LYON | STAHL INVESTMENT REAL ESTATE
Brett Lyon and Woody Stahl are sons of real estate, having been raised by parents in the business. South Bay DIGS sat down with these young guns of investment real estate at their Manhattan Beach offices to get their take on local real estate, 1031 Exchanges and neighborhoods to watch.
AS TOLD TO CONSTANCE DUNN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAUL JONASON
What inspired you to get into real estate?
Brett Lyon: I came from a real estate family. In fact, we both did. My dad is a local builder and my mom is a residential real estate agent in Manhattan Beach. So I grew up with it in my blood. I went to USC’s Marshall School of Business and graduated with a specialty in real estate finance.
Woody Stahl: My grandfather and my mother were both in real estate. I was more into racing motorcycles, then shifted into selling luxury real estate with my mom in Lake Arrowhead. Then, I moved to Manhattan Beach and started selling apartment buildings with Brett.
So you have the building side and the real estate side?
BL: Yes, and it allows us to have a unique perspective that’s translated well into our niche, which is development and investment real estate. Woody even has his contractor’s license.
WS: When I lived full-time in Lake Arrowhead I was involved in many new construction projects, and it’s always been a long-term goal of mine to develop houses.
What are your firm’s main areas of expertise?
BL: We work with several product types, but our specialty is apartment buildings, twoplus units. Our goal is to offer services that help our clients create passive income and cash flow, plus build and maintain wealth.
What makes your firm different than others in the area?
BL: We offer a wide range of investment properties to clients, and we’re experts in a range of local areas, which makes us unique. Our specialty is the Beach Cities and the South Bay as a whole, which includes off-thebeach or “City East” areas like Inglewood, Gardena, Hawthorne and Lawndale. These areas have attributes that appeal to different sets of clients. Basically, they offer a better rate of return—you get more cash flow—whereas in the Beach Cities, investment real estate offers a benefit in long-term appreciation. We’re currently expanding into the Westside and Long Beach, as well.
What factors are currently influencing local investment real estate?
BL: I think we’re seeing a lot of positive influences. Rental rates are increasing and property values are appreciating. The Google headquarters are coming into the local area. Also, the potential Hollywood Park project and NFL stadium have opened up the range of investment properties available to people in the Beach Cities.
Any trends in local investment real estate that have surprised you?
WS: The dramatic increase in rental rates and mass development has surprised us. So when we meet with our clients, especially in the Beach Cities, a lot of times we value their properties both as an apartment building and as a possible development opportunity.
Any hot areas for apartment investing right now?
WS: Some of our favorite areas from a cash flow standpoint are Inglewood and Hawthorne.
BL: The majority of our business is local to the Beach Cities, but we love helping clients find opportunity in all areas, and Inglewood is an interesting one. It’s an up-and-coming area with a lot of positive momentum, like the Hollywood Park project and NFL stadium we mentioned. And it’s not far from Westchester and the Google headquarters.
Any tips for investors looking to add real estate to their portfolio?
WS: Find the value-add potential in each and every deal that comes on the market, whether it’s increasing rents, remodeling units or possibly developing the land.
Do you consult with individuals looking to get into investment real estate?
BL: We offer free consultations. First, we figure out a client’s long-term goals. From there, we can offer advice on product types and locations that will fit those goals. We’re also experts at handling 1031 Exchanges, which is pretty unique.
What’s a 1031 Exchange?
WS: It’s a process that allows you to defer your capital gains. Many of our clients who may have run out of depreciation, or want to improve their cash flow, will exchange into more units or even a different asset class.
You put together a nice team at Lyon|Stahl. What makes you guys different?
BL: Our culture and work ethic makes our team unique. We’re young, dynamic and hardworking. We have a lot of different perspectives [on] investment real estate that allow us to identify opportunities.
What do you guys like to do when you’re not doing real estate?
WS: We both like to go to the beach and surf.
BL: If the waves are good, [we] surf before heading into work.