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Team Chodorow celebrates 50 years in La Jolla real estate

Eric and Peggy Chodorow are celebrating the Chodorow real estate firm's 50 years in La Jolla.
(Courtesy of Peggy Chodorow)

When Realtor Peggy Chodorow walks into a house, she embarks on what she considers an “artistic endeavor.” She looks at the layout. The finishes. The rooms a person might spend the most time in. Areas that could be opened up.

“You feel clairvoyant. Sometimes something will come on the market, I’ll look at it and someone just comes to mind,” she said. “When you match it with the right people, it feels absolutely wonderful.”

This ability has evolved over a half-century. Chodorow, half of the Team Chodorow real estate firm along with son Eric, has been working in the La Jolla real estate market for 50 years this month.

When Chodorow and her husband, Stan, a history professor, moved to “La Joe-La” from the East Coast in the late 1960s because Stan had a job opportunity at UC San Diego, “we didn’t even know where San Diego was on a map, let alone this ... community around UCSD,” she said. “But my husband went and said it was the most beautiful place in the world. We moved here, but it took awhile to make it our home.”

“It had a small-town, Southwestern feel where bolo ties were the norm and there was a 5- and 10-cent store on Girard Avenue,” she said.

When the Chodorows had the opportunity to sell their first house (which they had bought for $37,000), it was a special occasion for their agent. “I guess it was her first sale and she was so excited. I thought I could do that,” Peggy said.

That first year, Peggy sold nine houses. “I felt it came easily to me,” she said. She built the business from there, selling 15 houses in the second year, and soon it was a house a week.

Fifteen years later, Peggy hired an assistant, then two.

“Now we have someone doing marketing, someone taking care of paperwork, because we spend so much time with our clients, we needed someone to hold down the fort,” she said.

Eric joined the team in 1992. “He brought a male perspective and youth and a real interest in construction,” Peggy said. “It’s a funny business we have. A lot of people like to work with people like themselves. He tends to work with people in his age group, I tend to work with people in my age group. He had young children when he joined, so he could talk about parent interests with clients. It’s a nice dynamic. I think it’s wonderful to be on a team with my son. There are times we are business partners and times we are mother and son. It’s deepened our relationship.”

Eric got his agent’s license at age 19 and his broker’s license at 23.

He said his mother “worked so hard, harder than everyone else. For me, I grew up in [this business], and when you are around it all the time, it becomes a natural path.”

He said La Jolla was “an older, more established place when I came on” but that it has changed to become a “younger, more cosmopolitan community.”

Regardless of the client, however, “in the end, it’s about helping our clients find solutions … and find them places to land,” he said.

When Peggy first moved to La Jolla, “the military and military-related industries dominated the landscape … and there were 20,000 people and modest homes,” she said. Now, a lot of wealth “has come to this town because of the biotech industry, and people wanting second homes. Additionally, we have a much more international community, a community focused on education, music and the arts. We’ve managed to attract a talented, award-winning bunch of architects who are turning out beautiful homes of varied architecture designs.”

After closing completely for almost two years following a fire in August 2019, La Jolla’s Mandarin House restaurant reopened in phases last year while it underwent renovation and is now welcoming even more patrons back to 6765 La Jolla Blvd.

With an office at 7780 Girard Ave., across from the five-and-dime store that greeted Peggy when she moved to La Jolla, she said “it feels like I’m a part of the community and it’s a part of me. I love knowing so much about the history of La Jolla, knowing what happens to certain properties or when they tear down an old house.”

Looking to the next decade, she said “we want to keep doing what we’re doing. We have no plans to slow down. One of Team Chodorow’s biggest pleasures is selling homes to multiple generations of the same family and serving the needs of ... clients as they adapt to different stages of their lives and buy homes that suit their changing needs. Here yesterday, here today and here tomorrow. We expect to sell homes in decades to come. But for now, we are celebrating a happy 50th.”

Eric added that “we have been very blessed. We have great clients and many repeat clients over the years, and referrals from them. I can’t thank them enough for that.” ◆