A native New Yorker, Craig Strong graduated from Ithaca College and worked for years with Point Blank Body Armor, rising through the ranks to vice president of manufacturing. When he relocated to Los Angeles, he got involved in property investment and transitioned to the field of real estate. Craig has been an award-winning, top-producing Realtor® in the area for more than 20 years and is the founder of The Craig Strong Group under the umbrella of Compass. He has volunteered with numerous community organizations including the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council and the Toluca Lake Homeowners Association, Chamber and Neighborhood Watch.
Have you seen a recent increase in first-time home purchases? What about multifamily purchases?
“Yes, I’m seeing the market experience an upsurge in first-time home purchases. First-time home programs and the parameters of home loan eligibility are allowing first-time homebuyers the ability to own their own home. The rental market is at an all-time high. People see that it becomes less expensive—and smarter—to purchase. In terms of multifamily real estate purchases, the market is hot for those looking for a return on their investment. With rent as high as it is, these homebuyers are definitely seeing those returns. Multifamily residential properties don’t stay on the market long.”
Speak about the flexibility required to be successful in this industry.
“You have to be extremely flexible. These days there aren’t any free weekends, holidays or specific hours of operation. Everything blends into one when you’re helping people with the biggest purchase or sale of their life. You need to be available and always be working behind the scenes, finding properties off market for your buyers and making sure you’re getting top dollar for your sellers. If you’re thinking about taking a vacation, good luck! You have to be made of steel and work harder than the rest to succeed in this industry.”
What do you love about your job?
“What I love most about my job is providing a powerful negotiation for my clients. I love when they truly recognize how hard I work for them, and when they come to me at the end of the transaction with such appreciation. It’s not as simple as just finding a house for a buyer or just listing a house for a seller. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes in a purchase or sale, and most of my clients understand this process. They really appreciate how my 20 years in the industry have helped them in the process.
I also enjoy being a part of this amazing community where I’ve met so many wonderful people. I know that when tasked to fundraise for a local cause in Toluca Lake, I can achieve my goal by lunchtime on the same day. This community continues to grow together into one of the most special areas I know of. I’m truly blessed to have been here for two decades. I can’t see myself anywhere else.”
Do you think home prices will continue to soar in 2022?
“I don’t think they’re going to soar, but I do think the price for those specialty homes on big lots, on golf courses, lakefront or with views will continue to go up. I think smaller starter homes will start to level out and stay where they are unless inventory drops again—in which case, those prices will also increase. I do, however, feel inventory is going to start picking up, and this will help stabilize home prices.”
Do you involve your family in your work?
“I definitely involve my family in my work. When you close approximately 100 trans-actions a year, it’s extremely stressful. My family is always there when I need to vent about a tough transaction or celebrate a closing! Having done this for so long, they know how to help me navigate any situation.”
What are key factors for finding a good fit when choosing a broker to work with?
“The key factor when looking for a broker is choosing one who listens and truly understands what the client wants from their buying or selling experience. At the end of the day, it is all about the client; you need to make sure you are working with a broker who is going to meet your needs. They should be honest when it comes to pricing the home and transparent about the transaction process. You need an agent who is going to achieve the goals you set forth and does it professionally.”
What does it take to become a top earner in your field?
“Experience, time and knowledge. They all go together. In this industry, no one is going to hand you business. You need to get out there and start from the bottom and work your way up. It is also important to meet the agents you’ll be doing transactions with. Nothing happens overnight, and it isn’t as easy as it looks on TV. Stay vigilant and be patient. Always be eager to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid of failure and mistakes, because they will happen.”
Give us some tips for improving curb appeal.
“Mow your grass! It sounds simple, but seriously, make sure the front of your home is in great condition. You don’t want to be the neighbor with a dying lawn. We always recommend that our sellers plant some fresh flowers and repaint the front of the house and the fence. Small fixes that don’t cost much will raise the value of your home. An inviting home brings in more buyers!”
Source: Ventura BLVD