The Arizona Real Estate Achievement (AREA) Awards — selected by a panel of industry experts — honor the state’s best and brightest real estate companies, real estate agents, real estate brokers, mortgage companies, bankers, home builders, individuals who give back to the community, and those in the real estate business whose careers have left an indelible mark on the community and on the industry.
Here is a look at the winners and the finalists for the 2013 AREA Awards, who were honored at a reception at the Ritz Carlton on May 9, 2013.
Congratulations to the 2013 AREA Award winners and finalists:
RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE AGENT
Liberty Properties & Associates, Gilbert
In 2008, Bair capitalized on the market downturn with Bridgeport Financial Services, which focused on the acquisition, renovation and resale of REO and distressed properties. In 2012, Bair singlehandedly acquired more than half Arizona’s retail inventory for one of the world’s largest hedge funds. He closed 630 sales in 2012 for a total of almost $75 million.
- JoAnn Callaway, Those Callaways, Scottsdale
- Allen Willis, Deseret Fine Homes, Mesa
REAL ESTATE COMPANY (SMALL)
Heidi Quigley, designated broker
United Brokers Group, Chandler
Quigley, named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women’s Council of Realtors, launched United Brokers Group in 2009, when the Recession’s impact on the housing market was at its greatest and quickly became profitable. In 2012, Quigley helped lead United Brokers Group to more than 1,000 transactions with more than $222 million in sales.
- Donna Doglione, Kiva Fine Properties
- Kuldip Verma, Vermaland, Phoenix
REAL ESTATE COMPANY (LARGE)
HomeSmart International, Phoenix
Founded by Widdows in 2000, HomeSmart International is the fastest growing real estate brokerage firm in Arizona with a network of more than 7,500 agents in more than 37 offices. Phoenix-based HomeSmart is ranked as one of the largest brokerages in the United States with more than 7,500 agents nationwide.
- Dan Gonen, RE/MAX Excalibur Realty, Scottsdale
- Realty One Group
BROKERAGE OF THE YEAR
RE/MAX Fine Properties, Scottsdale
Since RE/MAX Fine Properties was founded in 1997, this single-office is the highest volume office in the Valley. In 2012, the office closed 1,445 transactions for more than $474 million. On top of its statistical success, the office optimizes the agent-first mentality with exceptional customer service, agent training, business planning and an accessible designated broker and dedicated staff.
- West USA Realty, Scottsdale
- HomeSmart International, Phoenix
MORTGAGE COMPANY OF THE YEAR (ARIZONA-BASED)
Academy has the advantage of being a direct lender — all loan processing, underwriting, closings, and funding are handled locally. As a result, loans close in a matter of days rather than months. In 2012, Academy helped make the dreams of 3,212 homeowners come true, lending a total of almost $600 million.
- Nova Home Loans
- Peoples Mortgage Company
HOMEBUILDER OF THE YEAR
An innovator in production homebuilding with more than 4,000 home sale closings in 2012, Meritage was recognized for its continued leadership in protecting the environment. Meritage received the EPA’s 2012 Energy Star Leadership in Housing Award and is also the only large national homebuilder to earn the EPA’s Energy Star seal of approval on every home it has built since 2009.
- Rosewood Homes
- Fulton Homes
PulteGroup has been building in Arizona for more than 55 years and has been a leader in building energy efficient homes and environmentally sensitive communities – with features such as solar and third party energy certification, to rainwater harvesting and meaningful natural open spaces.
- Kitchell Custom Homes
- Nathan Day, Sterling at Silverleaf
Kiran and Associates Realty, Chandler
Vedantam pursues his goal of bringing compassionate and personable hospice care to his community by volunteering his time and resources to Sacred Heart Hospice. Vedantam’s contributions help Sacred Heart provide physical, emotional and spiritual services to patients and their family members.
PHILANTHROPIST OF THE YEAR
In 2012, Verma made charitable donations of $1.2 million through the Verma Charitable Foundation. The gift will be used to establish scholarships for underprivileged students and to build a religious retreat center in the Phoenix metro-area.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Ira A. Fulton
Fulton is the founder Tempe-based Fulton Homes, but his biggest impact on the world may have come through his philanthropy. BusinessWeek magazine has listed Fulton among its 50 Most Generous Philanthropists. According to BusinessWeek, Fulton and his wife have given away a staggering $265 million, approximately 60 percent of their net worth.
Photos by Cory Bergquist