Cost of living -

7 Things to know and do before moving to Arizona

Moving within the US
United States Arizona

Arizona is one of the 10 rapidly growing states in the United States. It has a sunny climate; the job market is great, and it has a rich culture of wellness. Not only that, but it is also an ideal location for adventurers. From rock climbing to boating, hunting and horseback riding, there are a lot of exciting activities that one can enjoy in Arizona. 

If you are considering moving to Arizona, there are several things that you need to be prepared for. Here are 7 things you need to know and do before moving to the Grand Canyon state.

What to Know Before your Move to Arizona

What to know before your move to Arizona

1. First steps before moving to Arizona

Finding a job 

A reason for moving to Arizona is good job opportunities. If you hold a degree in engineering, electronics, aerospace, or manufacturing, and you are considering moving to Arizona, know that finding a job will be easy.

Getting there 

Find a reliable moving company, truck rental or moving container

For your move to Arizona, you will need to hire a reliable moving company or take on the move yourself. To find the best moving company in Arizona, look for good reviews, a professional-looking website, and years of experience.

Planning a move to Arizona? Have a look at our selection of the Best Moving Companies in Phoenix and Tucson.

Must dos before your arrival

  • Update Your Address: Changing your address is a crucial step when relocating. You can easily set up mail forwarding either online or in person before your move. Remember to update your address with various organizations, including the SSA, DMV, and home services. To ensure you don’t miss any important notifications, refer to our comprehensive change of address checklist, which covers all the places you need to update when moving.
  • Weather Preparedness: Be ready for Arizona’s dry heat and hot weather. Check local forecasts and pack accordingly, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the region’s climate variations.
  • Apartment Hunting: Plan ahead by researching and scheduling apartment visits before your arrival. This proactive approach will help streamline your housing search process and ensure a smoother transition.

2. Upon your arrival in Arizona

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers. 
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.
  • If you’re roaming around the area for work or just simply discovering, it would be great to purchase a daily transit pass to save money.

How much does local transportation cost

Public transportation in Arizona is often considered less robust compared to the well-established systems in other parts of the United States. Phoenix, in particular, was designed around car-centric navigation. Given the city’s sprawling layout, relying on buses for transportation can be time-consuming, with frequent stops adding to the journey’s duration. 

While the light rail system, known as Valley Metro, offers a more convenient alternative to buses, local residents commonly express concerns about its station coverage, suggesting a need for more widespread accessibility.

In Phoenix, the monthly bus pass, which also includes access to the light rail system, is priced at $64.00 per month.

Exchanging your driver’s license

Procedure for New Driver’s License and Vehicle Registration in Arizona

When moving to Arizona, you’ll need to get an AZ driver’s license within 10 days. You must fill out the application form on the website. According to the State law, you are required to register your vehicle with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) immediately after establishing residency. 

To register your vehicle, you will have to visit any AZ MVD office in person. If you live in cities like Phoenix or Tucson, your car must clear emissions inspections throughout the years it’s registered in Arizona.

Documents Needed for Arizona Driver License and Vehicle Registration

  • Application for Change of Address Form
  • Your new and old address
  • Credit card for payments
  • License plate number
  • Last four digits of your VIN and SSN
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or, if you are not U.S. Citizen evidence of lawful presence.
  • SSN and I.D.
  • Proof of Arizona residency
  • Current vehicle registration
  • Proof of liability insurance 
  • Proof of inspection
  • Proof of ownership
  • Application for Arizona Title and/or Registration

Setting up a bank account 

When moving to Arizona, it’s essential to establish a local presence by setting up a bank account. This state follows the same procedures and regulations as in other states. Chase Bank has over 200 branch locations in Arizona, and it is convenient for every local because it is accessible.

Getting health insurance

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you will not have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. Healthcare is regulated by the state in the U.S. Therefore, the state of Arizona provides a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Arizona as your state and create an account.

3. Best places to live in Arizona

Best Places to live in Arizona

  • Green Valley is a perfect destination for active retired adults. The area boasts fine dining options, senior entertainment, and convenient access to shopping and healthcare facilities.
  • Scottsdale is renowned for its appeal to retirees and offers various senior-friendly outdoor activities, including golf courses. The city provides a warm and comforting environment for active seniors.
  • Prescott is an excellent choice for retirees who enjoy outdoor activities. The city is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls and offers numerous amazing hiking spots, along with quality restaurants and shops.
  • Tucson offers a diverse blend of outdoor activities, cultural experiences, art, music, and literature. It features top-rated healthcare services and a variety of dining and shopping options.
  • Phoenix, as the capital city of Arizona, combines warmth, culture, arts, outdoor attractions, and entertainment for highly active senior adults.

Setting up home services 

For electricity supply, you can either contact or visit the website of Arizona Public Service or Salt River Project, both options are reliable. Many homes and most apartments are all-electric and do not use gas at all. If you are still required to set up gas at your new home, you can contact Southwest Gas. When it comes to setting up water in Arizona, visit the Arizona Department of Water Resources

The best internet providers in Arizona will have bundling options, various speeds, and multiple package options at reasonable prices.

Should you rent or buy?

In Arizona, the cost of owning a house averages around $417,088. When it comes to renting, a 1-bedroom apartment typically goes for approximately $1,541.67 in the state. 

In Phoenix, your property tax rate will range from 5% to 11% depending on your location. For the natural beauty that Arizona offers, the housing costs are relatively fair. Learn more below.

Cost of rent in Arizona

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Phoenix (Outside of Center)

$1,541.67

$2,635.47

Numbeo (Oct 2023)

Cost of buying a property in Arizona

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Phoenix

$417,088

Zillow (Oct 2023)

Pros and Cons of Moving to Arizona

Pros

Cons

  • The cost of living is affordable.
  • Arizona has a good job market.
  • Arizona has many beautiful landscapes including the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Lake Mead, Havasu Falls, the Hoover Dam, Blue Canyon, and much more.
  • There are many outdoor activities for the residents as well as tours such as hiking.
  • Due to less traffic, driving is less stressful in Arizona.
  • Low crime rate compared to the national average.
  • Summers are really hot (but with low humidity)
  • Lower-than-average salaries
  • The public transport system in Arizona is less established than in other parts of the nation.
  • Huge influx of snowbirds during winter

4. Cost of living in Arizona

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$1,541.67

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($58.15 multiplied by 4)

$232.60

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$232.19

Internet with 60 Mbps

$83.86

Transit pass

$64.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$98.00

Gym membership 

$30.75

Total

$2,283.07

Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in Arizona

On average, there are 286 sunny days per year in Arizona. The highest temperature in Summers is 99 degrees and the Winter low in January is 34 degrees. Arizona averages 12 inches of rain every year.

6. What to do as a local in Arizona

Hiking and backpacking through the stunning desert landscape, including iconic destinations like Battleship Mountain and Lockett Meadow, are beloved activities among locals in Arizona, particularly the younger generation. Meanwhile, the older generations, often referred to as “snowbirds,” prefer to relish the warmth and escape the cold weather of their hometowns. 

Summertime in Arizona sees locals cooling off by visiting water parks and spending time in pools. In general, the primary pastime for Arizonans revolves around outdoor exploration through hiking, occasionally complemented by kayaking adventures on the state’s distinctive rivers.

Arizona boasts several popular grocery stores, including Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods. Among the widely recognized big chain stores, Walmart and Costco are the go-to choices for many residents. Additionally, the state offers a variety of beloved food establishments, with The Stand Arcadia Burger Shoppe and Culver’s ranking high among the favorites for those seeking delicious dining experiences.

7. Fun facts about Arizona

Fun Fact #1

Skydive Arizona is the world’s largest skydiving center.

Fun Fact #2

Arizona doesn’t observe daylight saving time.

Fun Fact #3

Arizona is the state in the United States that produces the largest amount of copper, accounting for almost sixty percent of the country’s production.

Conclusion

Before moving to Arizona, consider these key points. The state offers a thriving job market, outdoor adventures, and pleasant weather. Be prepared by securing a job if you’re in engineering or related fields and arranging reliable movers. Update your address, acclimate to the climate, and plan your housing in advance. 

Upon arrival, exchange your driver’s license, open a bank account, and get health insurance. When it comes to housing, Arizona is a great state both renting and buying. Pros include affordable living costs and beautiful landscapes, but be ready for hot summers and limited public transportation. 

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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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