Hey Willie, let's pack up and catch us a slow train / And go back to Phoenix to a far brighter day / Where stars were for shining in the Arizona sky / And music meant more than fortune or fame -- From "Hey Willie" by Waylon Jennings
There will be far brighter days when you make your way to Maricopa, Arizona, a small city about 45 minutes south of Phoenix. It is part of Pinal County, though people often assume it is in Maricopa County due to its name. What used to be a pit stop for many travelers on the way to Mexico or San Diego is now a bedroom community that has about 45,000 residents. Help this ever-growing city continue its growth of brighter days by checking out the very affordable homes for rent here!
Looking for Rental Homes in Maricopa
Approximately 66% of the housing here is owned, not rented, mainly because it's so affordable to become a homeowner in Maricopa. But there are still tons of rental homes available, with about 17% of the houses being renter-occupied. The vacancy rate is fairly high at 17%, which means you will have your pick of homes to rent! Just take note that there are no condos, townhomes, or apartments for rent in this city due to the low cost of spacious houses. So now is your chance to scoop up that ridiculously large home you've been eyeing. You know, the one with the vaulted ceilings and putting green in the backyard.
How much does property cost in Maricopa?
Well, as you have probably gathered by now, Maricopa is known for havinginexpensive housing, which is why so many families have moved in since about 2005. After all, the cost of living is slightly below average, making Maricopa more affordable than most cities. Better yet, the average home here is only six years old. Yes, they're barely out of kindergarten! If you're not a fan of dusting cobwebs off your walls or having to fix ancient appliances, you'll fit right in here. Maricopans are reported to be terrible at dusting and fixing squeaky floorboards because they just don't have the necessary experience. They are, however, great at dealing with the aches and pains of a growing city that barely existed just a decade ago!
What do you need to bring on your property search?
Keep in mind that your landlord might be an investor from another state entirely, since so many saw potential in Maricopa's brand new, inexpensive homes years ago. That means you might be dealing with a lot of property management groups rather than individuals renting out their home. Bring all the necessary paperwork, such as pay stubs, rental history, and any references you trust to not tell all your dirty secrets when the property management company calls for a background check.
Meet Your Neighbors
One unique fact about Maricopa is that locals don't really talk about cross streets when discussing where they live. Instead, they tell fellow Maricopans which development they are in, since everyone in this small city knows where each subdivision is. Remember this when you're ordering pizza and have to give your address and development name, not cross streets, to help the delivery driver find you! Here are some descriptions of just a few of the neighborhoods in this city.
Rancho El Dorado: This is the oldest master-planned community in Maricopa, so many of the houses were built around 2004 or so, which is considered practically ancient for this city--way before the first iPhone was even born! But this area is also one of the most popular because it features a golf course and the coveted spot right next to the 347 highway, making the commute to the Phoenix area a little easier.
Cobblestone Farms: This is another one of the original Maricopa neighborhoods, and it sits across the street from Rancho El Dorado, also next to the 347. If you want a home with a basement--a rare find in Arizona--this area is one of the few that offers it. There is also a splash pad and community pool here. Cannonball!
The Villages: This is a few minutes away from the highway, but it's still one of the first communities you'll see when you drive into Maricopa. It is also within walking distance of the main drag that has all the supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, and other necessities. But the main attraction here is the large pool and fitness center.
Homestead: This is a slightly newer development in Maricopa, with homes that were built around 2007, though some are even newer than that. This means there are generally fewer rentals here than in the more established developments. There are several playgrounds scattered around this community, with a larger park and lake here, as well. $$$
Province: If you're 55 years or older, you can live in this gated, active-adult community, which is among the nicest areas in Maricopa. It has a lake, clubhouse, resort-style pool, fitness center, and walking trails. It's got many of the benefits that apartment complexes offer but you'll have your own actual house! As an added bonus, many of the streets are named after famous oldies songs! What the heck are blue suede shoes, anyway?
Maricopa Meadows: This is one of the neighborhoods south of the train tracks. Though the houses here tend to be just as nice as the others in the city, they often cost a little less due to the inconvenience of the trains; they go through Maricopa several times a day and can put a stop to traffic for a few minutes each time.
Old Town Maricopa: Just as in many other cities, the old town area is the original center of Maricopa. Currently, there are mostly some tiny houses that are decades old and in disrepair. This area also has a few small businesses inside some older buildings, including barns. What the hay?$
The bottom line is that you need a car in Maricopa, since the public transportation options in the Phoenix area do not serve this city. In fact, the main way in and out is Arizona State Route 347, which is about 16 miles of nothingness, unless you count the dust storms and wild horses you will occasionally see as you leave the city.
Other highways in this area include the Maricopa/Casa Grande Highway which can take you to Casa Grande and back again and Arizona State Route 238, which is pretty much only used to escape to California for the occasional trip to San Diego's beaches five hours away. Take note that the average commute here is about 36 minutes, which is eight minutes longer than the national average.
Furthermore, there is not much to do in the city itself, so plan to make the 25-minute drive to the malls in the surrounding cities if you really want to shop. However, this growing city did recently get a state-of-the-art entertainment center that houses a 12-screen movie theater, restaurant, bar, arcade, bowling alley, and more. Plus, there is a casino a few minutes outside of town (for the buffets, of course), and another one about 20 minutes away, right next to a rather new outlet mall. And of course, no Arizona city would be complete without at least one golf course--and Maricopa happens to boast two of them. Score!