By Clint Lohr
The real estate office located at 10154 Riverside Dr. in Toluca Lake has changed signs several times in recent years, from John Aaroe & Associates, Pacific Union, and now Compass. But high-end, multi-million dollar producing agent Craig Strong has remained there with his team continuing to serve the community he loves.
One of the noteworthy properties he has represented was the Bob Hope Estate, built in 1939. Designed by architect Richard Finkelhor for Bob and Dolores Hope, on a 5.16-acre lot, this 14,876-square foot estate with eight bedrooms and eight baths, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and one-hole golf course sold last year for $15 million.
Strong is not afraid of competition, which he attributes to growing up on the streets of New York City in the 1970s. He radiates confidence, which he says, “comes from experience.”
Before moving to Toluca Lake, he and his wife Tara lived in other areas of the Valley. They met while studying voice acting. Tara has a successful voiceover career in animated shows like Rugrats, Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans and Ben-10. They have two sons, ages 14 and 17.
“We came to this area because we love the community, and it was central to our careers,” Strong says. “Our kids have grown up with the other kids in the area. I feel more and more people want to come to this area. I love giving back to Toluca Lake. It has always been my first priority.” Indeed, Strong has served on the Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council, Homeowner’s Association and Neighborhood Watch. He has also done fundraising for Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and other charities.
Strong’s business skills were learned early. His family in New York owned Point Blank Body Armor, manufacturers of bullet-resistant body armor, where he became Vice President of Manufacturing. When his family sold the business, Strong came to Los Angeles and began property investing, which was the start of his real estate career.
He has definite views about today’s changing real estate business to be successful. “Back in 2006, everybody was getting their license,” he says. Newly licensed agents have walked into his office wanting to join him, he says, thinking the business is like the television shows “HGTV” and “Million-Dollar Listing,” where high-profile agents show mega mansions and make easy money. Then they find out how hard they actually have to work.
As for all the discount brokers popping up, “These discount brokers couldn’t make it as regular agents,” he says. “They cost their clients more money. In the end, they just lack skills in so many ways. You get what you pay for.”
Visit StrongRealtor.com or call Craig Strong’s office at (818) 930-4050.