Long Realty Cares Foundation funds van for homeless-veteran program

Life is getting a little easier for housing-insecure veterans and their families, thanks to a major grant from the Long Realty Cares Foundation. The grant was made public Jan. 12 in a check-presentation ceremony.

The $40,000 grant from the Long Realty Cares Foundation—the philanthropic arm of the Long family of companies—will be used by Esperanza En Escalante to purchase a new 15-passenger, wheelchair-accessible Ford Transit van to transport veterans to their appointments.

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Esperanza En Escalante was launched in 1989 by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 106 of Tucson, to provide housing and support programs—including nutrition, transportation, and employment readiness—to homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. Among its services: safe, secure transitional housing for up to two years.

“Reliable transportation is vital. This van is a lifesaver,” said Pat Beauchamp, Esperanza En Escalante’s director of operations. The new van replaces two aging vans—in service since 2008—that are “worn out, with tons of miles on them,” Beauchamp said. The van will transport program enrollees to appointments of all sorts, from medical to Social Security. Grocery shopping too, he said.

Established in 2002, the Long Realty Cares Foundation has raised more than $3.5 million to support community groups focused on education, health, community services, the arts and the environment. The foundation is funded largely by contributions from Long Companies agents and employees, as well as from the Long Companies organization itself. More than 200 nonprofits have received LRCF funding.

“We’re so grateful to be able to give back to the community, and especially to the veterans,” said Thom Melendez, LRCF board president. “This is the foundation’s 20th anniversary. We wanted to do something big, something that makes a real difference in people’s lives. I think we’ve done that.”

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Long Realty’s Central office relocates to Broadway Village

It wasn’t much of a move by Long Realty standards, but Southern Arizona’s leading residential real estate brokerage has just relocated one of its offices a bit west, into Tucson’s booming “Sunshine Mile” Broadway corridor.

The Central At Broadway Village office—previously located near the El Con Mall, with a slightly different name—is now in the historic Broadway Village, at the southwest corner of Broadway Blvd. and Country Club Road. The address is 3052 E. Broadway Blvd.  

Now in business following a mid-November soft opening, the office is slated for a grand opening in January (date to be determined).

As a satellite office, sales agents and associate brokers from Long Realty’s far-flung network of offices will use the facility on an as-needed basis, to make meetings more convenient for midtown clients. An agent will also be stationed at the office to assist walk-in clients.

One added feature of the new location: on-site retail mortgage services. Along with an office administrator, the office will be staffed by loan officers from Prosperity Home Mortgage, Long Companies’ mortgage-lending arm.

“This new location builds on our ‘everything real estate, wherever you are’ philosophy,” said Reneé Gonzales, CEO of Long Companies. “It creates a real estate resource center for the community in central Tucson. Consumers can walk in and get real estate help or help with mortgage financing, all in one convenient, accessible location.”

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Long Realty Adds Roof AI to Personalize its Website Consumer Experience.

Sunny LongRealty.com’s chat bot

A leading real estate company in Arizona aims to augment its website personalization efforts with Roof AI.

Long Realty announces the launch of Sunny, its Roof AI powered bot, to provide its customers with an individualized experience on LongRealty.com, all along their home-buying and selling journey.

“We wanted to capitalize on our digital presence by offering our clients a personalized and tailored experience right from the moment that they interact with our brand” said Kevin Kaplan, Long Realty vice president marketing and business development. “Today, our website visitors have Sunny, their own personal concierge, to guide them through their home buying and selling process, answer their questions and connect with a Long Realty team member.”

Sunny will be matching Long Realty’s website visitors with personalized recommendations and providing real-time support based on the user’s intent and profiles. This will enhance the customer experience on many fronts. It will accelerate the time-to-value for customers and help Long Realty agents close high-quality clients faster.

Sunny comes with company benefits as well. With Sunny, Long Realty aims to increase lead opportunities and generate more revenue opportunities by promoting their core services to their clients in a seamless and efficient way.

“It’s inspiring to see real estate companies like Long Realty continue their investment in digital. They understand the need to leverage data and tech to deliver personal and intelligent customer experiences to a new generation of customers that expect it” said Pierre Sabbagh, CEO at Roof AI. “We provide the intelligence layer that works in tandem with Long Realty’s tools, to deliver the best-in-class personal experiences that real estate customers have come to expect. Once you begin to provide personalized experiences at scale, your customers are more likely to convert, at higher values, and keep coming back.”

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Long Realty Cares Foundation funds respite patio for TMC staffers

In a time of unprecedented stress, Tucson Medical Center staffers now have a private space to relax, refresh and recharge—thanks to a donation from the Long Realty Cares Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Southern Arizona’s leading residential real estate company.  

The “Heal the Healers” patio was designed and built by the TMC Foundation, using a $40,000 grant from the Long foundation. In work for a year, the space repurposes an existing patio area to provide TMC doctors, nurses and other staffers with a place of respite.

Heal the Healer ribbon cutting

On hand for the Sept. 17 ribbon cutting were TMC executives and staff; the Long Realty Cares Foundation board members; and Reneé Gonzales, CEO of Long Companies.

Per a TMC Foundation statement, the patio is “a place where our health-care heroes can go to meditate, practice yoga, enjoy a peaceful lunch, or simply sit down and enjoy the ambiance. It includes a new space with artificial turf where employees can meditate and practice yoga, and lounge tables and chairs for employees to sit down and eat a meal.”

“On behalf of its many donors, the Long Realty Cares Foundation is grateful to those health-care professionals who are on the front lines of the pandemic,” said Thom Melendez, foundation board president. “This is but a small way to thank each of you for your dedication to our community.”

Established in 2002, the foundation has given more than $3.5 million, which goes to support hundreds of community groups focused on education, health, community services, the arts and the environment. The foundation is funded by Long Companies and contributions from agents and employees.

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Long Realty’s Lisa Bayless funds robotics program for area schools

Lisa Bayless

Renowned for her donation of two police dogs to the Oro Valley Police Dept., Long Realty’s Lisa Bayless shifts her philanthropy from the biological to the electromechanical with her latest gift: a $25,000-plus grant to Pima County schools to fund a pilot elementary-school robotics program.  

Bayless’ donation brings the STEMAZing/SARSEF Elementary Edison Robotics Pilot to fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms in three area school districts. The pilot program will supply more than 500 Edison educational robots, classroom sets of robotics books and supporting supplies, plus two full days of professional-development training for the participating teachers.

The orange, two-wheeled, sandwich-sized, child-friendly programmable robots are designed to introduce the principles of robotics, computer programming and engineering. And it doesn’t stop there: Lessons will cross subject-area boundaries into language arts, social studies, math and everything in between.

Participating teachers will receive a robot for each student—around 30 per class—plus one more for the teacher.

Four of the six schools are in the Amphitheater Public Schools district: Copper Creek, Donaldson and Harelson Elementary, plus Innovation Academy. Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8 is in Marana Unified; Oyama Elementary is in Tucson Unified. Twenty teachers will take part in the pilot project.

Established in 2013, the STEMAZing Project is an initiative of the Pima County School Superintendent’s Office developed to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in Southern Arizona. SARSEF is perhaps best known as the organization hosting the local science fair.

“Robots are a fun way to learn, but there’s a serious purpose behind this program,” Bayless said. “It helps students and teachers from Pima County’s suburban and inner-city schools share ideas and solve problems together, both in person and by Zoom. It brings together diverse groups of people so they can collaborate and learn from one another. It builds community.”

A native Tucsonan, Oro Valley resident and head of the Lisa Bayless Team from Long Realty’s Oro Valley office, Bayless has been a sales professional since 2007. Focusing on residential properties across greater northwest Tucson, she ranks in the top one percent of all Tucson-area agents and was 2020’s top seller, by dollar volume, of all Long Realty agents. She is active with numerous nonprofits and is a past president of the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.

The funding is part of Bayless’ “Community First” program, which returns to community causes at least $500 from each commission she earns. The program is on track to donate some $80,000 in 2021, Bayless said.

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Long Companies adds escrow to its suite of services

Never one to rest on its laurels, Long Companies has added escrow services to its “everything real estate” business model, creating a new entity, Agave Title Agency, to offer both escrow and title insurance services. Agave Title Agency opened for business on Sept. 7.

Staffing the new agency will be a cadre of veteran escrow officers and support staff. They join the crew of professionals already in place at Long Title Agency, whose operations—and decades-old tradition of service excellence—will continue with the new entity. 

About that “Agave” name – founded in 1926, Long Realty is nearing its centennial year. The name refers to the Agave americana, that sturdy desert denizen better known as the century plant. Long Realty launches the new agency in partnership with its parent company, HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. HomeServices of America has established title and escrow operations in other markets outside of Arizona.

Coordinating the new escrow organization is Erin Fitzgerald, Long Cos. director of core services. At the outset, Agave will be housed at the company’s main office to serve the Tucson and Southern Arizona markets. Plans are for Agave to grow incrementally into a statewide brand, serving the Phoenix metro area and other communities. The agency’s services are available to consumers and agents not affiliated with Long Realty.

With the new agency comes a fresh, local approach to corporate culture and operations. Dubbed “The Agave Title Way,” the escrow officers in each market will interact directly—and often—with sales agents on both sides of the transaction, and their clients, while a local back-office team provides administrative support.

The payoff: better communications and customer service, greater consistency in documentation, and a smoother experience for all parties. The model upgrades traditional escrow services, which rely on individual escrow officers and their individual processes, that can produce a sometimes-uneven experience.

“We are building an all-company local service experience, not an individual-office experience,” said Reneé Gonzales, Long Companies CEO and President of Agave Title Agency. “Our mission statement says it all. Our goal is to provide an exceptional real estate service experience that builds long-lasting relationships. Agave Title Agency is built from the ground up to deliver on that promise. We’ll be doing things the Agave Title way.”

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Long Companies steps up to help Community Food Bank

Understanding that “community” means much more than just houses, Long Companies is once again gearing up to host food-collection boxes inside its company-owned real estate offices across greater Tucson, including those in Green Valley, Sahuarita and Sierra Vista. Donations will help stock the larder of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

A complete list of Long Realty offices is online at LongRealty.com. Those offices not identified as “independently owned & operated” are participating in the drive. Donation boxes will be available 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

In addition to hosting drop-off sites throughout the region, Long Companies is sponsoring all 6,000 of the “Feed the Need” boxes, to be placed at numerous public sites within the food bank’s service area. When a given box is full it will be replaced with a fresh empty one, until the supply of boxes is exhausted.

The food drive is set to run the month of August. Especially in demand are nonperishable foods labeled as low sugar, low or no sodium, or whole grain. Pre-opened items, those packaged in glass containers, and baby food—other than cereals—cannot be accepted. Most-needed items include peanut butter; canned soup, fruit, tomato products, vegetables and meats (such as tuna and chicken); oatmeal, cereal and granola bars; condiments; cereal; packaged nuts and seeds; and rice and pasta. Monetary donations are welcome too.

“We’re so happy to be part of this important effort. Nobody in our community should go hungry, and we all need to do our part to support those who are confronting food insecurity. Please donate what you can, generously and often.”

Reneé Gonzales, Long Companies CEO
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Record Setting Tucson luxury homes sales

Leading the way in a scorching luxury market, Long Realty Co. sales professionals represented buyers or sellers in nine of the 11 Tucson-area residential sales for 2021 closing at or above the $3 million mark.

Long Realty’s sales are setting records throughout the greater metro area, from the Ventana Canyon neighborhood of Tucson proper ($4,063,564), the highest priced home sales in Tucson in 14 years, to Catalina (Miraval Resort and Spa: $3.9 million) to Oro Valley, where three of the company’s transactions involved homes on the same street in the ultra-posh Stone Canyon community. Two of those properties tied for highest price in Stone Canyon at $3.75 million.

Ventana Canyon Mountain Estates | Sold for $4,063,564 | Represented the Buyer and Seller

A perennial leader in the luxury market, Long Realty lays claim to 48.1 percent of the segment, with far more listings and buyers than any other company. Its closest competitor’s market share: 10.5 percent. In this metric, luxury is defined as homes selling for $800,000 or more.

Stone Canyon | Sold for $3,750,000 | Represented the Seller

The high-dollar sales reflect the strength of the luxury market in general. Year-to-date for 2021 there were 361 luxury closings in greater Tucson, a 187 percent increase from year-to-date 2020.

Stone Canyon | Sold for $3,750,000 | Represented the Buyer and Seller

Another measure of market “hotness”: available inventory. Luxury listings in May totaled 146, down 35 percent from May 2020, with months of inventory dropping from 11.9 months (May 2020) to 1.7 months. May closings totaled 87, up a whopping 358 percent from a year earlier, with the median price rising 10 percent, to $1,029,954. “What’s driving these incredible numbers? Lifestyle shifts, and how attractive Tucson and Arizona is for people coming from other markets” said Kevin Kaplan, Long Realty’s vice president of marketing and business development. “Our participation in nearly all of these $3 million-plus transactions shows the trust consumers place in our agents, who bring specific expertise in high-end residential listings and sales.”

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Ventana Canyon Mountain Estates record sale.

Long Realty Company once again seals its reputation as a powerhouse in luxury-home sales in the Tucson market. $4,063,564 sets the new record as the highest priced home sold in the last 14 years. The property, located in Ventana Canyon Mountain Estates at 6780 E Resort View Place, closed on June 15, represented by Long Realty agents, listing agent Leslie Heros and selling agent George Palmer. This is the 11th home to sell over $3 million in 2021.

The sophisticated seven-bedroom, eight-bath property, showcases a low-maintenance yet “exquisite desert-inspired design” of masonry construction, steel roof, and natural stone, overlooking Tucson while snug within the mountains of Ventana Canyon with incredible panoramic views. The immense 11,539 sq. ft. property, rests on land valued well over $1 million itself.

Both agents are seasoned veterans of the Tucson luxury market: Heros, licensed since 2005 sells more than 70 homes a year, a proud member of Long Realty Luxury Alliance group and the 1926 Circle of Excellence – Platinum for 2021 ranked in the top 3% of REALTORS® nationwide. Palmer, licensed since 1986 and an associate broker with Long Realty since 1989, is a member of the Director’s Circle ranking in the top 17% of REALTORS® nationwide.

Heros herself couldn’t be happier for the sale: “This is so exciting for Tucson to have a home sold for over $4 million,” she says, noting “shifts in the market, like people wanting more space this last year and Tucson becoming increasingly more enticing to people—as it deserves” as major contributing factors to the successful closing. “We are grateful for the support of the community—both within Long Realty and Tucson—and all the new people who have discovered our gem of a city over the last year.”

Leslie Heros
George Palmer

Palmer agrees: “The limited inventory in the luxury market made it difficult to find just the right home for my clients. After viewing many foothills homes, my colleague (Heros) put the perfect home for my friends on the market in Ventana Canyon. The transaction was very smooth as all parties… worked seamlessly together to complete the sale.”

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Long Realty Reaches Yet Another Sales Milestone

Two Long Realty agents continue to break expectations, recently selling a home in the Oro Valley area for $3.75 million, making it the eighth home this year to sell for over $3M. That’s more homes sold over $3M than in the last three years combined.

Long Realty represented both sides of the transaction, with Cindie Wolfe representing the buyer and Suzie Corona representing the seller. Both from the Long Realty Oro Valley office.

Situated at 1277 Tortolita Mountain Circle, in one of the most luxurious neighborhoods in Oro Valley, Stone Canyon. This four-bedroom, four-bathroom contemporary home screams luxury from the moment you walk in. This property closed at $3.75 million on 5/18/21, tying for the record of the highest priced home sold in 2021.

Cindie Wolfe has been with Long Realty for 19 years now at Long Realty’s Oro Valley office and is a member of the Luxury Alliance. She previously sold a house for $2.5 million in 2015 and works with buyers and sellers to facilitate more than $100 million in sales for the company.

Suzie Corona is a specialist salesperson since 1999 and specialized in the Stone Canyon area since 2002. She also works at the Oro Valley office. She is a member of the 1926 Circle of Excellence, Platinum level, Long Realty Luxury Alliance, and holds a career sales record of more than $250 million, including the previous record-breaking $3.75 million property sale in March 2021.

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