Interviewed By: Ty Fischer | Photography By: Steve Ragland | MUA: Erica Bessinger
Upon arrival at the incredible oceanfront offices of 4 Malibu Real Estate, our team noticed the positive energy and buzz seemingly whirring throughout the office. As Danielle Dutcher, Partner at 4 Malibu, came to greet us, we overheard another partner instruct a group of agents: “Do what is hard now, so that life will be easier later.”
With a greeting and a smile, Dutcher imparted: “That mantra right there is the foundation on which this company was built.”
As we began walking through the space, Dutcher discussed the mantra’s application, noting that it all begins with preparation. “Being a professional means always being extremely prepared for each client. One of our greatest strengths is our preparation. We simply out-prepare our competition and over-prepare for each client. If you take the time and put in the effort to prepare at the highest level, the client receives a great experience and the transaction will go smoothly,” Dutcher explained.
Further elaborating on the importance of doing the right thing even if it’s tough, Partner Bobby LehmKuhl added, “What you’re seeing in today’s economic environment is that there are some agents who are taking the easy route, and when things cool off those same people get burned. Throughout the course of time, we’ve always done what is right – never taking the low road or the path of least resistance. Getting through the recession in 08/09 was so hard, but because we did the tough things that others wouldn’t, we came out on top.”
In an industry where agents can be known for being purely transactional, it was clear from the onset that 4 Malibu takes a much different approach. A quick eavesdrop walk past the ongoing agent/client interactions was all it took to understand the value this company places on relationships.
Partner Eytan Levin modestly enlightened, “No realtor is the same; there may be about 300 realtors or more in Malibu, in a town of approximately 13,000 people, but only some 200 homes sell per year. So why do we sell as many homes as we do? We talk a lot about treating everybody well and following up – forming real relationships. And not only is it about relationships, but it’s about what you bring to people and how you communicate and how you really can find the right product for certain people. We speak about it a lot – you must have an understanding that you don’t want to sell something that’s a pile of shit, because you’re going to lose a client. And not only are you going to lose that client but you are going to lose other (potential) clients. People are relying on us for what could be the biggest purchase of their lives. Realtors today just don’t understand that concept, they view it as just another transaction, but these are huge investments. As a company, we talk about that seriously and understand that. I don’t care if your budget is $500K or $30M, you’re going to get treated the right way.”
Having access to the best information and operators in a community is everything when making your big purchase. A pillar of the Malibu community, this team knows the complete ins-and-outs of the area.
“We always have our ears to the ground,” noted LehmKuhl. “Matching the best product to the client you’re working with comes down to having intricate knowledge of the neighborhoods, homes, people, and overall culture within the areas. We all live and play here; our family and friends are here. It really makes all the difference. For instance, because we know the complete stock of inventory – both on- and off-market – many times transactions are done and closed before any other people even find out about them.”
Many large brokerages are notorious for slow turnaround and transaction times, leading to delay and sometimes, deals that fall through. According to Dutcher, a motivating factor in the opening of 4 Malibu Real Estate was to get away from the rigmarole found in the corporate setting.
“One of the reasons we went out on our own in 2009 is because we wanted to be able to make decisions on the spot without going through the bureaucracy within corporate channels. We had worked for companies where you had to run a decision through what felt like everyone else around you. Because of our experience and ability at that point, we decided we could better serve our clients if we were nimble,” explained Dutcher.
The trusted source for real estate in Malibu is not all this dynamic company has to offer. Their success has allowed the firm to expand down the Queen’s Necklace and open a second office: 4 South Bay Real Estate. This expansion facilitates full-service coverage from Hermosa all the way to Ventura. Another interesting note is that they were one of the first real estate companies in Malibu to go entirely paperless – a major feat in an industry dominated by colossal amounts of paperwork.
“The 4 Malibu team is really a family unit. We’re very selective about who we bring onto our team; they must mesh with the culture we’ve created and possess the same values we do,” glowed LehmKuhl, “We’re the younger, cooler company that chose to build the team around our core values and beliefs. We eat, live, and breathe Malibu, and are thankful every day to be able to call Malibu our home.”
4 Malibu Real Estate is a full-service, luxury brokerage specializing in residential, commercial, luxury leasing, property management, design and development. For more information, contact (310) 456-0220 or visit www.4Malibu.com.