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What To Look For In A Vacation Home



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Superstition Mountain in Phoenix's new East Valley.
December 01, 2004 - With winter just around the corner, thoughts are turning to warm-weather escapes. For snowbirds looking to own a vacation home where the sun always shines, residential communities in Phoenix's new East Valley are an appealing option because of the abundant amenities and tight-knit camaraderie they offer.

Word of mouth has led groups of friends to the East Valley, which is growing popular as a quiet, laid-back alternative to neighboring Scottsdale. Case in point is Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club. Located in a spectacular desert setting, the club offers a small-town feel, award-winning club facilities, stunning architecture, two Nicklaus-designed golf courses and an emphasis on community. The club welcomes new members with a year-round social calendar that includes everything from block parties and nature hikes to clam- bakes and black-tie dinners.

Christine and Bob Zamora, of Lodi, Calif., began their hunt for a vacation home in popular North Scottsdale, but chose the East Valley for its open spaces and inviting community. Christine recalls the surprise housewarming party they enjoyed on their first night at Superstition Mountain: "We had two pieces of furniture and here they come with beautiful hors d'oeuvres, flowers and champagne. Everyone was so eager to meet us-we had instant friends."

For Floyd and Pat Hamus from Marshfield, Wis., it was their love of hiking and golfing combined with the expansive vistas and small-town feel that made the club a perfect match. "The air is cleaner, there's less traffic and it's still close to everything we'd want in the city. [It's] a first-class community with top-notch amenities," Floyd said.

When searching for a vacation home, it's important to focus on a few criteria. Steve Elliott, CEO of The Lyle Anderson Company, one of the Southwest's premier developers, recommends the following:

1) Consider the community's character. Ask how many members are from your home state or, better yet, your hometown. For example, Superstition Mountain attracts members from the Midwest, while Las Campanas, its sister community in Santa Fe, draws members from across the U.S.

2) Ask about the amenities, both existing and planned. Are you golfers? Tennis players? Hikers? Spa-goers? Knowing which recreational activities you want out of your second home will help you narrow your choices.

3) Research what the community does to introduce new members. Superstition Mountain, for example, welcomes new members with housewarming parties the day they move in and hosts activities year-round to promote camaraderie and build friendships.

4) Building the family estate? A family estate is something your children and grandchildren can enjoy now. It's also an investment with a strong potential to increase in value. Look for a community that your children and theirs will be excited to return to.

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