It’s one thing to reach the top of your field, quite another to stay there for years. For Gayle Probst, whose name is a familiar one in the world of Palos Verdes Peninsula real estate, the formula has to do with the love of her job and a Midwestern work ethic that never quits.
“I LIKE PUTTING THE PIECES OF THE PUZZLE TOGETHER. IT’S LIKE A HIGH. GETTING PEOPLE’S GOALS ACCOMPLISHED IS EXCITING.”
Originally from Iowa, Probst has lived in Palos Verdes and the South Bay since the late 1970s
Included among REAL Trends “The Thousand” in 2016 for transaction volume
Among the Top 100 RE/MAX Agents in Southern California, and the Top 50 for the Westside/South Bay region
“I still do this as a seven-day a week job—I always have,” says Probst, whose pre-introduction to real estate came in the late-1970s, when she and her husband began buying properties and fixing them up. “We were just playing around with that because we were here in California and I wanted something to do,” says Probst, a native of Iowa who has called the South Bay and Palos Verdes home since moving West with her husband in the seventies.
Fast forward to over a decade later, when Probst, then a mother and housewife, had a yen to get back into the workforce. “I have a degree in education—teaching—and I didn’t want to be a teacher,” she recalls. “So what was I going to do? I’m going back to work. What is it that I think Gayle Probst could be good at?”
With a love for homes, a knack for sales and a husband in commercial real estate, in 1992 Probst acquired her real estate license. She joined Coldwell Banker and rolled up her sleeves. (In late 2012, she moved to her current home, RE/MAX Estate Properties.) Decades later Probst remains at the top in what is arguably one of the most competitive real estate pockets in the nation.
“Most people know I’m extremely honest and reliable and direct, and I think those are qualities that are needed today,” she says plainly when asked about the keys to her success. She also credits an ironclad commitment to working hard inculcated by her banker father.
But the word “fun” comes up frequently during the conversation, too, from discussing the sale of an epic oceanfront estate along Paseo del Mar to Probst’s conversations with prospective clients—almost always referrals from current or past clients—who call her to discuss their real estate issues.
“I like putting the pieces of the puzzle together,” she explains, describing the process of matching a buyer with their ideal home or helping a seller move on from a property, from plotting out the marketing plan to celebrating a final sale. “It’s like a high,” she says of her work. “Getting people’s goals accomplished is exciting.”
From Probst’s earliest real estate days to now, her business has been focused on the charmed haven of Palos Verdes Peninsula, a place she has enjoyed since taking childhood treks from Iowa to visit her aunt and uncle. “There’s much to love,” she says, pointing out the variety and beauty of the natural landscape to the strong schools and low crime.
“We’re in such an interesting mix of young and old here,” she adds, discussing the trend of longtime residents who are choosing to stay in the area, versus retiring to some far-off locale, thus increasing the number of local senior living communities. “People like the comfortable atmosphere. It’s always been one of those warm, inviting places.”
To newer real estate agents looking to bolster their success, her advice is as straightforward as the woman herself: Know your stuff. Have a deep and intricate knowledge of your business and market. Be ready for success and for clients. Every day. “People will come to you because you are prepared and they’re going to see that. Be prepared,” she says, adding with a chuckle: “That’s the old Girl Scout motto.”
RE/MAX ESTATE PROPERTIES
450 SILVER SPUR ROAD
ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, CA 90274