Growing up in Toluca Lake, Kevin Dees fondly remembers peeking through the hedges surrounding Bob Hope’s sprawling five-acre estate on Moorpark Street, just to get a glimpse of the entertainer’s famous personal golf course, designed and built by Hope himself. That admiration for unique design and architecture never left Dees — now the director of estates at The Agency Studio City — who has spent his distinguished real estate career helping those in and around Toluca Lake find their dream homes.
“As an adult, having the privilege of being in a position to be trusted in the representation of some of the finest homes the area has to offer is a dream come true,” Dees says. “Our area of expertise is luxury residential sales in the San Fernando Valley, as well as neighborhoods throughout the Westside, Downtown L.A. and Malibu. From Frank Lloyd Wright to Paul Williams, there is a ‘movie plot’ in many of these historic structures. These historic homes and famous owners have become our specialty in real estate.”
Despite celebrating one of the most successful years of his professional career in 2020, Dees can’t help but think back to a stark conversation he had with his wife, Kristen, last spring when COVID-19 took the country by storm. “Nobody could have predicted what we all went through this past year. It seems just like just yesterday I sat down with my wife back in March and explained to her that there was a real possibility that I might not sell another home for the rest of the year,” he says. “Thankfully, beginning in April, home sales have been nonstop. We are in a robust market, and I see no signs of sales slowing down anytime soon. The ‘818’ specifically has been on an upward trajectory for the last five years, and we frequently now see sales north of $1,000 per square foot in Toluca Lake.”
While Dees foresees the housing market continuing to boom in 2021, he advises buyers to make sure the house feels like home and to have a budget in mind should there be any need for remodeling. For sellers, Dees adds, it’s important to consider who the property appeals to, such as an older family nearing retirement or a young family buying their first home.
“Be patient, especially for buyers in the $1–2 million price range, because it’s extremely competitive,” he says. “Losing out on a house in a multiple-offer situation when you have already invested emotions can be extremely disheartening. I always remind my buyers that there is always another house!”
If anyone knows about the countless stunning estates throughout Toluca Lake, it’s Dees, a second-generation resident who can be seen regularly grabbing a bite at one of his favorite eateries on Riverside Drive, bike riding around the neighborhood and checking out the amazing holiday light displays with his family.
“Toluca Lake is one of the greatest neighborhoods — if not the greatest — in the Valley,” Dees says. “There is nowhere else I’d rather live, and I feel so fortunate to be able to raise my little girl here. Especially during the pandemic, to see the community come together over this past year has been heartening and wonderful to experience.”