Moving Tips: Cross-Country House Hunting Trip

After searching online and driving around with GPS & cell phones, we managed to collectively see 30 properties within the Chandler & Gilbert areas within two days. We created a "Wish List" which we referred to often in our search. And even-though some places had "space", it may have been in the wrong places for our lifestyle. Although I didn't get the fireplace I had hoped for, the area and home we found together - and not online - we actually found while driving around a neighborhood we liked and calling the simple sign we saw out front. WE made an appointment to see the next day, since it we had spotted this towards the end of day one. Here's some (but not all) of the other places we saw while house hunting in Arizona...

Some other kinks we spotted while driving around areas we thought to live in - that you can't see in pictures online: Some charming homes with space & layout we would have liked, were near TRAIN TRACKS. That's a no-no and no-go. One place we drove by, the front door was wide open, so we stopped and said, "Hello!?" and met a really nice property manager who happened to be there taking some pictures, and she let us in. 

On a sad note, some places we spotted... were Foreclosures. THAT was so sad to see. Overgrown, run down, and even a few weathered belongings left behind. When I realized what it was, I went back into the truck... but Jeff ventured off in the back yard where he said the pool was not only green, it had fish in it to help eat mosquitoes... I just wanted to leave. I know it's happening all over the US, but I don't like the thought that someone has had their life so disrupted. There were toys left behind... so that means kids are effected by all this bank none-sense too... 

Then it was time to snap out of it and move on with our search...

 A simple sign we spotted while driving around 
the community we found and liked!

Another place we saw had the key just sitting there on the front porch... so we did what any curious person would do - and then PUT the key BACK into the lock box (wish that Realtor would have done that). One of the signs we spotted, we called and it lead us to a Realtor named  Bill Johannes with Remax. If you're ever house hunting out in Arizona, look him up. On short notice, he was not only friendly, kind and professional, he showed us a sense of urgency by lining up five places to look at, after we selected them from three lists he emailed us to help narrow our search.

This place I had found online, but the layout didn't suit us... But we REALLY liked the charm of the neighborhood, so we kept driving around it...

There didn't feel like enough of a break when coming through the front door. It was like BAM! Ok - you're in, and you're in the kitchen. Plus what looked nice on the outside (symmetry) didn't work for furniture layouts or flow on the inside. The door inside would be better set off to a side...

But we didn't let that get us down... Driving around the same neighborhood, we spotted some more lovelies to see...

The area in Gilbert we're moving to is called The Willows. It has GREEN GRASS (yay!), tree-lined streets, charming curb appeal (yay! a stoop! like in Jersey - which ironically is where the developer headquarters is located!!), exterior finishes different from Florida, upgraded interior finishes (in comparison to some of the 1980's-1990's rentals we saw), a loft / studio space to use as an office with a VIEW (one north and one west of the AZ desert mountains!) - and one large enough for a seating area! Now we won't be as separated as we were here in Florida. I spent a lot of time in the office - Jeff called my hole. 

Still building... that's a good sign!

The new place also has a double car garage, which space wise, will make up the difference for our current attic: holiday decor storage. The three bedrooms downstairs will give our guests (and us) privacy - and I may turn the third space into a giant WIC :). The out-door space is here too. Just a few kinks & quirks to work through and our new place, but it will make a fine starter home for our first year living out west in Arizona. Plus the money we'll save from renting (vs. our current mortgage) will allow us to save for a down payment in a year - and give us time to get more familiar with places to live in Arizona.  I see a lot of potential out here to help people with their homes, especially since they are still building in this community and that's a really GOOD sign! (better than Florida - for sure!)

This place had the same layout as ours, but this one was for sale. We did toy with the idea of trying to buy, but with such a short window (and our short sale happening in Florida), the pluses quickly became minuses. But it had virtually everything on our wish-list - except for a fireplace...

 Updated finishes, open space, garage storage, architectural charm, curb appeal...

But our rental (seen here) has all that too. When we called the sign, we made an appointment and met with another really nice Realtor named Jenny Browne. She showed us this place, and let Jeff back in yesterday for him to make measurements & notes on floor plans I drew up, scanned and emailed to Jeff. From us touring the place  for a second time yesterday, via cell phone communicating, we even found a few more bright spots to like... More pics and details to come.

Dark wood Shaw laminate flooring, great natural northern light, and mountain views from all windows in the third level loft / studio space. LOVE it!

The location is GREAT too: Wonderful (and familiar) shopping & restaurants, thrift (already spotted a GOODWILL!) and close to highway to go north to Phoenix or south to Casa Grande for Jeff's work. We've learned North Tucson is loaded with artist, so that will be great to check out as well. I'll post more pics tomorrow of some of the details of our new place, and some thoughts for some quick updates to make a rental a  h o m e . . . especially for the upcoming holidays!

Goin' WEST my friends... And embracing the change!

I know everyone out in blog land is all up into decorating for Halloween, and getting ready for the holidays with some fabulous DIY projects to do ... so I greatly appreciate you taking the time to stop by, and check out what's happening on our new adventure - moving across the country and goin' WEST!



  1. Welcome to Az. YOu are coming at the perfect time of year and you will really enjoy it here. There are a lot of us bloggers here, so be sure to keep in touch. Hugs, Marty

  2. What gorgeous architecture and homes there! I know you will make yours a showplace in no time at all. It is such a blessing to already know where you are going to go. Now you can think and plan for it. I can't wait to see the transformation!

  3. We saw tons of houses when we moved to NC 12 years ago from SoCal. We went out every weekend and I viewed homes during the week for at least 3 months. My daughter was tired of looking one day and said "They're all beautiful, just pick one!" You're smart to rent first and get to know the area... we did that as well.

  4. I'm new to your blog. I live in Phx. We're having a blogger get together here soon, though it may be too soon for you to make it. Hope you have a safe move out!

  5. *** Lynda, you're moving relatively close to us!!! (I think you'll be about an hour away!) Write me if you want to get together, OK?.... that would be so fun!!!

    Linda in AZ *

  6. I can't wait to see what you do with your new place. I know it will be amazing, as it already has really nice features and after you put your "Focal Point" on it, it will be a show place. Have a safe move!

  7. What a fun looking for a new place to live....tiring, but a good type of tiring. :-) thanks for sharing your adventure. LOVE the tour.

    Good luck and can't wait to see what is up next.

    All my best
    Elizabeth :-)

  8. Really enjoyed your rooms on Rate my Space and followed you here. As a Realtor, I was curious why you looked at houses with one Realtor, Bill then called another Realtor, Jenny? If you had contacted Bill/Remax to show Jenny's rental wouldn't he have made a commission for his efforts?

  9. I wish you find the perfect place for you and your family :) I know you will make it a great place to live. Looking forward to your future posts :)

  10. The house in the first picture looks great, and the roofing design is quite unique. Back when I was still searching for our dream house, we also had a check list we go over every time we went to inspect a house. That helped narrow down the choices and make decision-making easier. :)

  11. I, myself, was overwhelmed by the number of properties you’ve visited. But since it was the first day of the hunt, treating it like some sort of a simple tour wouldn’t be so bad. :D I’m glad that you bought from Bill the Realtor. Sometimes, a little help in such a significant matter is deeply appreciated. -->Avril

  12. You visited all those properties in just one day? Wow! I can’t imagine how tired you were that day! Anyway, did you enjoy your first house hunting trip?

    -Nannie Toller



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