Craig Strong of the Craig Strong Group has used experience, education and his deep knowledge of the local market to help his clients buy and sell their homes for more than 20 years. Strong has been a Toluca Lake resident for nearly two decades and has held positions with the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council and other local committees.
How have you seen the real estate market change over the past five years?
It has changed dramatically. Before COVID, it seemed like things were going at a normal pace. Inventory was on the lower side, but regardless, there were a lot of transactions happening. When COVID hit, people stayed at home and really started to nitpick what they did and didn’t like about their homes, which caused a lot of people to want to sell their homes and move. They were also working out of their homes, which caused people to desire things in their homes they hadn’t really cared about before COVID. This caused an increase in both buyers and sellers. Now we are seeing low inventory again but still very high buyer demand. Lots of changes!
Is it currently cheaper to rent or buy in L.A.?
It’s currently cheaper to buy if you have the down payment. The rental market has also gone up, so the low interest rates plus down payment would yield a lower payment than the rental.
What are some of the biggest advantages to buying property in the Toluca Lake/Burbank area?
If you’re looking for a friendly neighborhood that is perfect for your family, near the studios, close to Lakeside Golf Club or if you want to live on the lake, then Toluca Lake and Burbank are for you. If you want your kids to be a part of the amazing Burbank Unified School District or be by the studios, then these are great areas for you and your family. There are excellent restaurants and shops, and a great sense of community. Due to the competitive market, many have found themselves in intense bidding wars with multiple buyers.
How can a buyer make their offer standout from the competition?
It always helps when your agent has a relationship with the listing agent. In regard to how to make the offer more competitive — it’s tough if it’s not an all-cash offer. Don’t make it contingent on you selling your property. And when possible, try to remove or shorten the other contingencies.
What do you enjoy most about living and working in Toluca Lake?
I love that I can walk to work, and I love that most of the properties I help people buy and sell are close to work. I love walking to the great restaurants, and I love walking to Lakeside, where I can play golf. I love sitting in my office and seeing neighbors and members of the community walk by or come into the office to say hi. It’s so great knowing people in the neighborhood!
Is there any recent news about your realty business that you would like to share?
There are some great things coming up in Toluca Lake as we approach our 100th anniversary. We have some incredible properties coming up both on and off market. We’re also super excited about some listings that we have listed and sold on beautiful Toluca Lake. We had another super successful spring neighborhood yard sale (so glad we could bring that back!), and we’re excited to host our inaugural summer kickoff at the office, which will feature complimentary lunch and snacks for the whole family at the end of June.