Nora Davis

Coldwell Banker Property Shoppe

Photos/Words by Misty Hall

Real estate is truly a family affair for Nora Davis. Growing up, her mother was a real estate agent, and her parents owned rental properties. Today, she regularly works with her husband, daughter, and son in various aspects of the business.

S8C_MH_NoraDavis_05_smlNora’s favorite backyard bench is even better when surrounded by her grandkids.

This immersion in the industry has made her a natural success. But going into real estate wasn’t always part of her plan. At first, the goal was to become a hair stylist. So when she earned a scholarship to Ventura Beauty College, she leapt at the chance to attend, even though it meant a very busy schedule.

“During my senior year, I went to high school in the morning, Ventura Beauty College in the afternoon, and worked as a hostess at a diner at night,” Nora remembers. She’d go on to open her own salon — longtime locals will remember Betty Boop’s — on Ojai Avenue. And though she enjoyed that for several years, she ultimately decided to make a career change and become a real estate agent like her mom.

Three decades later, it’s proved to be a good choice. The two-time Ojai Valley Realtor of the Year has several notable sales under her belt: Rancho Grande in Rose Valley, Matilija Canyon Ranch (The Dent Ranch), White Star Ranch in Upper Ojai, and the Wallace Neff-built property in the East End formerly known as Chateau Wally (which she sold four times).

But Nora does a little bit of everything, representing both buyers and sellers. “There is nothing more rewarding than helping first-time buyers achieve home ownership and move into their first home,” she said.

Nora’s specialty, though, is horse properties — which makes sense for this life-long equestrian who can speak from experience. Nora owns a ranch and keeps several pets, including two rescue minis, Brownie and Pearl.

“The type of property you need will depend on the number of horses you have, the type of horses you have, and what kind of riding you do,” Nora explained. Have trail horses? You’ll want to look at a map to see how far away the trails are (and luckily, the Ojai Valley has lots of them!). If you’ve got show horses, you’re going to want to look for a property with a large arena, or space to add one. “You also need to research the zoning,” she pointed out, to make sure that adding one is permitted in that particular area. Other considerations: Are you looking for a working ranch, or a smaller property with just enough room for one or two horses? And don’t forget to consider your other needs, Nora went on. “You being an equestrian is just one part of your life. Do you also want to be close to downtown so you can ride your bike to the Farmers’ Market, and be just minutes from shops and restaurants? Or do you prefer the more rural feel of Upper Ojai?”

Nora also brings the experience of working closely with a construction company: R. Davis Construction, the company her husband, Randy, runs with their son, Cody. Nora handles the business end of the company, and also works with them on the family’s existing rental properties. And if her clients want to expand or make changes to their home, she can recommend a couple of guys she trusts implicitly.

But Nora’s not always working.

In her free time you’ll probably find Nora cooking up big meals with friends and family, taking care of the animals on her ranch, or, on a Sunday morning, visiting the Ojai Certified Farmers’ Market.

Having grown up and raised her kids here, Nora feels especially connected to the valley. “It’s a great place to raise kids,” she said, citing the open space, nature preserves, and mom-and-pop shops that are able to thrive in the close-knit community. It’s also conveniently located, she added, with the beach, mountains, and city amenities nearby.

S8C_MH_NoraDavis_01_smlNora and grandkids Randy Lynn, Brooke and Noah take advantage of a rainy day by baking cookies in the kitchen.

Indeed, the valley has given Nora much over the years — which is why she feels it’s so important to give back. She works with the Hometown Hero Project, which connects first responders, police officers, firefighters, teachers, and active and retired military servicemembers with organizations and businesses that provide services to them, while also raising public awareness about these local heroes. In addition, she’s volunteered with the Girl Scouts, the Toys for Tots drive, and Help of Ojai, and started the local Homes for Dogs Project (a partnership between Coldwell Banker and the Ventura County Humane Society).

She’s a busy woman, but that’s the way Nora likes it. “I don’t have a bucket list,” she insisted. “I just feel fortunate to be living my dream life, right now.”

For more about Nora and to view her current listings, visit

Nora’s Real Estate tips:

• When looking for a Realtor, find a local agent who stays on top of the ever-changing laws, regulations, and issues affecting real estate in the area where you are buying. “In Ojai, this includes things like understanding local water issues, possible well moratoriums, changes in vacation rental laws, and local and county rules,” she says.

• Find a Realtor who has solid, long-term relationships with contractors and service providers who know the local market. “It can save you a lot of time on research when you are preparing your home to sell or have just moved into your dream home.”