Layered Phoenix map showing Scottsdale real estate

When it comes to searching for a new home in Scottsdale (or any other Phoenix city), the Internet has made the process easier and more efficient than ever before. I always get questions like:

  1. Where is this located?
  2. Is it close to shopping?
  3. Are there any restaurants nearby?
  4. How close is the school?
  5. How close is this to a highway?
  6. Is there a mountain view? (We can't always tell from maps, but we can see proximity)
  7. Is there a waterway, pond, or other water feature nearby?
  8. How close is a golf course?
  9. How big is the backyard?
  10. Where is the nearest hospital?

And of course, there are many more questions. I sometimes feel bad when I direct people to online maps. But it's so much easier for someone to view a map vs. me trying to explain the location to them.

Figure Out What is Most Important to You

Before you start searching for a new Scottsdale home, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Of course, you first want to list your basic needs and wants: what type and style of home do you want, how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need, is a pool a requirement, do you need a garage - and how many parking stalls, and what is your budget? Once you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, you can use online maps to help you narrow down your search by location.

Identify Your Ideal Neighborhood

google map layers to choose fromOne of the most important factors to consider when searching for a new Scottsdale home is the neighborhood. Do you want to be in a quiet, residential area, do you prefer rural where you can barely see neighboring properties, or would you prefer to be in the heart of the city? Is it important for you to be close to public transportation or within walking distance of restaurants and stores? 

You probably already have an idea of what areas you're interested in. Phoenix and its suburbs offer a lot of different lifestyles, from rural horse farms with acreage to city life and everything in between including golf course living. You can use online maps to view different areas using addresses you have of Scottsdale homes for sale and get a sense of where the different neighborhoods are located and what is around them.

Different subdivisions have streets you might never have heard of before. You can take each address of a property you're interested in and show it on the map in different formats. This way you can see how close the main roads are that you use and are familiar with.

If you search for an address and look at the bottom left of the map you'll see a square labeled "Layers". View the photo to the left. Look at all of the choices. You can see available transit, bike paths, and more. You can even get a 3D globe view. 

Check Out Local Amenities

Another important factor to consider when searching for a new home in Scottsdale is the local amenities. Do you want to be close to a park or a library? Are you looking for a neighborhood with good schools or a thriving nightlife? Online maps can help you identify local amenities and get a sense of what each neighborhood has to offer.

Start by using an online map to search for local parks (you can even see some dog parks listed), libraries, and other businesses that are important to you. You can also find local restaurants, coffee shops, golf courses, grocery and other stores. This will give you a better sense of what each neighborhood has to offer and help you make an informed decision.

You don't even need an exact address. Maybe you're interested in a specific subdivision and although you might have a general idea of where it is and some of the surroundings, you might want to check out the area a little bit more just to see nearby businesses, schools, or entertainment.

When my husband and I buy we want to make sure there is a Whole Foods and/or a Trader Joe’s somewhat close. We also want to see how far Walmart and Target are and where the closest grocery store is. You can set up a Google map to search for particular stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more. You can ask for restaurants and bars and pubs just by clicking the "Nearby" icon on Google Maps. You can also do the same with hotels if you're traveling someplace. If you want to search for a specific restaurant, store, hospital, school, etc., by name then just do a search inquiry. An example would be - hospital near "insert address".

I get a lot of buyers that want a mountain view or a desert lifestyle. You can get an idea of the terrain near a property. Personally, I stayed away from too much desert around my home. I love the desert but I’ve got 3 little dogs and want to stay away, as much as I can, from predators. Using Google Maps showed me homes that had too much nearby desert-scape for my liking. I don't mind visiting the desert and doing some hiking, but I don't want it backing up to my backyard.

terrain view of Scottsdale Silverleaf subdivision

Even though we’re in a populated subdivision, our neighbor has a trail cam and sees coyotes and bobcats on our block. So far all we’ve seen were javelinas, and they can cause trouble but at least they can’t jump fences. We have a scorpion service for the exterior of our house and have yet to see one. I hate snakes and although I know we can’t keep them out 100%, I feel that being too close to a desert, or having a property with too much desert scape nearby opens up the possibility of rattlesnakes.

How Close Do You Want to Be to Highways and Busy Streets?

highway with downtown Phoenix in back

Start by using a map to identify the major highways and public transportation options in the area. You can also use online maps to estimate your commute time and explore other nearby neighborhoods. This will give you a better sense of the overall area and help you make an informed decision about where to buy a new home in Scottsdale.

If you rely on public transportation you will need to double-check bus routes and stops prior to using online maps. Certain areas of Phoenix and suburbs do not have bus service. If you are looking for an area where public transportation is available, then a map can show you how far a property is from the bus stop.

Being too close to a busy street or highway will produce traffic noise that might be a deal breaker. If you don’t want to be that close because of noise, then when you’re ready to sell your Scottsdale home, a good amount of buyers will feel the same. This could cause you to have to sell at a reduced price and it could take longer to find a buyer who doesn’t care about noise. Read my blog post about buying a home on a busy street.

On the other hand, being somewhat close to a main street or intersection where you can walk to restaurants or grocery stores could be a bonus. We live near a main intersection where we can walk to multiple stores, 2 main grocery stores, hair salons, some restaurants, the golf course, and more. We love that convenience. That won’t work if you prefer more rural living.

You might see an address that isn’t a main street, but you might not realize that the house backs up to a busy street or even a highway. Although we love the convenience of being close to shopping, we wouldn’t want to back up to a main thoroughfare. Some homes will have a small frontage road separating them from the busy street. Homes near highways will usually have berms or barrier/sound walls. If you fall in love with a home in Scottsdale and find out it is right on the other side of the highway or main street, you should do a drive-by with the windows open or get out of your car so you can hear the noise level.

Get a Street-Level View

Once you’ve identified a few neighborhoods and areas that look promising, it’s a good idea to get a street-level view. This will give you a better sense of what each neighborhood, especially the block the home is on, looks like and will help you get a feel for the area.

Start by using Google Maps or another mapping tool to get a street-level view of each Scottsdale home for sale that you’re interested in. This will give you a sense of the different types of homes and buildings on the block and in the area and help you get a feel for the overall vibe. You can also use street-level views to explore nearby parks, restaurants, and shops.

Go Deeper than Street-Level

It’s difficult to see what the full property looks like from online photos. Many agents use drone shots and those are helpful to get a good view of the entire lot.

You can also use Google Maps to get a satellite view, and you can open that view up to get as close as possible to see how the lot is set up, where a pool is if the house has one, outbuildings or sheds, and the shape and size of the pool and backyard. You’ll also see how close neighboring homes are.

You can see if there are different entrances to a subdivision and if a house is on a straight or winding street or on a cul-de-sac. This will also show you if it is a corner or an inside lot. Some people love corner lots, some don’t. A corner lot usually has extra land on the corner side that needs to be maintained but is otherwise not used.

When we bought our first property, a Scottsdale townhouse, we wanted the community pool close by. Before we started viewing places we would do a satellite view that showed us where the pool was located for each place we were considering based on our other needs. This search was invaluable and saved a lot of wasted time viewing properties that were too far from the pool. Our original search brought around 20+ places. After viewing the satellite map search we brought it down to 10 and would have been happy with 4 of those units. See where the pool is located at the map below at Las Hadas in Scottsdale. Look at the other choices on the top that can be clicked on.

Scottsdale townhomes location to pool

Use Real Estate Websites

In addition to using online maps, you can also use real estate websites like this one to help you search for a new home. This Scottsdale real estate website allows you to search for homes by neighborhood or location, allows zip code searches, and even map polygon searches. These choices can be a helpful tool when you’re trying to narrow down your search.

You can save searches to automatically send you listings, and you can create multiple searches or search for multiple cities in one search. You can come back to the site and edit the searches or create a new one. It’s like having access to the Arizona Multiple Listing Service that you can play around with and keep updated on the Scottsdale real estate market.

I can also create an automated search directly from our MLS. Why would you need that if you can do it on your own on my website? The MLS shows more details and information and will also provide you with your own little site to keep up-to-date with your search. I can easily edit your search if things change.

You can contact me here or by phone - 480-906-1500 - or fill out the Home Finder Form.

Posted by Judy Orr on
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