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Discussion Starter #1
I soon will have to choose a location for relocation with my potential future job. Two of the choices I will be seriously considering are Phoenix and Las Vegas. I know that houses can be purchased for very reasonable prices right now in both cities. My questions are (for reference, I will be relocating from a very rural town in Pennsylvania):

1. It seems like like the deals are for houses in developments. Do all developments have unreasonable restrictions (can't park on the street, can't do this or that, etc.)? Also, what are the association fees like?
2. The bigger problem, I have 6 cars that I need to relocate. What are the chances of being able to build a 24'x36' garage in either of these cities? I wouldn't mind driving (say 45 mintues) into either city. However, it appears that the best home deals are for ones in developments near the city. I would venture to guess that based on the lot sizes and the zoning restrictions, I would be impossible to build a garage the size I need. Any advice?

Any help would be appreciated.

Also, if anyone can chime in on their experience with living in Salt Lake City, Alberque, NM; and Dallas, TX.
 

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I've lived in Salt Lake City for 3 years, then Las Vegas for 13 years before moving to Phoenix where I have lived for the past 7 years. I don't know enough about Utah anymore to give an opinion but I can't see it being able to offer what Nevada and Arizona can.

Honestly IMO Las Vegas is no place to have permanent residency and it sure as hell isn't a good place to grow up or start a family. Both Phoenix and Vegas have great weather, plenty to do outdoors (golf, hiking, snow & ski resort within a couple hour drive, etc), fun night life, plenty of bars/clubs, good looking women, etc. Phoenix on the other hand has much more to offer as a whole and even has several hotels/casinos if gambling is a necessity.

In addition Las Vegas has one major lake for water sports and closed it's only main water park whereas Phoenix and it's surrounding suburbs have a few decent sized lakes and 3 water parks, not including the salt river tubing. Phoenix also has two major drag strips, a Nascar track too, a couple of road courses, and a professional sports team for every major sport with nice facilities. There are 12+ MLB teams who have spring training in Arizona also. There have been rumors of a Six Flags coming to Phoenix in the next few years as well.

To answer your first question though, there are great deals to be found on houses all over Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Paradise Valley, Surprise, Avondale, Goodyear, etc.

I work for one of the largest HOA property management companies in the southwest called Associated Asset Management (A.A.M.). We manage about 300,000+ single family homes in about 300+ communities, mainly in Arizona. I work in the accounting department as a Homeowner Billing Coordinator and handle about 1/4 of our communities. Every community has it's own set of CC&R's and collection policies which can vary tremendously. Generally the more amenities a community has to offer (community pools, golf courses, parks/common areas, gated, security patrolled, etc) the more the assessments are.

Most people look at HOA's as the devil but they probably don't understand them completely. The majority of HOA's were started by the actual home builder who set in place the by-laws, so the potential homeowner's should research and know what they are getting into before purchasing. Generally after the community is 50%+ built out the HOA board becomes solely made up of other residents in that community. All the property management company does is provide a community manager who is at the boards discretion and handle all accounting and legal related things.

To answer your second question is a bit more involved. There are plenty of homes and large sized lots for sale in non-HOA communities where you could do as you please and build a large garage, especially if you are willing to live outside the main city. I know there are several local forum members who have houses just as you described so hopefully they can chime in.

Hope that helps a little bit. :)
 

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S.G.P, thank you very much for taking the time to post. That helps out a lot regarding the areas and especially the association fees (I will check to see what amenities each association has to offer). Also, nice assessment on the differences between what Phoenix has to offer over Las Vegas. Could you elaborate more on why you would never consider Las Vegas for a permanent residence?

Thanks
 

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S.G.P, thank you very much for taking the time to post. That helps out a lot regarding the areas and especially the association fees (I will check to see what amenities each association has to offer). Also, nice assessment on the differences between what Phoenix has to offer over Las Vegas. Could you elaborate more on why you would never consider Las Vegas for a permanent residence?

Thanks
Im not married or have kids, but my coworkers do. The majority i hear is that Vegas isnt exactly the most ideal for raising kids. The common denominator I hear (from a parent's standpoint) is that this city has too many in-your-face influences for kids.....such as making quick money on the strip ( --> skipping college for parking cars, bouncing bars, etc) and that the whole party scene contributes to the potential for drug use etc.
And not to blame "vegas" totally, but as an example for what you're asking, I have a coworker whos daughters are still in their teen years and are pretty cracked out looking already - very very skinny and tatted up etc (and the 3rd one is on her way down the same road). Ive also heard complaints of the schools.

For a big garage, you'll need to look for older houses (70s 80s) with "RV parking" which are typically built on much larger lots. All the new stuff out here (past 10yrs) is sandwiched together on lots barely large enough to fit the house and a small pool.....the backyard of my 7yr old rental wouldnt even fit a pool. However, plenty of houses here have 3-car garages :cool: But remember, larger lots here = $$$, but hell, prices are still lower than they were even last year. And yea, lots of HOAs out here in the newer communities.....another reason to shop older houses.

And YES, the proximity to bad ass traveling is awesome, as is the weather (lack of humidity, bugs and rain every other day). I've been here almost 2.5yrs and have done some bad ass hiking and general traveling :D (UT, AZ, NV, CO, NM, CA, WY...with more still to come. Did I mention UT!!??). Very easy to get off the couch in this part of the country! I suggest you buy a pair of $150-200 hiking boots and start googling as soon as you move in, heh.

Oh....I dont know squat about Phoenix for comparison.
 
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