To Build or Not to Build? ūüŹ†

That is the question on the minds of many of our Mama’s these days!

Here’s our 2 cents…

The benefits of purchasing a resale home in AZ:

  1. The neighborhood is established and complete with mature landscaping.
  2. Location, location, location… resale homes tend to be closer to¬†City center.
  3. Most likely, if there is a backyard, the landscaping is complete.
  4. Resales are typically less expensive.
  5. Most new builds are in an HOA but many resale homes in this area are not.  Unless you build custom (and, in some cases, even customs can be in an HOA community) you will likely be in an HOA community.  An HOA is a neighborhood governing body that establishes and enforces specific community rules.
  6. Approximately 30 days until move in.
  7. You can get a “fixer upper” or a distressed / under market sale.

 

The benefits to purchasing a new build home in AZ:

  1. The choice of lot, elevation, floor plan, upgrades and extras.
  2. The latest technology and energy efficiency.
  3. The opportunity to design your backyard landscaping.
  4. Warranty’s on all the big stuff like A/C units, roof, kitchen appliances, etc.
  5. HOA communities insist that a certain level of property maintenance is consistent throughout the community which is desirable.
  6. Most new build communities have quick move in homes or “specs” available…just ask your real estate agent for a list!
  7. In some cases you can negotiate the price or incentives offered on a new build home. ¬†In most cases, if you use the builder’s preferred lender, there are additional incentives offered.

Follow Jen Duncan as she takes us through every step of her CURRENT new build home purchase. ¬†They have just begun the journey and so far it’s been a wild ride! ¬†Here’s her blog¬†#NewBuildNinja

Contact Jennifer@EvoAZ.com for info on new build communities in your area.

Search all greater Phoenix Area resale Homes

ÔĽŅFavorite Play Spots! Approved by The Real Toddlers of the East Valley ūüĎ∂ÔĽŅ

Here are our current favorite toddler-friendly things to do, indoors and out, for your little little’s in the East Valley <3

Favorite Mall Indoor Play Zone:  Scottsdale Fashion Square 

Favorite Mall Outdoor Play Zone: SanTan Village in Gilbert

Favorite Coffee Shop with Toddler-Friendly Play Area: SoZo Coffeehouse in Chandler

Favorite Toddler-Friendly Trampoline Park: Krazy Air in Mesa

Favorite Indoor Play Place with Cafe: Makutus Island in Chander

Favorite Toddler-Friendly Museum: i.d.e.a Museum in Mesa

Favorite Toddler-Friendly Park: Dobson Ranch Park in Mesa

Favorite Healthy Kids Menu: Pita Jungle

Favorite Restaurant with Toddler-Friendly Play Area: Joe’s Crab Shack in Tempe

Favorite Outdoor Restaurant with Grass Area: Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert

Favorite Splash Pad: Riverview Park in Mesa

Favorite Sound Beginnings Classes: Let’s Play Music with Nicci Lovell in Mesa

Favorite Gymnastics Program: Aspire Kids Sports Center in Chandler

Our FAVE East Valley Neighborhoods

We’re sure there are other neighborhoods that’ll do but our Mom’s are head over heels for this line-up currently.

The top pick of the East Valley is Adora Trails.  Several of our members have shared that there are many little kids and it’s a very family friendly area.  The pool is nice with a kiddie section and beach entry.  There’s a splash pad and toddler friendly parks.  The community organizes Easter egg hunts, weekly food trucks, movie nights, play dates for the toddlers and morning stroller walks.   There is even Sunday morning football.  The fun walking paths, parks and green grassy areas are gorgeous. Most of the neighbors get in the holiday spirit and there are Halloween and Christmas decoration contests. The community has a gym as well as a beautiful club house and a lake for fishing.

Eastmark was a close second!!  Our Moms LOVE the plans for this awesome “city within a city”.  There is a school being built along with a Diner and the retail area and grocery store is right there too.  Eastmark has a great community feel with a splash pad and lots of parks.  The community building with the indoor play center, study center and work center is unbelievable.  It’s a great place to hang out with the neighbors or get a little work done while the kids play in the game room.  The homes are beautiful and there is a wide selection!

Dobson Ranch was recommended for the awesome parks, walking/bike trails and lakes. The community plans tons of very popular family friendly activities and  amenities for reasonable HOA fees.  Can’t beat the location!!  Dobson Ranch is close to Sky Harbor Airport, the zoo, art venues, restaurants, shopping, freeways, etc.

Several say that Agritopia is just beautiful!  In fact, it might even be the “dream” neighborhood of many!   Most love the look of the homes  with garages in the back, white picket fences and large front porches along with the garden, orchards and close proximity  to Joe’s Farm Grill and The Coffee Shop.  Great for bike rides!

Villages of Eastridge was mentioned a few times and noted for the HOA that puts on fall festivals and its close proximity to the 202.  There are larger homes with multiple garages and a school in this area.

We have a few Moms in Lehi Crossing.  It’s so quiet and the view is incredible.  Plus it’s just on the outskirts of everything so it doesn’t feel crowded and there is little traffic, but you’re still only 10-20 min from anywhere in the East Valley and easily accessible to Tempe, Phoenix or Scottsdale.

Power Ranch made the list for all the parks, pools and large pretty trees.  The neighborhood is HUGE with some gated areas, TONS to do and TWO clubhouses.  You can rent the clubhouse as a resident and throw the most epic birthday party right by the little lake.  There are many different floor plans and homes ranging from starter homes to zero lot line to mid-range.

Many like The Gardens because of the tree-lined streets and style of homes.  It doesn’t feel like Arizona at all.   The location is great and it’s in Gilbert off the 202 and Recker.  There are many young families with a few parks and a pool in the community.

Layton Lakes made the list!!  It is full of young families that can’t say enough how great the neighborhood is.  There are so many beautiful homes in this area that are new and full of style…the grey’s we are gaga for!

Historic Downtown Mesa is Mesa’s best kept secret and we love the artistic feel!  Evergreen Historic District and West 2nd Street Historic District are not only FULL of history and cute and eclectic homes, they are also walking distance to 3 museum’s, a world‚Äďrenowned Art Center (Mesa Arts Center), award-winning restaurants and the light rail.  Americans are starting to make the move to smaller homes and walkable communities…our Moms included!  Visit the Official Mesa Historic District Homes FB page for area info and tons of historic photos!  This is where the famous and ever popular Movies on Main takes place each month.  Our historic Moms always walk to the show!

Ironwood Crossing made the cut because our Moms love the amenities!!!  The pool and splash pad are incredible and there’s nothing like it in the STV/QC area. Our Moms feel that Ironwood Crossing is by far the cleanest and nicest neighborhood around and its location is super convenient!

Indigo Trails was also mentioned.  There are tons of kids and friendly neighbors.  The pool, two parks and splash pad are super close and we love the tree lined streets.  Also very close to shopping and restaurants.

Val Vista Lakes is a fave because of the amazing location and beauty of the lakes.  There are all ranges of homes found in this community from starter homes to move up to gated, luxury lake front.  It’s picture perfect and very established.

Morrison Ranch is SO worth mentioning per our Moms!  It’s HUGE!  There are many phases.  Our Moms love the styles of the houses (there are so many to choose from), all the greenery and the amenities.  The location is perfect as it’s close to the freeway and our local hangout, Downtown Gilbert.

The Bridges in Gilbert is popular community too with fresh new homes and lots of pretty common areas.  It’s such a treat to drive through!  Plus, it’s super close to everything that Power Ranch is close to which is excellent.

There are other neighborhoods besides these in the East Valley area of Phoenix that are beautiful and family friendly.  Need info on them all including all the new build communities?  Team Evolution Real Estate has it.  Call/text 480.250.0023 or visit EvoAZ.com.

Photo Credit to Photos by Jessica Nelson and Nicci Lovell!

Everything We Know About the Snow in Flagstaff, AZ ‚ĚĄÔłŹ

The beauty of living in the¬†Phoenix area is that you can visit¬†the snow, and even go skiing, but you don’t have to live with the cold! ¬†Here are our suggestions for your trip to Flagstaff this season:

Where to go for snow?  Two very cool places to visit in Flagstaff are, of course, Arizona Snowbowl if you are into skiing or snowboarding, and Wing Mountain Snow Play Area.  Other favorites are Thorpe Park, Buffalo Park, Foxglen Park, Mormon Lake Lodge, Happy Jack Lodge, Flagstaff Snow Park, and Fort Tuthill County Park.

For road conditions, dial 511 anywhere in AZ.  Call the snowplay hotline for up-to-date weather / travel info 1-844-256-SNOW.

Where to eat? ¬†We love these family friendly restaurants Wildflower Bread Company, Granny’s Closet¬†¬†and The Crown Railroad Cafe. ¬†Some breweries we love are Flagstaff Brewing Company, Hops on Birch¬†(pet friendly), and Wanderlust Brewing Company. ¬†Higher Grounds Coffee House is amazing for a hot cup of joe. ¬†Ni Marco’s Pizza not only has great pizza, it’s also pet friendly!

Where to get winter gear?  Winter sports gear (and some winter clothing) is available for rent in the Valley at places like Ski Pro or Action Rideshop.

Where to get winter clothes?   Borrow from friends of same age kiddos or pitch in and split the cost of clothing you can share!  For inexpensive options to purchase we like Kid to Kid, Goodwill, and Big 5.   For a rental option, we like Renting Seasons.

Photo Credit: Jenn Duncan

School’s Out, Let’s Play! MOM nation Approved Fun Spots for Holiday Break ūüéÖūüŹĽ

School’s out for the next two weeks! ¬†Here is¬†your MOM nation approved list of fun places to visit around the Valley.

Butterfly Wonderland at¬†9500 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale — Discover the amazing lives of butterflies! ¬†Children 2 and under are free.

Chandler Farmers Market at 3 S. Arizona Ave, Chandler — A weekly market from 3pm to 7pm each Thursday. ¬†Live music and kid friendly activities!

Children’s Museum of Phoenix at¬†215 N. 7th St, Phoenix — HUGE Museum with exhibits and experiences for all ages. ¬†Children under 1 yr are free!

Dave and Busters at¬†2000 East Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe — An enormous arcade AND you can get dinner at the same time. ¬†Brilliant!

Dobson Ranch Park¬†at 2359 S. Dobson Rd, Mesa — This park is AWESOME, new and great for all ages.

idea Museum at¬†150 W. Pepper Place, Mesa — Great for older kids that love art. There is a room that is specifically designed for toddlers and an area that is safe and fun for babies too!

Krazy Air at¬†4310 E McDowell Rd, Mesa — Trampoline Park that has something for all ages.

LegoLand at Arizona Mills at 5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe — It’s an indoor Lego play land! ¬†Children under 3 are free.

Makutus Island at¬†6919 W. Ray Rd, Chandler — It’s an indoor fantasy and adventure play place that will please all ages!

OdySea Aquarium at¬†9500 East V√≠a de Ventura, Scottsdale — The Aquarium! ¬†Great for all ages.

Pump it Up at¬†1325 West Auto Dr. #101, Tempe — Indoor playground with huge inflatables! ¬†Perfect for the older kids.

Sea Life Aquarium at¬†Arizona Mills at 5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe —¬†Another aquarium!

Schnepf Farms¬†at¬†24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek — Family fun at the farm and AMAZING food too!

The ZOO!¬†at¬†455 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix — Fun for days at the Zoo!

We LOVE Pogo Pass! Buy one Pogo Pass and get into several fun family venues for free throughout the Valley.  The idea Museum, The Zoo, and Makutus Island are a few that are included on the list!  Use offer code: MOMNATION for 60% off!

Want to Start a Holiday Tradition this year? Here are our AZ Faves!

Holiday traditions make the moments so much more memorable!  Our AZ Moms love these:

“Every year we watch movies in our christmas pajamas around the Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve. ¬†Some of our favorites are White Christmas, Christmas Vacation, Miracle on 34th Street, The Grinch (1960’s version), and Elf.”

“We go to Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo.”

“Our Christmas PJ and Smores Party is a¬†¬†Christmas movie on the lawn with hot chocolate and smores. ¬†Everyone that attends brings a toy or a canned¬†food item to donate to a local charity.”

“We do Elf on the shelf. ¬†The weather is so amazing in Phoenix that sometimes the Elf appears out on the patio.”

“We pick a family that we know is struggling and we leave gifts¬†on their doorstep “ding-dong-ditch” style. ¬†It’s fun and rewarding.”

“I do a cookie baking marathon a week before Christmas. I love making cookie trays for our friends!”

“We make dinner and then we grab the stroller and the baby and find neighborhoods with awesome christmas lights to walk through.” (Some MOM nation recommended locations here: Tour of Christmas Lights)

“For Christmas we go to the Mesa LDS Temple on Main just East of Mesa Dr. to see their spectacular Christmas lights! We usually get hot coco or chocolate milk to drink as we walk around!”

“The weather is always perfect so we eat outside and play backyard games every year.”

“We always make more food than we know we will eat and pack up the leftovers to pass out to those in need in our area of Mesa.”

“We LOVE the Mesa Arts Center¬†and the entire family always gets together there for a holiday show.”

“We sing christmas carols and deliver homemade cookies to our neighbors!”

“We have an ugly sweater party every year and make it an outdoor chili cook-off.”

 

Photo donated by Nicole – Visit Nicole’s Website

How do Local Schools Rank? Our Moms Tell All

Agh! ¬†Schools! ¬† For every new Mom it’s like swimming in an abyss of endless information.

I found myself fighting through the choices without much direction¬†when deciding which school was best for my young son. ¬†So, on Oct. 11, I polled our awesome group of Moms. ¬†Here’s what they had to say when asked this question:

Tell me, tell me Ladies! Which school does your child attend? Do you love it or not so much? Tell us why!

 

“We are on the wait list at Pathfinder Academy in NE Mesa. ¬†Our other option is the neighborhood public, Ishikawa Elementary, which has great reviews too.” – “Ishikawa in Mesa! Love it! I taught there for a year and now my son started kindergarten.” – “I taught at ishikawa and now my son goes there! Best school in the area and such a supportive staff/community.”

“My son goes to Fulton Elementary and we love it!”

“Summit Academy, it’s an IB school and we love it!”

 

“Sanborn Elementary and we love it so much! Wonderful teachers, awesome principal, very well-organized and lots of school functions!”

“My daughter goes to a Chandler CTA school. It’s public but it’s a Traditional Academy and so far, I’m impressed with the school.

“Greenfield Elementary and we love it!”

“Our 7-year-old is in 2nd grade at Higley Traditional Academy and we’re very impressed.”

“We started this year at Legacy Traditional in chandler. He is in kindergarten and our first to enter school. We absolutely love it!!”

“Franklin at Alma Public choice school (located within Dobson Ranch). We have been very happy with it. No uniform, but strict dress code.”

“Arizona School for the Arts. LOVE IT! We take our daughter to Phoenix¬†everyday for it. She is really into performing arts and it’s an excellent academic school. She just started this year and she is thriving.”

“Eduprize in Queen Creek. So far I’m loving it.”

“Magma Ranch…. 2nd grade… absolutely love it… my 2nd grader is challenged and has straight A’s too!”

“Gilbert Elementary, my sons only in kindergarten but we love it! We have a giant history with the school, me, my brother, and my cousins all went there and my aunt use to work there so he’s been around the school since he was a baby.”

Canyon Rim Eementary 4th grade. I absolutely LOVE the school from every aspect! We just had our daughter evaluated last year and dx was ASD/ADHD. The IEP team is amazing, they are so caring.”

Kyrene has many fans!

“Kyrene¬†Monte Vista. I love it. We looked long and hard for the perfect school, and then found a house in zone of it. It was so worth it!!” – “I love that school. I went there too” – “My eldest grew up in¬†Kyrene¬†district (de la Sierra) and we loved everything about all the schools in that area!”- “We’re at¬†Cielo¬†and I¬†freakin¬†love it. We’re out of district. And there is no comparison to our assigned school.” – “Kyrene¬†Traditional Academy. We love it! We toured several schools and were planning on sending her to our neighborhood school but last May I decided to tour¬†KTA. We love their emphasis on phonics and handwriting. My daughter has done really well so far.” –¬†“My kid goes to¬†Kyrene¬†de la¬†Mirada. ¬†I like Mirada because they are used to kids on the spectrum and a gifted school.”

We had several Moms with great things to say about Montessori Schools: 

“Desert Shadows Montessori. Both my boys love it!” –¬†¬†“Montessori House charter school in Mesa. It’s the closest thing to home schooling & I love the Montessori methods!” – “Adobe Montessori in Chandler! ¬†We knew it was the one the second we walked in. ¬†The Montessori method really makes sense to us and our son is learning more quickly than we imagined. ¬†It’s amazing and he loves it which is the most important thing!”¬†

There were a few daycares / preschools that were mentioned:

“We had our children at Sun Valley Preschool and really enjoyed it. Guadalupe & 101 area.” –¬†“My 4 year-old started Preschool at Oak Tree Elementary she loves it so much. I don’t have a true opinion of the school yet because it’s still so new.” –¬†“Bright Horizons Day Care. It’s expensive but absolutely worth it. His teachers are involved, loving, dedicated, and he is really blossoming there. He’s learning Spanish and their art program is amazing. He’s been there since he was 6 weeks old and I have nothing but great things to say about them.” –¬†“Sugar Britches Learning Center and they are amazing! Thanks to them my speech delayed cutie is catching up so fast! I can’t say enough good things about them and I’m pretty hard to please lol!”

I realized there are several homeschoolers in our group.  Some of our Moms had this to say:

I have 5 kids and one on the way. 4 are homeschooled right now. I don’t do co-ops because I find it too hard to be gone all day doing that. They have an art class Monday mornings for an hour but otherwise I do it all myself.” ¬†

“Homeschooled and we all love it!”

Thanks for the input MOM nation!!!