Real Estate Agent or Social Media Icon?  Choose Wisely When Selling Your Scottsdale Home.

Real Estate Agent or Social Media Icon? Choose Wisely When Selling Your Scottsdale Home.

The collection of hats in a Scottsdale Real Estate listing agent’s closet grows at an exponential rate.  We alternately don the garb of property evaluator, pitchman, marketing pro, receptionist / showing coordinator, contract prep specialist, home inspection consultant, appraisal jouster, loan oversight committee (of one), repair foreman, closing editor, schedule contortionist, marriage counselor, dime store psychologist, balloon animal fashionista, etc, etc, etc.  With the advent of Internet marketing, you can add a couple more titles to the overflowing job description: Google Engineer and Social Media Cruise Director.

Before you place too much importance on these latest additions, make sure your virtual Captain Stubing has what it takes to avoid the icebergs of an honest to goodness Real Estate transaction.

The great equalizer, the cyber-world provides the blank slate upon which even the most novice agents can paint a colorful picture of expertise.  Years of experience trumped in the search engines by weeks of keyword optimized content.  Those with their hard hats on in this soft medium can easily be mistaken for proven veterans of the Real Estate world.  As such, even the most obstinate curmudgeons have yielded to the inertia of technology and joined the online fray in the ever-expanding global search for the next business prospect.

While we here at the Scottsdale Property Shop are ardent followers of the Internet prophets, we realize that this shiny new(er) medium is only the latest and greatest hat to hang on our business rack.  The fixation with getting to the top of the pagerank heap has distracted many agents and consumers alike from the actual job of selling Real Estate.  Think getting the most online exposure possible for your home is key to the probability of a sale?  Well, you’re right.  That said, raw exposure in the absence of ability is tantamount to brain surgery via an enthusiastic first year med student with a text book, albeit it one with exceptional illustration.

If you are reading this, you already know that we are adept at getting our services and our properties in front of a target audience.  What you may overlook, however, is the fact that this is but one minute portion of the job.  You must fully vet the agent(s) you choose to employ on all facets of the service, not simply the “Cool, my house will be on page 1!” factor.  Click through the articles, peruse our thoughts on the state of the market, review our credentials.  Only then, if you believe we’ve got the chops to handle the full responsibility of listing and selling your Scottsdale home, give us a call to move into stage 2 of the vetting process: a personal consultation.

While the Internet is a valuable tool, there is no magic Real Estate bullet or panacea for an overpriced or under-represented property.  Your agent should know the community, the builders, the amenities, the home sales, the effective means of procuring a buyer, the nuance of negotiation, the ability to close and how to effectively navigate the escrow to the finish line.  Google and Facebook will do none of those things for you (him).  To add another clumsy metaphor, consider the various legs that prop up your home sale. If your agent does not have adequate experience with / knowledge of the product, the integrity is suspect.  If your agent cannot effectively close buyer leads, the integrity is suspect.  If your agent cannot, or does not know how to handle the various hurdles of the escrow process, the integrity is suspect.  And yes, if your agent does not leverage the proper media for attracting suitors for your property, the integrity is suspect. Ask any particular leg to support more than its burden, and watch the entire structure collapse.

While I know a few terrific agents who have been in the industry for relatively brief durations, I am aware of all too many Internet marketing wizards who lack the first clue about the process of selling a home.  It seems that the only thing taught in new agent training these days is how to leverage social media and/or drive traffic to one’s site.  Valuable tools, but am I crazy to posit that learning to actually do the job is every bit (or more) as valuable as tracking hits?

I see such agents in my keyword Google alerts often enough to know that they have the marketing portion of the job wired, but who exactly are they? For all of that search engine juice, I’ve never seen their names on a sign in the communities they target. I applaud the promotional efforts, but cringe for the consumer who hires the Internet warrior out of mistaken belief in his/her expertise. After all, are we Real Estate professionals who market on the Internet, or Internet professionals who occasionally dabble in Real Estate?

I can buy dominant online position for a particular neighborhood for about $20/month, but I can’t buy ability. Even in the 24/7 virtual “what have you done for me lately” world, a track record is always in vogue.

Consumers … choose your weapons wisely.


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Break the Chain!  Echo Coffee in South Scottsdale

Break the Chain! Echo Coffee in South Scottsdale

Recognizing that one has a problem is the first step towards overcoming addiction.  Recognizing that one harbors a chemical dependency on roasted caffeinated goodness … not so much.  I am a full-blown, pull-my-hair-out-by-the-roots java junkie.  I don’t need help, I just need a double espresso with a finish so smooth it could be mistaken for a shot of liquid chocolate pudding, with just the gentlest punch of bitterness to let me know it was there.

Navigating the streets of Scottsdale as I attend to the affairs of an artificially tireless Realtor, I often find my vehicle caught in the tractor beam of a certain coffee franchise.  The telltale logo of the not to be mentioned chain exerting some jedi mind trick that compels me to add a cup of coffee to the itinerary, whether truly needed or not.  We have all had our brains thoroughly washed.  The convenience of a store on every corner and a known commodity effectively overriding the inherent appeal of a true coffee house: the attention to unique local roast, the vibe, a menu that goes beyond pre-packaged food choices.

We have willingly exchanged quality for convenience.

Echo Coffee Dining AreaWhat if I were to tell locals to the South Scottsdale and North Tempe area that you can have both?  Boasting a locale that has screamed for just such a new neighbor, recently opened Echo Coffee is the brainchild of Steve Belt, formerly of Realty Executives.  Anyone who knows Steve will attest to the fact that he doesn’t do anything half-way.  From the scrutiny of the individual beans to the roasting techniques utilized, he has managed to create several distinguishably unique brews (including the flagship “Titus” blend) that overwhelm any lingering desire of this self-professed coffee snob to return to the barren confines of the brand that rhymes with “Tarsucks.”

Echo Coffee is not  my new favorite Scottsdale coffee shop for the product alone, but for the ultra modern atmosphere that buzzes with technology enthusiasts, professionals, students, etc.  As techie as they come (hence the superb attention to minutia that makes the joint shine), Mr. Belt has crafted an environment that encourages a connoisseur to bring his/her laptop, tap into to the available Wi-Fi and comport the virtual dealings of the day.

Echo Cofee Pour Over BarWhile just about every confection you have been hooked on by the big guys is available at Echo Coffee, I am a black coffee kind of guy.  I highly recommend chasing a shot of espresso with a cup of the Titus blend while nibbling on the absurdly delicious Mediterranean Tuna sandwich (an amazing tuna fish creation with cannellini beans, olive oil, vinegar and challots on foccia bread with no heart-attack inducing mayo).  It’s an organic menu to boot, if you are into that sort of thing.  Think locally and give an upstart a shot.  My hunch is you won’t be tempted to return to the soulless purgatory of the coffee Borg anytime soon.

Echo Coffee is located at the NW corner of Thomas Rd and 68th St. in Scottsdale, AZ (85251).  Let me know when you’re going and I’ll meet you for a cup!

Please visit Echo online for hours, directions and additional information. Echo Coffee logo

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The Farm at South Mountain (Phoenix, AZ)

The Farm at South Mountain (Phoenix, AZ)

One of the great things about the Phoenix metropolitan area is the abundance of unique weekend destinations for both food and fun. While I love all that my home city of Scottsdale has to offer during the week, I like to load the family into the car on the weekend and visit one of the many attractions that the rest of the Valley has to offer.

The Morning Glory Cafe at the Farm at South MountainThe Farm at South Mountain is one of my favorite spots to enjoy healthy breakfast fare which consists of fresh local produce, herbs, citrus and dairy. I wolf down the Southwestern breakfast burrito with a medley of fresh vegetables on most occasions. Located right next to the organic garden, the outdoor seating area commands instant relaxation.  Even if your eldest child is actively trying to stab your youngest with a fork.

The 12 acre expanse of The Farm includes three separate restaurants. The Morning Glory is, predictably, a breakfast cafe. The Farm Kitchen is the original restaurant, and primarily serves lunch along with morning snacks. With park bench seating under the shady branches of a pecan tree grove, you’ll forget that you are in the desert while enjoying a made-from-scratch treat. The Quiessence Restaurant and Wine Bar is what you think it is: upscale dining. Phoenix Magazine tagged it as “the best restaurant in Phoenix” in January, 2007. Contemporary American farm cuisine is the moniker given to the menu. I don’t know what that means, but the organic, locally produced dishes are amazing.

Pecan Grove at the Farm at South Mountain

Other attractions on The Farm include:

The Retreat: Straight from their website, The Retreat invites (by appointment) patrons to “Deeply relax and rejuvenate with massage. hot and cold stones, shiatsu, vibrational essences, facials, tea ceremonies, intuitive readings, healing sessions and more.”

The Artist Studio: Also according to their website, “The Artist Studio at The Farm is a new cultural/educational center working to promote creativity while connecting with deeper values in the natural environs of The Farm. Visit The Cottage, home to ever changing art mediums featuring the fine art of Artist’s in Residence. Relax and enjoy shopping for original gifts created by local artists. In The Studio we offer art classes, writing workshops, educational lectures, youth home school classes, field trips and staff retreats.”

The Doctor’s Office, likewise by appointment only, is home to a resident practitioner of naturopathic medicine.

Maya’s at The Farm is the organic garden which produces many of the fresh vegetables and herbs used by the three restaurants. Named for Maya Dailey, who tends the garden, Maya’s holds a farmer’s market every Saturday between 9 AM and 1 PM. In adjunct to the garden is a greenhouse and the chicken coup (my boys’ personal favorite). Watch those little fingers, though, as the chicken wire enclosure is electrified!

The Farm at South MountainThe Farm is a magical place to visit for special occasions as well as laconic Sunday mornings. I have been fortunate to enjoy birthdays, Easter brunch and just-because mornings within its friendly confines, and have never left in a bad mood.

Private parties and weddings are available for booking as well.

Whether you are new to the area, visiting for the season, or one who simply doesn’t often venture outside of your comfort zone in Scottsdale or Paradise Valley, I urge you to make a trip to this special place. The coffee is good, the mimosas are great, and the setting is out of this world!

For hours and upcoming events, please visit The Farm at South Mountain.

6106 S. 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85042

Pecan tree at The Farm at South Mountain

Paul Slaybaugh with Realty Executives is your guide to Scottsdale Real Estate. A Scottsdale native, Paul has been selling homes in Scottsdale, Phoenix and Paradise Valley since 1999, and selling the virtues of Arizona living even longer. If you are looking to buy or sell  in the greater Scottsdale area, or just wondering where to get a decent cup of coffee and an omelet, Paul’s your guy.


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The Scottsdale Unified School District

The Scottsdale Unified School District is one of the primary drivers for relocation to Scottsdale, Arizona. Consistently ranked at the top of school districts across the state, it is little wonder that many new Arizona residents with families opt to begin their searches for a new home here.

Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, AZ

Saguaro High School Homes

With composite test scores that outpace state and national averages by a wide margin, the Scottsdale Unified School District consists of 5 high schools, 7 middle schools, 20 elementary schools and 1 alternative school (Notre Dame Prep is not considered part of the SUSD). Total student population is approximately 27,000.

Scottsdale Unified School District Boundary Map

Boundary Map

The High Schools:




Desert Mountain


The Middle Schools:


Copper Ridge (K-8)

Desert Canyon





The Elementary Schools:




Cheyenne Traditional


Desert Canyon















Alternative Schools:

Sierra Vista Academy (Grades 6-12)


Concerns about Arizona’s poor overall national reputation for education?  When it comes to Scottsdale, they are unfounded.  Check out the latest test results (for individual schools as well as the district averages) as compared to state and national averages.  The Scottsdale Unified School District surpasses both with regularity.

Scottsdale Unified School District Test Scores

To keep up with the rapidly expanding population of Scottsdale, new schools and major renovations to existing facilities have come on line in recent years. Three of the longer tenured high schools, Saguaro, Chaparral and Arcadia are not long removed from the throes of massive overhaul.   To keep pace with some of the newer facilities in the district, and to match the combined performance of the faculty and student bodies,  each school was virtually reconstructed from the ground up.   Please visit each school through the individual links provided above to view additional project scheduling, curriculum, events calendar, mission statements, etc.

Click here to visit the Scottsdale Unified School District’s website to view the district calendar, school locator, information on open enrollment, faculty, and more.

Search Homes for Sale by Scottsdale School District!




Full Disclosure: Paul attended Cochise Elementary, Cocopah Middle and Chaparral High Schools. Don’t be deterred. The schools really are terrific despite the dubious distinction for the scholastic molding of yours truly.


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The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in McCormick Ranch (Scottsdale, AZ)

The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in McCormick Ranch (Scottsdale, AZ)


The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park has been a staple of Scottsdale, AZ since opening to the public in 1975. The 30 acre park sits on land that was donated to the city in 1967 by the Fowler McCormick family. The jewel of the park is the 5/12 (5 inches equals 1 foot) standard Paradise & Pacific Railroad. The train runs year-round, with rides available to visitors every 30 minutes on weekdays, and continuously on weekends during park hours. With assistance from former U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, the train was actually constructed by the United States Marine Corps as part of a training exercise.

In addition to the fully operational railroad, the park features a variety of additional attractions including a carousel, playground, Western Town play area, authentic railroad exhibits, ramadas for parties/picnics, designated birthday party train cars, stage for evening performances, xeroscape arboretum, railroad museum, eating areas, live steamers (miniature train for small children), model train clubs and more.

The park is not just  a paradise for the kids, however. It is awash in history for the adults. Exhibits include the 1907 built Magma Arizona Railroad Engine No. 6, which hauled copper from Superior to Magma, AZ for 38 years.

The Roald Amundsen Pullman Car was built in 1928, and used for maximum security travel for every president from Herbert Hoover to Dwight Eisenhower. The Baggage Car which currently houses the Railroad Museum was built in 1914 as a sleeping car. It was converted to carry baggage during World War II. The Merci Train was France’s “thank you” to the goodwill of the American public. Following WWII, Americans donated goods and materials to fill 250 railroad cars, which were then delivered to war- ravaged France. France commissioned the Merci Train to return the favor. 49 so-called 40 & 8 boxcars (could hold 40 men or 8 horses) full of French treasures were delivered to America as a gesture of thanks. One of the boxcars is proudly on display.*

  1. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,541 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,306 sqft
    Year built: 2004
    Days on market: 3
    Broker reciprocity icon

See all Homes Within 1/2 mile of the Railroad Park.
(all data current as of 9/24/2018)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

The Railroad Park hosts a series of events over the course of the year including Railfair, a free summer concert series, holiday lights, and more.  Follow the link below for the full calendar of events.

Railroad Park Event Schedule

The park is also getting a facelift as construction is under way for a new home for the model train clubs that operate on its grounds.  Completion is slated for the fall of 2010.

*All McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park facts courtesy of

Learn more about McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale AZ

Curious about Real Estate around the Railroad Park?

View the latest McCormick Ranch homes for sale


Paul Slaybaugh is a Realtor with Realty Executives in Scottsdale, Arizona. An Arizona native, Paul was raised in McCormick Ranch. He loved riding the Paradise and Pacific Railroad as a child, and he still visits the park every week. Only now he rides with his own little ones.

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