Katherine Stark with Coldwell Banker knows real estate in the West San Fernando Valley extremely well. She should. She’s lived there her entire life.
Having a conversation with residential real estate agent Katherine Stark of Coldwell Banker just makes you feel good. She’s extremely knowledgeable about real estate, and she has a way about her that oozes class. Born in the San Fernando Valley, she has lived in the northern part of Los Angeles her whole life.
When Katherine is not working, she balances spending time with her family with staying active. And even though she prefers the beach to the mountains, her second home in Lake Arrowhead serves as the perfect spot to unwind and create magical memories with her family.
Listen to Katherine’s story here.
Click here to read the transcript
Intro Speaker 0:00
From Los Angeles, this is the Echelon Radio Network
Jerri Hemsworth 0:16
Welcome to the Echelon Radio Podcast. This is Jerri Hemsworth and I’m sitting here today with Katherine Stark. How are you?
Katherine Stark 0:23
I’m doing great. How are you?
Jerri Hemsworth 0:25
I’m trying to keep cool because it’s so darn hot out these days. So you’re with Coldwell Banker.
Katherine Stark 0:31
I’m with Coldwell Banker Realty. Yeah. And I’ve been selling real estate for many many years.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:36
And you specialize in the West San Fernando Valley and those markets and out towards Westlake Is that correct?
Katherine Stark 0:43
Yes, I do. Woodland Hills. Calabasas. My office is in Calabasas. And so it’s very close to the Conejo Valley, the Westlake Village area, which I’ve become very familiar with and North ranch. I spent most of my life living in Woodland Hills, and we lived in Bell Canyon for about 15 years. So 15 years, 15 years. So I do a lot of business in Bell Canyon as well.
Jerri Hemsworth 1:08
And you were there the Woolsey fire? Correct?
Katherine Stark 1:10
We were there for the Woolsey fire. Yes. Yeah. Which is brutal was brutal. Yeah, yeah.
Jerri Hemsworth 1:16
And then so you’ve seen the rebirth and
Katherine Stark 1:20
The rebirth Bell Canyon is sounds funny to say, but it’s literally on fire. Everybody wants to be there. It’s actually you know, Ventura County guard gated a very safe and what’s going on with us, you know, with, you know, around the rest of the valley and Beverly Hills, and, you know, you can’t you need to be in a gated community these days to really feel safe.
Jerri Hemsworth 1:44
Wow. And it’s crazy crazy in real estate these days. What are some of the other benefits right now for for homebuyers?
Katherine Stark 1:55
The benefits really for homebuyers right now are that there’s not as much competition, I mean, we’re coming out of just such a fast and furious market where we had multiple offers on everything, everything was sold, the day it came out, you know, you’d have 15-20-30 offers depending on the price range,
Jerri Hemsworth 2:15
Katherine Stark 2:16
unbelievable market. And so now that interest rates have gone up, our buyers have about a 30% less affordability, so there aren’t as many buyers. So now today’s buyer has a better choice, there’s a little more inventory, prices are starting to level off and come down in some areas. And so you know, we have a lot of buyers out there looking and unfortunately, some of them are trying to, you know, to get the bargain basement kind of deal that’s still not out there.
Jerri Hemsworth 2:47
Katherine Stark 2:47
you know, interest rates while they’re in the fives, it’s still, you know, incredibly good compared to where I’ve seen them in the past year.
Jerri Hemsworth 2:56
Well that’s what you and I were talking earlier about this the interest rates in the past, you’ve seen them really high.
Katherine Stark 3:03
I’ve seen them at 17%. When I first you know, when I bought my first home, we had a balloon payment at 17%. So it was crazy. But I do remember having interest, you know, having like a 6.5 on a property that I owned in Bell Canyon. And I thought that was good. Yeah, good interest rate at that time. Sure. But back in the, you know, 2004-2005 time period, right here on Warner Center, I owned a condo, and we were at 9% on that interest rate. So I think buyers need to appreciate where they are now. And if they can afford to buy now, they should do it. Because we don’t know what the future is going to hold. And in my opinion, you can never lose in real estate and owning real estate.
Jerri Hemsworth 3:45
Now that my my, my dad used to say that investments in land, were always the best investments and hold on 100%. And it’s still that way. Still very much that way.
Katherine Stark 3:58
Jerri Hemsworth 3:59
How did you get into real estate?
Katherine Stark 4:01
Oh, this is gonna sound crazy. But you know, my husband put me on a budget when I was a young married and I didn’t like being on a budget. So I’m like, How can I make my own money, you know, and send the kids to private school because the schools weren’t so great where we were we were living at the time even though it was Woodland Hills, a great section of Woodland Hills, Candy Cane Lane houses are selling for 2.5 there right now. So you know, so I wanted my own money, basically. And that is how I got into real estate. I mean, I really wanted a career where I could have, you know, my own time, the time could be mine. I could be at my son’s baseball games, my daughter’s swim meets, they were appointments to me, and still, you know, earn a good living and you know, I did not go to college. But I have one of the best real estate careers out there.
Jerri Hemsworth 4:57
Yeah, I mean, I’ve known you for years, and your reputation is amazing. Amazing. Did you have mentors along the way that that helped you?
Katherine Stark 5:10
Yes, I did. And this is also kind of funny. My mentors name was Kathy. And I grew up as a Kathy. And so you know, I, when I, you know, got into real estate I went to work at, you know, the company she was working out, which at the time was John Douglas, which turns to Coldwell Banker. And I said, You know what, I’m not sure whether I want to go with my formal name Katherine, or I should stick with Kathy. And she goes, Well, I’m the only Kathy in this office. So I think you should stick with Katherine. So I decided, okay, I’ll be Katherine. And like, now I know, when the phone rings and somebody calls me, Kathy, it’s somebody from my very distant past. That’s pretty funny. But yeah, so I did have a mentor, she was great. She went on to the do risk management for Coldwell Banker and then moved to a different company. And but I think you can’t really get started in this business until you do it hands on. And it’s a lot of hard work. It’s not, you know, it’s not what many young people think it’s going to be like. All my nieces and nephews think they can, you know, they want to be realtors, because they watch shows like Selling Sunset or, you know, Million Dollar Listing LA and they make it look easy. And it is not easy. It’s a lot of hours. It’s a lot of time away from your family. So even though I say, you know, my kids swim meets and baseball games were appointments, I was still working Sundays and Saturdays and evening nights. And you know, so it’s not easy. It’s a lot of hard work.
Jerri Hemsworth 6:55
I understand that 100% As a working mom, you have the blessing of being able to be there for your kids. But once they’re asleep, they don’t see that.
Katherine Stark 7:05
No, sometimes I will, you know, be emailing clients at two in the morning and they’ll be going, Wow, when do you ever sleep? You know? So
Jerri Hemsworth 7:13
Katherine Stark 7:14
Yeah, you don’t? I mean, we’re women. And we’re raised to just like, do it all? Yeah. And we do. Yeah, for sure.
Jerri Hemsworth 7:20
Now, your daughter works with you.
Katherine Stark 7:23
My daughter went to UCSB has two degrees, but she felt that you know, what my mom was around when I, you know, had all of these important things in my life. And I, you know, want to, you know, work with my role model, do what she does. And so, right out of college, she started selling real estate with me. And, you know, we we work well together. So, you know, we, of course, I have my own business, I have my own business, and she has her own business. But we also do a lot together as well.
Jerri Hemsworth 7:59
That’s got to be reassuring and actually fun to be able to see her grow.
Katherine Stark 8:07
Jerri Hemsworth 8:07
And to be able to teach and mentor her.
Katherine Stark 8:10
Yeah. And we’re best friends. So it’s great to have her around and be able to work with her. You know,
Jerri Hemsworth 8:16
Fabulous. Oh my gosh, that would be amazing. I can’t imagine having that experience and knowing when you go to go home, you go wow, that was that was a great day with my girl.
Katherine Stark 8:30
Jerri Hemsworth 8:33
Katherine, what do you what do you do when you’re not working? When you’re what are some of your hobbies? What lights you up?
Katherine Stark 8:40
You know, I love yoga, I practice yoga. I also walk. I don’t necessarily hike, but I like walking. And you know, I read I go to movies. But I think you know what my number one priority has always been is my kids and their kids. And, and you just had a new one. Yes. My daughter who is not really working that much right now. Yeah, because she has a new little baby boy. And so she’s on her third. And so you know, I have four grandchildren. And you know, family has always been really important to me. Yeah. And so that’s really what I spent a lot of time doing.
Jerri Hemsworth 9:20
How old is the new little one?
Katherine Stark 9:22
Oh, gosh, she’s only six/five weeks old. Oh, yeah. Precious. So I had her girls last night. They spent the night and it was lots of fun, lots of swimming and lots of fun. But you know what, I don’t want people to think I’m too busy with my family because I’m you know, anybody that looks at my career and what I’ve accomplished can realize that, you know, I can kind of I managed to somehow keep it all balanced. Exactly. So it’s really important because so many people are so focused on their careers, and nothing else and the best Part of life is your family.
Jerri Hemsworth 10:02
And to have that balance makes you better at what you do.
Katherine Stark 10:06
Jerri Hemsworth 10:07
And I think that’s what has helped you have your career the way it is and your reputation the way it is.
Katherine Stark 10:15
I think people see that and you know, to me like the best real estate deal the thing that makes me happiest in real estate is when we can close the deal the transaction and everybody’s happy the buyers are happy the sellers are happy. So it’s it’s even a balance with my my business my clients that I like to try to maintain.
Jerri Hemsworth 10:37
And you have a house up in the mountains too. Is that Big Bear, Arrowhead?
Katherine Stark 10:42
Lake Arrowhead? Yeah, yeah.
Jerri Hemsworth 10:43
What is that? Like? How often do you get to go up there and obviously with with the internet and being remote, you can work from up there as well.
Katherine Stark 10:53
Yeah. You know, it was incredibly wonderful during COVID You know, to be able to be you know, away from it all with the family. And it is great to be able to to work there. It’s the one place I can just totally unwind and relax. You know, I really, I don’t try to sell real estate there. But if somebody calls me and wants information, I’m happy to help. But I look at that as my my getaway my my peace of mind getaway because I don’t have that at home. You know, here, it’s so weird. You can’t totally relax when you’re at home. Or you know, but when you’re in a vacation second home away from it all, you can totally relax and you’re still assessable I mean, there’s many times I’m up there negotiating deals, you know, I have my computer and, you know, that’s all I need or going through a physical inspection list or, you know, marketing a new listing, getting a new listing, getting all the photos in the order that I want them in and all the verbiage the way I want it to be. So, you know, all of that takes time.
Jerri Hemsworth 12:01
You’re very accessible.
Katherine Stark 12:03
Yes, I am very accessible. It’s really funny. I used to think I didn’t want a pager. But I know you’re laughing because now we know our cell phones are like, you know, they never leave our side. You know, they’re like as soon as somebody texts you, you’re right on it, and you’re getting right back to them. Right.
Jerri Hemsworth 12:23
Oh my gosh, pagers. Oh, remember those Blackberries?
Katherine Stark 12:27
I know. I know. I could never get the Blackberry.
Jerri Hemsworth 12:30
I never had one
Katherine Stark 12:31
Neither did I had one for two weeks and turn it back in.
Jerri Hemsworth 12:36
So I’m gonna, it was funny when you said and we talked about Arrowhead. I’m going to assume if I said to you mountains or beach, you would say,
Katherine Stark 12:47
Well, that’s very interesting because I would say beach.
Jerri Hemsworth 12:51
Katherine Stark 12:52
But my husband loves the mountains. And so the reason we chose Lake Arrowhead is we have a wonderful lake there. So I get to go to the beach. Okay, and the lake and float around on little floaties you know, rafts and you know, he gets the mountains and the one thing that I do love about like arrowhead that you can’t get at the beach is we have snow we have had the most beautiful, you know, Thanksgivings and Christmases in Lake Arrowhead, that, uh, you know, and I, we love it. I mean, you know, my husband is from the east.
Jerri Hemsworth 13:27
Oh, is he?
Katherine Stark 13:28
He’s from Ohio. Okay, and my family’s from Pennsylvania. Although I’m a valley girl, as you know, like,
Jerri Hemsworth 13:36
Where were you born?
Katherine Stark 13:39
I was born in Encino Hospital.
Jerri Hemsworth 13:41
There you go…
Katherine Stark 13:42
You know, have lived in Woodland Hills all of my life except for the time period, we lived in Bell Canyon, which is Ventura County, by the way. Yeah. So he misses the snow. And I never really grew up with the snow. So for me, I love it. And our kids love it. You know, diversity. Wow, the diversity of Lake Arrowhead that I love and it’s also very close. It takes us an hour and 45 minutes.
Jerri Hemsworth 14:07
to get there. Yeah, I haven’t been up there since I was a little kid. Yeah.
Katherine Stark 14:10
So, you know, we prefer it to Big Bear because it’s closer. Okay. You know, and it’s less. It’s a privately-owned lake. So there is less. Yeah, there. It’s it’s more controlled.
Jerri Hemsworth 14:27
Nice. Do you ski?
Katherine Stark 14:30
I do not. I never have my kids snowboard. Okay, so if they want to do that they can go to Big Bear, which is about 45 minutes to an hour from our house. And like Yeah, yeah,
Jerri Hemsworth 14:41
yeah, I was never a great skier. But my husband Brian, he’s, he’s a skier.
Katherine Stark 14:47
He’s an outdoorsman. Yeah.
Jerri Hemsworth 14:48
But our daughter she she’s not one for the cold. I’d be surprised if she gets up in the mountains. So, so beach and mountains you choose beach your husband chooses mountains but mountains is okay with you. Chocolate or vanilla?
Katherine Stark 15:06
I am I used to really be chocolate but now I’m more of a vanilla. I like sweeter to me too. It’s sweeter
Jerri Hemsworth 15:13
Pie or cake?
Katherine Stark 15:14
Jerri Hemsworth 15:16
Katherine Stark 15:17
I love cake. And I’m now gluten free. So there are some really good cake mixes out there. Yep. are almost as good. Yes.
Jerri Hemsworth 15:29
Well Katherine, thank you so much for being here today with us. I really appreciate it. And I look forward to talking with you again.
Katherine Stark 15:36
Thank you. This has been great.
Intro Speaker 15:45
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