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Adapting to Real Estate Changes

LakeView Realty Stays on Top

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Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:00 am

Passionate is one word that can describe Derek Leistra—owner of LakeView Realty—perfectly. Working real estate is not what Leistra has always done, but it is what he devotes all of his time to now.

Leistra, after his 10 years of active duty in the Navy, became passionate about baseball and was the general manager for several minor league teams in Texas and Oklahoma. That later led him to be the manager of the San Bernardino Stampede.

Due to his management positions, Leistra began to teach himself about marketing, branding and how to work well with the public—opening the doors of real estate for Leistra.

“I went to work for John Wilson, who owned LakeView Realty from 2001 to 2005,” Leistra said. “I really learned a lot from him.”

After working closely with Wilson, Leistra had the opportunity to take over LakeView Realty in October 2007, and so he did. Leistra became the owner-manager at its first location in Crestline and after some time Leistra found that Lake Arrowhead was always a thought in his mind.

In May 2015, LakeView Realty in Lake Arrowhead became a reality. LakeView Realty in Lake Arrowhead is at the corner of Highway 173 and the entrance to Lake Arrowhead Village. The 22-foot sailboat near the entrance of the office makes it hard to miss.

The sailboat, with its blue painted hull that matches the color of the real estate office, can be looked at as a brand for Leistra’s real estate business. “I’m told it has some real history up here,” Leistra said. “For a long time it was in storage; I was able to get it.”

From what Leistra knows about the sailboat, it seems to have belonged to someone who was connected with the Seagram’s family when they had a home in Lake Arrowhead. Leistra decided to get the boat and install it in front of his office because he feels it sets the mood and goes well with the name LakeView Realty.

Leistra’s Lake Arrowhead office is decorated nautical, including ship’s lanterns and art. The sailboat, and the decor inside highlight Leistra’s passion of sailing; he learned how to sail while he was stationed in Hawaii for the Navy, and has been interested in it ever since.

Because of the two locations—one at the corner of Lake Drive and Lake Gregory Drive, and his other office at the entrance to Lake Arrowhead Village—Leistra likes to say that “we have a corner on the real estate market,” as a slogan for LakeView Realty.

A firm believer in advancing technology and having to go along with it, Leistra installed a 24-hour Real Estate Information system at both of his locations last year. The purpose of this system is to better serve potential buyers and sellers.

“The industry is changing, and we have to change with it,” Leistra said. “We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to keep realtors in the center of the transaction.”

The 24-hour Real Estate Information system allows people to search listings, and electronically review the listings, see photos of the properties, see maps, compare prices, calculate mortgages and request more information that can be delivered right to their phones.

“There is a lot going on in real estate [these days],” Leistra said. “It threatens our industry,” which is why Leistra dedicates so much time to improving the way real estate is managed in his offices.

Leistra currently sits on the board of the California Association of Realtors (CAR) and is the chair for multi-family housing this year. His efforts have not gone unnoticed having just won the “Realtor of the Year” award for 2016 by the Rim O’ the World Association of Realtors.

Starting 2017 Leistra is optimistic that the real estate business will follow last year’s trend. “We had a really good year last year, and we saw a full recovery; this year will be good as well,” Leistra said.

Though he is encouraged that sales will be good on the mountain this year, Leistra raises concerns about the lowering lake level at Lake Gregory.

“I am concerned that it is going to impact us,” Leistra said. “I don’t know exactly how, but it will impact what we do this year.”

LakeView Realty prides itself in professional work, and Leistra says he and his team are always finding ways to stay on top of the industry. The team adapts to the changes happening in real estate not only at the state level but the national level as well.

“We say we are experts in real estate,” Leistra said. “In order to say that, we have to be experts; we have to know what we are doing, and what is going on.”

For more information on LakeView Realty, call (909) 338-8294 (Crestline) or (909) 336-2125 (Lake Arrowhead), or visit online at

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