PROFILES IN EXCELLENCE
with Walt Danley of Walt Danley Realty
Celebrating his 40th year in the real estate industry, Walt Danley has led a high-caliber team of realty professionals as President of Walt Danley Realty. With his leadership, the team today is revered as one of Arizona’s premier real estate brokerage firms. Providing world-class service to the crème de la crème of Arizona homeowners, Walt Danley and his real estate associates have proven that hard work, integrity, and an acute sensitivity to the client’s needs are the pillars to their success.
Walt Danley was gracious to spend time with Team DSC® and answer 6 questions that reveal why he is (and will continue to be) one of Arizona’s most trusted and respected real estate icons.
VALUES, REPUTATION, AND TRENDS
What are the values of Walt Danley Realty?
I came from a strict, upper middle-class family. I can remember growing up that I never heard my parents argue once. I know they had to have disagreements, but they did it privately, and they didn’t do it in front of us. I didn’t grow up with yelling and screaming. We went to church every Sunday, and we were taught good morals and good ethics. The values I learned had nothing to do with materialistic things – they were about honesty and integrity.
Today I run Walt Danley Realty in the same way by upholding honesty and integrity as paramount to my team’s daily transactions. I won’t put up with lying. You have to tell clients the truth so they understand exactly what they can expect from what they’re purchasing. People are still going to buy a house even if you tell them all the negatives. If they want it, they want it.
What do your clients value most?
They value quality, great construction, and good style. The high-end buyers talk about what kind of a style they want, what kind of theme they want their house to be. They have specific needs to be filled.
For example, one of my clients likes to play tennis so he needs a tennis court. Another client is a passionate golfer, so she wants her home to be on or near the golf course. My clients are specific buyers and they know what they want.
How do you determine what would be a good fit for a client?
My clients don’t have a lot of time. They expect me to know the product and to have seen everything before I show it to them. Most of them take time off from work to look for a house. I give them a book that’s made up of all the properties I’m going to show them with specific information about each residence.
Most of my sales are cash transactions, so my clients don’t want to know how much the mortgage payment is going to be. They want to know how much tax they are going to have to pay to purchase the home. They also want to know details like how much it will cost to join the homeowner association (HOA), if it’s in a golf community or if the home is located inside a gated neighborhood.
How did the 2008 economic crisis affect your business?
I remember telling my team, “We’re in a bad economy now, so things are going to change. Instead of selling $5 million houses, we’re going to have to sell a lot of $500,000 houses. You’re going to have to get out there, hold open house, and work really hard to help your clients through this challenging time.”
We changed quickly and adapted. We held open houses, and we met people. Looking back, it was harder to sell $500,000 houses because we had to sell more of them, but we did it. We still maintained the high level of service and attention to detail that we would have if we were still selling million dollar homes. We all had to work really hard, and it was a very humbling experience.
I think the hardest part for me was conveying to my team what kind of market we were going through. Up until that point it had been so easy for them. They were used to having all these big sales practically handed to them.
I lost a few team members who believed selling real estate was no longer for them. Some left because they thought I no longer had anything to offer simply because the economy was so bad. They went to another real estate company thinking that the grass would be greener. Many quickly realized it wasn’t.
They soon learned that most clients we do business with are with us because of our reputation. I’ve always been fair and honest with my peers and clients. It’s true that your reputation precedes you. I’m blessed to be well respected in the real estate industry and that definitely helped keep my business afloat.
What real estate trends are you seeing with your clients today?
The majority of my team’s buyers are coming from out-of-state. Most of our clients come from the Midwest followed by clients coming from California. Europe, Canada, and all other countries make up the third largest group.
Our clients are asking for smaller homes and new construction. They’re looking for quality and that makes it easy to show them a Desert Star home because the quality of construction is really apparent.
The buyers have really gotten smarter on us. Before, it seemed like they used to be interested in the square footage of the house – they wanted big. Now they are focused on smaller and better quality homes.
When did the market start to trend in this direction?
About five years ago. People say they want to be in Paradise Valley, AZ and they want a new house, but a smaller house. Before I would have to tell them that the land is so expensive it doesn’t make sense for them to build a small house. Normally larger homes are built in these more expensive areas because 25% the value of the home is in the ground.
Today the market is more like California where approximately one-third of the value will be in the land and two-thirds in the price of the house. In this case, smaller, better quality homes deliver more value to both the developer and the client.
The Team at Walt Danley Realty
Walt Danley Realty and Team DSC®
“When I am showing houses to clients and need an explanation of quality of construction, I often go to Jerry Meek and Team DSC® for help. I know that when they work with Desert Star Construction, my clients will always get an honest transaction. They appreciate that their information and who they are is protected, because many of my clients are very private people. They know their confidentiality will be respected and upheld.
My clients recognize the caliber of construction in a DSC home. Once they see a Desert Star home for the first time, they continue looking for the same high standard everywhere they go.”