Lady of the House

Kayleigh Donahue Hodes | May 31, 2017 | Feature Features National

After conquering the San Diego market, one local real estate maven is taking her client-focused approach worldwide.

With Holly Nanula’s success in the San Diego real estate market—at press time she had a whopping $53 million in listings on the market, with her highest single sale clocking in at $21 million—it’s hard to believe this is the second career she’s had in her life. “I actually started out as a public school teacher in Buffalo, N.Y.,” she says, laughing. But after a few extended trips to the San Diego coast, a move felt right for her growing family, and she took the plunge on a new career that had always been in the back of her mind (her extended family owns a home-building business in New York). “I actually got my real estate license here on one of those vacations to Solana Beach—I didn’t tell anyone I did it until after I passed the exam—and finding our house here was my first transaction,” she recalls.

Ever since, she’s helped countless other families buy or sell their homes, all the while building a three-office franchise of Harcourts in San Diego County over the span of 10 years. “I love both sides: I enjoy staging a house and getting it ready to go on the market, but then I also love the relationship you build with buyers—there’s a lot of emotions that go into buying a house, and you get to participate in that joy they experience when they finally get into their dream home,” she says.

Having recently sold her Harcourts offices to go global with a Del Mar outpost of luxury European company Engel & Völkers, Nanula stands to have an endless number of those moments. “The network we have is amazing,” she says of her new company. “I can get on the phone and call someone in China or Russia or Paris and say I have a property that might interest their clients or I have a client that’s looking in their market—it’s a boutique brand that’s catering to the clientele, and really targeting the person and the relationship.”


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