Craig Strong Luxury Homes

L to R above:
Oran Shevach, Kristin Neithercut, Norma Paladines, Stefanie Kahn, Jessalyn Wanlim, Rachael Feigelson, Craig Strong, Sasha Kacher, Meadow Scott, Allison Danno, Andrew Kline, Katherine Disque, Brendon Blincoe Anative

New Yorker, Craig Strong graduated from Ithaca College with a computer science degree. Afterwards he helped operate Point Blank Body Armor, a four-generation family business, and rose to be vice president of the firm. When Craig relocated to Los Angeles, he became a property investor. This led to his interest in real estate, and now he has worked as a Realtor® in the area for 20 years.

Today Craig is vice president of the Luxury Sales Division at Compass Real Estate. He has won many awards and continues to be a top-producing sales agent. He is also very involved in his community, volunteering for the Toluca Lake Homeowners Association, the Toluca Lake Chamber and the Toluca Lake Neighborhood Watch. He has served on the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council for 15 years and has also co-chaired Public Safety in Toluca Lake.

How do you earn your clients’ trust?

“I’ve been in real estate for more than 20 years and completed more than 1,000 transactions. This alone builds trust. Much of my business comes from referrals. Thanks to a portfolio of amazing clients, new referrals approach me having an idea of what it’s going to be like working together before our initial meeting. I recognize the importance of being extremely straightforward with my clients. I inform buyers if there is something wrong with a property. I tell sellers exactly what I believe their house to be worth; I never inflate the price to get the listing. In other words, I represent my clients’ best interests.”

Describe the special services you offer clients.

“I’ve built an expansive vendor list that includes plumbers, roofers, painters, electricians, contractors, etc., who offer my clients discounts on home improvement needs. Compass also offers a service called Compass Concierge that allows sellers to prep their home for sale without any upfront fees or interest. Many of our clients use this service to paint, repair and stage their home, and they appreciate that they don’t have to pay a dime until after their property sells.”

What sparked your interest in real estate?

“Growing up in an apartment in Manhattan, I was always fascinated to visit the homes of friends from surrounding areas such as Long Island and Westchester County. I enjoyed seeing the large homes, the architecture, their yards and pools. I dreamed of having my own property. To this day, the attraction of walking into a home for the first time, seeing what there is to admire or re-imagining the possibilities of what could be is undeniable.”

What makes you a Valley expert?

“The truth is, an agent can’t be an expert in all neighborhoods. I specialize in the southeast Valley. The first home I ever purchased in Los Angeles was in Encino. Since then, I’ve lived in Calabasas, Bell Canyon, Studio City, Sherman Oaks and Toluca Lake, which I’ve called home for the past 17 years.”

Describe your neighborhood.

“I love Toluca Lake. It’s one of the greatest places to live. It maintains a small-town feel with an amazing community. A sense of acceptance and belonging brings residents together, from family-friendly events to the neighborhood watch, from unique stores and restaurants to holiday celebrations. People are friendly, and locals often stop by the office to say hello. There’s a reason so many want to move here—it truly is a hidden gem! Please don’t tell anyone.”

Tell us about your typical workday.

“Along with coffee, each day begins by organizing priorities and delegating to-do lists to my talented and hard-working team. Next I spend time networking, making appointments to meet with potential new clients, getting homes ready to go on the market, showing properties and attending inspections. Every day is different, and every day is exciting.”

Do you have advice for someone starting a career in real estate?

“Don’t believe what you see on TV. The real estate business is not something you can do part-time or to make extra money while you’re doing something else. Real estate is extremely important in people’s lives, and a large part of the job is making dreams come true for both buyers and sellers. A transaction should never be about the commission. It should always be about what the clients need. My best three words of advice: listen, listen, listen.”

What’s your favorite way to find zen when you need it?

“To find zen in the middle of the day, I head over to Lakeside Golf Club and hit a few golf balls. Chipping and putting—that’s all I need.”

What is the best part of your day?

“Monday through Sunday: 6:15 a.m. Coffee, coffee, coffee!”