Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend. Since we've been living here in the East Valley of  Phoenix now for 18 months, we';re a little more comfortable with the areas and decided to start a little house hunting. Currently, we've been renting a 3 story home in Gilbert and 1. It is a bit too far east for Jeff's drive south to Casa Grande. 2. It's a MONSTER for me to keep clean (those stairs!!) 3. It's not a conducive layout for living an outdoor lifestyle - the kitchen is on the second floor, and there aren't any sliders leading out to the backyard for grilling - We have to cut through the garage. When we first learned of moving to Arizona (in September 2011) I had pulled together a binder of places to check out - some of which Jeff would visit while on the phone with me. In October 2011, I flew out to Phoenix, and had searched about 30 places in 2 days before finding this. We had taken it mostly because of its newer finishes in comparison to other rentals we looked at. Since living here for 18 months now, we both have a better understanding of distance + travel time, and think it's a good time to start looking a little closer to the main highway both for Jeff's work and my travels around Phoenix & Scottsdale. One of the areas we've been looking at is a development called Sun Lakes.

I'm OBSESSED with this door! LOVE it!

Don't laugh - but Sun Lakes is an adult community. I know, sounds strange - but the lifestyle is perfect for Jeff and I: we don't have any children, and the area is surrounded with lakes (yay! water!) and golf courses. Jeff enjoys both fishing and golfing so points for him. Most of the homes are single story -yay! no stairs. Many people are buying into the area and renovating and even flipping home (potential for clients) and the HOA is lower than what we were paying in FL ($225 in FL vs $100-$150 here) Although it's a adult community, they start the age admittance at 40, and also have group meet-ups by age so we'd be able to meet with other people in 40-50. The area is quite - no loud parties like the neighbors had Friday, and no trains or airports nearby (something we didn't realize when we only had 2 days to find a place. The one thing I'm most drawn to is the different styling of housing - all different kinds from adobe to flat roof to slate tile roofs to yes - Spanish with barrel tile roofs. Many of the plans we've looked have a kitchen open to a family or sitting room. And even though some places are only 2/2, they'll have a den (great for an office), custom closets, cabinet storage in a 2 car garage, a fireplace and even a pool - something we steered away from when we were first looking, but it gets so damn hot here in the summer, a pool seems like a great plus to have, especially for exercise! (Remember my mini heat stroke I had while biking last Spring?)

 This home is completely renovated, it's WHITE (yay1 No desert brown!), has a sleek looking lap pool with a cover on tracks (great for when a dust-storm hits) and no cacti - Reminds me of a South Florida home.

Sun Lakes - Alameda Model
The Kitchen is open to the dining / living room area, which is the layout we had in FL (with the exception of the sink was facing the area. I had converted this space to our Great room, and used a sitting area in front as our Dining room.

The downside is though, because we had done a short-sale of our FL townhome to be able to quickly relocate here to AZ for Jeff's job transfer (and during the lowest point of the FL housing market) we will still need to wait another 8 months before applying for a mortgage loan. The plus though is, we will fall back into the FHO loan qualification and many people here are doing Lease - Option to buy, which means we could rent until able to qualify again. The other plus I learned about from a Realtor I met with on Thursday is this area has wonderful yard-sales on the weekends (great for finds + selling stuff I don't want to just donate) and it also has the potential to capture new clients - people who want to update their 80s & 90s style places into the millennium (just like I did for my mom in Florida!)

I'm not doing this for all the places we've been looking at, but creating boards with the floor plans, along with before and after pics of some of the homes that have been remodeled is helping. Ideally, since we'd be renting the first 8 months, we'd prefer something that has already been remodeled because it's too much of a risk to do any updates while leasing, even if planning to buy. To get more of a feel for the area, since some of the communities are gated, we spent yesterday on the Golf Course inside one of the developments. LOVED seeing green grass, WATER, and palm trees - It felt more like living in Florida. And the drive from here to Jeff's work in Casa Grande would be cut by 20 miles which equals 30 mins less drive time. And it's still close enough to the main highway for me to get to Scottsdale or Downtown Phoenix for vintage and thrift....

Definitely not looking like the brown desert dwellings here...
And the homes inside one of the developments have a little more architectural interest both inside & out (in other words: not cookie cutter boxes)

Not set on any one yet, but we're at least out there looking, and liking more of what we're seeing vs. when we first came to Phoenix. I think the "culture shock" has past and we're adapting more to the area. I'd LOVE a Mid Century home, but most of those are up in North-West Phoenix, too far for Jeff. The prices are also more affordable from $175,000 to $200,000 for 1700+ sf to 2100+ sf.

The weather has still been holding out as comfortable too, but I'm sure the oven-like heat is just around the corner. But at least this year, we're more prepared and know what to expect. Shopping & doctors offices are close by the area, including the dentist, which is where I'm heading this morning.

Have a great day!

Thanks for stopping by,




  1. A blank slate for you -- oh how fun for both - we get to see HOW and WHAT you decorate it with

    I'll bet Jeff [at least once] has stopped by Starbucks! Tell him to say HI . I would love to meet him :)

  2. The last photos looks a lot like the community I used to live in Orlando. I miss the palm trees and ponds so much and if I had the opportunity to have this again I would love it. I wish you all the best and check every aspect of an existing home (in other words have a good inspector)

  3. When on the hunt for a new house, you have to make sure that it's accessible to your work and interests. This house is a great pick since you don't have to worry about cleaning the stairs. Hehe! Anyway, I hope you checked if the documents are both legit and complete. There are times that homeowners experience lot of problems because of these. :)

  4. A contractor or a property agent will get a license once he/she acquires some experience in the industry. So a licensed contractor will be able to handle your problem of Land For Sale In Az in the best possible way.

  5. When looking for a house, proximity is one of the foremost things you have to consider. Since one of your reasons to move is to find a place nearer to workplace and surrounding areas you need to go quite often, you should've definitely let yourself have the beautiful interiors and finishes of the house itself. Anyway, it's good to hear that you finally have decided to move.
    Avril Copperfield @ Churchill Mortgage



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