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History of Leo Nordine

As a boy growing up in the South Bay, Leo Nordine had not one but two paper routes. “I had built up a large bank account by the time I got out of junior high,” he said. “I always wanted to work hard.”
He got what he wanted. Today, Nordine is owner of Redondo Beach-based Nordine Realtors, a one-man concern that sold 302 homes in 1999 – more than any other single broker in Los Angeles County. “I think the only reason I sell so much is that my hours are so ridiculous,” Nordine said.
Indeed, the entire Nordine lifestyle is designed to squeeze in as many working hours as a day can allow. Nordine and his wife Molly live in a bachelor apartment atop the Nordine Realty building. That cuts his commute time

down to about 20 seconds. “I wake up at 5 a.m., and then I go downstairs and start working. At about 8 p.m., my wife calls me to come upstairs and get dinner, and then she calls again at 8:30 and asks where am I, and then I go up,” he said.
Nordine, 36, has 10 assistants, but he is the only broker in his operation, which moved an estimated $50 million worth of property last year. To achieve such volume, Nordine only represents sellers – thus he doesn’t have to drive buyers around to show them property.
“He’s on top of things, it’s a one-call situation. He knows what we want, and he gets it done in a timely fashion,” said Wade Brandenberger, a real estate consultant who works in the Miracle Mile headquarters of People’s Bank.
Nordine stumbled upon a career as a real estate broker after a nasty experience working for other people following graduation from high school.
“I had a lot of really bad jobs. I didn’t go to college and I seemed to have personality conflicts with my bosses. I couldn’t get along with anybody,” he said. “I wanted to do things my own way.” But while watching the movie
“The Falcon and the Snowman” in 1986, he noted that one of the characters in the movie lived well. “She was the bad guy’s mother, and she lived in Palos Verdes in a nice house,” Nordine said. “In one scene, she says, ‘I have to leave, I have to show a house.’ I thought that was great. Just show houses and make money. It looked like easy money.”
Thus inspired, he started Nordine Realtors in 1987. In the movies, being a real estate broker might have looked like easy money, but not in real life. Since 1991, vacations have not been part of Nordine’s life. “The most I can do is take a long weekend here and there,” he said. “And I work on Saturday mornings.”
Nordine is uncertain of his future plans. He is thinking about moving into the higher end of the market, and has started to represent commercial and industrial properties. “I don’t think I can sell any more homes than I do now. I can’t keep up this pace,” he said.

– Benjamin Mark Cole