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History of Nordine Realtors

Last year was a little bit of a letdown for Redondo Beach Realtor Leo Nordine. In all, he sold 308 properties in 1999 – down from 312 in 1998 and 323 in 1997.
Yes, he knows that’s almost one a day, and that total still makes him one of the country’s top-selling brokers. But he’s sure he could do more, if only his wife, Molly, would let him.
But she has good reason not to. She handles all his escrows and flat-out refuses to juggle any more than the 40-at-a-time she already does.
“I’m limited by how much she can handle,” says Nordine, 37. “There’s no doubt I could do more.”
Fired from every job he’s ever had, Nordine stands out among his peers for more than his voluminous client list and the fact that he never went to college.
While some agents can be pushy, he’s matter-of-fact. While others like to glad-hand and dress to impress, he’s up-front and to-the-point in a frayed polo shirt. He meets clients with his wife’s 1981 Porsche 911, but he really drives a 1972 Plymouth Duster.
Close to home his office overlooks the Redondo Beach marina and the breakwater beyond. Its ceiling is hidden behind a layer of horizontally hung surfboards, and the wall behind his desk is covered with framed photos of friends catching waves he can see from his chair.
He and Molly rent a one-bedroom flat in the apartment building overhead. He owns several homes, but chooses to rent because it’s less expensive and, given the location, more efficient.
I’m on the phone all day,” says Nordine, who’s been known to occasionally cradle
a receiver on each ear to seal deals. “I’m always telling people it’s not that hard, but they don’t believe me.”
Leo Nordine Realtors is a small shop, There’s Leo, Molly and clerical staff. Despite ribbing from his family and friends that he’d never succeed given his quiet demeanor, he earned his license in 1987 and closed eight deals the first month and more than 80 in his first calendar year.
In 1990, after brief stints at two prominent South Bay firms, he struck out on his own, and his business continued to grow.
As he added clients, his footprint widened. Today it runs from the South Bay to Woodland Hills.
Nordine refuses to be a niche player, a role many in his profession embrace. His listings include a $139,000 home in Compton and a $3.9 million mansion in Bel-Air. “If it’s priced right, and I can drive there in a reasonable amount of time, I’ll take it,” he says.
Last year he sold $60,000,000 worth of real estate. Because he only represents sellers, his commissions run about 2.5 percent. “It’s exactly like playing Monopoly”, he says.
Sticking to sellers is the key. Sellers require less face time because you don’t need to visit houses with them. But he insists his clients get the attention they need. To prove it, he’ll hand you a list of his 300-plus clients from 1999, challenging a random call to anyone on it.
Try it and you might reach Rolling Hills Estates resident Fred Akhavan. He’d talked to several other agents before settling on Nordine to sell a house he built in Lomita last year. It sold in 16 days. Was he satisfied? ‘Extremely practical’

“I have more than 25 years experience in real estate building and selling homes and I was so pleased I told him that I want him to sell my house, too,” Akhavan says. “He’s extremely practical. There’s no BS. No nothing. He just gets right to the point. The others, they really waste your time. They’re pushy and aggressive. He’s in some kind of class by himself.”
Nordine hopes to retire before he turns 40. Molly hopes he will, too.
If all goes well between now and then, he’ll pay off the homes he owns now, and sell any outside the upscale section of Manhattan Beach where he grew up. That money will go into buying what bungalows are left in his old neighborhood, which he’ll save from the developer’s wrecking ball by renting them out and living off the rent.
Then he’ll move away from the over-built landscape of L.A., taking his faded polo shirts and the Duster with him. Maybe up the Oregon coast, to a cove with a great little break in the surf.