Tracy Ellis

Real Estate Magazine

Edition 3 Features

At Home Interview with Madison Hildebrand

My husband, Rick Ellis, and I recently had an opportunity to sit down and have a talk with Madison Hildebrand,original cast member of “Million Dollar Listing LA” on Bravo TV and President and Founding Partner of The Malibu Life, Inc., at his Malibu home.  It’s not a secret that Madison was one of my favorite agents on Million Dollar Listing LA, but the show is only one of the countless reasons Madison Hildebrand is an international, top producing agent and a truly inspiring person.

We met with Madison on a hazy, overcast day in Malibu, California.  Driving up the steep two-lane highway, I was taken by the beauty of the place he calls home.  The view of the Pacific Ocean over the top of the rolling canyon was breathtaking. 2        Huge waves crashed against the narrow coastline, lined with beautiful rocks and boulders along the shore.  I was a little surprised by the amount of greenery, bushes, and trees up at the street line, but it soon became my favorite part about the beach in Malibu.

My family and I watched the ocean grow smaller and smaller as we ascended up the canyon.  Like taking off in an airplane, we said goodbye to the low-ground, and hello to the fresh canyon air.  To the right of the winding road, beautiful homes popped up across the canyon walls, all at different levels.  I thought about how important privacy must be to the owners of these lovely homes tucked away in the canyon-side, and how honored I was to have the chance to speak with Madison Hildebrand in his own little slice of paradise.
We pulled through a gated entrance to Madison’s home, and I immediately
noticed a round, black swing hanging from a tree as we entered the gate, overlooking the canyon.  It was like something out of a storybook.  The view was spectacular, and I could imagine the down-to-earth Madison, reconnecting with himself and his purpose, staring out across the vast canyon.
We walked up the driveway where we had a clear view of the rear of Madison’s home.  A wall of windows stretched out in front of us, showcasing a beautiful master bath overlooking the canyon.  In Malibu, it’s all about location.  Madison’s home is a contemporary single-story ranch home—built along the side of an incredible canyon.
I noticed his beautiful wood flooring and his easy-elegance design aesthetic.  With an open and welcoming floor plan, it’s tranquil, open, and full of light.  In his backyard, he has a pool for resistance training that he keeps at very low temperatures to mimic the feeling of swimming against an ocean current. In the future, he plans on adding a garden and an exterior shower.  There was very little room between his home, pool, and the edge of the canyon. So little, in fact, I was almost afraid to take a picture of the back of his house for fear of falling off!  Rick and I sat down with Madison, while our kids made themselves busy playing with his rescue Doberman, Maya.
5What a sweet dog, she was so loving and welcoming to all of us.  Before my family arrived, Madison already had quite a busy morning.  At 8:00 AM he had an interview with Howard Stern, and just before we arrived, he was involved in a webinar for DocuSign, a company which he has just recently become the Global Brand Ambassador.
Keeping his busy schedule in mind, I was eager to begin our conversation. Since we’re both in Real Estate, I wanted to ask Madison questions he wasn’t used to answering in a typical interview—plus, I couldn’t wait to pick his brain about his many successes.

Madison Hildebrand is the President and Founder of The Malibu Life, Inc., and a founder of the Partners Trust Malibu office.  With those credentials alone, it’s easy to assume Madison was bound to the Real Estate world from the get-go, but his passion for Real Estate developed over time.
As a child, Madison’s father moved constantly as the Vice Chair of New York Life Insurance.  His family moved to five different states and seven cities, and no matter what his age, Madison loved the house hunting process.  He was always front-row-center when it came to the negotiations, asking his father whether or not it was okay to sit next to him, as his mother was rather uncomfortable with the whole process.  Even now, Madison’s father continues to move every two years, investing a lot into Real Estate.

Once he completed his sophomore year at Pepperdine, Madison began researching the home-market, and compiling reports and budgets in order to move off campus.  He compared the home purchasing costs versus annual renting costs and found that the two were almost equal in monthly carrying cost, all things considered.   After comparing these two options, it was then that Madison, unknown to him at that time, began his true Real Estate career.

7After presenting the information, demonstrating an outline of time, and negotiating with his parents, proving that the cost of purchasing a home was better than renting one, especially given their specific circumstances, Madison got the approval.  At first, Madison had quite an experience with his Real Estate agents, all of whom he fired for their lack of responsibility and knowledge on the job.
“I knew more information than they did, and I thought—I can do this,” said Madison.  “Time is money, and if [agents] are going to waste your time, they’re wasting your money.  I have a zero tolerance for that.”
From then on, Madison has been a part of the Real Estate game.  He found his first home, where he lived for four years.  During that time, the Hildebrand’s made a few upgrades and put work and money into the house they bought for $1,100,000.  Madison was then able to sell the home for $2,250,000, which is when Madison had a huge realization that really made him excited about the Real Estate business.
8“Let me do the math,’ said Madison, “I go get a career in advertising,
where I make $20,000 a year and work 11 hour days.  I’d commute to wherever—I want to live in Malibu. I’d still have to have my parents pay for my life.”
Madison had other sales before his college home, but the commission
on that home alone would have made him more than a year’s worth of work in advertising. He sold 17 million his first year in Real Estate, and since then, Madison has sold over $250 Million during his 10 years in the business.

Of course, holding a key role on a Bravo TV Real Estate reality show doesn’t hurt to help get the money flowing. Madison was one of the original agents on “Million Dollar Listing LA,” 9where he became one of the most well-known faces in the business.  After six seasons on the show, complete with a mess of success, endless drama, serious illnesses, and a need to do more and be more—Madison decided it was time to move on from television.

“I left Million Dollar Listing LA to pursue new adventures.  I’m so grateful for the show, but you can’t do it all, and be creative, and pursue new ideas, while being turned on for 75 hours a week.”  For fans of Madison’s, don’t fret. He says he isn’t completely finished with television, just reality TV. Since leaving the show, Madison’s business has doubled, and he is looking forward to having the time to build relationships, which he says is next to impossible under the constant
watch of cameras.
10With the show behind him, Madison has taken on some pretty amazing projects, including bringing The Malibu Life, Inc. to Partners Trust to create a new branch in Malibu, California.  He began his Real Estate business with Coldwell Banker, where he worked for almost nine years, but is now more focused on branding himself and growing his own business.

Partners Trust is an independent brokerage with around 200 agents.  Madison is now a Founding Partner of the Partners Trust Malibu office, where he has incorporated The Malibu Life, Inc. team.  Now that he’s gotten comfortable with how the company operates and flows, he will begin the process of finding more agents to add to the new Malibu office.
11Partners Trust is a very forward thinking company with integrated systems, presentation, branding, and are practical for today’s world.  According to Madison, “It creates a really fun, positive environment,” and “it’s really about being a team and being supportive as a company, which is really cool and different.  The company is a part of me, and I am a part of the company.”

Real Estate is changing, and making the move from Coldwell Banker to an independent firm has enabled Madison to be more involved and have more of a say when it comes to branding himself within the company.  However, with around 27 listings, even Madison has trouble keeping up with every detail of the business.
“With so much information available to buyers, it’s impossible to keep track,” said Madison.  At Partner’s Trust, agents have access to powerful, intelligent people
in what is known as a “brain trust” within the company, where agents can go to for help in researching information about current listings and locations available within specific requests made by clients, which is just another thing that sets Partners Trust apart from the rest.

On an international level, things can become even more complicated.  Madison is a Partner in Leverage Global Partners, which was launched in 2012 by the Founders of Partners Trust.  According to the Leverage Global Partners website, the company “empowers an international network of prestigious independent real estate companies through shared intelligence, agile marketing strategies, and entrepreneurial connectivity.”

Partners Trust’s involvement with Leverage Global Partners brings them into a global market consisting of more than 140 markets nationally and internationally, and continuing to grow.  Leverage Global Partners matches luxury real estate offices across the country and the globe to ensure clients moving anywhere in the world will be well taken care of.

For instance, say Madison was contacted by a client wanting to move from Malibu to Florence, Italy.  Madison would be able to call the president of a luxury agency, exclusively assigned to the area through Leverage Global Partners and know their client will be receiving the best care, from the best and most knowledgeable luxury agents in Florence.  This gives luxury agents peace of mind when referring customers to other agencies.

With all Madison has on his plate, peace of mind is an important plus. Along with moving brokerages, he is also the DocuSign Brand Ambassador, sharing how his business prospers by using the technology offered by the company.  Paperless offices are becoming a part of the future of Real Estate, and DocuSign provides electronic signature technology, as well as Digital Transaction Management services, for electronic contracts and documents.

Madison has also started his own candle line (which smell divine, if you were wondering), and has written a book titled, “Activate Your Passion, Create Your Career.”  The book shares his many experiences, along with inspirational mission statements, lists, and funny anecdotes.  It is full of helpful information
for anyone and everyone looking to start or grow a Real Estate business, or people just looking to learn a little business savvy from a brilliant businessman.

As our meeting wound to a close, we snapped a few pictures, took a final look around, and I found myself thinking—‘this man has it all.’   The mountains, the view, a loving, supportive family, his success and outlook on life—it’s all what makes Madison Hildebrand such an inspiring individual and Real Estate agent. To learn more about Madison Hildebrand, visit his website at, and check him out on Twitter @MadisonMalibu.

Tracy Ellis
Direct: 636-299-3702
Office: 636-720-3833
Fax: 636-300-3038
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Tune into the Tracy Ellis show on FM News Talk 97.1 Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM