact me I can provide you with information so that you can start to get a feel of the areas.

Thank you
D. Dolezal
Prudential Arizona Properties
www.race4home.com
____@____.com
###-###-####

Hi, I am originally from IL also! I moved when I was 10 years old to CA, then 4 years ago, here to AZ. There are a lot of families and kids all over the East Valley. It is a great place to raise children because there are a lot of activiites.....Recreational leagues for soccer and every sport, many different types of schools (Kyrene district is the best and then Gilbert Unified is 2nd). I would choose Chandler or Ahwatukee (south Phoenix) over Gilbert. I wish we could get out of Gilbert, but the economy won't allow it right now. It is beautiful with new houses, new malls manicured landscapes. There is a prominent religion here in AZ and mostly in Mesa and Gilbert and that is the Mormon religion. I am not agaist religion, but it has been difficult for myself and my children. They are clickesh and most do not socialize with the neighborhood or children who are not Mormon. They will play with your children at school, but the Moms will not schedule playdates if you are not Mormon and my children have been hurt because of this. My son has a best friend that is Mormon for 4 years, and now that they are 8 years old, they are slowly severing off the friendship because when boys are 8 in this religion, they are encouraged to hang out with other Mormon boys (they get baptized)...the M. is a friend of mine, but I have asked and asked to do things with her, but she always declines and then I find out how many things she has done with her Mormon friends. They are also very unfriendly to others. If I would have known Gilbert was like this when we were looking for a home, I would have never bought this home that I love. We are open minded people and don't discriminate friendships by ethnicity or religion, or it is difficult and there is a HIGH population of this religion out here.
If you have any other questions, feel free to call or email.
K.

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