May 16, 2021

Moving Out of Santa Barbara




Californians are moving to Arizona by the thousands, and it’s easy to see why: The difference in home prices in incredible.


The median home price in Santa Barbara County is $861,000*

The median home price in Maricopa County (where Phoenix is located) is $395,000*


*According to Redfin


Shop Phoenix homes now


Phoenix homes are less than half the price of Santa Barbara County homes! With historically low interest rates, you can set yourself up in a beautiful home and cut your monthly mortgage payments by hundreds of dollars.


Arizona also ranks #7 in job growth in the United States, featuring large companies like Banner Health, American Express, Honeywell, and Chase Bank. With an unemployment rate 36% lower than California, Arizona has fewer people competing for jobs.


The Greater Phoenix Metro area, known as The Valley of the Sun, includes 9 cities with more than 50 unique towns. The Valley has just about every type of community imaginable: golf course homes, mountain estates, suburban bedroom communities, retirement communities, suburban living, luxury homes, and even desert homes on the edge of the wilderness.


The 9 cities of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area:


Phoenix Shop Phoenix homes now

Mesa Shop Mesa homes now

Chandler Shop Chandler homes now

Glendale Shop Glendale homes now

Scottsdale Shop Scottsdale homes now

Gilbert Shop Gilbert homes now

Tempe Shop Tempe homes now

Peoria Shop Peoria homes now

Surprise Shop Surprise homes now


With a stronger job market, less competition, year-round sunshine, and homes that are half the price, making the move to Phoenix is more attractive than ever – and a smart way to build wealth.


Posted in Phoenix Living
Jan. 26, 2021

Tips to Update Any Bathroom In Your Home

Transformation Tips for Any Bathroom In Your Home 


Are you lost when it comes to updating your home? Do HGTV shows and Pinterest make you feel like your home is completely outdated? Some people are gifted at home decor (you know the ones), and some need a little help to break it down.


Not to worry! We’re tackling a different room each week and showing you a few changes that will transform your space. Simple things to replace, where to shop, …and if you want to gut the place, we’ve got those suggestions too. 


NOTE: These are also the updates we suggest if you need to give your home some love before listing it. 


3 Ways to Update Any Bathroom


* swap out contractor mirrors 

* update light fixtures

* replace cabinet pulls


Ideas to Completely Transform the Space 


* transform that unused tub into a sleek walk-in shower

* replace the vanity countertop and/or cabinets

* paint the cabinets

* refresh the flooring 

Posted in Phoenix Living
Jan. 19, 2021

When Should I Sell My Phoenix Home?

How To Know When To Sell Your Home 

I have a friend in California who loves to surf. When I asked him how he knows when the perfect wave is coming, he laughed and said he doesn’t waste his time waiting for the perfect wave. He leaves that for the competitive surfers. When my friend sees a really good wave, he rides it for all it’s worth. Then he paddles out again and grabs another really good wave. He does this all day long, and goes home tired and happy. He loves surfing because he spends his time riding waves instead of waiting for them. Meanwhile, the beach is filled with frustrated would-be surfers who sit on their boards, waiting for some life-changing wave to appear.

This same scenario could describe the real estate market for 85085 & 85027. Homeowners looking to sell their homes fall into two categories: Those who sell their homes, and those waiting to sell - waiting to see if interest rates will drop further or home values will keep rising. Look, I understand the desire to get maximum value. But this strategy forces you to chase a moving target. There’s no alert telling you when it’s the absolute best time to sell. There are, however, several indicators telling us that now is a GREAT time to sell.

Indicators For When To Sell

1. Interest rates are historically low (below 3%!)

2. Home values are very strong

3. Inventory is limited

4. Demand is high

5. Houses are moving quickly

When you can check all five boxes at the same time, that’s about as clear an indication as you could hope for. NOW IS THE TIME TO SELL, PEOPLE.

Sure, you might be able to squeeze out a few more dollars for your home by waiting. Then again, interest rates might go up, canceling those gains. Or perhaps demand will begin to cool off as the foreclosure market heats up in the wake of Covid-19.

You can’t control market conditions any more than you can control the waves or the tide. But you can work with your Realtor to create a strategy for selling your home at the price and terms you want. And if a bidding war erupts and you end up with some extra money in your pocket, even better!

Here’s the bottom line: This is the strongest local seller’s market we’ve seen in more than a decade. Equity has come roaring back for Phoenix home owners. And many homes are selling in just a few days (if not hours). As a seller, you’re in an excellent position to sell. So, what do you want to do? Do you want to sit…or do you want to surf?


Posted in Sellers
Sept. 8, 2020

Does A Realtor's Experience Matter in a Good Market?


After the initial slowdown resulting from the Coronavirus lockdown, the real estate market bounced back in a big way. Home buyers who were ready in January were even more ready by the time summer arrived. Many sellers, however, pumped the brakes on their plans to move. There was just enough economic uncertainty to make them think twice about relocating from the safety of their nests. The net result: Inventory went down, home prices went up, andhouses started flying off the shelves. Our team saw homes list and sell in a matter of weeks,days, and in some cases, hours, as buyers scrambled to grab their dream homes and lock in thehistorically low interest rates.

During times like these when homes “practically sell themselves,” we often see a slew of new real estate agents appear. Enticed by the illusion of easy money, people will complete a course, take an exam, and join the other 27,000 real estate agents in Phoenix. Personally, I love seeing people begin a new challenge. That was me 18 years ago when I changed careers from TV news to real estate. Whenever new agents enter the market, the increased competition pushes meto keep grinding, to stay current in my knowledge base, to keep sharpening my skills, and to continue super-serving my clients. All of these things have helped prepare me for markets like this, where sellers want top value and buyers are competing for the home of their dreams.

So…does experience make a difference in a robust real estate market?

You bet your bottom dollar it makes a difference!

Here are five ways an experienced Realtor can make a huge difference for both buyers and sellers:

1) Experienced Realtors leverage their experience on your behalf. Whether it’s guidance on the offer you’re making or suggestions about the repairs you’re demanding, experienced Realtors know the difference between dealbreakers and dealmakers, and can advise you accordingly.

2) When multiple buyers want the same house, an experienced Realtor can take you to the front of the line. How? By presenting you along with your offer. All things being equal, sellers would rather sell to someone who loves the home as much as they did. An experienced Realtor knows how to communicate your enthusiasm for a home.

3) An experienced Realtor recognizes when a buyer is a “flight risk” – someone likely to cancel the deal on the house you’re selling. Perhaps the buyer objects to putting down a substantial deposit, or insists on a long closing period. These are red flags sellers shouldn’t ignore - and an experienced Realtor will spot.

4) Experienced Realtors have a network of professionals who specialize in helping get deals done: Lenders, repair people, title companies, painters, and staging companies. All of these can contribute to the speed of the sale. If your real estate agent is Googling title companies and mortgage lenders, you might be dealing with someone who has less experience than you’d prefer.

5) An experienced Realtor has a team of people to help keep everything on track. From research to marketing to paperwork to communications, a Realtor with a strong team of specialists has more time to spend focusing on the most important deal there is: yours.



Posted in Sellers
July 29, 2020

Tour my updated home with me!

As we get ready to move out of our Fireside at Norterra home to another address (still in Fireside of course), I thought I would share all the updating projects we have done over the past several years. There are so many things I love about this home and a few things I would have done differently when we first moved in. 

In addition to my real estate career, I have a passion for interior design. I love helping my North Phoenix clients visualize changes they can make to a home when we're out house hunting. Also, friends and neighbors often ask my opinion on updates and remodel ideas. If you're wondering if an update is worth the investment, I can help with that too. 

Interestingly enough, we just sold this home in one day. We had five offers and accepted one that was $15,000 OVER asking price. I am a big proponent of keeping your home updated so you love it while you live there...and see the financial value when you go to sell.

Have questions? Don't hesitate to reach out! 

Posted in Sellers
July 29, 2020

Fireside at Norterra | Walk This Way

The longest walk you’ll ever take is the walk across your backyard in the Summer without flip flops. Your patio or pool deck reaches heat levels that would make your car dashboard jealous. That’s life in Phoenix, for sure! Many Arizona backyards include hardscape such as bricks, pavers, concrete, stone, or tile. Any of these hardscape materials can look amazing while providing you with a highly durable surface. But they all share the same drawback: they get hot! As Phoenicians, we understand this is part and parcel with Summer in the Valley. But standing on your patio shouldn’t feel like walking across hot coals at a motivational corporate retreat. Thanks to scientific advancements, coupled with the relentless pursuit of staying cool, we now have more options than ever before for making backyard spaces a little more livable. This is welcome news for people who love spending the summer barefoot – or for anyone with kids or dogs in their backyard. Any product that protects feet and paws from getting burned is worth looking into.


With this in mind, here are five DIY ways to dial-back the surface temperature in your backyard:


Deck Paint

Transform a plain concrete surface into a good looking, heat-reducing lounge area. H&C Cool Feel Deck and Walkway Coating is a water-based coating that rolls on like paint and provides protection from water, pool chemicals, stains, and UV rays. Can be tinted to hundreds of different colors. $67 a gallon at Sherwin-Williams.


Wood Overlay Tiles

Turn a hardscaped surface into a wood deck with real wood tiles that snap together like Legos. Customizable, stainable, and removable. Perfect for apartment or condo balconies. 9 sq. feet for $25 at IKEA.


Runner Rugs

Outdoor rugs are a foot-friendly solution to make rough surfaces comfortable while mitigating the high ground temperatures. features hundreds of indoor/outdoor runner rugs, including several that measure a whopping 22-feet long! Prices start at $78. 



The easiest way to cool your hardscape is by not letting it get hot in the first place. Good ol’ fashioned shade can be a real game-changer in your backyard. The options are limitless, and include solutions such as patio umbrellas, awnings, and pergolas. Try the Ohuhu Sun Shade Sail. It’s a home version of the popular shade solutions you see on playgrounds. Each 8’ x 10’ sail comes with heavy duty rope and a stainless steel hardware kit for mounting and hanging. $39 on

Soft Landing

If you don’t mind stepping up your budget, you can install commercial-grade foam flooring (think of the surface of a splash pad). Your pool deck will be transformed into a safer, softer, cooler place to hang out. The increased traction helps prevents slips & falls, and the cushiony material makes for softer landings whenever a tumble does occur. UV-resistant, anti-fungal, and antibacterial. The perfect surface in a cootie-filled world. Starting at $15 a sq. foot at

Did you know? 

Surface Temperatures on a 100-degree day:

Brick 150°

Concrete pavers 120°

Flagstone 115°

Travertine 110°


Posted in Phoenix Living
June 2, 2020

Fireside at Norterra | 1018 W Spur Drive 85085

Our newest listing in Fireside at Norterra! You'll love the versatility of this floor plan. In addition to the four spacious bedrooms, this home includes a bonus room, loft, and formal dining room allowing you to create that home gym you've always wanted. Or maybe a home office is on your wish list - there's space for that as well. Maybe your teens need a gaming room, study room, or craft spot - we've got you covered. 

You'll also enjoy all the resort-style amenities that Fireside at Norterra offers. Pools, tennis, fitness center, yoga, and more. Conveniently close to The Shops at Norterra for shopping and dining options. 

Posted in Just Listed
April 30, 2020

Norterra - CASCO Financial Tips During COVID-19

Rebecca Wyatt of local Norterra company, CASCO Financial chats with Shelley Sakala about managing your personal finances as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Many residents of the Norterra/85085 community have questions about what to do and not do as unemployment is on the rise. Not sure how the economy will be affected, Rebecca gives some sound advice for planning for the unknown. 


Posted in Phoenix Living
April 29, 2020

Norterra Homes - Common Snake Myths Debunked

Everything You Need To Know About Rattlesnakes


If you live in Norterra, a quaint community in North Phoenix, or really anywhere in Arizona, you're bound to encounter a snake or two. Yikes! Luckily for us desert dwellers, there are things you can do to "snake proof" your home/yard. Educating yourself about snakes is also key to coexisting with them. 

Bryan Hughes of Rattlesnake Solutions offers some fascinating information about snakes - Can they actually jump? How high can they crawl? What's their strike range? He has relocated snakes from Fireside at Norterra and all over the valley and offers a 24 hour hotline for anyone finding themselves in a panic situation. 

Check out their website for more information on the services they provide:  

Rattlesnake Solutions

Posted in Phoenix Living
April 8, 2020

Corona Virus (COVID-19) Phoenix Market Update

How the Corona Virus is affecting the Phoenix real estate market as of April 7, 2020. 

My interview with Josh Heape of Canopy Mortgage to tackle our most asked questions about how the real estate market is doing in real time. Is it a good time to buy a house? Is it a good time to sell your home? Should I refinance my home while interest rates are low?

We answer these questions and more. Obviously, we don't have a crystal ball to predict what will happen in the coming weeks, but we are staying on top of daily changes to be your source for guidance and factual information.

As always, if we can answer any questions you have about how things in Phoenix real estate will affect your personal situation, please don't hesitate to contact us! Josh can be reached at 602-330-6446. Call or text Shelley at 602-421-2324.


Posted in Sellers