A decade since celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013, the family-run Conrad Realtors is still going strong, marking 2023 as its 60th year in business.
Sons Jeremy, Bill and Steve Conrad now lead the way after the real estate firm was first founded by their grandfather, George Conrad, in 1963, and their father Bob took the reins in 1975.
Jeremy and Bill focus on sales, while Steve operates the company’s leasing and property management division, which has grown substantially since opening in 2006.
“We’re probably one of the best around to tell San Clemente’s story, to tell what makes it such a great town, what’s made us want to stay here for multiple decades,” Jeremy Conrad said. “I think that’s helped bring a lot of good people into San Clemente.”
Their experience makes them well-qualified to sell the idea of living in town to prospective buyers, he added.
Many of Jeremy Conrad’s memories of growing up in San Clemente involve the local beaches in some aspect, whether it was going with his mother, or surfing every day after school. Upon attending college and playing baseball at California State University, Northridge, he previously entertained the notion of forging his own path away from the family business after seeing how much his parents put into their jobs.
Varying life events pushed Conrad back home, however.
“(CSUN) was my first experience full-time living outside of this small beach community,” he said. “That’s what opened my eyes. I’m like, ‘Holy smokes, San Clemente is an amazing place to live.’ ”
Still, once he graduated, Jeremy Conrad took a job in the Los Angeles area selling copiers and fax machines, and found success. Near the turn of the 21st century, Jeremy Conrad’s father approached him and advised that he could probably stand to do better in real estate than at his current position.
“Then it hit me, like, ‘What am I thinking? Why not live in San Clemente?’” recalled Jeremy Conrad.
While Bob never pressured his son to join, his words provided the boost necessary to kickstart Jeremy Conrad’s real estate career, as he joined the office in 2000 and made Conrad Realtors a third-generation family affair.
Now 23 years into working in town, Jeremy Conrad said that some people don’t realize how special San Clemente is. Surrounded by the ocean, Camp Pendleton to the south, and the canyons and hills to the east, the city is a “protected area” and a jewel sitting in the furthest south reaches of Orange County.
Combined with what he calls a low-key, easygoing culture different from nearby beach towns such as Laguna Beach or Newport Beach, San Clemente is underrated and has more character than any surrounding coastal cities in Southern California.
His office and others working in San Clemente will have to wrestle with the built-out nature of the city’s housing market moving forward, according to Jeremy Conrad. With limited inventory forcing higher prices, those factors along with the often-emotional process of buying and selling can make real estate a challenge.
“I think that’s one thing people can sometimes underestimate, is all the emotion that can come out when you’re looking to try and buy your dream house or sell, possibly, one of your largest assets,” he said.
Jeremy Conrad added that he was grateful for San Clemente residents’ loyalty over time.
“I feel like they’ve appreciated the longevity of a family-owned business that’s three generations … and I really want to thank the residents here for supporting us for all these years,” he said.