Above: The Lopez-Newton Team
For Tyler Lopez, graduating from the University of Arizona 10 years ago was a stepping stone to an uncertain future. But relatives in real estate—and friend of the family Rosey Koberlein, head of Tucson’s deep-rooted Long Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate—convinced him in 2011 to give the industry a try.
“I made $100 in my first year,” Tyler Lopez confessed. “I was working odd jobs to support myself, but I was learning all the time, and it wasn’t long before I was selling 40-50 homes a year.”
Enter Tana Newton, who had successfully been selling luxury properties for another company, and whom Tyler met at a lender-hosted Happy Hour in 2015—and the rest is history. Under the auspices of Long Realty, today’s eight-member Lopez-Newton team serves all of Tucson’s populous Pima County.
“We had different strengths going in as a team, but most of the same goals,” said Tyler Lopez. “I needed help, and Tana, with a child at home, was looking for a job with 9-to-5 hours. So, I convinced her to team with me, primarily to organize our databases and handle my high-volume transactions.”
With the industry being what it is, the 9-to-5 thing was fantasy, said Tana Lopez. But the pair clicked in more ways than one, and after six years of happily collaborating, they exchanged wedding vows last May.
“It’s great to be married to my best friend,” said Tana Lopez, “and working with him to build the best team in Tucson. I’m happy to report the team’s production this year will top $50 million.”
It’s an impressive number in a market where the average selling price is less than $300,000. According to the following interview, it’s just the beginning.
Barbara Pronin: Congratulations on your marriage, first of all. Will this change anything with your team dynamic?
Tyler: Thanks, and no, I don’t think so. We’ve developed a synergy that gets stronger all the time. I’m mostly outside of the office, about two thirds of the time, coaching and managing the team. And the rest of the time, I’m personally working with clients. Tana is inside, where I really appreciate her skill in keeping us organized and managing my high-value transactions.
Tana: We have equal seats on the bus, as it were, but we each have our own focus.
BP: Are you the administrator for the rest of the team, Tana?
Tana: No. We have a full-time transaction manager on board, and once a team member has sold 10 homes, they earn the right to her expertise.
BP: Let’s back up a minute, Tyler. Tell me how you grew from a team of two to a team of eight.
Tyler: It’s been an unusual growth path, but it’s worked for us, because I know my strength is in training and coaching. So, rather than hire from within the industry, I like to bring in new people with the attitudes and attributes I admire, get them licensed and then spend time with them to get them off to the right start. One of our team members was once my boss, for example, and the others are all people we knew personally—high achievers who were looking for a change and in whom we had a lot of faith.
BP: What’s the special sauce that makes all of you work well as a team?
Tyler: Putting each other first. That wins the day. Whatever the issue, if it’s not good for everyone, it’s not good for anyone. We have great communication, respect for one another, a lot of flexibility and team spirit, and we make sure that nobody gets left behind.
Tana: Rosey is a great influencer. I once heard her advising people to “give the win away.” That is, don’t take personal responsibility for a good outcome. Whether it’s a client, a co-worker or whoever, let them own the win. That resonated with me. It’s a great philosophy because it builds confidence—and that’s been a key factor in our growth.
BP: What keeps your phones ringing?
Tyler: Unbeatable customer service, for one thing. We’ve been among the top 20 sales agents in Tucson for some years, and it’s because of the reputation we’ve earned as knowledgeable and customer-focused professionals.
BP: How has the pandemic year impacted you, and what are your goals going forward?
Tyler: The pandemic put many Americans on the move, which has kept us very busy. We have doubled our sales to more than 100 units this year to date, with a projected goal of over 200 units by the end of the year. Our objective now is to add two more members to the team over the next few months—for a cap of 10—and grow our sales volume to over $100 million by 2023.
Tana: And, of course, going forward, team Lopez-Newton will be known as Lopez and Lopez!
Barbara Pronin is a contributing editor to RISMedia.