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He Drove Cross Country in a Camper

Posted by NSDCAR in Blog, News | 0 comments

Chris Osteen, Cal West Management

You may know NSDCAR REALTOR® member Chris Osteen as a current member of NSDCAR’s Local Government Relations Committee (LGR), District 3, representing Cardiff, Encinitas, Leucadia, and Olivenhain. Chris also served as an NSDCAR board member and NAR director for many years. “I think I’ve been a member of the LGR since the first year of the Association’s existence (1994),” said Chris, who served as president of the San Dieguito Board of REALTORS® (1984 and 1985).

But did you know that Chris drove across the country in a camper for a year? “I had graduated from college in Florida, I was newly married and we decided to travel around and see the country up-close,” said Chris. “We went wherever we felt like going. We saw amazing things. I’ll never forget seeing a Golden Eagle sitting on top of a pine tree in Alaska.”

Chris was born in Ft. Myers, Fla., and grew up in Pompano Beach. “My first-grade teacher was my dad’s first-grade teacher, her name was Mrs. Huff,” said Chris. He graduated from Pompano Beach High School (class of 1965). After his cross-country trip took him to Alaska, Chris decided to try San Diego.

He worked for Home Federal Savings & Loan was promoted, eventually to a branch manager position. “But, I wanted to be self-employed,” Chris said. In the early 1980s, Chris married Signe (together they have five children and nine grandchildren). Also, Chris left Home Fed and founded Joshua Tree Development, a custom home builder. “We built about a dozen or so homes in the North Country, and we lived for several years in one of the homes we built in Cardiff,” said Chris, who has lived in San Marcos for the past 11 years.

A few years into building custom homes, mortgage interest rates hit 16 percent and sales slowed. So, Chris founded a property management company called Cal West Properties, which today is now known as Cal West Management & Sales, Inc. Cal West manages 38 homeowner associations (about 2,300 doors). A sister company, Brentwood Management, manages 12 apartment complexes (about 200 doors).

“We’ve stayed in business because we’ve been able to adapt to changing marketing conditions,” said Chris, age 69. It’s the same reason why Chris admires NSDCAR.

“I’m so proud of our Association because it has demonstrated an incredible ability to change with the times,” he said. “I ended my service as a board member because I could see it was time to make room for younger people. I’m very enthusiastic about the Association’s younger leaders. It’s very encouraging to see younger people get involved and assume leadership positions. There is a great group of new people who will be leading NSDCAR into the future.”

Today, Chris still has a camper. Chis and Signe enjoy spending weekends at the Hawk’s Canyon area of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (the 900-square-mile park stretches from the Riverside County line to the Mexican border in eastern San Diego County). “We sit outside by a fire at night and we’re at peace,” he said. “You won’t believe how beautiful the desert flowers are. The rainy season has given us an exceptional super bloom of wildflowers. It’s incredible green with a beautiful carpet of annuals. The sights are spectacular this year.”

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