Long Companies’ insurance division adds muscle

Building on its “all services under one roof” strategy, Long Companies has added two veteran sales agents to its insurance operations. Ramon Peralta and Kathy Peate come to Long Companies from insurance careers with other companies.

“I’m delighted to have Ramon and Kathy join our team” said Reneé Gonzales, president of Long Title Agency and executive vice president of Long Companies Core Services. “Their deep experience, fresh perspectives and abundant energy will help us serve our clients even better.”

Core Services comprises Long Mortgage Company, Long Title Agency, Long Insurance Group and partnerships with several home-warranty providers. The Insurance Group works with a number of carriers to provide a full range of policies, including home, auto, umbrella, life, and other coverages.

“Kathy has already worked with many of our REALTORS® and is excited to join an agency with multiple carrier options, letting her find the right product for every client,” Gonzales said. “Ramon speaks fluent Spanish and brings with him experience that will help our buyers get the best insurance coverage for their needs.”

Peate has been in insurance sales for eight years and recently owned her own agency, representing American National Property and Casualty Company. In his three-year insurance career, Peralta has worked in sales with Allstate and GEICO.  Both agents will spend several weeks in training before beginning their new duties.

For more information, contact Reneé Gonzales, executive vice president of Long Companies Core Services, by email at ReneeG@LongRealty.com or by phone at (520) 918-3820.

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Long Realty’s Career Event: February 13, 2017

Considering a Career in Real Estate?

If you or someone you know is considering a career in real estate sales, come to Long Realty’s Career Event and hear from industry experts to find out more. RSVP to Colleen Rafferty at 520-918-3869 or careers@longrealty.com.

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Long Realty’s Koberlein makes Swanepoel Power 200 list for 2017

Rosey Koberlein, president and CEO of Tucson-based Long Companies, travels with a high-powered crowd, and now there’s documentation to prove it.

Just released is the Swanepoel Power 200 list for 2017, the definitive ranking of the 200 most powerful executives in the residential real estate brokerage industry. The Power 200 list is produced and published annually by the Swanepoel T3 Group, a research and consulting organization serving the global real estate industry.

Ranked at number 126—31st among women on the list—Koberlein heads the largest residential real estate brokerage in southern Arizona. Long Realty fields some 1,200 sales associates from 36 offices, including 23 independently owned affiliate brokerages. The company’s coverage spans the region, edging north to the White Mountains and into Mexico. The Real Trends 500 Survey places Long Realty Company in the top 30 independent real estate companies in the nation.

Since joining Long Realty in 1991, Koberlein has served in a number of positions in branch offices and within senior management. She was named general manager in 1998 and rose to president and CEO in 2004.

“It’s a great honor to be included among such an accomplished group,” Koberlein said. “But really, this achievement belongs to the entire Long Companies organization. I didn’t do it by myself.”

The criteria to join the list are rigorous. According to Swanepoel, “Leaders are evaluated based on their personal influence, tenure, office, decision-making power, the financial resources at their disposal, their company or organization’s industry significance and geographic reach, and public announcements about pending changes.”

Swanepoel research and reports are highly regarded in the real estate industry, and are frequently referenced by Bloomberg Businessweek, CNN Money, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, Housingwire and other leading publications.

For more information, contact Noe Durazo by email at NoeD@LongRealty.com or by phone at (520) 918-8810. Go to https://www.swanepoel.com/power200/2017 to see the entire Swanepoel Power 200 list for 2017.

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Boys Chorus receives donation to honor Long Realty’s Kelly Bequette

Long Realty today honored the memory of a recently deceased REALTOR® by presenting a check for $8,500 to support the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus.

The presentation was at 2 p.m. at Long Realty’s Foothills office, 4051 E. Sunrise Dr., Suite 101. Kelly J. Bequette, 58, from the Foothills office, died Nov. 5 following a motorcycle accident on Tucson’s northwest side.

The donation was made possible by a grant from the Long Realty Cares Foundation and a collection by agents at the Foothills office. Presenting the check was Barbara Moylan, board president of the foundation. The check was accepted by Dr. Julian Ackerley, director of the chorus.

Mary Bequette, married to Bequette for 35 years, son Ryan Bequette, and daughter Michelle Pyde were on hand for the ceremony.

A vice president of the Long Realty Cares Foundation board, Bequette was active in many local charities. He was a long-time supporter and past board member of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, hence its selection to receive his memorial donation.

Bequette began his real estate career in 2005 after retiring from the Air Force Reserve as a senior master sergeant. Except for one year with another company, his entire career was with Long Realty. Bequette earned his broker’s license in 2008 and was serving as an associate broker with the Foothills office at the time of his death. A Master Certified Negotiation Expert, Bequette was a member of Long Realty’s Chairman’s Club for 2016, an honor reserved for high-performing REALTORS®.

“Kelly’s death leaves a tremendous hole in our office family,” said Laura Mance, manager of the Foothills office. “His clients loved him. He would do whatever it took to close a transaction, even if that meant helping a senior seller pack to move. He was a dear friend.”

Founded in 2002, the Long Realty Cares Foundation has given more than $2.5 million to a wide array of community groups. In 2015 alone, the foundation awarded grants totaling $165,600 to 66 different local organizations focused on education, health, community services and the environment. Foundation grants are funded by donations from agents who opt-in to contribute a percentage of their commissions, Long Companies employees, other donors, and by matching donations from the Long Companies.

For more information, contact Michelle Salvagio by email at msalvagio@LongRealty.com or by phone at (520) 918-3757.

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Long Realty’s Ferro and Durkin close 2016’s biggest sale in Pima County

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One of Long Realty’s top-performing agent teams ended the year with a bang by closing the sale on a $3.25 million Foothills property. Closed on December 15, the transaction is the highest-price sale in the north Tucson area in the last three years, and the biggest in Pima County this year. The property was originally listed at $3.9 million.

Representing both the buyer and the seller, business partners and REALTORS® Anne Ferro and Bryan Durkin are from Long Realty’s Foothills office, where Ferro serves as associate broker.

Located on a 1.67-acre lot at the end of a cul-de-sac in The Canyons, a gated community nestled at the border of the Pusch Ridge Wilderness area of the Coronado National Forest, 7288 N. Cloud Canyon Place was designed by a team headed by renowned architect Larry Pearson and built in 1999. Interior design was by Holler & Saunders Ltd., of Nogales, Ariz., a noted specialist in Latin American and Spanish colonial antiques.

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Boasting panoramic city and mountain views, the Spanish colonial-style hacienda features antique, handcrafted and reclaimed materials from around the world, including natural stone, historic timbers and aged hardwood floors. The 6,842 square foot home has three bedrooms and four bathrooms, and includes a great room with a soaring beamed ceiling and an interior courtyard complete with fountain.

“This is an incredible property and a very important sale,” said Laura Mance, manager of the Foothills office. “I think it is a sign of increasing movement in the high end, and I’m expecting more good things to come in 2017.

“Anne and Bryan are among our top-performing agents,” Mance said. “The way they handled this sale shows why. It’s very rare for the same agent or team to represent both the buyer and the seller in a transaction, particularly at this price level. Their tact, expertise, hard work and professionalism made it happen.” As measured by sales volume, Long Realty’s Foothills office is the top-ranking residential real estate office in Tucson.

Representing high-end properties is not a novelty for Ferro and Durkin. Among the team’s current listings are four properties priced well north of the million-dollar mark, and two more that come close. Both agents are members of the company’s Luxury Panel, a group of top agents who meet regularly to discuss conditions in the upscale market. Long Realty is also a member of Luxury Portfolio International, a global network of more than 85,000 agents specializing in high-end properties.

For more information, contact Anne Ferro or Bryan Durkin at (520) 918-5493, by email at FerroDurkin@aol.com, or online at anneferro.longrealty.com.

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Long Realty scores twice on Tucson Association of REALTORS® honor roll

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One Tucson institution dating to the 1920s honored another as Long Realty wins two awards for community service—one an individual tribute and one for corporate efforts—in the 2016 round of recognitions by the Tucson Association of REALTORS®.

Taking home the Roy P. Drachman Community Achievement Award was Rosey Koberlein, president and CEO of Long Companies. Long Realty also won a Corporate Community Achievement Award.

Named after visionary Tucson real estate executive and philanthropist Roy P. Drachman, Koberlein’s award honors an individual REALTOR® for outstanding community service that enhances the real estate profession. The corporate award recognizes a company for exemplary service and leadership across a broad range of community involvement.

“It’s a great honor to be acknowledged for what we do every day,” Koberlein said. “Since its founding in 1926, Long Realty has always been committed to being a positive influence in the community. These awards actually recognize two aspects of the same thing, because we live what we believe, as both a corporation and as individuals.”

Evidence of that commitment is plentiful. The Long Realty Cares Foundation, largely funded by the agents and employees of the Long family of companies, has supported many deserving community groups with grants totaling more than $2.5 million since its start in 2002. Long Companies also sponsors the Tucson Pops Orchestra and other local organizations, hosts charity fundraisers, and serves the community in myriad ways at the individual, branch office, and corporate level.

At a personal level, Koberlein’s résumé includes a lengthy and still-growing history of serving numerous community, national, and professional organizations, as well as public speaking on topics ranging from real estate to mortgage and title issues.

Koberlein joined Long Realty in 1991 and was named general manager of Long Companies in 1998. She moved up to president and CEO in 2004. Over the course of a 30-year real estate career Koberlein has garnered numerous awards for leadership and community service.

The largest trade organization in Southern Arizona, the Tucson Association of REALTORS® was established in 1921 as the Real Estate Board of Tucson. The association represents the interests of over 4,800 professionals in the real estate industry and works to support healthy growth and community improvement.

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Buying a home is getting easier, and there’s lots of help

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Rosey Koberlein
CEO, Long Companies

It’s not 2008 anymore, and finally there’s some good news for real estate.

If you’ve tried to buy a home since that year’s economic debacle, it might seem that you—and your credit score—need to be solid gold to qualify for a mortgage. The financial collapse was partly fueled by a risky reliance on wobbly “subprime” mortgages. After the collapse, lending practices became so tight they squeaked, and the real estate industry—and millions of well-qualified buyers—endured years of hard times.

Now for the good news. Maybe you’ve been turned down for a mortgage since 2008. It’s tempting to give up after a rejection, but please don’t. Things are changing, and your opportunities are growing fast.

First, credit rules are loosening. The average FICO credit score for approved loans is trending downward, dropping from just above 750 in September, 2012 to just below 725 this May. These are averages; actual scores for approved loans ranged from 620 to 850. The drop may seem small, but it re-opens the possibility of homeownership to millions.

Along with lower required credit scores, interest rates are bouncing along at the bottom of their historical range. Low interest rates offset the rising cost of homes and help keep homeownership affordable. Often, it costs less to own than to rent.

Remember when you needed a 20 percent down payment to finance a home? That was never totally true, and now it’s just a myth. Over the past 35 years, the median down payment for first-time buyers has been just 5 percent, and many lenders are now approving loans with as little as 3 percent down. These figures come from the National Association of Realtors®, which keeps a close eye on such things.

Plus, the Arizona Department of Housing is offering two very helpful programs to help with down-payment costs. The Pathway to Purchase Down Payment Assistance Program is available in 17 municipalities around the state—in areas hit especially hard by foreclosures—and helps with down payments on existing homes. The cities of Tucson, South Tucson, Yuma, select Phoenix cities and Sierra Vista are on the list.

A second ADOH program, the HOME Plus Home Loan Program, assists creditworthy renters who can qualify for a mortgage but don’t have the required down payment. HOME Plus is available for new construction and in areas not covered by Pathway to Purchase.

Both programs have reasonable limits on income and purchase price, and they’re not giving away free money. But they are worth looking into. Information is online—just type the program’s name into your web browser.

If you’re ready to go home-shopping, here are a few pointers:

  • Know your finances. How much of a down payment can you comfortably afford? How about property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance and other expenses? This is a good time to draw up a budget that includes income, living expenses and debt payments as well as housing costs.
  • Visit a few lenders and apply for a preapproved mortgage. You’ll learn how much you’re qualified to borrow, which will help focus your home search. Be sure to ask if you qualify for VA, FHA or other federal loan programs.
  • Connect with the professionals. Working with a REALTOR®, as well as your lender, is the best way to keep your home search realistic, on track, and successful.

As CEO of a real estate company, I watch market trends closely, and what I’m seeing right now is very encouraging. That’s why I urge you to check your eligibility, even if you’ve been rejected before. It never hurts to ask, and the answer this time could be “Congratulations. You qualify.”

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Long Realty’s Continental Ranch/Marana office relocates

In a move to upgrade its service of the burgeoning Marana-area housing market, Long Realty is shifting its Continental Ranch/Marana office to a better-located and more functional site a mile south of its current address.

Together with the Dove Mountain branch—also in Marana—the office is part of Long Realty’s two-pronged approach to serving the growing communities of northwest Pima County. The office was launched in 2006 and between the two offices, now field a growing cadre of more than a 40 agents. Long Realty has the agents with the most knowledge of the area and continues to lead in Continental Ranch with a 24.8% market share.

Located at 8651 N. Silverbell Rd., at the south side of the intersection with N. Coachline Blvd., the new site almost doubles the working area for agents and their clients and gains a second conference room.

“This new location will let us serve our clients even better,” said David Winter, branch manager of both Marana offices. “It’s more convenient, and it has better visibility in a higher traffic area than our old location, so it’s easier to find.”

The new location has other advantages as well, Winter said. “It’s easier to get into and out of the parking lot, and its open floor plan is better for our agents and their clients.” Access is easy: From Interstate 10, take the Cortaro Rd. exit west and turn north onto Silverbell Rd. Or take the W. Twin Peaks Rd. exit west and turn south at Silverbell.

Tucked in along the foothills of the Tucson Mountains, Continental Ranch is a master-planned community within Marana. “With almost 4,000 homes, Continental Ranch is a hard market to ignore,” Winter said.

The move is set for November 22, with a public grand opening to be scheduled for early 2017. Office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours are noon to 4 p.m.

For more information: Contact David Winter, branch manager, by email at winter@longrealty.com or by phone at (520) 665-3101.

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Long Realty’s Oro Valley office adds sales muscle

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Already a regional powerhouse, Long Realty’s Oro Valley office has boosted its strength with the addition of two top-producing REALTORS® to its roster of agents.

Mara and Brian Mitchell—The Mitchell Team—specialize in golf and luxury properties, lots and land in the upscale regions of Northwestern greater Tucson, including Dove Mountain, Oro Valley, the Catalina Foothills and Rancho Vistoso. They work with both buyers and sellers.

The team has a history of high-dollar sales. In 2014, representing the seller, they handled a $1.7 million transaction in Oro Valley’s exclusive Stone Canyon. Big enough to raise comps in the area, the sale helped restore the luster of the community, which had been a bit tarnished by the previous year’s bankruptcy and reorganization of the development’s golf club. The home was under a purchase contract just 55 days after it was listed, when many luxury homes are on the market for a year or more.

The Mitchell Team has listed—and sold—other properties at or above the million-dollar mark as well, including a residence at the Ritz Carlton that closed this year 2016 at $1.7 million and a new listing right outside of Saguaro Ranch for $1.89 million.

Such numbers help the team accomplish a feat that is unusual for agents new to Long Realty. Based on their sales volume in 2015, they’ve qualified as members of the company’s 1926 Circle of Excellence for 2016, an honor reserved for its highest-performing agents. The “1926” refers to the founding year of Long Realty Company. The team is on track to win seats at the circle in 2017 as well.

“The Mitchell Team brings a wealth of real-world business experience, a drive for excellence, and a powerful track record of success in representing luxury properties, “ said KC Woods, branch manager of the Oro Valley office. “Mara and Brian will be a great fit with our market sector.” Serving the booming Northwest-Tucson corridor, the Oro Valley office opened in 1998.

“What cemented our decision to move to Long Realty was, we felt we wanted to team up with a company that was committed to the Tucson Market place and would allow us and support us in taking our business to the next level. We wanted to work with a company that was a good fit for us and one that comes from a place of abundance and team work!” said Mara Mitchell

Career changes brought both Mitchells to real estate. Brian Mitchell’s background includes a 27-year upper-management career in the telecommunication industry. He also ran his own chain of wireless stores in Tucson for 11 years before making the switch to real estate. Mara Mitchell retired from the hair industry of 25 years. She owned and operated a successful Salon and Spa of 5 years, in Oro Valley. Prior to transitioning into her Real Estate career.

Mara also stated “We are blown away by the unbelievable support and tools that Long Realty offers! We definitely made the right decision!”

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Long Realty’s Foothills office adds an avid golfer

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Big numbers are nothing new for Nancy Zepeda, a newly arrived—but highly experienced—agent at Long Realty’s Foothills office. In the course of a 17-year, top-producing real estate career, Zepeda has facilitated more than $200 million in transactions.

Zepeda’s two passions—golf and real estate—are mutually supportive: Her market specialties are private golf-course communities, luxury residential developments and exclusive home sites. In 2013, she joined the massive Las Campanas luxury golf community in Santa Fe, New Mexico as director of sales, where she launched the real estate office for the development and helped it recover from a bankruptcy brought about by the 2008 recession. When fully built, Las Campanas will comprise some 1,700 homes on 4,700 acres.

“Nancy brings tremendous depth and knowledge, especially when it comes to luxury and golf properties,” said Laura Mance, manager of Long Realty’s Foothills office. “She’s very client-focused, and she has strong negotiation skills and a proven ability to maintain a comfortable working relationship with all parties in a transaction. She’s a wonderful addition to our office.”

“What attracted me to Long Realty was the reputation and what the brand is about. All of the Long Realty Sales Associates that I have worked with have shown great professionalism, and that to me means a lot.” Said Nancy about her joining Long Realty.

Open since 1979, the Long Realty Foothills office ranks first in Tucson residential real estate offices as measured by sales volume.

With a strong background in new development, Zepeda is knowledgeable about the full construction process and has served as a voting member of design review committees. Over the course of her career she has represented upscale golf properties for a number of brokerages and developments in Marana, Oro Valley, and McCall, Idaho, as well as Santa Fe.

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