Changing signs of the times

Shakeups in some of La Cañada's real estate offices are beginning to look like a game of musical chairs as familiar faces show up in new locations and some business cards, agents and local offices prepare to take on new logos or titles.

Some of the reshuffling of Realtors and real estate companies is connected to the changing real estate market across the country, some local Realtors admit. However, others have their own reasons for making a move at this point in time.

“I was at a place in my life where I felt like I needed a kick-start,” said former Keilholtz agent Carey Haynes, who recently opted to join forces with Janice McGlashan, Sandy Saeger, and few other Coldwell Banker Realtors to form, what Haynes is calling “the office of the future,” a new Coldwell Banker office in the Vons shopping center complex that, she said, is a “streamlined combination of professionals who work together in an environment that produces sales.”

The larger Coldwell Banker office one block to the west on Foothill Boulevard was closed last month as the company dealt with an economic downturn and reduced staffs at the La Cañada and Pasadena offices. Some of the La Cañada agents with that office were moved to the company's Glendale office, Coldwell Banker representatives said in an earlier press release.

Haynes is quick to mention that she wasn't unhappy with Keilholtz, a company she worked with for the past 16 years. “The invitation [to join Coldwell Banker] was just too hard to refuse,” she said, adding that “it was hard to leave [Keilholtz]; my family was there.”

Folks over at Keilholtz will be changing their business cards as well. That company recently announced it has merged with (and changed its name to) Dickson Podley Realtors, which now has five real estate offices in the San Gabriel Valley, including in La Cañada, Pasadena, Altadena, Monrovia and Glendora. Sign changes at Keilholtz are expected to occur Aug. 1, Wes Seastrom, a partner in Keilholtz last week told the Valley Sun.

Seastrom called the change at Keilholtz “bittersweet.”

“Economic times require changes to be made,” he said.

Rick Mueller, grandson of Keilholtz Realtors founder Richard Keilholtz, agrees that the current real estate market was a major factor in the transition. “The market has hit everyone, across the board,” he said. “Loans are harder to get and the industry is going through a big change. Getting a loan was so loose [and easy] for so long in other parts of the state, and people in those areas were borrowing more than they could afford to pay. I don't think that has happened here in La Cañada, but it has affected us nonetheless.”

But, he added, the merger has been a thought in his and Dickson Podley co-owner Bill Podley's minds for several years. “We've talked about it through the years, and this just seemed the right time,” he said.

Mueller was 21 years old when he began working with his grandfather at the company, which began in 1951. In 1989, Mueller and his childhood friend, and former neighbor, Seastrom, became business partners in the company.

“Since the beginning, it's been a hometown real estate office,” Seastrom said. “We're all very involved in community organizations and it's always been like that.”

Mueller said the merger with his longtime friend, Podley, is a good match because the two companies have similar philosophies and both companies are very dedicated to providing a service to the people of the community.

He also said he's sure his grandfather would have approved the merger.

“I've done a lot of thinking about that,” Mueller said. “My grandfather was a very straightforward and realistic man. He'd have said, 'Whatever's for the good of the company.' ”

Mueller and Seastrom, as well as other sales staff and the receptionist, will remain with the company, which will become a Dickson Podley office effective Aug. 1.

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