Welcome to my blog where I will be providing all information related to Phoenix real estate market updates, current real estate news, things to do in Phoenix, best restaurants in Phoenix, best hikes and so much more.



July 8, 2024

Top Staging Tips For Selling Your Home In North Phoenix

Staged Homes Sell For More $!

Years ago, like 20+, I heard someone yapping about how staged/occupied homes sell for 35% more money and in a shorter timeframe.

Let's dig a little deeper into that in this blog.

About Me First...

I'm stubborn. I will listen to what people have to say but a lot of what is said out there is trash. Just like you could be reading this and think this is trash...except it's not. 

I'm also super analytical.


Staging Myth #1

It's impossible to know if a home would have sold for more or quicker than another, because you can't go back in time to compare. Sure, we can use data points and assume. But there is no way in heck you can prove to me you have Home A that sold for X and it was not staged/empty and Home B which is the same home and it's staged and will sell for X plus Y.

And no 2 homes are the same, even if they are the same.  Can we use approximates/estimates? Sure. But then you can't say it would have sold for 35.2% more.

Pro Tip-just talk to your Realtor about the pros/cons of both. Nothing is an absolute.


Staging Myth #2

Hiring someone (a stager) to invest thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to stage your home. Staging could be as simple as throwing some red and yellow pillows on your couch. 

Pro Tip-Read the next Myth

Staging Myth #3

Staging will cost thousands of dollars. NO. Every situation is different. Let's just say you live in your home, have nice furniture, get a job relocation and have to bolt before "listing" your house for sale. Should the furniture stay? It always depends...but if you need it where you are going, take it. It's your furniture.

Pro Tip-Find and hire a Realtor that can give you options. In this case, take your furniture if you need it. The home will likely sell with or without it. But...there are options. Virtual staging i.e. Photoshop. My team can provide options for different styles to have your home displayed online...still in a very good light to capture viewers attention.

Staging Myth #4

Your home needs to be perfect at all times. I would partially disagree. Most buyers start their searches online. If pictures give the viewer what they need, they will likely book an appointment. Now, if they show up to a huge open space and can't envision anything yes there might be issues. But often times, virtually staging pictures does the trick...because it also allows the viewer to envision the space better since it's not real anyway.

Pro Tip-not comfortable taking all of your furniture? Not comfortable virtually staging every room? Try both scenarios out on different rooms. It's all about options.

Here's a before/after of us using virtual staging/removal to remove items. I happen to have believed the before was fine as there was color, etc. But perhaps the viewer was being turned off. So we removed the items and voila!


I'm not here bashing stagers. Clearly they are needed. I just think it is important for the consumer to know their options. I think it is also important for Realtors, stagers, and homeowners to look at all sides. I've had homes staged before. I have helped stage a home. Remember, staging could just be a pillow. 

My business practice is based around providing data and options (and other things too). Now, more than ever-you need to know your options. Because maybe your home will sell for 35.2% more if you spend $7500 on staging. But, what if...you spend $125 on Photoshop and it is easier and your home still sells for max dollar?

Thinking about selling your Phoenix home? You need an experienced Realtor that will give you options. Choose and hire carefully. I'm just a phone call, DM, comment away. Talk soon.




June 4, 2024

Where Is Everyone Moving To?

Time For A Change?

Growing up as a kid I moved about every 4-5 years. As annoying as it was, I got used to it. When I decided to call Phoenix home, I have been here close to 30 years now and don't see myself moving.

But....Pods, the local storage and moving company recently published an article about the top places that people are moving to...and from. Here is a link to their article.



Even here in Phoenix, I hear about a lot people thinking about, or actually moving to the Carolinas. So I'm not surprised at all. I am surprised Phoenix is only at #7. I would have thought we were in the Top 3. But keep in mind, not everyone moves with a moving company or PODS so it could be The Carolinas but who really knows? In either case I'm not surprised.


I Hate You, California.

No surprises here. Who doesn't hate California? I'm joking. They always get a bad rap (especially from Arizonans). And many of them move here.


A lot of people love moving to Chandler. Here is a link to search single family homes for sale in Chandler with 3 car garages.


Thinking about moving to Phoenix? Want to live in North Phoenix? Search all homes for sale in Phoenix here.  Learn more about North Phoenix in the best North Phoenix site around.


I'm here to help.


Blair Ballin




Posted in Market Updates
May 22, 2024

Best North Phoenix Indoor Activities

Want to go inside in the blasting ac?


Stay Inside

Summer in Phoenix is fast approaching, and when it does we are always stuck with the question, "What do we do?"

Furthermore, if you have kids who might get too bored just hanging out at home playing video games, you want somewhere else to go to keep them occupied.


Play. Play. Play.

That is exactly why I am sharing with you, the opening of a new place in North Phoenix called "Little Play Avenue."


In case you didn't know I have a Facebook Group and Community called Living North Phoenix. One of our newest offerings is for Community members to write blogs about their local experiences.


In today's blog, AC (no pun intended) wrote about her experience that had ac, amongst other things. Read the article here.


One of the best things about Little Play Ave is that, you have a bunch of options for nearby restaurants if you want to go for any of the daily meals. 


North Phoenix Is The Place To Be

Little Play Avenue is located in 85028, close to The Sheaborhood, a popular term for the local area. To see all available homes for sale in 85028, you can look here.


Don't be fooled. Yes it gets hot outside in Phoenix in the summer. But that doesn't mean there aren't things to do. There is more than you probably think.


If you have suggestions, or ideas, or have visited a place that you liked-let me know :-)

See you on the next blog.








May 6, 2024

Fun Phoenix Events

This past April was a historical month for North Phoenix. Why? Our neighborhood partner for North Phoenix, Living North Phoenix hosted their inaugural event, Valleypalooza.


It was even written about in a local publication, The City Sun Times.




May 6, 2024

Best Phoenix High School?

Moving to Phoenix? Live in Phoenix but don't know which high school is the best?

I can tell ya that until I went to Arizona State University, I had moved 5 times. And all of them were out of state moves. But the most important one to my parents was the one when we were moving to Chicago from New York. Why? Because high schools were involved and they wanted to make sure my brother and I got the best education possible, especially since we were coming from private schools.

And I distinctly remember, even some 40 years later, how my Mom really investigated the high schools, and chose where we ended up--Deerfield, Illinois.

Back to Phoenix and Arizona. Did you know the Phoenix area, specifically Peoria is home to the best high school in the Country? At least according to the source I am about to share (so keep reading). Now, I think it is deceiving because the source says public schools but the top ranked school is a charter school. We could get into another blog and argument about charters, but I'm not sure they belong in a public school discussion....but, for the sake of the source, and the list, they are in it; whether you like it or not.

Top Phoenix High School

And it goes to.....Basis in Peoria. Awhile back, I wrote about Basis. Maybe it propelled to #1 because of my blog and the attention it got? I am guessing yes. So if you are looking to be part of the best high school anywhere, visit Basis. You are on a real estate blog site, but for easy purposes, you can use the following link to search for all homes for sale in Peoria


What's The Source?

I wish it could be a secret but here it is. US News. This will take you directly to the best ranked Arizona Schools. If you are somewhere else, plug in your State and voila. Whether this type of school should be included or not, that is the result.


Next Best North Phoenix School

So Basis wins the overall award who's next. Depending on how you define the boundaries, I have Chaparral in Scottsdale pretty high up. I shared some other insight in a different Community. Check it out here.

What Next?

You decide on Arizona. Then Phoenix. You have children and you want to make sure you choose the right area and high school. Remember, we are an open enrollment State so you can live in Fountain Hills, and have the option of going to a Scottsdale school. I will never tell someone they are guaranteed a spot in a different District/school but it is available. Options are important, especially if you find a home you love but it's not in the home school area you like. 

I would say once you have the area picked out, it is important to find a Realtor that you can trust--to give you data and options and then go home shopping; whether you are looking to rent or buy.

I'm here to help if you need it.

Happy looking!

Feb. 27, 2024

Living the Dream: A Desert Ridge Home Tour on the Wildfire Golf Course

Want To Live On A Golf Course?


Love golf? Want to feel like your backyard is lush green grass and keeps going?


If you are looking for a home in Phoenix on a golf course, I think I found the one just for you.

Welcome to Desert Ridge. Welcome to Wildfire Golf Course in Desert Ridge.



Search all available Phoenix homes on a golf course right here!


Learn more about Desert Ridge here.

Want to see other golf course homes? Tour some in person? Give me a call- 4802336433. I'd be more than happy to meet up :-)


Blair Ballin

Your North Phoenix Realtor




This home was listed with Realty One


Posted in Home Tours
Feb. 15, 2024

Cave Creek 4 Bedroom Home For Sale With Pool

Looking for a home in Cave Creek, Arizona? Join me on today's video tour of this Cave Creek 4 bedroom home for sale in Cave Creek, Arizona. 




Want A Home On A Golf Course?

Even if you are not a golfer, having a home on a golf course is nice for a few different reasons. One of those reasons is that you have no neighbors behind you...and in some cases, it will feel like your backyard is extended with an extension of grass and is so relaxing and tranquil. 


What is Desert Ridge?

Desert Ridge is one of the most desirable locations in all of Phoenix. Why? Because it is central and has everything right around it with easy access to shopping, freeways, hiking, golf. It is also next to the JW Marriott at Desert Ridge, one of our Valley's premier resorts.

Desert Ridge is also home to Pinnacle High School, a highly sought after Paradise Valley high school.


North Phoenix

Is Desert Ridge considered North Phoenix? Yes. It is close to the 51 and 101 Freeways allowing easy access to Sky Harbor Airport   By car, you are minutes away from premier destination golf courses, upscale Scottsdale shopping, High Street and pretty much everything you need....all while being away from the City, but not really. This is Desert Ridge.

Want to see pictures of this Cave Creek 4 bedroom home for sale? Other info? Visit this page to get all the info.



Blair Ballin

eXp Realty










This home is listed by Berkshire Hathaway

Posted in Home Tours
Jan. 15, 2024

Whats Your Ladder?

What does a ladder have to do with a real estate post? It's possible it has nothing to do with real estate. But I like to talk and write, so this is my blog. So oh well. 

New Year New Me?

Let's go back to the first week of December 2023. Normally, we don't get our Christmas lights up to mid December. And normally, we pay someone to do it. Parts of our roof line are higher than our ladder could reach so it became easier to hire someone. But at what cost? And I don't mean financial.

When I bought my first home 25ish years ago one of the first things I bought was a ladder. I don't even remember why, but I was a homeowner for the first time, so owning a ladder seemed like a good investment I guess.

Ok, this wasn't from 25 years ago, but how much could really change?


Fast forward 25 years, that ladder was slightly weathered, lost most of its footing and at the top was only maybe 7 feet high. I don't necessarily have a fear of heights but whenever Christmas rolled around, and it was light hanging time, there was no way in hell I was standing on the very top trying to reach the roof pitch line pinnacle extending out fully. Hell to the triple no.

But then something hit me (not literally) that memorable December week.

How Much Money Are You Wasting?

For maybe 12 years we had been paying maybe $100/year to hang these lights. Maybe even $200. It's a total of 5--6 strands. We live in Phoenix. And it's not like we are Clark Griswold.

So let's say somewhere between $1200-$2400 over that time because I was too scared to hang the lights, or was it something else?


It was something else. I was so stuck in a mindset that I couldn't go higher with what I have. That that is all there is. That my ladder was my reach. My potential. 

So I thought to myself, "I'm gonna do it. I am gonna go to Home Depot and get a new ladder." And a few minutes later I did. And oh boy, the ladder selection was like me being in Toys R Us 35 years ago staring at new games for my Sega Genesis--ladder heaven! 8 foot ladders. 12 foot ladders. Ladders that slide down and fold. OMG. Ladders galore. Roughly 15 minutes later after finally choosing my next ladder, I was in the car (thank goodness it fit) and on my way home.

Like a kid that I was in that Toys R Us the ladder got taken out of the car, immediately put up, and I started hanging the light strands...and guess what I did it. I did it slowly but I did it. I actually hung Christmas lights.

So the financial part of me was like I spent $200. So this year was a wash. But now moving forward it would be like I have a never ending gift...until I need to buy another ladder.

The Breakthrough

But then that Sunday night, I texted one of my coaches. And I was like "And I realized last night while journaling all this time the old ladder was shit. But I could have just gotten a new one. I was relying on someone else. And how else in life am I relying on people that I can do my own thing. It was pretty powerful. Seriously." And he responded with, "Wow! That's a big realization man. That's huge and powerful."

So as I realized I was shutting myself down to opportunities. Relying on people. Whatever else...I ask you, what is your ladder? What can you change that will be that ah-ha.

Bigger Than You Think...

Because you see, as "minor" as it might sound that ladder represented so much more. I actually enjoyed hanging the lights. It was fun. Peaceful. Relaxing. Other than when I ate roof parts. But still I did it! I hung my lights! And I did it all by myself! 

So, once again. I ask you. What's your ladder?


Posted in Market Updates
Dec. 5, 2023

Is Basis Right For You?



In today's educational landscape in Phoenix Arizona, BASIS schools have emerged as a topic of intense debate. Known for their high-performing students and rigorous academic programs, these schools embody a philosophy of pushing the boundaries of traditional education. But at what cost? This blog post seeks to unravel the complexities of the BASIS educational model, exploring the fine line between fostering academic excellence and imposing excessive pressure on young minds.

Advanced Academic Programs: A Leap Forward or a Step Back?

BASIS schools are renowned for introducing complex, advanced subjects at an early age, challenging students to stretch their intellectual boundaries. Proponents argue that this approach equips students with critical thinking skills and a deep understanding of challenging concepts, preparing them for a competitive world. However, critics point out the potential downsides: increased stress, burnout, and a loss of childhood simplicity. Can such early academic rigor truly enhance learning, or does it risk overwhelming young students before they are developmentally ready?


Teacher Qualifications: Elevating Education or Unnecessary Prestige?

With a significant majority of BASIS teachers holding advanced degrees, there is no question about the caliber of educators in these schools. This high level of expertise is seen as a testament to the quality of education provided. But is it essential for effective teaching? Critics argue that while specialized knowledge is valuable, it may not always translate into better teaching, especially for younger grades. Is the emphasis on teacher qualifications elevating the educational experience, or is it simply adding a layer of prestige without a proportional impact on teaching quality?


Financial Accessibility and the Cost of Excellence:

BASIS schools, funded by public money, pride themselves on being accessible to students from all financial backgrounds. However, the practice of suggesting family contributions for teacher bonuses raises important questions about equity and inclusivity. Does this create a two-tier system where students' experiences are influenced by their ability to contribute financially? This aspect of the BASIS model ignites a conversation about the true cost of 'free' education and whether excellence in education should come with a hidden price tag.


This blog is about BASIS but the intent is to bring awareness to BASIS in Peoria. If you have thought about moving to Peoria and are looking for homes in 85383, use this home search to find your new home!

BASIS Peoria Primary is located at 25950 N. Lake Pleasant Parkway


The BASIS schools' model represents a broader conversation in the educational world: how to balance the pursuit of academic excellence with the holistic development of students. As we consider the future of education, it's crucial to ponder these questions. Where do you stand in this ongoing debate? Your insights and personal experiences are valuable contributions to this complex discussion.

Dec. 2, 2023

New Homes In Surprise

Looking for a new home in Surprise, Arizona?  Richmond American has some awesome opportunities for you. At time of writing this post, here are some features:

* Mid 400s

* 1800+ square feet

* 3-5 bedroom

* Close to Westgate and The Wildlife World Zoo

* RV and/or 3 car garages available

* FHA fixed rate close by 3/29/24 (5.875%)

* Enjoy payments as low as $2,391/month for a $460,000 home with 4.875% (7.853% APR) 30-year FHA 5/1 ARM financing!


Interested? Comment below or call me at 480-233-6433.

If this home style or location does not match your needs, I have access to others!

Posted in New homes