By Jack Rubinger
By Jack Rubinger
Jan Caplener and SE Portland go back a long ways. He’s seen the good and the bad. But no matter how you look at it, Jan Caplener/Realty Trust is a family affair with son Kevin, brother Jim and sisters Caroline and Chelsie all involved. Even if they’re not all related, it feels like family when you walk in the office with its cushy couches and art work, including many historic black and white photos of the area.
Approaching his 40th year in the SE Portland real estate community, Jan Caplener is starting to wind things down, mostly helping close friends and neighbors with real estate. Kevin is now tackling most of the daily routines. Jan hopes to travel more and more with wife Jill. Father and son will continue to work closely together for many years to come
“We’re always only a phone call/text/email away for clients and each other,” said Kevin.
“My dad has been an amazing mentor,” said Kevin. “I started as an assistant to him over 12 years ago, and now he’s the one helping me out. I’m lucky to have him!”
Kevin, who grew up in the neighborhood and used to be a Honda mechanic, has taken on more of a leadership role in the past several years. Kevin was president of the Hawthorne Business Association and continues to reach out to the local business community.
Jan Caplener has earned the time off with a family-like dedication to the community. To say he knows the area well is a bit of an understatement. He owns the building where The Caplener Group is located, at 50th and Hawthorne, and he knows the history. It was a pharmacy years ago that was owned by the Geiger family. Roughly seven years ago he moved the real estate office to the ground floor, and completed a renovation that at the time, was the most sustainable real estate office in Portland. This real estate team has a huge devotion to green and sustainable building practices.
“Real estate is all about problem solving and teaching,” said Jan. In fact, Jan Caplener in an earlier life taught 7th grade history at Robert Gray Middle school.
“Teaching gave me a solid base for human understanding,” said Jan. “While relationships are important, real estate has gotten more complicated over the years, that’s why it pays to teach and learn. You have to be a good technician, knowledgeable and proficient.”
“My classes have no fluff,” said Jan, who teaches real estate classes to new agents that join Realty Trust. “We teach agents about how to deal with very complicated real estate transactions.”
With over 2,000 sales in his career, it still seems that something new can pop up in any given transaction.
Along the way, there have been quite a few milestones and memorable moments. A good friend bought a home in Mt. Tabor in 1987 for $179,000. At the time no home had ever sold in Mt. Tabor for more than $150,000. Jan assured them that this purchase was a wise investment. The home is now worth approximately $1.4 million.
“I have a huge passion for Mt. Tabor and close in SE Portland,” said Jan. “This market never ceases to surprise me, especially in a time like this. The 97215 and 97214 zip codes are two of the hottest zip codes in all of Portland. We’re now routinely seeing million dollar houses in little old SE Portland of all places! ”
Realty Trust uses their office as a community center for local schools and non-profits, like the Franklin High School poker tournament. The team believes that supporting local schools is very important. The Capleners also showcase the work of local artists by hosting artist receptions and supporting the Mt. Tabor Art Walk.
“It’s fun and it’s good business to support the community,” said Jan.