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“There’s gold in them hills!” exclaimed the prospector. And in OV, it’s true.
The Vallee Gold team is a group of 10 top local realtors and their dedicated support staff with a decades-long track record of successfully selling homes in OV. The team was founded in 2001 by OV locals Don and Kathy Vallee.
With typical humility, Don says: “with 350 days of sun a year, OV speaks for itself.” He makes home sales sound easy.
But if you’ve ever bought or sold a home, you know that it can be one of life’s great challenges. Unless you go with the Vallee Gold Team.
If you’ve ever sold a home, you know all of the seemingly-endless steps that go into the process. These can include everything from pest inspection to online marketing to paperwork…and everything in-between.
The Vallee Gold Team already has all of these pieces in place. They work with an extensive network of local real estate professionals and service providers that have been carefully vetted by Don and Kathy over several decades.
This keeps costs down and leads to a speedy process. It also saves clients a lot of headaches and stress, as they only need to work with one point-of-contact.
This turnkey approach is particularly attractive to snowbirds, who may not be able to be physically present for many of the stages of the home real estate process.
With over 50 years of combined experience in local real estate, founders Don and Kathy Vallee are highly-respected members of the community and the OV Chamber of Commerce.
With so much experience, their knowledge of local real estate is, well, Gold. And they share it all on their impressive blog.
For example, Kathy lays out all of the current local real estate statistics in this article:
The Vallees serve as mentors and coaches to fellow real estate agents in the community, forging partnerships with some of the industry’s finest practitioners. They apply their time-honed strategies to support not only their valued clients, but also the Vallee Gold Team of dedicated real estate professionals, as highlighted in this recent article.
“Part of our success is that we aren’t about ego,” explains Don. “ We are coaches. We share, and we give. We approach things differently. We don’t come from scarcity, so we aren’t thinking about ourselves – we are thinking about our clients. We always put our clients first.”
The pandemic had a profound impact on local real estate, and the market is still not completely back to its pre-Covid baseline.
As Kathy explains in her article The Shift in Today’s Real Estate Market: Farewell to the ‘Unicorns’:
“The real estate market underwent profound changes due to the pandemic. The demand for homes skyrocketed as people sought properties with home offices and spacious backyards. First-time and second-home buyers flooded the market, taking advantage of historically low mortgage rates. Additionally, the forbearance plan helped prevent foreclosures, and home values reached unprecedented appreciation levels. These years represented an extraordinary market that was highly sought after but hard to find—a true ‘unicorn’ in real estate.”
“After the 2008 financial crisis, our inventory rose to record levels. So, when Covid was first being talked about, I was prepared for our inventory to grow. The total opposite happened: the big city people wanted to move to markets like Tucson. We went from record high inventory to record low inventory. We’ve had a record low inventory until recently. We still haven’t completely returned to our pre-Covid baseline.”
Don explains that the Vallee Gold Team typically carries about 45 listings. On average, they sell about 150 homes a year.
And OV is always hot: everyone wants to buy a house here. However, overall inventory of houses on the market is still lower than normal.
“Up until Covid, no one ever feared not being able to get a house,” says Don. But the scarcity of listings has led to hungry buyers who are even willing to waive inspections in order to secure a home. Don does note that higher interest rates are now “softening” the market somewhat.
In the early Internet of the 2000s, the Vallees didn’t have videos, virtual walkthroughs, or social media. They did use still photos online, but Don says the listings were “rudimentary by today’s standards”.
Back in those days, the duo recalls, they had to write personal letters and send them by mail.
“We still use mail a lot,” Kathy says. “A handwritten note goes a long way.”
Scroll forward to 2023, and the Vallee Gold Team’s website is brimming with useful information.
You can search for everything from newly-built houses to homes near a community pool, and each listing offers a “video tour” option. The integrated mapping feature allows you to visualize all of the current offerings in relation to the community layout.
“Part of our success has been in being early adopters to new tools and procedures,” explains Don. “Being early adopters means that we make some mistakes and do things you wouldn’t do otherwise.”
What does a “mistake” look like?
Don recalls: “For example, we were at trade show in San Francisco and there was a company launching the Matterhorn 3D views of houses. Kathy and I were so engaged with it, we flew them down and had them do it with eight or nine of our listings. When we started to do aerials, the MLS [Multiple Listing Service for realtors] bounced our firm because I wasn’t a licensed aerial pilot!”
The Vallee Gold Team has now expanded as far afield as Utah. Kathy now spends part of her time in Park City, spreading Vallee Gold’s unique touch.
(You can read more about Kathy’s fine-detail approach to staging homes in the accompanying Citizens of the Month article about Kathy and Don.)
OV is still home for the Vallees. It’s where they set down roots and raised their family.
“When we get buyers who don’t know anything about the area, we’ll show them OV,” says Don. “OV speaks for itself; it stands on its own merits…There’s all the biking and hiking in the washes, and it seems like every house built in the last 15 years has a trail right up to it.”
When they started, the Vallees did about half of their sales in OV. Today, their listings have expanded up to Phoenix and Utah. With the global reach of social media and their extensive network of long-standing realtor relationships, they are now able to facilitate property transactions anywhere in the world.
But some things never change: “Most of our clients want to live in OV,” says Don.
“As residents and realtors, we’re not just your agents; we’re your neighbors, too, and it brings us immense joy to sell real estate in our own backyard here in Oro Valley,” says Kathy.
“This year, the market climate in Oro Valley has been particularly exciting. With only a 2.5-month supply of inventory and an average of just 47 days on the market, we find ourselves squarely in a seller’s market, where inventory is still low. The median sales price reflects the strong demand, currently standing at $547,500.
“We’re here to guide you through this dynamic market, leveraging our local expertise to help you achieve your real estate goals in this vibrant and thriving community.”
By Tom Ekman, J.D., M.Ed