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Kathleen Moum
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Az Relocation Guide

Getting Started


People moving to a new city view the experience as either a great adventure or an incredibly stressful hassle. Relocating can be a lot of both. Like most everything else in life, it's what you make it. Attitude is important.

First, the adventure part. Making friends with a new city can be a process of discovery for the individual and the family together. There's a sense of excitement, of anticipation, even a sense of the pioneer spirit in navigating new terrain.

Imagine discovering new favorite restaurants, parks, places to shop, new routes home from the office. Relocation means looking at things with a fresh eye.

Much of the inconvenience and many of the problems involved with relocating can be avoided by doing your homework of gathering proper information. Whether your move will be nearly stressless or overly stressful depends a lot on you. So, try to focus on the positive. This is an opportunity to start fresh, to improve the elusive "quality of your life."

But what about the stress of packing up lock, stock and barrel, of stepping out from your present comfort zone? There's no question that relocating can be intimidating to the most adventurous soul. It's only natural that breaks from our daily routines create discomfort and inconvenience. Recognize this and deal with those emotions.

The relocation process is a combination of big and small decisions, from selecting a neighborhood and purchasing a home to where to find your new favorite shops. Understand that it will take time to feel at home. But once you do, there can be a strong feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. You did it!

The list that follows of pre-move preparations will help you cope.
1. You are holding in your hands one of your most useful tools, the Arizona Relocation Guide. This Guide will answer the questions most commonly asked about your new city and the surrounding communities. So, read it thoroughly to acquaint yourself with the area.

2. A telephone directory from your new area is also useful. It can be ordered through your local telephone company. If your spouse is giving up a job, a head start can be made setting up interviews with local companies or employment agencies. Professional organizations can be contacted for membership information. Retailers can be identified. Professional services can be located.

3. Order the local newspaper. The current events will give you an idea as to what's happening in your new city. Also, the local advertising can help you get acclimated.

4. Talk to your company's human re-sources or relocation department and know what the policies and services are. Assistance varies from company to company, but you'll probably find some type of help.

5. Get out your directories - professional, alumni or fraternal. Look for people in your new area. Call and try to get answers to those questions that are really bothering you.

6. Be sure to have a detailed street map and study the roads from your new home to shopping areas and schools. There's nothing worse than feeling totally lost in a new city. When you arrive, drive around to get acquainted. 

7. Allow yourself some time to get settled and meet the neighbors before you have to start work. Also, if you move during the summer months, your children will be able to meet new friends before school starts. The first day of school will be easier if they know somebody.

8. Remember, the move may also create feelings of stress in your children. Be sure to talk to them about the move and consider them while house hunting. Listen to their ideas as to how to decorate their new room. They're people, too, and may feel that they have no control over what's happening to them. Go out of your way to give them some sense of control.

9. Contact the local school board for information about the school your children will attend. Arrange a meeting with the homeroom teacher and your children. Conduct a trial run from the school's entrance to the homeroom. That way your children will feel more at home on the first day.

10. Finally, relax and start enjoying your new surroundings. One day soon, you'll look back and wonder what you were so nervous about. After all, six million Americans change homes every year.

Welcome to Phoenix

Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun began with the discovery of the Salt River by the Hohokam Indians as early as 300 B.C. The waterways and canals built by the Hohokam society allowed the introduction of cotton, beans, corn, squash and introduced the weaving of cotton to the Southwest. These newcomers wasted no time in building a community to suit their needs, with single family homes, apartment buildings, an outdoor neighborhood recreation center, and a ceremonial spot for the celebration of special events.

This ancient culture farmed and existed in the settlement for about 1,700 years, and reached a population of approximately 75,000 by A.D. 1100. After living in this part of the Sonoran Desert for more than ten centuries the Hohokam mysteriously disappeared, leaving a legacy that has helped modern civilization thrive.

The irrigation system that transports water through the metropolis of Phoenix closely follows the sophisticated system of canals established by the Hohokam. The Pima, said to be descendents of the Hohokam later settled here.

The Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeology Park is located about 5 miles east of downtown Phoenix at 4619 E. Washington Street. Much has been learned about this ancient society by studying animal and plant remains, burial sights and artifacts discovered at this site. Archaeologists have discovered a platform mound with what appears to be solstice markings that may suggest that the Hohokum had a ceremonial culture.

It seems especially fitting then that Phoenix, Arizona's capital city, should be named for the bird in Greek mythology that rose from its own ashes to live again.

A Wonderful Mix of Communities
Just as Phoenix is the "hub" of commercial activity in the Southwest, it is also the core around which twenty-plus communities have grown. Collectively they are known as the "Valley of the Sun" and they cover a small part of the sprawling 9,127 square miles of Maricopa County.

Some Valley cities are well-known to those outside Arizona: Scottsdale, as the resort destination of choice for discriminating sun and recreation worshippers; Tempe, as the site of Arizona State University; Paradise Valley, as a residential town as idyllic as the name implies; and Sun City, as home to active retirees.

No matter what their interests, newcomers find a community waiting to welcome them. Two communities with burgeoning populations that deserve a close look are Mesa and Glendale, the state's third and fourth largest cities after Phoenix and Tucson. Chandler and Gilbert (to the southeast) are becoming well-known as magnets for both young families and high-tech manufacturing firms.

Fountain Hills, located above the Valley to the northeast in the McDowell Mountains, is fifteen minutes from the nearest city and prized for its solitude. The sister communities of Cave Creek and Carefree to the north comprise another secluded area, with rustic ranch spreads and million-dollar adobe homes inspired by Hohokam designs.
The West Valley communities of Peoria, Avondale, Tolleson and Litchfield Park offer family-oriented lifestyles and affordable housing. The outlying farming communities of Goodyear, Buckeye and Surprise are rapidly mirroring the expansion of the closer-in West Valley communities.

Great Climate
The three primary reasons people relocate to the Valley of the Sun are warm weather, wages and weekends. Shining brightly more than 300 days each year, the sun does much more than generate a good tan.

It attracts industries searching for a warm, dry climate that won't interfere with their distribution networks, telecommunications systems or administrative operations. It attracts tourists who contribute an estimated $5 billion annually to the Valley economy.

Tourism also draws a steady flow of newcomers looking to set down roots in a community that is socially, economically and culturally hospitable.

For every three people who come to the Valley, two leave, helping somewhat to balance the influx. Nearly a third of these newcomers arrive from the Midwest, bringing with them the friendly characteristics known to that region.

A survey in the fall of 1999, conducted by The Arizona Republic (the Valley's largest circulation newspaper) and analyzed by Arizona State University's Morrison Institute, estimated that 33 percent of the Valley residents picked climate as the factor they value most about living here.

Nine months out of the year, Valley residents enjoy pleasant, spring-like temperatures. It's rare to have a golf game rained out. The summer is a different story. It's hot here, no two ways about it. Temperatures often break 100 degrees during July and August. However over-used, the common defense, "But it's a dry heat," is true.

Given a choice, most Midwesterners would rather be in Phoenix at 105 degrees than Chicago at 85 degrees. Humidity is almost nonexistent here until August, when the monsoons drop sheets of welcome rain and replenish the water table. These evening thunderstorms, with their dramatic lightning displays, are almost an attraction in themselves. The average annual rainfall is only 7.66.

Natural Attractions
While the city of Phoenix is situated in the desert, Arizona is far from being a dry, desolate land. Palm, olive, pine and citrus trees are prevalent as landscaping for parks, homes and boulevards. Orange blossoms, in particular, perfume the air throughout March and April. Roses, poppies and hundreds of other flowers bloom spectacularly almost all year-round. Desert conditions actually exist in only 40 percent of Arizona.

The sun has shaped the Valley's active, outdoor lifestyle, allowing people to pursue their recreational passions almost any time of year. There are over 1,000 tennis courts and 150 golf courses.

Within a couple of hours drive from Phoenix are large, blue lakes, cool pines, the historic Colorado River, the majestic San Francisco Peaks and the awesome Grand Canyon. To illustrate the diversity of the Arizona landscape, consider the fact that Phoenix boasts the highest per capita boat ownership in the nation and that major snow-skiing facilities are within several hours drive.
Trailered boats are a common sight zipping along the Valley's thoroughfares. The five lakes within a short drive from metropolitan Phoenix offer water-skiing, power boating, sailing and fishing. Raft trips down the alternately tranquil and turbulent Verde and Salt rivers also are popular.

A series of mountain ranges encircle the Valley, creating a recreational mecca for hikers and campers. Maricopa County's diverse regional parks offer everything from a popular shooting range to a wave pool with water slides. The Valley's backyard peaks -Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak and Papago Park  are favored by those who like to have fun close to home. Horseback riders, hikers, bicyclists and picnickers flock to South Mountain Park, which, at 16,500 acres, is the largest municipal park in the world.

In 1998 the Arizona Diamondbacks began play in the new stadium in downtown Phoenix. The World Series win in 2001 was further acknowledgement of Phoenix's "arrival" to
big-league status.

Warm weather also attracts several major-league baseball teams and their legions of fans for Cactus League spring training. Teams playing at sites around the Valley include the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Oakland A's, Milwaukee Brewers, L. A. Angels of Anaheim, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies train in Tucson.

Economic Opportunity
Although many newcomers are transferred or secure jobs before arriving, others come to take advantage of continued job growth.

Housing starts continue at a brisk pace, which also contributes to better GDP growth. Homeowners are responding to low mortgage rates and the market is being further boosted by investors who see the housing market as a viable investment opportunity.

Jobs are at large and small companies alike. Leading private-sector employers include Motorola Inc., US Airways, Chase Bank, Banner Health Systems, American Express travel related services, Avnet, Dial Corporation, Applo Group and Wells Fargo Company are already here.

Among the many companies with corporate or regional headquarters in the valley are Intel Corp, U-Haul International, Phelps Dodge Corp., MicroAge Inc., Honeywell, Allied Signal and Boeing.

As of January 2006, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is the 7th busiest in the country for passengers and the 8th busiest in the world for takeoffs and landings.

The airport system includes Sky Harbor, Deer Valley and Goodyear airports, and has a total impact on the economy of the state, providing $56 million per day and $20.4 billion per year. More than 300,000 total jobs are supported by the Phoenix airport system.

Easy Access
The ease of getting to and from the Valley boosts its attractiveness as a vacation and convention destination. There are about 50,000 rooms available in motels, hotels and resorts. They range from Scottsdale's full-service five-star resorts to the sleek business hotels of downtown Phoenix, and everything else.
The entire Valley encompasses hundreds of square miles, making the automobile the transportation mode of choice. While concern for air quality has prompted cities to expand their bus service, most residents find themselves behind the wheel when it's time to go to work. Until recently, the few freeways that served the metropolitan area did little to speed intown travel.

The extension of the Piestewa Peak Parkway and the opening of sections of the 101 and 102 freeways are offering commuters alternatives to surface streets.

Cultural Diversity
About three million people from a wide array of cultures, ethnic origins and economic classes call the Valley home. Hispanic and Native American heritage is especially influential and is expressed in everything from clothing styles to cultural events.

Caucasians form the largest percentage of residents (87.3 percent), while an estimated 29.3 percent of this number are of Hispanic origin. Because many Native Americans live on outlying reservations or the communities that surround them, just 32,000 or so reside in metro Phoenix. The spirits of these cultures permeate the region.

The Valley has a reputation as a popular retirement destination and the breadth of quality, popular housing and communities to serve active retirees continues to expand. Arizona has about 1 million residents 55 and older, whose combined spending is about $16.8 billion, according to a study by University of Arizona economist Marshal Vest.

Bright Future
The Valley is flourishing in an era when lifestyle-enhancing projects are the norm. Baseball fever and the US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix are prime examples. Home of the NBA Phoenix Suns and site of hundreds of musical and sporting events annually, the arena sparks residents' interest and energy.

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West USA Realty
1640 S Stapley Dr 124 • Mesa, AZ 85208
Direct: 602.430.0206 •
Email: irealtor@aol.com

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