Burr White Realty has been doing business in the same location on the Balboa Peninsula for 50 years and has seen plenty of changes along the way.
While the name, building and location at 2901 Newport Blvd. remain the same, the team is all new — relatively speaking. Joan Trout and Craig Batley, who have been in the real estate industry 44 and 45 years, respectively, purchased Burr White Realty in 1997.
As a way to celebrate its anniversary this month, Burr White hosted an open house with a ribbon-cutting by Newport Beach Mayor Kevin Muldoon, Councilwoman Diane Dixon, Chamber of Commerce President Steve Rosansky and Tim Whitacre from Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel’s office.
The business is a full-service real estate office, including sales, but its focus is on vacation rentals and long-term property management. The Balboa Peninsula has some of the highest-density living in Orange County, and much of the residences are rentals.
Trout said the business today has about 500 short- and long-term rentals combined. She’s seen rental rates soar in the past 20 years. The average oceanfront vacation rental leases for $10,000 to $15,000 per week these days, compared with $1,500 in 1997.
Batley said Burr White has property management clients who have been with the business more than 30 years and vacation guests who return to the same properties year after year.
He said there also are those who return after a long absence. “We’ve had people who rented a place here in the ’80s and knew [original owner] Burr White,” Batley said. “An advantage of being in the same place all these years is that customers know where to find us.
“The peninsula is much more family-friendly than before,” Batley added. “Families are our primary focus.”
Senior sales agent Tracy Seeber has been with Burr White Realty since 1989 when White owned it. She said Trout and Batley raised the bar after they bought the business by increasing the client base and becoming more tech savvy.
“We only had about 75 rentals and weren’t very modernized back then, with only minimal computers compared to today’s technology,” Seeber said.