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Sweet Suits and Smart Sales

Meet the Men Who Hold the Keys to San Diego

Written By: Nicole Fera

Photographed By: Josie Gonzales

The Experts: Jeff Grant, Principal & Broker of Record and Abe Woody, Estates Director

Closers: Sand & Sea Investments have closed more than $100M in real estate sales

In the beautiful city of San Diego, there are tons of amazing homes, apartments, lofts, penthouses, bungalows and other marvelous properties to choose as your home. Where you live is a big decision, especially with all of the different neighborhoods and communities, and the individual personalities that they possess. If you want to live life in the fast lane, you might consider a loft or apartment downtown. If you want to wake up to the beach every morning, then La Jolla might be your dream location. With so many options, navigating your way through such an investment might be a challenge. That’s where the boys at Sand & Sea Investments come in. Jeff Grant and Abe Woody hold the keys to San Diego, and know the ins and outs of the city. They were kind enough to take me up to one of their astounding 2-million dollar suites in the Pinnacle building to chat about their company and journey to where they are today. Here’s what I found out about these hustlers and the real estate biz in SD.

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Q: First off, are both or either of you locals in this city that you buy and sell so well in?

Jeff Grant: We are actually transplants just like many of us living in SD. I’m from Scottsdale, Arizona and I came out here in 2000.
Abe Woody: I’m originally from Texas, and I bounced around playing professional baseball for a while until I settled down in SD with my family.

Q: And how did the two of you come together at Sand & Sea?

AW: We’re actually brother in laws, but I didn’t get involved in the business until 2012. Jeff started the company himself after years of working on the PGA Tour and wanted to get off the road and start a family. I was lucky enough to move out here with my family and dive into the business under his guidance to bring us to where we are today.

Sand and Sea Investments - Locale Magazine June 2015

Sand and Sea Investments – Locale Magazine June 2015

Q: Jeff, how did you decide you wanted to leave your Operations Director job and start up your own real estate agency?

JG: I had been at my job for a long time working on the PGA Tour, but I just wasn’t happy or fulfilled with what I was doing. People thought I was crazy leaving that job, but I knew I had do what was going to make me happy. It wasn’t easy at first though; there were definitely moments where I questioned what I was doing.

Q: How did you get the ball rolling with your new career? Did you have a background in real estate?

JG: Oh no. I was blissfully ignorant at the time. I didn’t have any experience, so I just dove right in and started learning as much as I could. I would go to friends and family and talk to anyone that was looking to buy or sell a house to let me help them. I just wanted to learn as much as I could, and I wasn’t afraid to hustle.

Q: That was a risky move starting over with something you didn’t know anything about, but clearly it was the right decision. Was it difficult to break into the San Diego market?

JG: The first few years of learning and growing and trying to build my business were brutal. I was extremely stressed, exhausted from working all of the time, and struggling to make it all work. I even had a close friend come to me and say that I should give it up and look for a job doing something else. This was tough for me, but I truly believed in what I was doing and the fear that I was feeling motivated me to keep going. Sounds strange, but I knew I could do it, and I wasn’t going to quit until I did.

Q: When did things start turning around? When did you know that your hard work was going to pay off?

JG: After a few years of scraping together any clients I could and just being as involved in the market as I possibly could, things started to look up. In 2011 things started to come together and deals that I had been working on were all coming through. That is the year I went from ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving.’ It was a big turning point for me to have some success in what I had been working so hard at, and at that point I was confident in the progress I was finally seeing.

Q: How did Abe get involved to form this dynamic duo that is sitting in front of me today?

AW: I had just moved to San Diego to settle down with my family after leaving baseball, and I wanted to pursue something new, career-wise. I had obviously known Jeff for a while and watched what he went through to build this company and get it started, and I wanted to be involved. Like Jeff, I went into it with very little experience on the subject, but he taught me everything that he had learned, and I dove into the business learning as much as I possibly could.

Q: Your office is amazing downstairs. Was this always where you resided or did it take some time to get to the Pinnacle building that you reside in today?

AW: When I first came onboard, Jeff was subletting an office in a lawyer’s building with a little sign on the door, so it’s safe to say we’ve come a long way since then. It just reflects all of the hard work and the long road that it took to get here.
JG: Yeah, like Abe said, this is definitely not my first office with this company. The downstairs office is actually our fifth, and we settled here about a year ago. It’s such an amazing building, and I actually live in the building as well with my wife and son. It’s nice having everything so close, and I can pop upstairs to see them during a long workday. They are what is most important to me, and wanting to see them is the reason we settled in this office space.

Q: The views alone in this place are blowing me away right now. Abe, do you live in this building as well?

AW: I actually live in Carlsbad, so it’s a bit of a commute in the morning. I enjoy the drive here and back though, because I love listening to podcasts in the car. I also know that market very well, so I love living there.

Q: You guys have certainly come a long way with this company. What would you say makes you stand out amongst other realtors in the area? What is the key to your success?

JG: We offer premium, hands-on service to all of our clients. The fact that it’s just Abe and I working one on one with everyone is huge. It’s that personal factor that sets us apart from other offices and agencies that have dozens of people working on one job.
AW: We’re always available for our clients as well, which is huge in their eyes. Someone that I’m working with knows that they can trust us to get things done and keep them informed throughout the whole process. We’re happy to be working for our clients, and when you’re as passionate about what you do as we are, that’s going to come across.
AW: We’re always available for our clients as well, which is huge in their eyes. Someone that I’m working with knows that they can trust us to get things done and keep them informed throughout the whole process. We’re happy to be working for our clients, and when you’re as passionate about what you do as we are, that’s going to come across.

Q: What is the trick to buying and selling homes as well as you both do? Do you have a certain clientele or specific area that you deal with?

JG: We buy and sell all kinds of homes in San Diego. No jobs or clients are too big or small, although we do tend to work with a lot of high profile people in this city. Negotiating is the biggest trick and skill that you can have in this business. That’s what it’s all about in the end.
AW: Between the two of us and hundreds of transactions, we’ve acquired a lot of experience over the years that we use when we’re negotiating different deals. It’s important to know when to be the nice guy and when to put your foot down with a client. You’re always looking out for their best interests and sometimes you need to stick to your guns and show them that.

Q: What kind of techniques do you use to buy and sell?

JG: Unlike some other realtors, we really embrace the new style of marketing that has come into play over the years. You can sort of split the groups of people in this business into old and new school, but we feel it’s important to grow with the times. Over 90 percent of people go online to check out listings when they first think about buying or selling a home. That’s a huge number, and if you can attract those people right off the bat then you have a good chance of them contacting you.
AW: Like Jeff said, we definitely use the internet to reach as many people as possible — a close second to our organic client-driven market efforts. It certainly doesn’t hurt that we’re actually some of the highest reviewed brokers in the area! The more people that you can reach the better, and we like to think of ourselves as more than just real estate agents. We consider ourselves to be a resource to our clients; a hub of information. For example, if we sell a home to someone, they might need a decorator, so we make the connection and put these two in touch with one another. It’s great networking, and that’s what it’s all about in this business. That’s how we’ve grown to know so many people and can land the deals that we do.

Q: I know you are both very involved in the community and giving back as well. Can you tell me a little bit about what you do?

AW: I’m heavily involved in the Boys and Girls Club here in SD, and we do a lot of different events and parties with the kids. I feel it’s important to give back to this city, and it’s also huge for me to be able to help children as a parent.
JG: I’m involved in the Century Club and the Nice Guys Club of SD and like Abe said, it’s just a big part of what we do and how we’re a part of the community. I love this city and it’s been good to us so we just want to give back where we can.

Q: With so much success so far, where do you guys hope to be in 5 years?

JG: Only God knows. I will definitely keep up the hard work though and with our growing client base, the opportunities ahead excite me so much!
AW: I wouldn’t mind opening up a North County office in 5 years or so. There’s a lot of potential up there, and it would be much closer to home for me as well, which, of course, is a major plus.

Sand & Sea Investments
265 W Market St
San Diego, CA 92101
858.336.9836
www.keytosd.com