As told to Constance Dunn
Photography by Kieron McKay
Maupin Realtors / Maupin Development
In 1958, Douglas Maupin moved to the South Bay with his family. Twenty years later, he began selling residential properties in the area. South Bay DIGS chats with this easygoing surfer about his decades-long adventures in local real estate and land development.
South Bay DIGS: So you’re an area native?
Doug Maupin: I grew up on Rockinghorse Road [in Rancho Palos Verdes]. We moved here in 1958, my family did. We used to hike for hours. My mom would pack me a peanut butter sandwich, I’d go to my friend’s house and we’d walk up George F Canyon and we’d come back six or seven hours later after exploring caves. It was a great place to grow up.
SBD: You’ve been in real estate for a long time.
DM: Since 1978. My wife Nancy and I just got back from Hawaii, where we spent about six years and all I did was surf. She was pregnant and I said ‘Uh-oh, I better get to work. Party’s over.’ I was living in a little rental in Lomita. I was a manufacturer’s rep and
I saw my friends buying houses and their values going up while my rent money going out the window. I thought to myself, ‘I like this real estate stuff.’ So I got my license.
SBD: Eventually you moved into developing.
DM: I started out just like every realtor, sitting open houses, taking phone calls, trying to solicit houses for sale. The first deal I made was to a friend who was a framing contractor. The idea was that I’d find him a good deal on a piece of property, he’d build a house on it and I would get to sell it for him. So I started working on land deals right off the bat.
SBD: What’s a current area of specialty for you?
DM: Although I’m good at marketing homes, and I enjoy that aspect of it, about half of my business is looking for land opportunities, and enhancing the value of that land.
SBD: Looking back through the years, is there something that has consistently surprised you about local real estate?
DM: Yeah, it’s so resilient. Even in the toughest times of real estate, houses along the beaches, houses with views, were still going up in value. So this great area—with terrific schools, retail and emergency services—is a wonderful place to live and bring up kids. As a result, properties are very valuable.
SBD: Any trends you’ve noticed recently?
DM: A lot of the new properties, view properties and super-prime properties are being bought by foreign investors and nationals who want a piece of California to enjoy while they’re here. Also, there’s still a scarcity of real estate in the
South Bay, therefore high prices.
SBD: Any hot local areas to watch?
DM: I really think that Carson could come up big. It has a lot of land, a lot of commerce and a lot of industry. If Carson could manage their city correctly, they could be a dynamite city. They’re working on it. But the beaches, from Palos Verdes to Manhattan Beach to El Segundo, are gold and always will be.
SBD: Speaking of the local area, what are some of your favorite hangout spots?
DM: We have our favorite restaurants, like Red Onion—where I was a busboy in high school—or the Beach City Grill. I like the Portuguese Bend Club as a beach, that’s a great place to hang out. And I surf all over the South Bay, from Palos Verdes to Manhattan Beach. Every weekend, as long as there are waves, I’m in my car with my boards.
SBD: Any advice you’d give to a realtor just starting out?
DM: When anyone asks me if I think they should get into real estate, my answer is always ‘Yes.’ It’s a great profession. It’s so fun to wake up in the morning and think, ‘Boy I could sell a house today and make [a chunk of change]. And you can.