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Moving to Scottsdale, Arizona

Are you in search of a warm, vibrant place to live? The American Southwest is booming. In fact, the population of Phoenix and its surrounding areas is growing faster than any other metropolitan area in the United States. As one of Phoenix’s most popular suburbs, Scottsdale is undeniably attractive if you’re looking to relocate.

About Scottsdale

Scottsdale is a small city located in eastern Maricopa county right next to Phoenix. As of 2015, Scottsdale had a population of 236,839.

The area now known as Scottsdale was originally inhabited by the Hohokam Indians, who lived there from approximately 250 B.C. to 1450 A.D., when they vanished. The Hohokam were responsible for building a canal system that still exists in Scottsdale and nearby Tempe.

When the Hohokam left, the area was then populated by both the Pima and Maricopa tribes. Many Native Americans still live in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community which borders Scottsdale.

In the late 1880s, a United States Army Chaplain named Winfield Scott moved to the area. He and his brother planted citrus trees and named the area Orangedale, but it was later changed to Scottsdale. The transcontinental railroad arrived in 1912 and the city boomed.

During the Great Depression, artists and creators flocked to Scottsdale. Indeed, their migration to the desert is responsible for Scottsdale’s modern-day reputation as a mecca for art and artists. While the city is next door to Phoenix, it has a unique flavor that sets it apart from other cities in the area. Scottsdale is a great place if you want to make Real Estate a career.

Affording Scottsdale

Although it’s located near Phoenix, Scottsdale is significantly more expensive than its neighbor. The cost of living in Phoenix is in line with the national average. In Scottsdale, you can expect to pay an average of 14% more than you would in Phoenix.

However, it is important to note that by far the most expensive part of living in Scottsdale is housing. Costs here are more than twice the national average. This is an affluent suburb and the cost of real estate reflects that.

Most apartments cost more than $1000 per month to rent. For people moving from the Midwest or Southeastern United States, these prices may cause some sticker shock. Scottsdale is not a cheap place to live.

The good news is that other expenses, including groceries, utilities, and transportation, hover near the national average. If you can afford the housing here, the other expenses should be within reach for most people.

Finding employment in and near Scottsdale is not as difficult as you might think. The unemployment rate in Arizona was at 4.4% as of August 2017. That’s slightly higher than the national average of 4.2% but still impressively low. The city has rebounded nicely after the economic crisis of 2007/2008.

The Scottsdale Airpark is the city’s largest employer with 51,000 employees. Other major employers in the city include GoDaddy, Taser, JDA Software, CVS, and Vanguard. Scottsdale is also home to several cutting-edge biotech companies.

Of course, jobs in Phoenix are also within easy reach for Scottsdale residents. Some of Phoenix’s major industries include aviation, technology, biotech, healthcare, and manufacturing. There are also plenty of education jobs available – no surprise thanks to the area’s rapid growth.

Climate Shock

As you might expect given its proximity to Phoenix, Scottsdale has a dry desert climate. The average temperature here hovers in the mid-70s, but summer highs routinely reach triple digits. Like Phoenix, Scottsdale typically has more than 100 days per year where the temperature soars above 100 degrees.

The heat makes Scottsdale a popular location for people looking to escape winter weather. However, it’s important to note that the dry air and high heat can be hazardous if you’re not careful. Residents of Scottsdale know not to leave their homes without sunglasses and water.

Because of the high heat, apartments and houses in Scottsdale all have central air conditioning. Many are built of stucco and have cooling features as well. People who move here for the first time can easily be overwhelmed by the heat. Make sure to take precautions when you are outside.

If you can, plan your move for the non-summer months. The hottest months are between May and September. If you must move during the summer, try to schedule an early morning move and hire professional movers.

Elderly people and children may be particularly susceptible to heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. Wearing loose, lightweight clothing, sunhats, and sunscreen can all help.

Keep in mind that due to the city’s low precipitation levels, water restrictions are often in place. Maintaining a green lawn is both difficult and costly and that’s why many homes in Scottsdale feature desert landscaping. Once you realize how must money you can save by embracing native plants, you may discover that you love having a yard full of cacti and other desert plants.

Planning Your Move

Planning any major move requires organization and information. As you plan your move to Scottsdale, keep in mind that finding affordable housing is a priority. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent who’s aware of your budget can help you find a place that suits your needs.

You’ll want to make sure to book your moving company or refer a moving truck at least six to eight weeks in advance of your move. In addition to making sure that you can move when you want to, an early reservation may help you schedule your move for the coolest hours of the day.

If you are moving during the summer months and you’re not hiring professional movers, plan on getting an early start. One way to do that is to stay in a hotel, get up early in the morning, and move before the heat reaches its peak.

Of course, before you move, you’ll want to arrange for your utilities to be turned on. It’s especially important to have electricity so you can run the air conditioner if it’s hot outside. Here are some helpful links.

Arizona Public Service Electric Company

SRP Electric

City of Scottsdale (water, sewer, trash)

Southwest Gas

Cox (cable/internet/phone)

Century Link (cable/internet/phone)

You’ll also need to obtain an Arizona driver’s license. Unlike some states, Arizona issues long-term licenses that are good through the age of 65. You’ll have to update your photo and vision test every twelve years. You can learn more here.

You’ll also need to get an emissions test for your vehicle. Click here to learn about Arizona’s emission standards, testing locations, and fees.

Scottsdale Culture and Nightlife

The New York Times once referred to Scottsdale as “a desert version of Miami’s South Beach.” That’s because the city has a thriving nightlife and cultural scene that make it a mecca for young people.

There are three art districts in Scottsdale: the Main Street Art District, the Marshall Way Arts District, and the Old Town District, which is the most touristy of the three. In fact, Scottsdale has the highest per capita number of art galleries and museums in the United States.

Other cultural attractions in Scottsdale include annual events such as the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, the Barrett-Jackson Auto Show, and the Scottsdale Culinary Festival. Thanks to the city’s 300+ annual days of sunshine, there are outdoor events to attend year-round.

If nightlife is what you crave, Scottsdale boasts a high number of restaurants, clubs, lounges, bars, and hotels. It’s also close to Indian gaming destinations such as Casino Arizona and Casino Arizona at Indian Bend. It’s within easy driving distance of Phoenix’s many night spots and cultural attractions, as well.

Making Scottsdale Your Home

Moving to Scottsdale requires some planning and the ability to pay the city’s high housing costs. Rent a storage unit in Scottsdale to help you with your move! Provided that you can handle the heat (and the expenses), it’s a great place to earn a living, raise a family, or enjoy your retirement years away from the winter snow.

Here’s a video which captures the luxury and beauty of Scottsdale:

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