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REBA: Still going strong after 86 years

As the real estate market begins to show signs of turning around, La Jolla Real Estate Brokers Association Inc. (REBA) continues to be the ultimate go-between for every facet of a sales transaction.

It’s been part of the fabric of the local market since 1924.

And its executive director, Anna Galloway, has been REBA’s “girl Friday” for 42 years. She even cooked for the group in the early days during their weekly “caravans” when La Jolla Realtors all get together at Reba headquarters at 908 Kline St. to “pitch” properties.

Galloway’s seen a lot of change in the Jewel in her time. For instance, the home she and her husband bought in 1967 on Prestwick Court for $60,000 was recently appraised at $6 million. There have been other wholesale changes too.

“Torrey Pines was a dirt road all the way to Girard,” Galloway said. “It was primitive.”

But there a few things about La Jolla — and REBA — that have remained constant over time. “We’ve always had this fabulous networking system in which all the brokers cooperate,” noted Karen Rockwell, the organization’s current president.

Galloway agreed. “These 40 years we’ve had a lot of wonderful and smart members and harmonious board meetings.”

REBA exists to support local Realtors, who Rockwell said are particularly important in today’s market.

“A buyer could come along and think they’re getting a good deal, and they might be in an area that has an earthquake fault. ... The knowledge we have is invaluable, which is why you should use a Realtor for background on a property,” she noted.

One regular activity is the caravans which convene each Wednesday.

“Everybody is free to pitch new listings, price reductions,” said Rockwell. “That to me is the most valuable part: If you’ve just gotten a price reduction, you can come in and let all the offices know. This is the agent’s opportunity to expose prior to having to wait for it to show up in the book. Then we do a caravan with a list of properties in order. ... It’s the highlight of the week in the real estate business, coming in and chatting with other competitors and friends.”

Membership has varied with the up-and-down cycles of the economy. In 1990, the group hit a high of 970 members. With the recession, membership is down around 500. “Normally we hover around 600,” said Rockwell.

Part of its mission is “to secure for its members the benefit of united effort ... to promote good fellowship and fair dealing.”

That cooperativeness is beneficial, said Galloway. “We work together. Because of that, deals go smoother. You know the agents.”

REBA milestones:

  • 1924: A constitution was drawn up by 20 real estate brokers establishing the organization and setting membership and initiation fees.
  • 1945: A telephone directory was released listing group members.
  • 1949: Articles of incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State.
  • 1955: REBA purchased a small one-bed, one-bath cottage on Kline Street for its headquarters.
  • 1960: The group formed plans to construct a building on its homesite at 908 Kline St.
  • 1962: The first S. Ralph Knox Award, later the McNaught-Davis/Knox Award, was given to the salesperson best exemplifying personal integrity, community activity, service to the profession and salesmanship.
  • 1970: The first map/brochure in color was designed by REBA executive director Anna Galloway.
  • 1968: REBA incorporated and shares of stock were issued to members who then became shareholders.
  • 1982: The first MLS book was printed replacing the old system of sorting listings out by hand on small, post-card size papers.