Years in business: 96
Size: 14 company-owned offices and 20 franchises, 2,000 agents
Coverage Area: Arizona
2021 Transactions: 13,900
2021 Sales Volume: $5.414 billion
After graduating with a degree in business and finance, Reneé Gonzales worked in Omaha, Nebraska, as a loan officer. In 2004, she moved to Tucson, Arizona, to help Long Realty get its mortgage organization off the ground.
Today, Gonzales serves as CEO of Long Companies, charged with leadership and strategic planning for the company’s brokerage, mortgage, title and insurance divisions.
How would you characterize what you’re seeing in your local marketplace now that fall is underway?
Reneé Gonzales: We’ve had a bit of a slowdown. While most of our operations are in Tucson, with franchises covering the rest of Arizona, we haven’t experienced the drastic slowdown that some of the larger cities have seen. We’re about 15% under where we were last year, which was a record year. If you go back to 2019, we’re around that level, which was a normal market.
What’s the secret to success at this time?
RG: What I’m hearing from my agents is that if a house is priced right and looks good, it’s still selling quickly. If a seller is looking to get 20% – 25% over market value, which is what they were getting last year, their homes are sitting a bit longer.
How do you help other women find success?
RG: As a woman in our industry, especially at the top, I am in the minority. I tell everyone that they can accomplish whatever they put their mind to by not listening to anyone else and using all of their skills to drive forward. I see myself as a leader because I’ve helped others achieve their goals. While the real estate sales side is still predominantly women, the management and leadership side is still predominantly men. But there’s an opportunity for us to continue to grow in that area. We simply have to let go of the past and let people know we want to be in that area.
What attracts agents to the firm?
RG: Even though we are a home services company, we are still locally run and operated. Long Realty has been in Arizona since 1926. In fact, the grandson of the company’s founder is still an agent in our organization, and we run it as a community. We also do a good job of helping our agents become successful. We’re full-service, so that helps facilitate our agents’ growth. For those agents who want to do real estate full-time, this is the place they want to be.
What is your leadership philosophy?
RG: Building other leaders is what defines leadership to me. My role is to help support everyone in their world and help them become whatever they want to be—not necessarily what I want them to be. As a leader, my job is to remove the roadblocks. If there’s something that gets in the way of someone else’s success that I have control over, that’s an opportunity to help support them. In addition to being a coach and a friend, it’s also important to be there when things are going well, but also when we’re struggling.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
RG: “The sky’s the limit, and you can do anything that you set your mind to.” I’m also a runner, and there’s a quote out there that goes, “unless you’re going to puke, die or pass out, keep going.” That’s something that resonates with me. We all have successes and challenges, and it’s about learning from those.