With a footprint now in two states, Don and Kathy Vallee have spent a couple of decades focused on their team’s successful growth. In addition to leading a team of 17 under the auspices of Long Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway Home Services affiliate in greater Tucson, Arizona (Don@DonVallee.com), the pair are now reaching out to a growing clientele in Park City, Utah under the auspices of Summit Sotheby’s International (Kathy@kathyvallee.com).
The Vallee Gold Team, which posted more than 200 transactions and over $100 million in sales in Tucson last year, ranked in the top 20 large Arizona teams based on volume, and posted an additional $15 million in sales in the Park City market.
“Real Estate is my second language,” said Kathy Vallee, who grew up going on listing appointments with her REALTOR® mother in Tucson and never considered another career. “It wasn’t long after I met and married Don there in 1994 that he gave up his position as a corporate executive to follow his own passion for entrepreneurship – and our real estate team was born.”
Barbara Pronin: Tell me about the fledgling team you took to Long Realty in 2012.
Don Vallee: We began with a team of four agents and a transaction manager at another company, but Long Realty is the long-established powerhouse in Tucson, and that was where we wanted to be.
Kathy Vallee: It’s where we set down roots and flourished, and where Don and I have been able to use our own experience and coaching skills to build a really dynamic team.
BP: How is the team structured?
DV: We have a general office manager, a listings manager, a closing manager, plus two showing assistants and 10 buyer’s agents. Kathy and I are the primary listing agents as well as the team’s chief mentors and coaches.
BP: How do you manage as many as 17 people, keeping everyone on track and functioning in top form as a team?
KV: Carefully! We meet weekly as a full team to be sure everyone is on the same page, and we have management meetings and one-on-ones as needed. Every one of us believes in the importance of teamwork so that every client has a rewarding and personalized experience with us – and part of that comes intrinsically from bringing on the right people – people who are a good fit with the family-like culture we enjoy.
BP: What do you look for in a recruit?
DV: We believe you can teach real estate – and Kathy and I are good at that – but you can’t teach people skills, and so we definitely look for people who are comfortable in their skin, friendly and naturally sociable. Teachers, for instance, make great sales people. Why? Because they know how to listen. And lastly, we want people who can look past the glamour part of the business and are willing to do the hard work.
KV: New team members often begin with a desk assignment to familiarize them with our culture and process, and then a fairly intense 30-day training program. Depending on their talent and level of experience, they typically take on the role of showing agent or buyer’s agent, and we continue to mentor them as they go on to build their careers.
BP: Are you in recruiting mode now?
DV: Not actively, no. We think we are in a good position now as the market cycles. Our strength is in coaching and building star power relationships and that’s our focus right now.
BP: What is it, do you think, that sets you apart from your competitors?
DV: Kathy is a great student of the industry, which often puts us on the leading edge of things, and we are early adopters to change. For example, at an NAR show some years ago, we found Matterport imaging and we were among its earliest users. As a result, when the pandemic hit, we were ready and able to pivot.
BP: How are you managing to build your long-distance presence in Utah?
KV: At the moment, it’s mostly just me in Park City, but we have homes in both states. Like Long Realty in Tucson, Sotheby’s is the gorilla in Park City. There is great market potential there, and I have to say, I’m really enjoying the challenge.
BP: What is it about the real estate business that excites you?
DV: We wake up every morning to a new day, and no day is ever the same. It’s less about the paycheck, and more about how gratifying it is to help people with some of the most meaningful decisions of their lives.
KV: We love the challenge, we embrace change, and we love meeting new people. Helping others excel, to find their niche, to build wealth – there just cannot be anything more rewarding.
Take a look at this listing from the Vallee Gold Team:
1128 W. Titleist Dr, Oro Valley, AZ 85755
3 Bedroom | 3 Bath | 2,549 SQFT.
Gated Community of Fairfield At Rancho Vistoso
Seller to entertain/counter offers between $1,000,000-$1,100,000.
Seamlessly combining beauty and function, this exquisite home is quietly nestled in gated Fairfield at Rancho Vistoso, a serene enclave bordering Stone Canyon. From floor to ceiling, no detail has been overlooked in this luxurious remodel! Interior designer Jacqueline Neggia crafted and created a masterpiece of luxury. The kitchen commands attention, showcasing contemporary waterfall-edge granite countertops, hickory cabinets in a modern white finish, gas range, wall ovens, and an expansive counter-height center island finished with gorgeous, stacked stone. A generous living area exudes luxury, featuring an impressive custom-designed entertainment alcove finished in stacked stone and featuring a low-profile
Open concept living is flooded with natural light, highlighted by a collection of oversized windows overlooking the resort-like backyard retreat and framing picturesque desert and mountain views. Escape to your personal sanctuary inside the primary suite thoughtfully balanced with a spa-like ensuite bath featuring a lavish, freestanding claw-foot soaking tub and lighted nook, custom-finished walk-in shower, and modern showpiece fixtures throughout. Attention to detail and stylish finish work carry throughout the home, including plantation shutters, upgraded fixtures, custom hall cabinets, art niche, up-to-date flooring, remodeled powder room and guest bath, as well as an epoxy-finished garage floor. Enjoy a relaxed, outdoor retreat featuring an oversized, built-in spa and outdoor fireplace that anchor the resort-like grounds. Custom flagstone patios and an outdoor kitchen with built-in BBQ and bar seating is poised to entertain in style while view fencing optimizes your views of the natural surroundings!