Local Realtor’s success tied to legacy of public service

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Local Realtor's success tied to legacy of public service
Ruthie Abelson Olivas (Photo of Ruthie contributed. Photo of Security Pacific by Kathy Chouteau).

By Mike Kinney

Ruthie Abelson Olivas has been a homeowner since her 20s and knows that the process of buying and selling real estate can be emotional, exhausting and scary. So she set out to make it easier on others.

Today, Abelson Olivas is a popular real estate agent with Security Pacific Real Estate at Hilltop Richmond who says she aims to use her expertise to make the process as smooth as possible for her clients.

“Having a great Realtor can make a world of difference and that is what I aim to be,” she said. “This wonderful opportunity and privilege to help others is what inspires me.”

Helping others is in Abelson Olivas’ blood. Both of her parents, Janet and Howard Abelson, spent decades serving the community in both elected and volunteer positions. Her mother served on the El Cerrito City Council for 23 years, including five terms as mayor before retiring in January 2023. She unfortunately died the same month in which she retired.

Abelson Olivas says she’ll have a difficult time filling those big shoes, but she’s already well known for being well-involved in the community. She volunteers as a member or serves on executive boards for numerous organizations such as the League of Women Voters, Rotary International, Bay Area Girls Club, Rosie the Riveter Trust, Galileo Club and more.

“Sitting on the sidelines is not in my DNA.”

What she’s learned from her parents’ public service, and also her own, translates into the world of real estate. Even in professional life, Abelson Olivas helps her neighbors through difficult times.

“At the end of the day, I truly enjoy the personal relationships with my clients and other Realtors, and I find it truly rewarding to see the results from my hard work and service,” she said.

Abelson Olivas says it is especially rewarding to work with first-time buyers and single working parents “who feel an extra sense of pride and accomplishment when getting keys to their very own home.”

With uncertain economic times and in the wake of COVID, the real estate market is complex, as is the job of the Realtor.

“Some may think it only involves visiting beautiful homes and holding open houses, but it entails so much more,” she said. “Realtors have to be available at all hours of the day in order to accommodate varying schedules for clients and vendors. Most transactions have unique situations arise so a Realtor must also be prepared to adapt and respond accordingly.”

Realtors are not attorneys, therapists, contractors, or interior designers, but are often called upon to provide similar services.

Abelson Olivas says she’s poised to continue her success in real estate and her volunteerism, but has no goals of running for an elected position like her parents. She said she finds it rewarding to help in other ways, such as in serving as the regional ambassador for Shawn Dunning’s Richmond City Council campaign, along with being a member of local Democratic clubs.

Abelson Olivas also volunteers in real estate, as well, serving as a trustee for the Contra Costa Association of Realtor’s Scholarship Foundation, as director for the California Association of Realtors, and as a member of other related committees.

“My parents showed me through example how important it is to get involved,” she said. “I personally view doing community service as my own requirement and not an option. Community service is an essential foundational ingredient to a strong and healthy community.”

While people are elected or hired to do a lot of public service work, everyone must collectively volunteer if there will be “success for all,” said Abelson Olivas.

“Sitting on the sidelines is not in my DNA,” she said. “Playing an active role to support my community of West Contra Costa County is.”