La Canada Flintridge & La Crescenta Real Estate | Harb & Co.

Phyllis Harb, A Real Estate History

It was the late 1970’s and I was working at the Van Nuys Court. Everyone who called or came in was unhappy and it was a miserable job.  I contacted an employment agency and they sent me on two interviews, a travel agency and a bank.  The bank was the first company to offer me a job and there I went.

I started as a floater and quickly became a loan processor. At the time I couldn’t quote interest rates – only loan officers could.  Loan officers received no special education and at the time there were only thirty year fixed interest rates, there were not a lot of options and it was quite simple.

Today, when calling a real estate office, only licensed Realtors can an quote asking price.  If you call my office, Joe, and I can tell you the list price of one of my listings.  Carol and Josie cannot. When Carol holds one of my listings open for broker’s tour, and is asked the price, she can hand you a property brochure.  Seems silly…..

Fast forward to the late 1980’s, some banks were being merged out of existence, (the banker’s golden parachute was alive and well), others were being acquired by the RTC (Resolution Trust Company) and the bank I worked for, Sterling Bank, moved their loan division to Torrance.  I was a Vice President, had stock options and was very career motivated.  I made the drive from Glendale to Torrance for nearly two years.

One day on the way to work I had a horrible traffic accident; I totaled a 928 Porsche (not my fault).  For several years I was terrified of freeway driving and soon decided stock options or not, I couldn’t make the drive.  I owned my own Glendale home and moving to the South Bay was not an option for me.  I secured a job in Pasadena for a mortgage division of General Motors, as an office manager.  I quickly discovered that the sales manager was falsifying certain loan documents and I turned him in.   Long story short, my branch closed and I was offered a position in Los Angeles, I was so over commuting and asked them to lay me off.  I already had my real estate license and began working with my real estate mother…. And the rest is Harb history.