Christopher Rizzotti of Toluca Lake Real Estate has lived, worked and volunteered in the community for more than two decades, and has gained a reputation as one of the neighborhood’s real estate experts. He specializes in residential, single-family homes and investment properties, as well as commercial transactions.
What’s driving up mortgage rates? How are rates affecting the housing market?
Primarily inflation. Inflation is the archenemy of interest rates, since it erodes the buying power of a fixed return that a mortgage holder receives. With inflation on the rise, it’s pushed mortgage rates up. The Fed’s balance sheet also plays a factor; a balance sheet runoff equals bad news for mortgage rates. Other factors affecting rates include supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and wage increases. Higher rates equate to higher monthly payments, so as rates continue to rise, more buyers will unfortunately be priced out of the market. Since real estate inventory remains low, it has not had an effect on the market.
How has the spring housing market been performing? What does the summer look like?
The spring market has been very strong. Given low inventory levels, average days on market remain short. For most properties, we are seeing multiple offers driving the price far above list price as well. As we enter the summer season, expect to see more of the same: low inventory and increasing prices.
What’s one tip you would give to those looking to buy or sell a property right now?
Hire a professional realtor to represent you, one who works within the market every day and who can dedicate time to you and your goals every day. This market requires a skilled, steady and focused effort.
What challenges have you faced this past year, and how have you overcome them?
The greatest challenge has been helping my buyers find their dream home. It takes an extraordinary effort to land a client a property amid such high demand and low inventory levels. The only way to overcome this is to work harder than the next agent. You need to be available around the clock, and buyers also need to be available around the clock. I’m fortunate to work with clients who trust me to guide them through the process and who are motivated and persistent. I have worked in the marketplace for the past 25 years, and other agents know when working with me that they are working with a professional who closes deals. The competitive nature of this market requires a strong partnership between clients and agents.
What do you love most about helping people buy or sell property in our neighborhood?
Buying or selling a home is complicated and stressful. It requires energy and expertise, especially in a neighborhood as desirable as Toluca Lake. There are many players involved in each transaction and many conditions that can affect an outcome. I love when clients tell me, “Chris, you made the process so easy and seamless. We absolutely love living here. It was the best decision.” That’s really satisfying because I work hard to manage and alleviate any concerns my clients have so that they can focus on the end goal. Helping buyers and sellers reach their goals is when I’m satisfied.
What’s a notable property that you’ve sold recently?
I recently sold a stunning custom-built home that commanded $3.7 million and $1,300 price per foot, making it one of the highest price-per-foot homes sold in Toluca Lake. The median price per foot in the neighborhood averages closer to $700, so this was a huge achievement to make happen for my seller.
In addition to your realty business, what other things have you been working on?
I’m extremely active in the fight to preserve the character of the Toluca Lake community and others like it. I have vocally opposed legislative initiatives coming down from Sacramento that impact our residential neighborhoods. Bills such as SB 9, SB 10, SB 35 and accessory dwelling unit (ADU) legislation dramatically affect our communities, and I work hard to raise awareness around these issues. I continue to advocate for property owner rights and neighborhood protections in California so that my clients have a voice. I am happy to speak with anyone who has questions or wants to better understand the current legislation. Call me!