Our Story

IT started in 1914.

At that time, the seaside enclave of La Jolla had a population of less than 400 people. The town had only recently gotten electricity, and the streets were just starting to be paved- as the first cars didn’t make their way there until two short years prior. A young entrepreneur by the name of Fredrick L. Brown saw the timing of this all to be the perfect opportunity to open a real estate company on the corner of Prospect and Girard.

In the same year:

Playing for Keeps

In 1930, a young man named Willis M. Allen drives with some friends from Connecticut to San Diego. As an avid polo enthusiast, he falls in love with the area and soon purchases half interest in a small equestrian stable- renting polo horses out at 1 cent per minute. A few years later, he obtains his real estate license to broker a land deal for a San Diego-area polo field.


In 1942, his interest in real estate and land-development sufficiently piqued, Willis Allen purchases Fredrick L. Brown’s real estate company, on Prospect Ave in La Jolla, and renames it the Willis M. Allen Company.


The La Jolla office flourishes under Willis’ leadership and influence, quickly growing to be one of the most successful in the area. 10 years later, in 1952, the Willis M. Allen Company opens its second branch office in Rancho Santa Fe.

In 1973, they expand again- this time into Del Mar, known for the world-famous Del Mar Race Track.


In 1977, Andrew E. Nelson, a former Naval Officer who flew in the back seat of F-4 Phantom Fighter Jets with Fighter Squadrons VF-151 and VF-111, joined the company.

After proving himself through hard work and earned success, Andrew E. Nelson took over as President in 1981. Under his guidance, the company grew further and, in 1988, added another office in Point Loma.

Changing of the Guard

In 1995, Andrew E. Nelson purchased the flourishing real estate company
from his mentor, Willis M. Allen, and renamed it Willis Allen Real Estate. In 2002, he opens another Willis Allen Real Estate office in Coronado, one of the premiere zip codes in all of San Diego County.

He further expands the company presence in 2004 by setting up shop in the newly revitalized downtown San Diego, right on 5th Avenue. In 2020, another office is opened in Encinitas, growing its footprint to 7 offices in San Diego County.

109 years and counting...

The tenets that helped the company flourish back in 1914 remain the same today: expert service, uncompromised professionalism, community involvement, and the willingness to innovate with each passing year.