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.



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. 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
Nov. 27, 2023

Phoenix Homes With Pickleball Courts

Pickleball has taken over the nation! Do you love to pickle? Do you get stuck in the kitchen like I do?

I put together this blog with some useful information about homes with pickleball courts so if you are looking to practice or play more, you can be aware of your options!

Community Pickleball Courts

One Scottsdale subdivision that has pickleball courts and is one of the most sought after communities is McDowell Mountain Ranch. MMR is known for its stunning mountain views and desert tranquility. Enjoy hiking, biking, and being outdoors...and in this case, playing some pickle!

Looking for a subdivision that's a little more central? Maybe closer to some of the "action"? Stonegate is a guard gated community that is a must see!

And even more central, literally in the thick of things is Gainey Ranch. Not only do you get in-town luxury but you are close to multiple resort golf courses, hotels, tons of shopping, Fashion Square Mall, upscale restaurants and so much more.


Your Very Own Pickleball Court

Don't want to share a court? Want your own? Here is an amazing Phoenix area home with its own pickleball court. In fact, it has 2!

Want your own pickleball court but want to have a Scottsdale address? Here is an amazing home in Scottsdale on almost an acre with its own pickleball court


City Parks

Sometimes a City Park will have an accessible court to play pickleball. Unfortunately, many times there is a waiting list. I found an old article with some of those Parks. The dates may change but it does give some great info on which parks/courts were available.


Build Your Own?

Want your own court, have the space, but don't know how to build a pickleball court?

Our friends at the Ben Lalez Team in Chicago put together this awesome post about all things for building and maintaning a pickleball court


So, sort through this list, grab your racket, some comfortable shoes and start pickling!

If you have questions about the area, want to know about pickleball courts for a different location reach out. I am here to help.

Blair Ballin

Hunt Real Estate ERA



Nov. 21, 2023

Top 3 Things To Do In Phoenix In The Summer

But it's a dry heat.... If you live here, that's usually the excuse you give. If you don't live here, all you can think about is your feet burning from walking on the sun: aka Phoenix streets.

So, you are thinking about moving to Phoenix and concerned about living in hell. Well, I can tell you after having lived here for 30 years- the summers can get to be a little toasty but how often are you really outside? It really is a dry heat and much better than some Chicago summers I used to live through. Sorry to my friends at the Ben Lalez Team in Chicago.

But there really is more to it than that and that's why I wanted to write this article and share it with you, so let's dig in to what are the Top 3 things to do in Phoenix in the summer!


Leave Phoenix...lol

So I love Phoenix and all and whether you are used to it or not, sometimes it is just nice to get away. And let's face it, I remember as a kid, every summer taking a summer vacation, so how is it any different now? And if you take a vacation every month, or for a few weekends all the better!

One of the most popular destination spots for Phoenicians is California. Especially Southern California. And more specifically Orange County. Even if it's not just for the weather, who doesn't love being near the Ocean? Enjoying some delicious food? Or taking a mini trip to Disneyland? FYI, if you happen to visit Coronado Island-don't be surprised to run into some of your neighbors. July is a premier time to make Coronado their destination spot. 

Don't want to drive for 6 hours or take an hour flight? Stay local and drive to Flagstaff-a quick 2 hour drive from North Phoenix. The temperatures are usually on average about 20 degrees cooler and whether it be for a weekend getaway, a month, or the summer, Flag (as the locals call it) is a sweet spot to visit the high country (elevation and maybe other stuff too) ;-)

Swimming pools in the summer?

Yup, you guessed it. And whether you think it feels like bath water or not, being able to jump in your own pool from June-August is awesome...and whether it's hopping on your inflatable unicorn during the day drenched in sunscreen...or late at night, enjoying a local Hazy IPA while gazing at the stars, yeah, I'd take that over a muggy, sweaty day any time.

Are pools harder or more to maintain? I don't know-- sometimes I feel like it is harder to maintain rocks since weeds pop up all the time. Do pool pumps, cleaning of pools, and the pebble-tek cost more? I guess. But I'd rather be able to enjoy a dip in the pool at my convenience, and you pay for convenience.  Look at some Phoenix homes with pools for sale right here.

Stay inside

It sounds obvious but really in most areas of the Country when it is 90+ outside do you flock to go outside to enjoy a walk? Play a round of golf? No. So, stay inside. Go to a Costco and cool off there. We are a dry heat so there is no question walking to your car here from wherever you go you won't be drenched like some Midwestern states. But be prepared for your car seats and steering wheel to feel like the Devil just touched your lucky car. But so what, you cool it off and be on your merry way.

We also have, like other areas, Museums to visit. The Musical Instrument Museum is a fabulous place to go in North Phoenix. Downtown has the Childrens Museum if you have kids. The Phoenix Art Museum is a lot of fun too. 

I get it. You are probably saying, "Blair, you told us to leave, get a pool or stay inside. That doesn't really give us many options." I disagree. I have lived in multiple states with a sweaty summer. I would take Phoenix almost any day over those summers. And I can swim any day...and guess what -- it's good exercise too. I can just relax. I can enjoy local establishments. So there really is a lot to do. And one thing I love about Phoenix is San Diego, Vegas and some other areas are just an hour plane ride away.

What next?

If you are thinking about moving to Phoenix and looking to buy a home--look for a home with a swimming pool. You'll thank me later. And if you want to yell at me-my phone doesn't accept those types of calls.

Phoenix is great. There are 12 months in a year. The Summer is about 3. The other 75% of the year is well worth it. Whether you love the Spring/Fall/Winter or shorts and flip flops almost year round, I would take the trade for 120 days 1-3x a year for the great that is the rest of the year.

When you do move to Phoenix and looking for something to do, hit me up, I have recommendations for things to do in the summer, best restaurants, referrals for contractors--I am here to help.




Nov. 17, 2023

Phoenix new construction


  • 3 bedroom 2 bathroom home
  • Just under 1500 square feet
  • 2 car garage
  • 1 story
  • Located in Surprise, AZ

Community center with a pool and tennis court

Through 11/19.  Rates as low as 5.75% (6.494% APR) on select quick move-in homes. Plus, receive $5,000 towards closings costs!


Blair Ballin (your new home Realtor)

Hunt Real Estate ERA


This home is listed with LandSea

Posted in New homes
Nov. 13, 2023

The Top 5 Best Scottsdale Golf Course Communities

Scottsdale Golf Destination Spot

When it comes to combining golf with luxury living, Scottsdale stands out as a premier destination for Chicago area residents looking to escape the cold winters.  With its stunning desert landscapes, world-class golf courses, and upscale amenities, Scottsdale has become a premier destination. In this article, we will explore the five best Scottsdale golf course communities that cater to golf enthusiasts and those who appreciate the finer things in life.

And compared to many other areas, Scottsdale's taxes are usually a fraction of the costs. So, let's dive right into the 5 best golf communities in Scottsdale.




Grayhawk golf

Grayhawk is one of the most sought after golf communities in all of Phoenix simply because the location is absolutely idea. With 2 18 hole courses there is enough to choose from. The Talon course has almost 7000 yards of awesome desert golf. The views of The McDowell Mountain Range are stunning. Be sure to play a round here. 

The other course is the Raptor. With over 7000 yards, this course is a challenge. Pack some extra sleeves of balls just in case.

Grayhawk is also one of the most popular Scottsdale golf course communities because of its range of housing. Grayhawk has condos, single family homes that are great for families, and also luxury homes, some of which are on the golf course.  View Grayhawk homes for sale here.



Situated in North Scottsdale, Troon is a golf community that boasts two 18-hole courses: the Monument and the Pinnacle. Designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, these courses consistently rank among the best in the State. The real estate in Troon North offers a mix of luxury homes and townhouses, each with its own unique charm and style. With spectacular views of Pinnacle Peak and the surrounding desert, residents of Troon North enjoy a lifestyle that embraces the beauty of the Arizona landscape. Troon holds a very special place for many golfers from the North Chicago suburbs. Take a peek at Troon homes for sale here


Desert Mountain

Desert Mountain is a renowned golf community that spans over 8,000 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert terrain. With 6 Jack Nicklaus signature golf courses, including the famous Chiricahua and Renegade courses, residents have access to a golf experience that caters to players of all skill levels. The real estate in Desert Mountain is equally impressive, with custom-built homes showcasing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, city lights, and golf courses. This community offers a true sense of desert luxury and tranquility. Looking for a home in Desert Mountain?


DC Ranch

Nestled in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains, Silverleaf at DC Ranch is an exclusive, guard-gated community that defines luxury living. Boasting a private 18-hole championship golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf, residents of Silverleaf enjoy not only breathtaking views of the surrounding Sonoran Desert but also a golf experience that rivals the best in the world. The homes in Silverleaf are architectural masterpieces, featuring Mediterranean and Spanish-inspired designs, with sprawling estates that offer both privacy and elegance. Don't forget to view the DC Ranch homes for sale.



Scottsdale established itself as a golfer's paradise, especially for Chicago residents looking to enjoy golf all year long,  and these luxury golf real estate communities elevate the experience to new heights. Whether you're a golf enthusiast or simply appreciate the finer things in life, these communities offer a unique blend of natural beauty, world-class golf, and upscale living. Tee off in style and make one of these exclusive communities your home in the Valley of the Sun.