Home Buying in Phoenix>Question Details

Brian, Other/Just Looking in Outside U.S.

Canadian looking to buy vacation home for <100K and looking for recommendations on locations that meet some of our criteria

Asked by Brian, Outside U.S. Tue Jul 12, 2011

I know it is an open ended question that will get a ton of differing answers, but I am hoping to get at least a few good recommendations to start searching on. We would be using this home a few weeks a year (more when we retire in 15 years) and trying to rent it out weekly/monthly for the rest of year. We would like to purchase in an area that meets some of our criteria:
- neighbourhood that will hold it's value
- easy access to main thoroughfares and airport
- easy access to things that would interest winter renters (not exactly sure what that would be in Phoenix but assume the same things that interest us such as shopping, entertainment, golf, sports, hiking would be high on the list)

Not sure if west side (Buckeye, Avondale, Goodyear, Glendale) would be a better match for these criteria than east side (Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert)? I assume east side would be more of interest to people who might visit the Grand Canyon, Vegas or California.Thanks

Help the community by answering this question:



There is a lot information below, a lot of it very good, but some of it just look like "steering". I just want to add one thing to the comments below. Many foreign buyers are temped to buy the biggest and newest house they can within their budget, many times by sacrificing location. Doing that can be a mistake. Your first step should be to decide on a good area that matches your criteria, even if it means buying a smaller property. The best thing you can do is to start working with a good agent who is experienced and you feel comfortable with.

Good luck!

Carlos J. Ramírez, PC, ABR, CNE
Associate Broker/Realtor, HomeSmart –
Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 13, 2011
Hi Brian. You ask a lot of great questions, and much of the data will need to be derived regarding specific listings. I also have a book for you to read: "South of 49: The Canadian Guide to Buying Residential Real Estate in the United States" by Philip McKernan, Dan Sampson, and Mike Cunning. (In case you haven't already read it." It's available in e-book format too. You seem to have a good plan for your real estate purchase but honestly it's going to be impossible to address all your questions in this forum. You fit my perfect client profile and I'd love to assist you; please check out my website for more information.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 1, 2011
Ready for yet another perspective? I am constrained by Fair Housing laws just like Jonathon Dalton (he cracks me up) is below. There are tons of things that fit your criteria whether you are in the east valley or west valley. I grew up in the east valley, and love it to this day, but I live in Anthem. It's just going to come down to what kind of home you will get for your money. Find someone you can work with who knows the Valley, both east and west side, and let them help you. Good luck! And welcome to Phoenix!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 1, 2011
I was in Flagstaff recently and it is a nice area for short term rental (I think). It was 116F in Phoenix and 90F in Flagstaff .... whew ... what a big different !
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 19, 2011
Since I'm not going to go near the Fair Housing Act, a couple of quick thoughts ...

1) The West Valley is closer to Las Vegas and California than the East Valley. Depending on where you go in the West Valley, we're also closer to the Grand Canyon.

2) The idea below that the West Valley lacks "what people want to do" is dead on - assuming, of course, that spring training baseball, Phoenix Coyotes hockey, Arizona Cardinals football, golf, shopping at hundreds or stores and dining at hundreds of restaurants, dinner theater and stage shows at Skye nightclub aren't things that you'd want to do since all are available in the West Valley.

Incidentally "avoid the West Valley" could be considered a violation of the Fair Housing Act as this statement was made on a subjective basis. Where's a HUD secret shopper when you need one? :-)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 14, 2011

There are many areas that this will work in. You just need to work with an agent that will help you through this process. You can even utilize an online calendar with times blocked out when it is already rented for the people looking for a seasonal rental. I am working with a client right now that is doing this very same thing. You will want to make sure it is in a nice area and near a golf course, cubs training, malls, etc as this is always helps. Being fairly close to places of interest is just one more reason someone will choose your home to rent.

Best Regards,


Ron & Brenda Cunningham
West USA Realty
**** Recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal as "One of the Top 50 Realtors in the Valley"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 13, 2011
Hi Brian,

I work with a father and son(s) team here in my office. They are from Canada and all of there clients are from Canada. They handle investments and vacation home purchases and rentals for investors that look for exactly the same thing that you are. I would be happy to refer you. Please feel free to call me anytime.

Matthew Remus
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 13, 2011

As an agent that has been full time in the Phoenix market since 1998 I have witnessed the trends of buyers, whether that be 2nd home, investors or normal purchases. The east valley continues to be very popular and a decent location to most of the amenities desired.

We can find you a nice property for under $100,000 that will rent today with positive cash flow/return on your investment. I have one closing on Friday with a Canadian couple for $50,000 in a nice area of the east valley.

You would have options, we could make it a vacation rental for you that you could then personally use for a few weeks per year yourself and we rent out the other weeks if you want. Options are good!

It also a nice reason to fly in and spend a few days to check out your investment (in the winter). HA
Web Reference: http://www.McVinua.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 13, 2011

Seperate from the buying a good property, you need to consider how to own the property so that you are not subject to double tax, avoid probate and limit you liability. You will also have to learn about withholding taxes on the rental income and what tax returns need to be filed in the US and Canada.

My firm and I specialize in US-Canada tax and financial planning. I wrote a book titled "Buying Real Estate in the US - The Concise Guide for Canadians." I have provided the link below. I recommend you invest the $14 so that you understand the tax issues involved in buying property in the US.

Dale A. Walters, CPA, PFS, CFP (US & Canada)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 13, 2011
Hello Brian,

You have received some very good information from the other professionals posting here. There is a hidden jewel of a community in the Desert Ridge area that would come closest to meeting your criteria . The purchase price would be somewhat higher than you mentioned ($130-$150K), but you would have an easier time generating a nice rent from winter visitors - particularly if you furnish the place. Desert Ridge is just next door to Scottsdale with its fabulous shopping and dining experiences, incorporates the JW Marriott Resort, and is located close to the 101 and 51 freeways providing easy access to the airport and sporting events downtown. Desert Ridge Marketplace anchors this area and offers tremendous shopping, dining and entertainment venues for singles and families. Please contact me for particular information on the community I am speaking about. I have personally rented and now own a property in there.

Our market has seen a tremendous amount of sales activity lately and we are now in a seller's market in many areas - with 2.6+ months of supply. Hurry for the best prices while rates are low. These type properties are not a dime-a-dozen any longer and competition has heated up.

Contact me if you want a proactive agent working for you. I look forward to speaking with you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 13, 2011
Surprise has a great spring training facility that draws many vacation renters in the winter. I wish it were just a bit closer to the freeway, but freeway access is reasonable, as are some other sporting venues, golf, dining, shopping etc.. You can buy something built in the 1990's or 2000's for $100K . I'm fairly certain you'd meet more than a few Canadians while spending your own vacation time there!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 13, 2011
I have been on this same quest recently. I am a Realtor in Tennessee and see many people moving to the Nashville, TN area for retirement homes. The attraction seems to be the location. Nashville is within an 8 hour drive to a large part of the US population and that means easy access to family if you are in that radius. There are many communities that offer Golf and Lakeside living in the area. The next stop in my search was the panhandle of FL. The area between Ft Walton Beach, FL and Panama City Beach, FL were very attractive to me. Once again that area is within 500 miles of my children and that makes it easy for us to stay in touch with our families. Both the Nashville, TN area and Panama City Beach, FL have great airport facilities and are attractive to winter renters.

In the Panama City Beach area I would reccomend Lynn Boyd, Buyers Agent, Keller Williams Success Realty, 850-249-0313 or email lynnboyd@kw.com

In the Nashville area I am available to assist if you are interested in the area.

best regards,

Royce Dugan
Exit Real Estate Solutions
Web Reference: http://www.roycedugan.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 13, 2011
If you are looking for a rental that you can rent out on a weekly or monthly basis then you want to have amenities that appeal to people that are looking to come here on vacation. That type of renter will most probably want a pool and possibly other ammenities such as golf, tennis, maybe parks nearby. To find a home in the west valley under 100K might not appeal to a short term renter as there isn't much out there other than chain stores and restaurants. Glendale has a little more to offer. I would suggest coming in closer to central and North Phoenix and Scottsdale and purchasing a condo that offers a community pool. I work with a lot of investors from Cananda and overseas and they are purchasing homes in this pricepoint out in the west valley, but renting them out on a long term, minimum year basis. There are some communities in Avondale and Goodyear that have community pools that might be an alternative option, but I would not go out to Buckeye.

When on vacation for a week, people don't want to be too far out in the boonies. When you are living there on a full time basis, that's a different story.

Hope this helps.
Lorrie Feld
Keller Williams Integrity First
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 13, 2011
Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert seem to be more popular for vacation homes (Ahwatukee too, but its hard to find a home there under 100k) While the west side seems to be more popular for investment or rental homes.
There are so many varying types of homes, so it may be hard to pin down a precise answer for you. If you want newer built homes, those are the ones built further from the city center. Towns that are newer and still close to freeway access are Gilbert, Ahwatukee, North Scottsdale, and others.
If you'd like more specific answers and more specific properties, email me at bja1987@gmail.com. I work well with foreign clients- I usually get videos and pictures of properties of interest out fast. In fact, I was just up in Canada 3 days ago, in Surrey.
Let me know if you'd like my help, otherwise, good luck searching!
Brian Anderson
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 12, 2011
Rentals here in the East Valley have been going quickly! I would suggest having a Portal (personalized home search website) with multiple searches, one east side, one west side, and compare the two. A Realtor would help you by giving advice about things to investigate in different areas and where to find additional information. Let me know if I can do anything!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 12, 2011
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