Len Herman

If there is a usual path by which people get into real estate, Len did not follow it. Instead, he traveled a somewhat circuitous route until, as he puts it, he “became totally enamored with real estate.” And he did not begin life in California either. Instead, he came here from the East Coast on a job recruitment assignment but liked the area so much that he took the position for which he had been recruiting and stayed in the Golden State.

Len grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he attended Temple University. He liked to write and was pretty good at it so he set his sights on a career in radio, television, and film. But in 1980, with just three credits to go before graduation, he had an epiphany of sorts in which he realized that, while he was skilled at the technical aspects of writing, he lacked the creative spark that would be needed to dream up concepts for programs and originate scripts for shows. So, much to his mother’s chagrin, he quit school.

Len needed a new direction, but he had no idea what it would be. Then, in 1981, IBM came out with a personal computer. Len saw it and knew almost instinctively that he’d found his calling. He returned to Temple University, where—as he explains—his grade point average in computer-related classes “just soared”; and in 1984, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a computer science and marketing emphasis.

In 1986, Len became account manager for Feith Systems and Software in Bala Cynwyd. That name—which looks like a typographical error—was given to a community in southeastern Pennsylvania by the Welsh Quakers, who settled there during the 1660s and named it after a town and a village in Wales.

By 1988, Len had become Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Feith’s world headquarters in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. And it was in this capacity that he was sent, in 1995, to the Silicon Valley to interview candidates for a position with Feith in Santa Clara. Len liked Northern California so much that he took the Santa Clara job himself and found someone else to fill the opening his transfer left back in the Keystone State.

Next, Len spent two years as Senior Account Manager with FileNET in San Francisco, where he consulted with customers on business process re-engineering, managed installation for new customers, and oversaw ongoing support for existing customers in the high-tech, defense, and telecommunications industries. In 1999, Len was recruited to FileNET’s Costa Mesa office, and that’s how he came to be a Southern California resident.

After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, “the information technology market went blah,” says Len, “and I wasn’t having any fun anymore. I was working at AMR Research in Irvine, which was transitioning into real estate. About this time, my wife and I started going to open houses for decorating ideas; and somewhere along the way, I became intrigued with the real estate industry.”

Len took some real estate practices courses, got his license in 2003, and attended an Orange County Association of REALTORS® orientation. In the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) portion of the orientation Len, being an IT expert, asked first one question and then another about why things were done this way and not that. Those questions got him appointed to OCAR’s MLS Committee and the die was cast.

For several years, Len served as either Chair or Vice Chair of the MLS Committee. Then, two years ago, he became President of SoCalMLS and, in that capacity, engineered the 2011 merger between SoCalMLS and the California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS) as a way of reducing costs and increasing both system efficiency and user convenience.

In 2011, OCAR members expressed their appreciation for Len’s efforts by choosing him as President-elect; and in December 2012 he was installed as 2013 President. Len selected as his theme for the year “Bringing People Home,” and his goals for the organization he will guide reflect that theme. They are as follows:

  1. To focus more attention on what it means to be a REALTOR® and to be guided both by a Code of Ethics and the Golden Rule.
  2. To increase overall professionalism by encouraging Multiple Listing Service‑only members to become REALTORS® and abide by the Code of Ethics.
  3. To widen awareness of private property rights and strengthen the Association’s defense against ongoing efforts to encroach upon and erode these rights.
  4. To support the continuance of policies and practices, like the mortgage interest deduction, which encourage home ownership as an vital means of strengthening both families and communities.
  5. To work with local cities to establish a fair and consistent policy governing the display of open house signs.
  6. To encourage REALTORS® to make more meaningful and personal the conversations they have with each other and with their clients.

Regarding Goal 6, Len asserts that, while tweets may be an efficient way to make and change appointments, “you can’t have real conversations in sixty-four characters or less” and believes there is a chronic need for relationships that are more genuine that those built solely on tweets.

For 2 years Len was the Manager of a RE/MAX office in Mission Viejo California before returning to work directly with clients at Keller Williams in Mission Viejo. He also serves as a Director for OCAR and for the California Association of REALTORS® and still finds time for a hobby or two. He loves photography and the ability Photoshop gives him to fix after the fact “whatever doesn’t happen right” when he’s taking a picture. He plays ice hockey in Anaheim, where his six-foot-three-inch frame makes him an effective defenseman.

Quiet, strong, introspective, and analytical, Len seeks to improve each situation he finds and to solve each problem he encounters. OCAR members, recognizing his value to their organization, honored him as one of two REALTORS® of the year for 2012 and will benefit from having him at the helm of their Association throughout 2013.