10 Things you Need to know about Moving to Phoenix, Arizona

As the population of the Phoenix metro area grows by the year, you might be asking yourself “Is moving to Phoenix a good idea? Sounds like it’s going to be crowded! And it’s hot too, like REALLY hot. But it must be worth the hype, because an exodus worthy of a Steinbeck novel is packing up and moving west, soon to call Phoenix home. If you think you might be one of them, I’ve compiled a few of the basics here, giving you ten things you need to know about moving to Phoenix!

1. What do people do when it’s hot out in Phoenix?

Let’s address the elephant in the room first. Phoenix is in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, the hottest desert in the United States. So yes, it gets toasty in the summer. The thermometer mercury soars and if you leave your gummy bears in your car for even just a few minutes, well….they aren’t so much “bears” anymore. But let’s remember, this isn’t America during the Dust Bowl. We have air conditioning, and many Phoenician homes have sparkling, cool swimming pools. Most outdoor dining areas have misters to cool patrons, and for the most part, life goes on.

Yes, the heat can cause some discomfort, but living anywhere will offer challenges; snow, rain, or inclement weather. Many residents take these super hot days as a chance to get out of town, and head to the mountains, or the Pacific Coast.  Even if you stay put, there is still plenty to do in Phoenix when it’s hot, such as go out to eat, catch a movie in a nice cool theater, or embrace the heat and jump in the pool!

landscape in Phoenix, 10 things to know before moving to Phoenix Arizona

2. Is Arizona in a water shortage?

Arizona has been extremely proactive in building the infrastructure to support the water needs of a growing population. While the desert does receive less rainfall than many parts of the country, residents can feel secure that there is plenty of water for everyone.

A very useful resource is the Arizona Water Facts website. This is where you can see where the local water is being sourced, its usage, remaining water, sustainability, and more. In addition, Arizona employs a 100 year water supply requirement that must be proven before land can be developed. If you have water for the next 100 years, I think you can rest assured you’ll be ok for quite some time. And for those of you planning to live twenty some years into your 100’s, I’m sure there will be even better hydro-sustainability by then!

kitchen sink, 10 things to know before moving to Phoenix Arizona

3. Family Friendly Activities in Phoenix

When school is out for the summer and the kids are all home, many families are looking for fun and economic ways to get the whole family out and about for some old fashioned family fun. Phoenix has a plethora of offerings when it comes to kid friendly adventures. Activities such as visiting the Phoenix Zoo, hiking one of the many trails in the area, or even catching a movie are all great options.

While amusement parks can be hot during the day, you can get the family up and out early to beat the heat. The Odysea Aquarium is a great way to get in from the heat and see some incredible creatures. And of course, if you are trying to keep costs down, there are plenty of free options, especially exploring nature. Too hot for a hike? How about a nice sunset hike, the views can’t be beat!

giraffe at the Phoenix zoo, 10 things to know before moving to Phoenix Arizona

4. Where are the best school districts in Phoenix?

When it comes to choosing a home, one of the biggest factors for families can be the local school systems. Assuring your child attends a school that will set them up for the greatest chance of success is paramount. Luckily, there are plenty of resources for parents to reference when learning about the school systems in the Phoenix area. One of my favorite websites is Great Schools, where parents can get online and read all about local schools, the learning styles they offer, their ratings, and so on. In fact, you can find all Arizona schools on this website, helping you to find the right fit for you and your family.


5. Do I need to have a job or home set up before moving to PHX?

Ideally, yes. Anytime you move anywhere, having the security of employment and housing before you arrive makes a move less stressful. That being said, there are plenty of new Phoenix residents who have successfully “loaded up the station wagon and hit the road” so to speak, with no housing or just prospects.

Phoenix is growing rapidly. So this provides an economic environment of commerce and growing businesses, all of course, looking for new employees. Residential areas are popping up all over the phoenix area, and even older parts of town are getting an upgrade to accommodate the influx of residents.

Unfortunately, because of the growing demand, the housing market is on the upswing, so you might find looking for a place to live proves to be an expensive endeavor. While I can’t tell anyone “You should quit your job and move to Phoenix,” I can say, if you are financially prepared for a bit of a dry spell, moving without prospects can really force you into action to make that new job or new home a reality!

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6. Is it better to buy or rent in Phoenix?

To rent, or to buy; that is the question. Even Shakespeare knew deciding to rent or buy can be mind boggling! One of the many upsides to buying a home is locking down a price that will inevitably go up with time. Renting is also money spent that is not an investment, meaning once it’s gone, you get nothing back for it. This in itself is enough to make more than a few new homeowners make the move and buy.

With several neighborhoods in Phoenix going through “revivals” if you will, it’s a great time to buy and watch the value of your property go up and up! Of course, buying isn’t in the financial cards for everyone. You might decide renting is better for you; it allows you to feel out the area without commitment, and even move to other parts of town that might be better suited for you.

apartments in Phoenix, 10 things to know before moving to Phoenix Arizona

7. Do Phoenix grocery stores charge for plastic bags?

Would you believe how excited people get over free plastic bags?! In short, no, Arizona does not charge for plastic bags. Many states along the West Coast charge for grocery bags, and some have banned plastic bag usage in their establishments at all. This forces shoppers to bring their own reusable bags, cutting down on the amount of plastics that end up in our landfills and oceans.

While you won’t be forced to buy your plastic bags in Phoenix, many places still suggest you “reduce and reuse” by bringing your own bags. So maybe you can change the planet one plastic bag at a time…but it’s nice to know you won’t have to pay an extra dime if you forgot your reusable bags in the car.

reusable bag with produce, 10 things to know before moving to Phoenix Arizona

8. Does Arizona have speed traffic cameras?

While Phoenix used to be known as a hub for those pesky little traffic cameras that will sneakily catch you speeding and send a hefty ticket in the mail. Most of those have been removed. There are still areas like Scottsdale and Paradise Valley where you can find a few, but for the most part, you can drive around Phoenix without fear of daily tickets arriving in the mail. Best advice of all, ask a local, because most of them can tell you the areas where the cameras are posted, allowing you to avoid them.


9. What is a Haboob?

Is it a type of Mediterranean food? Is it a name for a Turkish spa? No…it’s just a really, really big dust storm! Because Phoenix is so dry, it creates the perfect conditions for a LOT of dust to be kicked up when the winds are just right. While monsoon season does bring with it rain, it also precedes the rain with these dust storms that can sometimes swallow up whole parts of the city in a huge, rolling, amber cloud known as a Haboob. While it sounds menacing, it’s one; just dust, and two; occurs rather seldomly. While residents may toss the name around at the slightest cyclone of dust wicking across a parking lot, true haboobs happen only every few years.

haboob, 10 things to know before moving to Phoenix Arizona

10. How difficult is it to find a home in Phoenix?

Right now, finding a home in the Phoenix area can be a bit difficult. As we are currently in a seller’s market, buyers and renters find there are less homes and residential areas available than there are people moving in. This means you might not be able to find the price point you were looking for, or even be able to check off many of your “must haves” that you have compiled in looking for a home.

The best thing you can do is do your research, be certain of what you want and are looking for, and connect with a professional who can help you narrow things down and find the perfect place for you. 


Don’t fret though, if you’re looking to buy a home in Phoenix, you’re in the right place. We have your back when it comes to finding the best home for you and your loved ones. So shoot us a text, give us a call or send an email to us.