But did you know that when Jan got married at age 22, one of her step-daughters was age 23? “I not only became an `instant mom’ but also an `instant grandmother,’” said Jan, who will celebrate with husband Bruce their 39th wedding anniversary this year. They live in La Mesa and have 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Over the years, Jan has remained close to all four of the step-children (three girls and one boy). “I can’t say that I raised them from infants, but they have come to me for advice countless times,” Jan said. After one step-daughter’s divorce, Jan helped with matchmaking strategy to nab a new husband. “We plotted together and it worked,” said Jan. “They’re happily married today.”
Jan grew up in Escondido and graduated from Orange Glen High School at age 17 (class of 1972). After high school, she attended Palomar Community College. At age 19, she earned her real estate sales license. “My dad was a general contractor and a REALTOR®, and he insisted on me and my three bothers getting our real estate license,” said Jan. “I’ve been the only child who remained in the business.” Jan’s father, Jack Mahan, built hundreds of custom and track homes in the North County during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
In 1974, Jan got a job as an assistant at the Bruce Farley Corp., a San Diego company offering lending, escrow, property management and real estate investment services. “When I joined the company it had 50 employees,” said Jan. “Then, the market went south and several investments went bad. By 1977, the bankrupt company consisted of just me and Bruce.” They were married in 1978.
Bruce’s financial troubles resulted in an invitation to speak at his church about how his faith helped him during challenging times. His testimony eventually led to a six-year career (1978-1984) in Christian ministry, including serving as a pastor at La Jolla Christian Fellowship. “To be honest, we were not very good at church work, we were much better working in business,” said Jan. In 1984, they moved to San Francisco and opened a mortgage brokerage they ran until 1998.
“I loved living in the wine country, in Sausalito and Sonoma,” said Jan. “For four years, we lived next to a Ravenswood Winery and became wine connoisseurs. Red Zinfandel is my favorite.”
In 1998, they returned to San Diego and lived in Jamul. Jan then opened Coastline Real Estate in La Mesa, which she operated until 2007, when the company joined a nearby Windermere office in La Mesa Village. Jan later opened her own Windermere office, as well as a Berkshire Hathaway office, before founding San Terra Properties in March 2014 with business partner Kim Klecan. Today, San Terra has about 20 real estate sales agents. The company also manages more than 250 single-family residences in San Diego’s Tierrasanta community. One of her granddaughters is a San Terra sales agent.
“I’ve helped train several of my grandchildren with their real estate careers,” said Jan. “One granddaughter works as a transaction coordinator, another does loans and the one who works with me is an excellent sales agent.”
Jan and Bruce remain active in church. Bruce, now 85, leads group counseling and support groups for people who are divorced. Jan plays keyboard and sings with the worship team. Jan also is a member with two bands, including Old Skool San Diego and 3's Company. The bands perform songs from the ’50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
“I believe in giving back to our industry that has given me a great living,” said Jan. “That’s why I’m involved with both Women’s Council of Realtors and PSAR. I love PSAR because of its excellence in serving the members. Everybody greets you with a smile. The staff knows us and calls us by our first name. PSAR events are organized and efficient. I’ve had horrible experiences with other associations. PSAR is the clear choice for me.”