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When his parents relocated here in 1975, he says, “I fell in love with Vegas from the moment I got here, okay?” He often finishes statements with an interrogative “okay” as if to make sure his audience is paying attention. It’s likely they are. His rapid fire anecdotes are engaging and flavored with a charming but world-weary wit. He wouldn’t make the move to Vegas himself for another decade and may have not made the move from trucking to real estate if it weren’t for troubling back pain.
Upon arrival his parents bought a house near Sahara west of Decatur. In 1975, this area was not just the edge of town, it was considered the boonies.
As he recalls his parents’ home buying experience, “I remember the realtor they were working with was apologizing for all the ugly, stupid houses which we all now cherish as mid century modern.”
In ’85, while still in the trucking business, he acquired a set of apartment complexes in Las Vegas at the corner of 11th and Stewart, east of the old city hall. He says, “We thought we could create some sort of an arts district going east from Las Vegas Blvd between Fremont and the 95.” Within a year of buying the properties, he says, the area became crime ridden, forcing him to make new plans.
By 1990 his back was giving out and he was not going to be able to stay in the trucking industry.
“So I was looking for what else I could get into and the things that I loved the most were houses and architecture.” He was encouraged to try real estate by friends and family. The focus on selling in historic neighborhoods was there from the start.
“From the beginning I knew that if I ever sold the apartments and bought a house I was going to either live in or near the Huntridge area or Paradise Palms because that is where the architecture is that I truly love. I picked out a series of 13 houses that I liked and said I was going to buy the first one that came on the market. I did, and that has been my house ever since. It’s on 8th Place and Oakey.”
LeVine created the Very Vintage Vegas brand in 2007 and celebrated its 5th anniversary this past February. He readily admits the past five years have been rough but says that the market is now improving.
“In the 90s, if you walked into an oversized bathroom or a blue kitchen people would say ‘Oh my, this is so dated.’ Now they say, ‘Thank God this is still here; it’s so retro, so hip.’”
What impresses you about the historic neighborhoods?
Driving down the street and seeing homes that don’t look anything like each other. People who want to know their neighbors and who want to be part of a real arts scene.
Any disadvantage to living in these areas?
Well the lots are bigger, the trees are older. The trade-off is the houses are older too. Energy costs can be higher but those can be offset by a shorter commute, and making improvements to older homes.
Would you ever consider leaving the real estate business?
I can’t imagine wanting to ever retire. I think I will be doing real estate till the day I die.