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Popular local performer enjoys success in new career

DEL MAR — Since leaving the Mar Dels almost two years ago, Kathy Herington’s tune has changed from “Get This Party Started” to “Taking Care of Business.”
Herington left a steady, 13-year gig as singer and saxophonist with the popular band to venture into the unchartered waters of real estate as others were jumping overboard.
“Everybody said, ‘Are you crazy? Why are you going into real estate now?’” she said. “I thought, ‘Why wait until tomorrow?’”
A former lifeguard and professional surfer who once competed on the North Shore of Oahu, Herington was fearless.
“I was ready for a challenge and had a competitive edge as an athlete,” she said. “You have to believe in yourself and be the best you can be without giving up.”
Herington’s moxie paid off. Her first sale was a $1.169 million custom home in Del Mar.
“I view the real estate market like the tide,” she said. “Right now it is low, but where does it go from here? It has to go up again. You have to keep your eye on the horizon.”
Herington is an associate with Gallagher & Gallagher, the top sales team of Prudential California Realty in Del Mar.
“Kathy has a commanding personality, most likely due to her diverse background of being a top performer and traveling the world,” Elaine Gallagher said. “She is a very positive person who has a can-do attitude, and follows up with everyone, which is important in real estate. She listens so well to clients and has amazing attention to details.”
In addition to performing with the Mar Dels, Herington served as a stylist, which required designing, sewing and coordinating the group’s costumes.
“Design is a passion,” she said. “I love the opportunity of transferring my knowledge and artistic ability by offering staging and redesign services to my clients.”
She is also a certified feng shui specialist and board member of San Diego Feng Shui Professionals.
Herington’s optimism about the real estate market comes from her late grandmother, Grace Araujo, who invested in coastal real estate in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.
“My grandmother used to say, ‘People multiply, land doesn’t.’ She was brilliant.”
Herington says there’s never been a better time to buy with prices and interest rates at an all-time low and the extension of the first-time homebuyer credit.
“People always look back and say, ‘I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve,’” she said. “They’re going to look back and think, ‘I should have bought in 2009.’”
Herington lives in Encinitas with her husband Steve and her son Tyler. She also grew up in Encinitas, the youngest of four children of legendary jazz musicians Anthony Ortega and Mona Orbeck. Ortega, a saxophonist, met Orbeck, a composer, pianist and vibraphonist in her native Norway in the early 1950s when he was touring with Lionel Hampton. He subsequently performed with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Quincy Jones.
While it wasn’t uncommon to see her dad on TV shows such as “Here’s Lucy” or for him to bring home celebrity autographs, Herington said a personal highlight for her came as an adult in 2004.
“I accompanied my parents to Quincy Jones’ 70th birthday party at Spago’s in L.A.” she said. “I had the great honor of meeting Oprah and Stevie Wonder.”
Fans who miss seeing Herington perform on stage may be in luck.
“I’d love to start a ‘60s retro band when the timing’s right,” she said. “People still ask where I’m playing — even at open houses.”  
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