How I Made It: Pardee Properties owner Tami Pardee

Tami Pardee sold more than $240 million in residential properties in 2013, which made her the top-ranked broker in the city of Los Angeles.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

The gig: Tamra “Tami” Pardee, 43, is the owner and principal broker of Pardee Properties in Venice. Her company employs 38 agents who specialize in Westside residential properties in Venice, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Marina del Rey, Mar Vista and nearby areas.

By the numbers: Pardee sold more than $240 million in residential properties in 2013, which made her the top-ranked broker in the city of Los Angeles, according to Terradatum Inc.'s BrokerMetrics. In all, Pardee Properties sold $333 million last year. So far in 2014, BrokerMetrics has her ranked fourth in Los Angeles, with more than $185 million in property sales.

On the farm: Pardee’s grandfather, “Papa” Heer, was a farmer who had a favorite saying: “If you take care of your farm, your farm will take care of you,” Pardee recalled. “That’s a quote that always comes back to me. It’s how I try to run my business.”

Building in her blood: Pardee’s father, Joe Hollman, was an Oregon home builder. Her mom, Boni Halton, was a home designer and builder. Pardee’s stepfather owned a Caterpillar tractor dealership. “I literally grew up on construction sites and worked by helping to clean them,” Pardee said.

Parental lessons: Her father “always told me, ‘Everything is possible. You can do anything you want,’” Pardee said. “That is great, for a woman to hear that from a man, to know you can do anything.” Mom followed up with: “‘Yes, you can do everything, but you have to work for it.’ She definitely taught us that.” One way Pardee learned about hard work during childhood was when she picked strawberries on a farm all day in lieu of a more traditional summer camp.


Los Angeles calling: After getting her undergraduate degree in marketing at Boston University in 1993, Pardee had a brief stint in Paramount Pictures’ publicity department that led her to a job supervising the remodeling of actress Sharon Stone’s Beverly Hills home. Stone, Pardee said, “really taught me there is no such thing as ‘no’ for a client. I had to think fast and get it done. After that, I felt I could do anything.”

Flipping for real estate: After that, Pardee was never far from a real estate career, whether she was flipping houses while obtaining her MBA or helping to build senior housing or advising friends about what they might buy. In her first year as a broker, she sold $33 million in property. “At first, it was a way for me to have work and still be a mom. Then I realized, hey, I’m really good at this,” Pardee said. She opened Pardee Properties in 2005. During the housing meltdown, business tripled. “I had a reputation for never putting people in houses they couldn’t afford,” Pardee said. “You stay realistic but positive. And it was a great opportunity to buy.”

Brokering success: Pardee says the old way of real estate is a single agent, perhaps with one assistant, trying to do everything — sitting at open houses, putting up signs, doing Internet marketing, working on social media, going out and getting business and much more. “That is complete and utter chaos and a recipe for burnout,” Pardee said. “We assign those various tasks to teams. Buyers’ agents don’t work on listing properties. Listing agents don’t have to work with buyers. It’s totally effective.” The agency spends $122,000 a month on advertising homes because “exposure is big,” Pardee said. “Buyers are online all the time, looking for houses, so we have to make sure that our homes are seen.”

Advice: “Don’t just have a goal. How are you going to do it? Break it down. For me, it was, ‘This is how I’m going to advertise. When I get a lead, I’m going to contact them within five minutes. Then follow up 24 hours later.’ You have to get very specific about what you’re going to do.”

Return on sales: Pardee began a “Giving Back” program at Pardee Properties, which devotes a portion of the firm’s commission from each property to the local charity of the client’s choice. As of July 1, Pardee Properties had surpassed $500,000 in donations.

Personal: Pardee was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001. She remains symptom-free. “A lot of people go through life with no plan, no action. This makes you focus,” she said. Pardee lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 15 years, Michael, who owns a visual effects company. They have four children: daughters Taylor and Bailey and twin sons Jack and Tanner.

Twitter: @RonWLATimes