As I start rolling into Flagstaff, expecting what everybody knows Arizona is all about, which is flat, sand, 150 degrees, cactus everywhere, buzzards and vultures in the cactus waiting for you to die in the heat. I roll into Flagstaff, and there’s a foot of snow on the ground.
I’m Conrad Walton. And this is FindingPrescott moving stories from people who decided to make Prescott Arizona, their hometown.
Hi, I’m Conrad Walton. And this is the very first episode of Finding Prescott. You know, when you find something in life that you think is really, really awesome, and you just want to share it with everybody in the whole world? Well, I think that Prescott is really, really awesome. So I developed this podcast, to give advice, information and encouragement to people who live out of state, but you want a better way of life. We’re going to take a realistic look at what it’s like to live in Prescott. What are the pros and the cons? What does it take to move from there to here? Hopefully, this isn’t going to be a real estate brochure or a PR thing. But you’re going to find out what it really is like to live here. Because everybody’s unique, and maybe Prescott is not going to be a good fit for you, but it might be perfect.
The format of the podcast is going to be an interview every episode with somebody who’s moved from some other state to Prescott. I’m going to ask them about their experiences and ask them for their advice, and their tips on what it takes to move here and live in Prescott. All of the show notes and the information about the podcast, and each episode. That’s all going to be on the website at FindingPrescott.com. If you have questions or if you need help with anything, you can contact me on that website FindingPrescott.com.
Of course, at the end of every episode, I’m going to give you a pitch to use me as your real estate agent, if you actually do decide to move here. And because this is the very first episode, I figured I should tell you my story and kind of interview myself and that might be kind of awkward, but I’m gonna give it a try. So here we go.
Just to introduce myself. I’m a real estate agent here in Prescott. My wife and I moved here about six years ago full time, from the beach area in LA. We both grew up at the beach, and we both love living there. We both grew up within like a mile of the beach, very much part of that culture. So moving to Arizona was was quite different from that.
I want to take you back to the first time I was ever in Arizona. It was after college at a Volkswagen van and taking a road trip from LA through Seattle and Idaho, Moab, Utah and Arizona Grand Canyon and and back to LA. And as I start rolling into Flagstaff, Expecting what everybody knows Arizona is all about, which is flat sand, 150 degrees. Cactus everywhere. Buzzards and vultures in the cactus waiting for you to die in the heat. I roll into Flagstaff and there’s a foot of snow on the ground.
Found out there Flagstaff’s actually at like 7000 feet or above and and actually is cold and snows there and there’s Ponderosa pines and it’s actually pretty beautiful there. So I learned the North half of the state is different than the South half of the state.
First time I ever found out about Prescott was on a family vacation. We were driving from LA to Moab, Utah, I do love Moab. We came into KOA campground. In those days, it was early in our in our marriage and we were kind of broke at that point. So we were camping. We had a tent, doing that whole camping thing. And we were going to camp in Ash Fork because there was KOA there. We came into that, and it looked like it was a parking lot, little patches of grass surrounded by gravel, right next to the freeway. And we were both like, yeah, that’s not gonna happen. We’re out of here. We’re finding someplace else.
There was a sign for a city south of there and thought “What the heck”, Prescott, and we drove south. We came through the Dells. We ended up in the downtown Courthouse Square, thought, Oh my gosh, this is like driving into a movie. It was amazing. And we found a campground out White Spar and spent the night. Next day, we walked all around downtown Courthouse Square, Whiskey Row. I mean, what kind of a city has a block named Whiskey Row? and I’m sure there’s some out there but darn it, Prescott has Whiskey Row, has The Palace Saloon. Wyatt Earp drank in The Palace Saloon. How cool is that! Doc Holliday was in there.
So at that point, we kind of fell in love with it. We would come back on anniversaries, family vacations, Valentine’s Day, romantic weekends away. Decided, you know, Someday Someday we’re gonna move to Prescott if we can, you know, afford it and if the logistics work. So we had a lot of family, a lot of obligations, jobs, things like that in LA. It took a long time. I think it was probably 25 years of coming here, just about every year for that 25 years. Finally the family situation changed and we inherited some money and logistically it worked.
So we bought some property here, remodeled that and year and a half later, we moved here full time. My wife had always wanted to live downtown with the Victorian homes. We lived in a Craftsman bungalow in LA. And we like historic homes and you know we got here and the Victorians down there on Mount Vernon street are beautiful. It’s just amazing homes, but they’re kind of suburban. They’re kind of like right next to each other. We’re thinking, you know, if we’re going to move out of LA, where your neighbors are six feet apart from your building, why don’t we move out of LA and get out into the mountains.
So we started driving around on the forest, we found a little community called Walker. It’s an old mining community. It’s where they discovered gold back in 1863. Walker’s this great community south of town about 9 or 10 miles. So I love living in Walker. We live in a cabin at the end of a dirt road on two acres in in the forest surrounded by ponderosa pine. And that’s kind of as awesome as you might think it would be. We’re far enough from town that we’ve got some privacy and seclusion, and yet, Costco is 12 minutes away.
The process of moving here was kind of interesting. We lived in that house for 24 years, which meant a lot of boxes full of memories. We had a lot of stuff to go through. It was really difficult to sort through things. Before that my parents retired and moved away. We had to go through and sort out my parents house. So we ended up a lot of, we’ll call them memories. And then my wife’s mother passed away, we ended up inheriting her house, and inheriting another whole house full of memories. We ended up having to rent a storage unit out here for all the memories. And it was really difficult. It took us years to go through, sort things out, decide what to throw away what to keep. I think that was probably the hardest part about moving out here.
I think inertia is a really hard thing. It’s it’s so much easier to just stay where you are and not take the initiative to actually make a decision and move somewhere. So. But we finally got there. It took us a couple years but we finally live here full time and we’ll never go back to California. People ask, you know, would I ever go back and I’m thinking, if I could go back to the 70s that would be awesome. I could go back to the 80s. That would even be awesome. But LA has gotten too crowded. Too much traffic, too much crime. I just I just can’t deal with that anymore. Prescott’s way more peaceful. There’s no earthquakes here. There’s no riots here. We just love Prescott too much.
If you ever do want to move here, one hot tip I’ll tell you is it is not pronounced Prescott. If you say Prescott, everybody’s gonna know you’re not from around here. It’s pronounced press kit, press kit. It’s kind of like if you press and you have a kit. It’s Prescott. People will tell you it’s like biscuit but it’s not pris-kit. It’s Prescott. So there you go.
So our home buying process. We had bought and sold a couple homes in LA and I had some familiarity with it. A friend of mine was a real estate agent, so I kind of understood that process. So we basically drove around, picked up fliers out of flyer boxes on realtor signs, and found one, drove up to where we thought it was. When their neighbor came out. She had a .45 stuck in her belt. And she was as nice as could be. Hi, can I help you? So yeah, we’re looking for this house. And they’re like, Oh, yeah, that’s that’s those guys. And it’s right over there down that road. You know, so we drove down there. The owner showed it to us. The only reason we really needed a realtor was to do all the paperwork. So it was fairly straightforward cash deal.
The hard part came after that because we spent a year and a half remodeling it, renovated it, rebuilt it put a bunch of money into it. We were living in LA on a Friday night. I was never forget this part. Went down to El Sombrero on Artesia in Manhattan Beach to get Friday night Mexican food takeout and made my usual order carnitas, well done, fajitas with extra vegetables for my wife, and I’m sitting on their little bench and I’m waiting. So I took my phone out and I looked at what our house was worth on Zillow, it was worth over a million bucks. And at that moment, I’m like, we’re moving to Prescott.
We put our house on the market. We sold it within two weeks for more than we’re asking. Long story there. That worked out really well. We had to rent it back from him for a couple months because we had so much stuff we had to move and sort through. I’ll never forget the day we drove away, had a U Haul trailer with the last bits and pieces. And it was really hard.
It was it was way more emotional than I thought, moving out of that house. You know, we had memories and I was really emotionally attached to that house. I think real estate is way more emotional and people realize. My part of it as a real estate agent, it’s contracts and numbers and dollars and, you know, liabilities and disclosures and all that. But fact is when you raise a family, or people live and die and things happen, there’s just so many memories. It’s, it’s hard to move out of a house. So I understand that.
By the time we got here, I, that was the best decision we ever made. It was difficult. It was difficult process, but I would never go back. Have no regrets about that.
I think the best part about moving here is I feel like there’s freedom. It’s like, this is America. In LA, it seemed like there was a lot of little regulations and laws and being hassled by people and getting along with people and it was it was just difficult to live it took a lot of energy. But in Arizona, generally, the laws seem to be a much looser, it’s easier to just do whatever you want. Here, there’s a lot of freedom.
I like the people here. I like how friendly everybody is. In LA there seemed to be a lot of arrogance. And I think I fell into that. I think I was arrogant because Hey, dude, I was from the beach and I was cooler than you. And it took me a while to realize that and step back and people in Arizona are pretty cool. Everybody’s friendly and helpful. There’s always going to be your crusty bits out there. Your, you know, your, people are people, but generally people are very nice here very helpful, very friendly. And that’s just refreshing. That’s like the way life should be and, and I really enjoy that part of it.
The thing I don’t like about Prescott is I really do miss the beach and there’s no beach here. I think that lifestyle and thing, that that was the biggest sacrifice in the balance of life. I would rather move here to Prescott, but I do miss the beach. I think there was better food in LA I gotta say sushi, Chinese Food, Mexican food, it was all better in LA than it is in Prescott. And we do have good food here. We have good Italian food and we have some other good places to eat. We found some things that make us happy but Mexican food in LA? Can’t beat it. Tito’s Tacos on the west side. I do miss Tito’s. Randy’s donuts. Look them up. I missed them too. So I think the food is one issue.
I think shopping. You know, this isn’t a big city. It’s not a small city. It’s not like there’s only a few hundred people living here. I mean, we got like 40,000 or whatever. And we do have stores and most most things are available. But we don’t have the big shopping malls. We don’t have the vast array of shops where you can get anything you want. We don’t have an Apple store. I’m a Mac fanboi, so that one hurts. But an hour and a half away, we’ve got Phoenix down there. There’s an Apple store in Scottsdale I go to a lot, and if you can’t find it in Phoenix, you know, you can find it online. So we survive, maybe not quite as conveniently but we have enough shopping to get by.
I think the thing that surprised me most about Prescott is the mix of people that live here. I used to work with guys used to call me “cowboy”, because I thought, you know, I’m a cowboy. Well in Prescott, they have real cowboys. They actually raised cows and they have bales of hay in their pickup and, you know, people wear guns on their hip here. And, you know, they’re real cowboys. We also have a bunch of old hippies. We have a vibrant art community. There’s a bunch of artistic people around. It’s just a weird mix of old hippies and cowboys and, and a bunch of middle class people and it’s just a nice place to live.
My advice to you if you’re going to move here or if you’re thinking about moving here, you need to come here and explore. The neighborhoods are very different. To the south. And to the west, you’re going to be up in the mountains in the Bradshaw mountains, a lot of ponderosa pine, a lot of forest living, a lot of dirt roads. You can get down downtown and there’s very suburban kind of locations, sidewalks and streets and all that normal stuff. If you go out north, it gets flat, you can get two acres out there and have kind of a spread, but not the, not the trees. And there’s just a lot of different kinds of neighborhoods. So you really should travel around, get a map and start poking around at different places. See, see what kind of a neighborhood feels good to you.
I think the other thing about moving, and I’m looking at this from both sides, because I’m a real estate agent now, is you really need to have a good real estate agent. Tell them everything you’re thinking and want to do. They’re gonna know more than you are about what’s available and what you might like out here. They can think of things that you’re not aware of. I’ve got tell you. Growing up, I’ve never really like real estate agents, I’ve always thought they were just you know, how to make a buck and hustlers and all that. But now that I am a real estate agent, I have found out that most of them are really, really nice people, and they’re really, really helpful. And they got into real estate because they like helping people they’re very social and, you know, really have a lot of empathy and compassion on people and, you know, they’re not in it for the money they’re in it to, to make you happy. And I’m pleasantly surprised by that.
And that’s why I’m in it. I’ve found myself being you know, it’s like, I want to change the image a bit. Well, now there are actually good people out there and and I’d like to think I’m a good person. I’m in this to help people too. So… I don’t think that’s a sales pitch. I think that’s just an observation of reality. There’s still a few people out there I would I would watch for but then again, like, you know, people are people and you’ve got to judge for yourself. Find somebody you like. Find someone you trust. If you don’t like somebody, find somebody else. Don’t feel bad about that. We deal with a lot of people. We can we can handle it.
The home buying process and the whole moving process. We did the U haul thing and, you know, friends packing up boxes and putting in a U Haul. I was long and hard. It was cheaper, took longer. It was easier because we had a lot of stuff to move. And it was easier to take bite sized chunks. But I know other people, it’s like you just hire a mover. They load it up. It shows up next Tuesday, boom, you’re done. And everything’s in the house. And that might be the way to go too. I don’t know, but get a good real estate agent.
Don’t just find a house on Zillow that you want to buy and go to that listing agent and ask them about representing you. Go get your own realtor. You need somebody to represent you and let the listing agent represents the seller. Although I have done both sides of transactions the buyer and the seller to And, and I do my very best to treat people fairly and make sure everything’s done correctly.
I think my final thoughts about moving to Prescott, looking back, I mean, I was born and raised in LA. And I was shocked when other people I knew in high school or college would move away. And I think how could you do that? This is the best place in the world! Looking back now I realized that LA has slowly become more and more toxic to me. I feel like it was like being in a bad relationship. You don’t really know it while you’re in it. And then you get out of it. You look back and you go, man, how did I put up with all that stuff?
I think a little reality check of what his life like where you’re at. And if you’ve got family or job or, or whatever, and you want to, you know, you have reasons for being there., you know, that’s cool, stay there. You know, be who you are, live where you live. That’s, that’s fine. But if you look around and you think, man, this is not, this is not good. I don’t like living here anymore. I’m tired of, you know, traffic. Crime crowdedness whatever, look around and give Prescott a chance. Prescott’s a pretty good alternative to big city living. So not too big, not too small, gives you a little a little space to breathe out here. It’s a comfortable place to be. I think when you when you first drive into downtown, and you go to the Courthouse Square, if you’ve had that experience or if you’re going to have that experience, that is the moment where it’s like, you know, they call this “everybody’s hometown”, and it really feels like hometown. It feels like like it’s warm, it’s comfortable. It’s like, oh, I’ve been here before it’s, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, and I don’t know, I think it’s just the coolest place to live in the world. I don’t ever see living anywhere else. I’ve told people it’s like you’re gonna have to drag me out of here and put me in a home. I’m not leaving here.
I love Prescott and I think if you are interested in In a better way of life, if you’re interested in a little more freedom, a little more breathing room, to get along with some people who are nice and supportive and friendly, I think that Prescott should be on your list of places to check out. And of course, I’m a real estate agent, give me a call. I appreciate you listening. I hope this podcast turns into something that’s useful to people and that people enjoy it. I hope you enjoy it. I hope it’s useful to you. And I really do appreciate you taking the time to check this out. So with that, I think we’re done. So thank you very much, and hopefully we’ll talk soon. Bye.
I want to thank you, my listeners for choosing this podcast to spend your time and attention on. If you’d like to help me out. Please review this podcast where you get your podcasts. If you want help or have questions about moving to Prescott, give me a call or text me at 928-925-4428 You can send me an email at Conrad at FindingPrescott.com. That’d CONRAD at findingPrescott.com, You can contact me through that website. There’s a contact form there for you. All of the show notes are going to be there and you’ll find all the information about this episode there. If you do contact me, one of my team members or I will reach out and we’ll try to answer all your questions and give you any kind of help you might need.
And remember, the key to life is gratitude. So stay thankful