“I had a client who I sold a lot to years ago,” recounts Charlie Raine. “He built a beautiful house on the property.” When the client was ready to sell that beautiful house, he called Charlie. The listing wasn’t automatically his, though—there were three other real estate teams in the mix, all gunning for it. That’s when Charlie called Bill Ruth.
“Bill and I went to high school together,” says Charlie. Both of the agents, natives of Palos Verdes, were born into the business: Charlie’s father was a commercial broker and his mother a residential agent; Bill’s father was a commercial developer and his mother, an agent at their namesake Ruth Realty.
Bill Ruth and Charlie Raine have each been in the business for nearly 30 years; Carissa Wright entered real estate four years ago after working in banking and nonprofit management
Bill Ruth is a board member and recent past president of the Palos Verdes Association of Realtors; Charlie Raine has recently served as a board member of the Peninsula Education Foundation.
Ruth, Raine, and Wright collectively have approximately 65 years of real estate experience
Both knew Palos Verdes down to its weather patterns and individual streets, and real estate like the back of their hands. “But we had to fight for it,” says Charlie of what was his first real estate win with Bill. “It was a big, big sale.” So big, the sale had the distinction of being the highest for over a decade in pricey Palos Verdes. The two paired up again on listings from time to time over the next couple of years and, in 2009, made Ruth & Raine official.
The two have enjoyed a fruitful partnership as hometown agents, and a couple of years ago, another agent joined the mix. Real estate agent Carissa Wright and her husband were looking for a house in Palos Verdes and connected with Charlie and Bill. Impressed by her real estate savvy, they asked her to join Ruth & Raine.
“We have three of the top agents in our group, from three of the top brokerages,” Bill points out. He and Charlie are with Keller Williams and ReMax Estate Properties respectively, and Carissa is with Beach City Brokers. “And—you’re paying the same price. There’s nowhere else you can get the same exposure for a listing.”
Adding to this is the trio’s expanded geographic reach across Palos Verdes and the Beach Cities. “Carissa is in Redondo Beach and Charlie and I are up on the Hill,” explains Bill. Working together means greater exposure for their listings, and the ability to service clients throughout the close-cousin markets. (A specialty of Carissa’s, for instance, is relocating Beach Cities clients who wish to move to Palos Verdes.)
Another boon to the merger is chemistry. “There’s nothing written down,” says Bill about their partnership. “Everything’s on a handshake.” This speaks to their trust and easy camaraderie, evidenced by the good-natured joking and laughter throughout our interview. “My husband calls them my work husbands,” Carissa says with a chuckle. “We’re always texting each other, the three of us. Constantly.”
Whether choosing real estate after growing up in the business, like Bill and Charlie, or selecting it independently, like Carissa, success in the industry seems to require embracing it as a lifestyle, not just a job. At Ruth & Raine the firm, this approach is multiplied by three.
“One of us is always available to our clients,” Bill comments. “That’s the most unique part about us—you talk to a principal at all times. You’re never talking to someone who is not the rainmaker.”
BILL RUTH | 310.621.2885
CARISSA WRIGHT | 310.987.1829
CHARLIE RAINE | 310.377.4932
Photos courtesy of Ruth & Raine