Pacific Beach agents Scott Booth, Nicole Christensen, and Steve Springer teamed recently to open a new Compass Real Estate office at 4688 Cass St.
“We’re residential agents who do a little bit of commercial,” said Booth. “Springer and I basically took over the lease and did a pretty comprehensive renovation of the inside and outside of the building, which is a little over 1,000 square feet. So we now have our own little national brokerage on Cass and Diamond.”
The timing of the trio is good. Business is booming.
“When all this (COVID) hit in March, we weren’t sure what was going to happen,” admitted Booth. “But since pretty quickly afterward it’s been full steam ahead. Stuff is selling for well over the listing price, and there are lots of offers on most listings.”
More than six months after the initial coronavirus lockdown, Booth noted: “We’re still very busy. That’s even become more so in the last four or five months. If it (market) tracks the way it’s been going, it’s going to be one of my best years, if not my best year ever.”
Why an upturn with the virus downturn?
“A big part of it is interest rates just hit record lows again, and a lot of people are now working from home, and a lot of companies are saying, ‘You can live where you want,’” replied Booth. “We’ve also got a lot of people who are pulling the trigger on buying who want more space, a bigger place, or a third bedroom.”
A business uptick has been a silver lining in a rapidly changing real estate landscape, with pandemic health protocols forcing agents to change how they operate.
“We can’t do open houses anymore so we’ve had to do virtual showings,” noted Booth. “And we have to always wear masks and have to sign more forms even to show a property to buyers. And buyers have to get pre-approved and pre-qualified before they’re allowed to even see a property.”
Booth grew up in PB, noting his family has lived there since the ’40s.
“I have a couple of kids going to school in PB, and 90% of my business is here in PB,” he said adding of his new office, “It’s a great location near coffee shops and a bakery that just opened. A lot of the locals that live in PB drive up and down Cass several times a day going to the post office or the coffee shop. This location fell into our lap. So we swept it up. We like the vibe on Cass Street.”
The 42-year-old Booth was a child of the ’80s. He said the community has changed since then.
“When I was a kid Garnet was almost all locally owned businesses, a lot of little mom-and-pops,” he said. “There wasn’t as much housing. It was more family-centric. You’d see people you knew at the grocery store every day.”
Booth is glad he remained in PB.
“I’m a community-centered person,” he confided. “I’m really involved with PB Elementary School. I grew up here. My family has lived here, both on my mom’s and my dad’s side. This is my home. I’m emotionally committed to the community and its success. That’s why I’m really excited about our new office. It puts me in the heart of the community.”