My Professional Background I began investing in real estate in 1973. It was certainly much easier in those days as a partner and I bought a four-plex and three houses in a span of two weeks--with a total of $16,000 between us. The four-unit building, to show you how much things have changed, was on the bluff in Solana Beach. In 1974 I started forming small partnerships. My first project was an eight unit apartment building on Wilson Avenue close to Adams Avenue. I raised the money for the downpayment from fellow workers in the Probation Department. It was the first of a string of these ventures where I raised capital and then bought and managed property for myself and my investors. During the latter part of the decade it was incredibly easy to make money buying rental houses. Prices were low enough so that most homes could almost break even! Apartments were even easier to make work. Mortgages were fixed at 7% and you could buy 8 to 20 unit buildings at seven times gross rents. It was impossible not to make generous profits from average deals. In those early days I used two different brokers, one for residential and one for apartment purchases. In 1982 I obtained my broker's license and went to work for myself as Scott Pacific Investments. 1982 was not a good year to be entering the real estate sales force as we were in the midst of a difficult recession. Interest rates were close to 18%. I operated my business from my home office and managed to get a quick foothold in the Metro area marketplace. What certainly helped get me started was the inventory of properties that I managed for my investors. I got a break in 1982 when I started to organize partnerships with some NFL players to purchase San Diego apartments. My main investor was Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. I also invested for other players as well. In 1986 I moved into a Mission Valley office and took on a new partner, Jeff Quinn. We formed Scott & Quinn Real Estate. In December 1987 we moved into a former gas station and repair garage on Fort Stockton Drive. Jeff left S&Q in 1991 to run the San Diego Sports Arena. I stayed on in my current location. Gradually I added agents and property managers to better serve my growing client base.
My Personal Background
I live in Mission Hills. I bought my first house in this neighborhood in 1976 on Ingalls Street. For $52,000. In 2004 I built a house just a few blocks from my office off of Fort Stockton Drive. On the site was an old triplex that had been converted from a non-descript home built in the late 1920s. I have a photograph of me as a toddler standing in front of that very same plain house, you can see it below under my father's right hand.
Like so many Californians, I am an immigrant from some other place, my photograph notwithstanding. My mother and I knocked around many boarding houses, rooms, and cramped apartments as I grew up. My father was a career Marine and we traveled in and out of San Diego until I graduated from what was then San Diego State College in 1966. My marketing degree did little for me in my first job out of college, a Marine Second Lieutenant. I did my 13 months in South Vietnam, part of the time with a storied infantry battalion in the 7th Marines.
I left the Corps as a Captain in early 1970 and went back to State, now a University, for a Master's Degree in American History. I taught in the Junior College system for most of the decade but was unable to get a tenure-track position in San Diego (Porterville College yes, but not a place I wanted to live). I began investing in real estate in 1973 so I needed a good local job and got one as a Probation Officer with the County of San Diego.
I enjoyed real estate, buying and selling in the heady days before the crushing recession of 1981 and got my Broker's license in 1982 and started my first real estate agency. It has been a blessing to live and work in such an amazing neighborhood. No question Mission Hills has changed, I think for the better, and I hope I never have to leave. Even though we are now empty-nesters, my wife and I enjoy the replica Craftsman we built 11 years ago.
I have two boys who graduated from college in 2014 and 2016. One employed and one in law school. If you are doing the math, yes, I started late.