President’s Message: Meet Matt Clements, 2019 President

He will encourage members to have written goals and to understand their why, and he will champion a single statewide Multiple Listing Service.

By Sherri Butterfield

The American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson is often quoted as having said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”; and that is precisely what Matt Clements, the 2019 President of Orange County REALTORS®, plans to do. This fourth-generation REALTOR® enjoys blazing trails and discovering new ways to do things.

In 1976, Matt was the last child born on the old Moulton Ranch before development transformed those rolling hills into the cities of Laguna Niguel and Aliso Viejo. He has spent much of his life with his father Greg Clements, his mother Marilyn Clements, and two brothers in a house in Laguna Niguel, where baseball, bicycling, soccer, and surfing were household words.

During the Orange County REALTORS® Installation on December 5, 2018, former California Association of REALTORS® President Pat “Ziggy” Zicarelli declared, “The key to leadership is three simple words: Find your passion!” Matt found his passion twice—first in surfing and then in real estate.

Matt’s father Greg, an avid surfer, put Matt’s feet in the ocean when he was only three days old; and Matt began surfing at Doheny Beach at the tender age of nine. After graduating from Dana Hills High School, Matt joined the Professional Surfing Tour. By the time Matt was nineteen, he was ranked among the top 150 surfers in the world; and for eight years, surfing was his profession.

The life of chasing perfect waves seemed endless until Matt’s Surfing Tour travel partner was fired abruptly at the age of thirtyone. “I didn’t think he had any alternative to work except be a slave to his existing sponsors or become a sales representative, with earnings capped at $40,000 a year,” says Matt. Because, in addition to surfing, Matt loved school, he decided to return to the classroom.

At Saddleback College, Matt took a macroeconomics course and was encouraged by his professor to take a microeconomics course the following semester. Eventually, Matt entered the University of California, Irvine, where he first earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Business with a focus on the Pacific Rim—China, Japan, South Korea, and California—and then earned a Certificate of Management from the Graduate School of Management.

Matt chose to have his Installation be a Night at the Ballpark held at the Angels Lexus Diamond Club in Anaheim. He explains that he wanted the event to be in North Orange County and that nothing he does is ever “cookie cutter.” Then, almost as an afterthought, he confesses, “I’m a baseball nut.”

It seems that, in addition to surfing, Matt enjoyed playing baseball with his brother Jeremy and became an outstanding player who could have gone pro as a lefthander with what he describes as “a lot of pitches in my bag.”

In choosing real estate as his profession, Matt followed a family tradition. His Grandpa Jack was a REALTOR® for fifty-three years, a Director for twenty-five years, and served as President of his Association. But Matt had another reason for his choice. He says the flexible schedules real estate offers will enable him to surf, travel, and spend time with his two-year-old son Noah.

Matt has been a REALTOR® for almost fifteen years. He teaches a class for new REALTORS® in which he tells them, “Working only with buyers will help you go out of business over time; but if you list, you will last.” Matt adds, “The secret is to see the people. Be honest, be nice, listen, and ask great questions. Remember, it’s not about you; it’s all about them.”

Driven to succeed in a demanding industry, Matt admits that, for him, the challenge is finding ways to put down his business when he goes home. He says that the answer—if there is one—lies in “being organized, having strict schedules, understanding the difference between temptation and opportunity, and saying no graciously.”

Now that Matt has been installed as the 2019 President of Orange County REALTORS®, he has several goals for the Association and for himself. For example, he believes strongly in the power of self-motivation and selfdirection and wants all members to have written goals and to fully understand their why.

As CEO of the Clements Group Real Estate in Laguna Niguel, Harcourts Prime Properties, Matt is setting out to have his “personal biggest year in total sales” and to “debunk the myth that being President of an Association necessarily cuts into your business.”

In addition, Matt wants “to be a great dad and to have fun, share, inspire, surf, and travel.” He plans to champion the idea of a single statewide Multiple Listing Service and points out that a unified system would benefit consumers through increased speed and improved accuracy.

So, batter up! With the bases loaded, Matt and his team are ready to hit one out of the park!