Stephen Udoff got his Realtor license when he was 21. He bought his first piece of property when he was just 22. In his late 20s, he became the youngest Realtor ever to serve on the California Association of Realtors executive committee, after being hand picked by the association’s president out of an organization with thousands of members across the state. Now, at 33, Udoff has just been elected president of the Malibu Association of Realtors—a role in which he’ll apply his extensive Malibu local knowledge to lead a community through a rapidly shifting, pandemic-reshaped era of the real estate industry.
Though he grew up in Calabasas, Udoff said he spent most of his weekend time in Malibu, surfing and skateboarding at Papa Jack’s Skate Park. After graduating from Calabasas High School, Udoff headed to San Diego State University, where he studied political science.
In 2011, he graduated into the tail-end of the Great Recession and eschewed going into politics, opting instead for real estate after a fraternity brother connection got him an internship in the field. After getting his license, Udoff moved home from San Diego and started cold-calling real estate companies he found in magazines. His go-getter work ethic paid off: He went to work for Pritchett Rapf at age 22.
“I was doing open houses every weekend, getting more involved with the community,” he remembered. “I coached Malibu Little League Baseball and AYSO soccer, I got involved in various charities.” He also got involved with the Malibu Association of Realtors.
Seven years later and now with Coldwell Banker, Udoff has been elected president of the association. He’s held the position once before, three years ago. The role, which has a one-year term length, involves holding general membership meetings, overseeing an ethics board, a board of directors, education classes and more—all volunteer work.
Udoff describes himself as “definitely competitive, but not a sales-y person,” able to maintain an easygoing attitude despite the reputed cutthroat nature of his industry.
Another of Udoff’s edges is that he started his career right as Instagram was gaining traction; for him, it’s a natural tool with which to convey both his personality and show off what type of properties he’s working with at the moment. He uses the hashtag #SunsetSteve in his bio. “Every agent should be utilizing social media,” Udoff said. “One, it’s free and, two, it’s a great way for you to utilize your immediate sphere of influence to share a bit about who you are besides real estate, if you like surfing or skiing or biking or dogs.”
And Udoff seems to love a lot of those things—at the very least, he’s a surfer through and through. He can often be found at Third Point, he said, though he preferred not to reveal his favorite local spots.
One more thing Udoff loves: Malibu.
“It’s just one of the most beautiful places of the world,” he said. “Every time I come back home, I just realize how much I love it.”
What’s Udoff’s favorite neighborhood in Malibu? “Honestly, truthful, every single week my favorite neighborhood in Malibu changes,” he said.
“One day it’s Malibu Road, La Costa, Broad Beach, Malibu West … It all just depends on what lifestyle you’re looking for, how much money you’re willing to spend,” he elaborated.
But, he admitted, no one, including him, could have predicted what would happen to real estate during the coronavirus crisis—namely, that the field would boom.
“Sales are up everywhere, transactions are up, houses are still going up; we’re in a low inventory crisis,” Udoff said. “The pandemic really altered buyers’ wants and needs.” Buyers now desire more outdoor space, are mindful about the possibilities of turning their garages into offices or gyms, and really want to utilize each square foot they can get.
Although it’s impossible to predict what the next year or two will bring, for the next few months at least, all Realtors will be showing houses only by appointment, with each buyer signing a COVID-19 disclosure upon entering any prospective home, as they’ve been doing throughout the pandemic.
That’s what the first bit of 2021 is going to look like for Malibu Realtors. The rest—who knows? But Udoff is excited and, above all, grateful to his peers for putting their faith in him to be at the helm of the industry here in town.