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SDAR members introduce 2014 officers aboard USS Midway Museum

Members of the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors boarded the USS Midway Museum on Saturday for a ceremony to introduce the 2014 officers and board of directors, and draw attention to the group’s mission to better serve the military community.

“If a soldier, sailor, marine or airman does not get a home because the seller has a better offer, that is a business reality. But should they not get that home because their Realtor or lender does not understand how to help them use their hard-earned VA benefit -- that is a tragedy,” said Leslie Kilpatrick, the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors’ 2014 board president.

SDAR will offer more education and certifications to Realtors in 2014 to enable them to better serve the military community, said Kilpatrick, branch manager and broker associate at Willis Allen Real Estate.

The group will also work to have more housing communities approved by the Federal Housing Association and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and will contribute to the Ambassadors Foundation to support charities for military families.

Kilpatrick’s father served in the Marines for more than 30 years; her husband, Tom, served as a Navy salvage diver on the USS Cree; and her son-in-law served as an explosives ordinance disposal officer in Iraq after graduating from the Naval Academy.

Andy Nelson, CEO of Willis Allen, said in a video tribute that Kilpatrick was raised in a military family and knows how to organize her day and how to lead people.

Nelson has been one of Kilpatrick’s key mentors, she said, along with her first broker in 1979, Karen Rockwell.

“Karen taught me in her words and actions some of the key qualities I would need to have a long career in real estate: persistence, hard work, maintaining a sense of humor and keeping your word even when no one is looking,” Kilpatrick said.

Kilpatrick’s father was able to buy his home in San Diego thanks to a good Realtor and a VA loan, she said. Her mother lived in that home until about three years ago, and now the rent it generates helps pay for her care.

J.R. Martinez, U.S. Army veteran, actor and "Dancing with the Stars" winner, was the master of ceremonies for the event. He said members of the military fight for the American dream -- which includes homeownership.

Defending homeownership is Kilpatrick’s passion, she said.

“Homeownership rates are dropping. My parent’s four children all became homeowners. That may not be possible for their grandchildren,” Kilpatrick said. “Owning your primary residence is the keystone to wealth, financial independence and emotional security. Beyond that, investing in property has long been a way for families to secure their futures.”

In 2013, SDAR’s membership increased 8.6 percent to about 12,000 members, said outgoing President Linda Lee. There were more than 50 events last year and more than 43,000 homes sold.

“When real estate does well, the entire nation does well,” Lee said.

In addition to Kilpatrick’s installation Saturday, the 2014 incoming officers and board of directors were also installed.

Also honored were the 2013 Awards of Excellence winners. The winners were: Affiliate of the Year: Karen Bates, Military Home Loans; Broker of the Year: Patricia Garner, ZipRealty Inc.; Office Manager of the Year: Jeffrey Nunn, Coldwell Banker Residential; and Realtor of the Year: Gerri-Lynn Fives, Willis Allen Real Estate.

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Greater San Diego Association of Realtors

Company Website

4845 Ronson Ct., 330
San Diego, CA 92111

Greater San Diego Association of Realtors Executive(s):

Linda Lee

  • 2013 President

Leslie Kilpatrick

  • Board President

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