He had just sold his marketing and ad adjacency and had some extra time on his hands.
She was running her busy real estate firm and extra time was a luxury.
The timing seemed like career serendipity for Dan and Liza Santy, the husband-and-wife team behind Phoenix residential real estate Santy Partners, which Liza started in 2011. Both longtime Arizonans with extensive networks throughout the Valley, combining their respective professional strengths was the logical move.
Or at least one that solved the surplus time imbalance.
“He kept coming to my office asking what I was doing. I was busy. I said, ‘Why don’t you get your (real estate) license because I could use the help?’” Liza recalled. “But I did need his help. And he needed something to do.”
Dan did just that and partnered with his wife in her real estate venture.
“With my marketing background and liking sales in general, it was a natural fit for me to join her,” Dan said.
The partnership is a successful one. Together, their business has grown 28% each year since 2018, with homes selling at more than a $1 million comprising the majority of the firm’s volume, Dan said.
Santy covers all areas of the Valley with emphasis in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and north central Phoenix. Its core clientele are typically experienced real estate buyers. One recently purchased his 16th home, Dan said.
A number are higher-end buyers wishing to downsize as they enter the empty nester phase. Some are retired and looking to upsize, Liza said.
Occasionally, there is a young family referred by older homebuyers who trust the Santys to give them a fair deal. The excitement of that first big purchase still brings a rush.
“I really enjoy those first-time home buyers,” Liza said.
The pandemic has had its own impact. Dan and Liza have seen an increase in people moving from California and major cities with higher property taxes.
There are also more people working remotely who are no longer bound by geography, like a recent Santy client whose company is headquartered in San Francisco but purchased a home in north Scottsdale.
This new professional culture has homebuyers seeking a space with a truly work-live-play function. The home office is a key amenity, whether it’s a bedroom that could best transition into an office or a home that comes with a designated office space as part of the floorplan.
Because the Santys know the Valley well, they often draw clients who have few yet crucial requirements or think they want to live in a certain part of town even though it realistically may not work.
“We can immediately tell them, ‘You’re not going to want that area.’ We can quickly guide them to the most ideal areas based on their criteria,” Dan said.
Home buyers share stories
Atilio Santamaria met Liza in 2014 when his wife received a job transfer to Arizona. A realtor friend in California recommended Liza. The Santamarias traveled to Scottsdale to house hunt and even though Liza was on vacation, she headed back home to help them.
“The fact that she took time from her vacation to fly in to meet us spoke volumes for us,” said Santamaria, who lives in Manhattan Beach, California. “The priority was the school district for our twin sons. She knew exactly what we needed.”
Santy Partners helped Bill Kircos and his wife Megan sell two of their Scottsdale homes this year. They also found Santy through a friend’s recommendation.
Diligent communication, responsiveness and honest assessments of what they needed to do to get their home show ready — and projects that could wait — impressed them.
“Dan is very energetic and sales focused. Liza you can tell has years of experience and is the voice of reason. They are a good dynamic duo and that’s what we liked about them in a hot minute,” said Kircos, who lives in Scottsdale and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Standing out in competitive field
A 20-year veteran of the real estate industry, Liza’s career had boomed for a while. Dan was running his own thriving marketing company when he developed a rare nerve condition that doctors said was stress related. This health scare was the catalyst to sell his nearly 30-year-old business.
“I had a good run. I thought it would be a good time to sell,” Dan said.
Santy is part of an residential real estate industry that has thrived amidst the pandemic. From 2020 to 2021, the average price of newly listed homes has climbed 32.6%, according to realtor.com. It’s also moving quickly with the median number of days houses are on the marketing totaling 37, according to Fred Economic Data.
To thrive in an ultra-competitive field, the Santys work to distinguish themselves from the pack. A Santy agent that specializes in converting single family residences to accommodate residents in need of assisted living is among those ways. To go a step further, the agent purchases condos to house staff of the assisted living homes, drawing out-of-state professionals.
But at the end of the day, tried-and-true customer service is the difference maker, Dan said. This includes sending people to paint or make repairs to homes without worrying about a timeline to sell. This also means that if a home isn’t the right fit for a buyer, they will be upfront about it.
“It’s not just a transaction. We make sure nobody gets a bad deal,” Dan said. “We don’t have to sell a home to make our mortgage next month. That means we can be patient with you. That level of care is truly unique.”
What: Santy Partners
Where: 11616 S. Equestrian Trail, Phoenix
Factoid: The U.S. housing market is worth $33.6 trillion, according to the World Property Journal.
Details: 602-339-4002, santypartners.com