Northern California real estate agent Gerardo Padilla learned persistence from judo, a passion that took him to three Olympic Games.

By Roger Grody

The broker/owner of Cupertino, California’s GP Real Estate Inc., is Gerardo Padilla, whose participation in world-class judo competitions, including three Olympic Games, translates into a competitive edge for his clients. Covering much of the southern San Francisco Bay Area, Padilla is a go-to resource for high-tech engineers, attorneys and business executives seeking real estate and mortgage services in the Silicon Valley area.

Gerardo PadillaPadilla was born in Mexico City and came to the States to attend San Jose State University, where he earned a degree in business administration in 1982. After graduation, he spent time in Japan and Europe refining his considerable skills in judo, a sport he competed in since he was nine years old. “Judo teaches you to perfect yourself and add something of value to the world,” says Padilla. It also instills persistence, a quality that has served him well throughout his career in real estate. When he earned his broker’s license in 1992, Padilla founded GP Real Estate, now approaching a quarter of a century of personalized customer service.

Judo is not simply a hobby for Padilla but a lifelong passion, and his achievements place him in an elite category of athletes. Before becoming an American citizen in 1989, he represented his native Mexico in three Summer Olympics, beginning with the 1976 Montreal Games at the tender age of 17. He returned to the 1980 Olympiad in Moscow and the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. At the Pan American Games, Padilla won a bronze medal in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1979, and a gold medal at the Caracas, Venezuela, games in 1983.

After 14 years as a broker, Padilla earned the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation after completing intensive coursework and meeting an ambitious multi-million dollar quota. He considers himself lucky to have been introduced to Laurie Moore-Moore from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, who encouraged the broker to become more prominent in the high-end residential market. “She helped me achieve greater knowledge of the luxury market, assisting me in securing the prestigious Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) designation and attaining Million Dollar Guild status,” says Padilla. “I have been able to differentiate myself in the marketplace ever since,” he adds.

GP Real Estate is also a licensed loan originator, making the firm a one-stop shop for its buyer clients. Padilla insists on maintaining GP as a luxury boutique brokerage that ensures personalized service from the broker/owner himself on every deal. As a result, it is not unusual for a single client to return to Padilla for as many as a dozen different properties. “My goal is to exceed expectations and complete a transaction with the least amount of stress,” he says.

Padilla is still very much a part of the judo world, serving as an assistant coach and recruiter for his alma mater, San Jose State, and recently advanced to a sixth degree black belt. After residing at San Jose’s prestigious Silver Creek Valley Country Club (SCVCC) for many years — he was involved in transactions exceeding $10 million there — Padilla has relocated to Gilroy, a semi-rural community south of San Jose that is now being discovered by Silicon Valley families.

Playing with the same intensity that made him a judo champion, the 56-year-old broker has been a SCVCC tennis team captain for 15 years. He was nominated USTA South Bay League “Captain of the Year” in 2010 and his team previously reached the Northern California USTA finals. But judo remains his first love, and Padilla will never forget entering Olympic Stadium in Montreal, still a teenager, for the Opening Ceremony. “At first my legs were a little shaky, but then I felt like I was floating on air,” he recalls.