The oldest, active realty serving the Peninsula, Catalina Realty is at 909 Catalina Blvd. in the Jensen’s shopping center.
Established by a developer in 1950, Catalina was bought by Paul Vadnais’ dad, Elvert, in 1961. Paul, a 48-year real estate veteran, took over the business after returning from Vietnam.
Jackson’s late mother, Ann Tripp Jackson, was the first female president of the nonprofit Point Loma Association, which does Peninsula community improvements. Also an early chair of the Peninsula Community Planning Board, Ann is best remembered for having been in the Dana Coalition, which campaigned successfully to prevent the Dana Junior High School from being condemned and turned into condos. Her name now graces the school’s auditorium.
Jackson has an interesting tale to relate about his mom.
“She worked in the office of Mary Frances Bennett Realtors on Rosecrans Street,” he said. “She got her license in 1970, but didn’t go to work until I was able to walk home from Cabrillo Elementary School.
“Mom did maybe eight deals a year and was very quiet about it. My dad didn’t even realize what she was doing or not doing – until she wanted to remodel the kitchen. He said no,” Jackson said.
“One day, after he left in the morning, a group of contractors showed up and gutted the kitchen. He came home that evening and was speechless. Mom had already earned enough money for a new kitchen.”
Vadnais and Jackson talked with the Peninsula Beacon about real estate today and their joint venture with the nearly 70-year-old Catalina Realty, which was officially turned over to fellow broker Robert Jackson on Dec. 18, 2017.
What’s the biggest difference in being a Realtor today than before?
“Computers and the multiple listing service,” answered Vadnais. “We used to have to do everything by hand.
“That and the proliferation of paperwork,” added Vadnais. “It used to be a listing was half a page. Now there are probably 30 or 40 forms that you need for every transaction.”
But some simple truths about real estate remain. “If the price is right – [property] will sell. It’s always been that way,” Vadnais said.
What does it take to be a good Realtor? “Sincerity. You always want to keep your client, and their best interests, above yourself. There isn’t any magic with it. It all gets down to honesty — and providing the best service you can,” Jackson replied.
Vadnais would add “empathy and enthusiasm” to those winning qualities. “You have to put yourself in the client’s shoes, either buyer or seller,” he said. “They can perceive if you’re interested in them and their situation.”
Jackson said it’s a good time to be in the realty business in 2018, though inventory is low.
“I remember there were about 400 listings in 1995,” he said. “Right now there are about 130.”
Low inventory is a non-starter for some in the market today, according to Vadnais.
“It’s not a market for first-time buyers because the prices are expensive,” he said. “For young people, it’s hard for them because they can’t afford to buy in the Point Loma area.”
But Vadnais pointed out, at the higher-end of the market, “There are quite a few cash sales.”
Point Loma is a great place to be in the realty business. “The [ocean] views, its proximity to downtown, it’s centrally located, those are the big features,” noted Jackson.
Vadnais talked about why he enjoys being a Realtor. “Every transaction is different,” he said. “There’s no set norm.”
Jackson likes being in a business where honesty is crucial. “It’s the responsibility of the agent to always do full disclosure, and be certain that you don’t have any conflicts of interest,” he said, adding that’s not just the “right” but also the “smart” thing to do.
“Nine times out of 10, [lack of] full disclosure is where problems start,” he said.“Neighbors will usually tell buyers the history of the new home.”