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Paradise Valley Real Estate Services

Welcome to your source for professional real estate services in Paradise Valley and Maricopa County.

“Buying or selling a home can be stressful. Marv and Karen Leff make the experience wonderful,” shares Barry Monheit, Chairman of the Board for Smith and Wesson. “They are so thorough and professional that I can’t imagine not using their services. For each of the four transactions in which they have been our Realtors, they took the time to learn what was important to us. Then, Karen and Marv went to work to fulfill our needs. It also helps that they are terrific people. What started out as a business transaction some years ago has developed into a close friendship as well.” By practicing their distinct mix of business excellence and personal touch, Marv and Karen have built a career and reputation every Realtor hopes to achieve.

“This is a noble profession that Marv and I take very seriously,” reflects Karen. “There is no hidden agenda with us—what you see is what you get. We strive for competency and consideration, giving the assurance that we have the client’s best interest at heart. We are honest with all of our clients. If it is the right thing to forewarn a client against buying, that’s what we’ll do. When we met Barry and Kathleen Monheit, they were living in New York and already had bought a lot in north Scottsdale, preparing to build. After spending a good deal of time with them, we all realized they probably would be happier in Paradise Valley. We sold their north Scottsdale lot, and now the Monheits are living happily in their third Paradise Valley home.”

As Bene and Saul Kaplan, past clients now living in Memphis, put it, “We have bought and sold several homes through Marv and Karen—my husband and I call them the dynamic duo. They are consummate professionals. The combination of Marv’s background in law and his experience in real estate, makes it so easy to deal with the contract piece. Not only are they professional, they are personable. They are very reassuring to us. In fact, we had our daughter buy a home through them. They are sensitive to their clients and are excellent negotiators. We’ve referred others to then, and we would never think of using anyone else. They are friends as well as business colleagues. We feel privileged to know them.”

The Leffs moved to the Valley from Chicago in 1978, and lived at the base of Camelback Mountain for 35 years. In 2013 they decided it was time to downsize, and are now loving their, “urban lifestyle,” in downtown Scottsdale. The Leffs favor the convenience of working from home, and being available 24/7.

Making the decision to leave Chicago was not easy. When Marv graduated law school shortly before the two were married, he had an opportunity to practice law in Hawaii. Karen pointedly observed, “When you asked me to marry you, you didn’t say marry you and move away. Those are two separate questions.” Karen “won.” They stayed in Chicago. During his 10 year law practice in the Windly City, Marv’s career included representing clients before the United States Tax Court; advising company owners on how to run their businesses; representing a bank in real estate matters; representing real estate brokers and investors; and a three year foray into criminal defense work. According to Marv, Karen was home with an even tougher job—bringing up their two sons.

Law has always played a big part in the Leffs’ life. While she was taking a business law course, Karen’s professor, Leonard Amari, introduced her to Marv. Leonard has since served as President of the Illinois Bar Association. “I have known Marvin Leff and Karen Feldman Leff since they began their professional lives, over 40 years ago. I have watched them develop as consummate professionals, Marvin utilizing his legal experience and training to compliment Karen’s energy and charisma. I am not at all surprised by their continuing success, and the great respect they have earned in the Phoenix business community. I have recommended any number of people to them and, to a person, not one could have been more satisfied and pleased by the professionalism and competency of the Leff’s.”

In 1978, Marv finally had his way; he moved the family to Phoenix rather than Hawaii. “Although he brought me here kicking and screaming,” says Karen, “it was the best move we ever could have made. Back then, Phoenix had a small town environment compared to Chicago. It was a great place for our two sons. Now it is a wonderful cosmopolitan city, and we love everything that it has to offer.”

In addition to getting his real estate license after moving to Phoenix, Marv did some consulting work, and he and Karen started an equipment financing company that grew and prospered. He also was an Assistant Professor at Western International University and an instructor at the University of Phoenix—both at the local campus and the online division—teaching in the undergraduate and MBA programs. In 1994, Marv decided to join Russ Lyon Real Estate to pursue real estate as a full time career. Because of his business and legal background, friends and colleagues had long before been seeking his advice. “From the beginning, my goal was to be a trusted advisor,” emphasizes Marv, “not a real estate salesman.”

Karen returned to employment as well, becoming legal assistant to Pamela Kingsley. Pamela, who is a shareholder with Tiffany & Bosco, P.A., believes the same characteristics demonstrated by Karen naturally in the legal environment benefit her present-day clients as well. “Karen’s effortless professionalism and unflagging dedication under the stresses of a litigation practice were excellent. I could give odds and still win any bet that not one of Karen’s real estate clients knows one-tenth of all she has done towards making that client’s purchase or sale in unqualified success.”

“When it came time for my husband and me to purchase a new home,” Pamela continues,” it just made sense to get Marv involved. After vetoing of few of our ‘finds,’ he enthusiastically approved the home we ultimately bought. He negotiated a better price than we had expected, and made all but the move itself as easy as it could be. Then, he went on to pass the ultimate test with flying colors—cinching a deal on a home for my mother-in-law!”

In l995, Karen joined Marv as a partner, and went into real estate full time. How do they see their various strengths? “She’s the warm and cuddly one; I’m the analytical negotiator,” jokes Marv. The two divide many tasks. Karen handles most of the showings and the client follow up, Marv kicks in at the contract stage, taking it through escrow to close. “We work listings together,” says Karen, “and buyers separately. Some people gravitate to me and some to him.”

As is the case with most Realtors, the majority of the Leffs’ business has developed through their business and social acquaintances. Marv’s first sale stemmed from a friendship that had grown at the Spa at Camelback Inn, where they have been longtime members. When a spa member mentioned he was looking for a home, Marv got busy and found the right property located in Finisterre. Negotiations were complicated, with a very seasoned Realtor representing the seller.

When Marv went to present an offer, he learned that the Realtor also had an offer from one of her own clients. The benefits of being a lawyer and negotiator immediately kicked in. Marv had his client prepare five counter offers in various increments including one for over full price. The client trusted Marv to use his discretion to start and finish as need be, and get the house! Marv’s lowest priced counter proved to be successful. Thus began Marv’s career—a successful purchase, a commission, and a bottom of Dom Perignon from Denny Lyon.

In l996, Marv and Karen moved to Realty Executives where they remained for 17 years. During that time, Marv was the founder and chairman of the Premier Marketing Group. PMG was established to enable agents working in the luxury market to share ideas and experiences. Marv has also served as a Member at Large on the Board of Directors of the Luxury Home Tour. In 2012 they joined the Paradise Valley office of Realty One Group. Marv also conducts a significant amount of research on upcoming development projects in their target markets. Half of Marv’s time is spent looking for investment opportunities ahead of the market—well before the general public has widespread knowledge.

The Leffs work primarily in the luxury home market, with the majority of their clients’ purchases and sales in the Paradise Valley, Biltmore and north Scottsdale areas. “As north Scottsdale became developed, we naturally showed clients opportunities there—especially in DC Ranch,” notes Marv. “But, these days there is a lot of excitement about urban opportunities as well.”

The Leffs have found a happy balance in combining both work and pleasure within their home and lives. The couple celebrated their 44th anniversary in January. “We really have a good time, and we always have,” states Marv. “We are more in love today than ever. The two are still members of the Camelback Spa, and work out together most mornings. “We have wonderful friends at the Spa that make working out fun,” shares Karen. “We go out almost every night with friends and/or clients—it is hard to tell them apart anymore! We work long and hard, but how blessed we are. We provide a service to people we care about. Marv and I also get to spend a great deal of time together. That may not work for all couples, but it certainly does for us.

Family is a huge part of the Leffs’ life. Their oldest son Scott, 43, now lives in California. He is the ultimate salesman. Michael, 40, is a Doctor of Chiropractic, and owns the Center for Alternative Medicine in Scottsdale. Michael’s acupuncture needles keep not only Marv and Karen going, but Michael treats a good many members of the real estate community as well. The boys are a wonderful joy to their parents and Marv’s father, who lives in Grayhawk. Although Marv and Karen are continuously available for their clients, they minimize client time during Sunday family dinners. That is a very precious time and tradition for all.

One passion that Karen has put on hold is the theater. She has performed at Gammage, the Herberger, and Symphony Hall, among others. “Doing a large musical usually requires a three month commitment. As much as I loved doing it, I just couldn’t see myself saying to Marv, “Excuse me, I will be back in three months.” I still sing in our temple choir which I have done for 35 years. It is a special part of my life. But of all my performances, nothing is as rewarding as singing at nursing homes. People who may not remember much, remember ever word to a song they heard and sang along with 50 years ago.

Bill Post, past Chairman of Pinnacle West, and his wife, Mary Kay, sold a home in Paradise Valley and bought another one with Karen and Marv. Mary Kay applauds their flexibility and professionalism. “I had young kids at the time and limited availability so Karen showed me only serious properties. She didn’t waste my time. She really listened, and I appreciated that. She was on target. She and Marv were professional, and got the job done. They work nicely as a team. Even though buying a home is nerve-wracking, they made it easy and fun. They are everything that you could look for. We are crazy about them.”

“Working with the Post Family was a very special experience,” emphasizes Karen. “At the time we represented them, their daughters, Kathryn and Carly, were sweet young girls—darling and unspoiled. All of a sudden I turned around, and they have become absolutely lovely young successful women. I am not sure how it started, but several years ago Mary Kay, Kathryn, Carly, and I started going out for our ‘ladies’ lunches’, and continue to this day; (when the girls can fit me in!)”.

Through their special blend of personal commitment and business savvy, the Leffs have amassed an impressive array of achievements—both in their career and personal lives. A balance many would envy.
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3333 East Camelback Rd • Phoenix, AZ 85018
Phone: (602)469-5456 • Fax: (602)840-1889

Paradise ValleyPhoenixScottsdale, North Scottsdale