Angst and uncertainty.” Those are the apt words veteran local broker Steve Hampar uses to describe the real estate market in and around Toluca Lake during the first few months of the pandemic. He and his team at Hampar Properties, a full-service boutique brokerage, saw properties fall out of escrow due to concerns from buyers and had to adapt to virtual showings. However, this uneasiness didn’t affect the market for too long.
Months into the pandemic “the floodgates opened and activity spiked,” Hampar recalls of residential properties, which were soon able to be shown in person again, however with strict COVID rules in place.
That same activity persists today, with both residential and commercial properties. “There continues to be a shortage of inventory with an ample demand of enthusiastic qualified buyers,” he says. “We recently received multiple offers for a couple of our listings, and put them into contract within a week.”
The strength of the local real estate market, Hampar explains, is fueled by mortgage rates falling below 3%. “Especially hot are entry-level homes that are turnkey and staged, which often bid up with multiple offers,” he says. “New construction remains popular in Toluca Lake and frequently sells at a premium.” However, despite this trend, Hampar, a self-described preservationist, notes that he would much prefer the vintage character homes be restored rather than razed.
Hampar says the market should continue performing strongly, at least for the time being. “The real estate is cyclical and prices will drop at some point in the future,” he says, “but no one knows exactly when.”
With that, Hampar has a few tips for buyers and sellers planning to do business during this optimistic market. For sellers, he says, it’s all about staging and preparing the home for sale. “For most buyers, a home purchase can be an emotional journey, so sellers will want to tap into that emotion when preparing a house for sale.” For buyers, he advises looking beyond a property’s flaws and focusing on its potential. “Many buyers can’t see through clutter or a property in disrepair,” he says. “On the other side of the spectrum are ‘fixer properties’ that flippers and investors will seek out. In all cases, pricing strategy is paramount.”
If any obstacles should appear during the buying or selling process, Hampar says he’s ready to face them head on.
“I’d like to say I’ve seen it all, but in reality, we continue to learn something on every transaction we close,” he says.
Whether working with residential, commercial or investment property, Hampar says he’s prepared to meet his clients’ needs, just as he has done for the past nearly 20 years — with the highest level of service.
“That means timely and constant communication, delivering on my promises and truly understanding the needs and concerns of my clients,” he says. “When I work with buyers or sellers, we create a partnership where teamwork and collaboration are key.”