Jim Van Zanten is a native Californian and seasoned real estate professional with 43 years of experience. With well over $1,400,000,000 in personal sales, Jim has established himself as a driving force within the real estate industry. He has been fortunate to operate several prominent real estate companies in the South Bay Area. He founded South Bay Brokers Inc. with a partner in 1985 and after attaining 1 billion dollars annually in gross sales, he merged the company with Vista Sotheby’s International Realty in 2015.
Happily married for 42 years, Jim & his wife Jean love the South Bay and make it a personal mission to give back to their community, frequently sponsoring local high schools and ensuring local arts, culture & sports live strongly within their community and its youth. Their son Eric graduated from LMU’s Film and TV School in Recording Arts.
When not taking care of business and spearheading the #1 real estate team in the South Bay, Jim & Jean spread their ‘aloha spirit’ all over the Island of Hawaii, and other exotic travel favorites. Besides a passion for exquisite wine and fine dining, Jim continues to bleed blue for UCLA basketball. Go Bruins!
Jim has a BA in Economics from UCLA, graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. His MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA in 1981 is concentrated in Real Estate and Finance. With 43 years of experience under his belt, Jim has also attended & led countless real estate courses and encourages his agents to continue their education by setting up compelling speaker engagements and other compelling real estate focused events.
Vista Sotheby's International Realty: Jim is still active as a manager at Vista Sotheby’s. Vista Sotheby's International Realty is a full-service international real estate firm with 250 agents under the brokerage. Recognized as industry leaders and experts throughout the Southern California marketplace, its agents are uniquely positioned to guide their client’s real estate objectives quickly and successfully. The direct affiliation with Sotheby’s auction house and Sotheby’s International Realty® offers the company an unparalleled global reach. Vista Sotheby’s now mainly operates in the Palos Verdes peninsula, Long Beach and the beach cities of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, El Segundo and Manhattan Beach. Each year Vista closes over $1,500,000,000 in residential home sales.
Lindsay Forgeron: Lindsay Forgeron is Director of Development & Interior Design with the Van Zanten Group, specializing in construction billing, management and design. Lindsay has experience working through all aspects of commercial and residential development including entitlements, contracts, billing, luxury home and apartment building construction.
Lindsay’s 15+ years of experience with commercial and residential real estate, from acquisition to completion, are instrumental to the development process. Her keen eye for interior design makes her an invaluable part of the team.
Lindsay works out of our Manhattan Beach office, and currently resides in the South Bay with her husband Eric and daughter Kara. When she is not knee-deep in construction and development work, Lindsay & her family can be spotted at the one of our gorgeous local beaches, where her husband & daughter surf and boogie-board, while Lindsay cools off in the water.
Lindsay also brings her A-game cycling and horseback riding in Palos Verdes, and if that wasn’t enough already to keep her vibrant spirit alive, the Forgeron’s often entertain their close-knit circle of friends & family with fantastic dinners in their backyard.
Helga Brandt: Helga joined the Van Zanten Group mid-2020 as Director of Marketing and Executive Assistant to its team members, coordinating all in-house escrows, marketing, and client relationships. Helga graduated from the Coloma Institute in Belgium, with a BA in Business and a specialization in Event Planning & Tourism Management. After a year of advanced study to become an IATA certified air broker & ticketing agent, she was recruited by a US employer and moved to the greater New York area in 1999. A career promotion transferred Helga to the West Coast in 2000. Over the years, Helga has worked in all branches of the hospitality, airline and event industries, but has always held a special affinity for the luxury real estate business. Her knack for customer service, her insightful ideas for marketing and her uncanny ability to juggle multiple projects all at once make her a perfect fit to the team.
In her free time, Helga loves browsing farmers markets. A foodie at heart, she gets excited over nutty Cabrales blue cheese and a glass of Tempranillo. Her kitchen is her Zen, well-stocked with all an amateur chef may need. She loves experimenting with recipes, and frequently submits her friends to her culinary escapades. When not playing with food and entertaining friends, Helga enjoys being out in nature. Be it top-down road trips or hiking California’s abundance of trails, soaking up the sunshine is frequently on her calendar. “Being in unadulterated, rugged nature makes you feel alive. It re-centers your soul and reminds you to be appreciative of life”, she says. Lazy Sundays are reserved for smooth rhythm & blues, a good book and afternoon naps with her 2 cats.
Helga works directly with Jim and the team, handling each transaction from A to Z. From coordinating showing appointments to the close of escrow, Helga ensures all clients receive top-notch customer service. With a great eye for design, she also creates unique marketing materials that continue to build the team’s local business presence. Helga strives to expand her knowledge of the real estate world. She enthusiastically takes on new challenges as she continues to grow professionally with the #1 Real Estate Team in Manhattan Beach!