“Did you watch the end of last season when we were going at it with my mouth wired shut?” Madison asks. Well, that’s a conversation starter. And even if I hadn’t, I’m surely Youtubing it before I finish writing this paragraph. Madison Hildebrand is a guy who’s been through it all – as you might have guessed. He’s among the small circle of Bravo’s “OGs,” an original cast member on the original series, Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles. His niche is Malibu, a comfortable spot to get, well, comfortable with, and he leads the way for selling a lifestyle. His brand, “The Malibu Life” encompasses everything that he does, from homes to properties, television appearances to a magazine of his own. We chatted with Madison loud and clear – his jaw long-healed by now – about this past season of the show, and what we can expect from him and his brand in the near future.
Which castmates are you getting along with these days?
Josh Flagg and I are fine. If there were any bad energy, I would say it’s with Josh Altmann, as we’ve been fighting for years on TV. But last season, the British guys and I got into a real bad argument more than once, and my opinion of them has drastically changed. I’m afraid I have more drama with them than I do Josh Altmann now. I’m not a dramatic guy; I swear I don’t have these issues.
Are you okay with the British twins now?
I love that you said they were twins, because they’re not but everyone thinks they are. And everyone also think they’re gay lovers. But they’re not even brothers – not even related – they just have the same accent. Did you watch last season when we were going at it with my mouth wired shut? Going forward, I don’t know if I like either one of them better than the other.
Why is Malibu the best destination for real estate in the LA area?
LA is all about the weather and the lifestyle, that’s why so many people come here. So being able to be on the cusp of such a great city but still be in nature and having more privacy and space and fresh air, I think Malibu is that community where it still has a small town feel. We’re a few of the lucky that get to call the Pacific Ocean a property boundary line. And there are only two coasts here, so it’s great to be able to live on one of them.
Tell me about your team and brand, The Malibu Life.
When I graduated college and got into real estate, I had a mentor and I studied a lot of the other agents, and I realized that most realtors used their name to brand themselves. And being at the ripe age of 26 and trying to build a brand in selling multi-million dollar real estate, I realized that my name didn’t really carry much weight. But what I did know was how to sell the Malibu lifestyle. Real estate was something that I was passionate about but wasn’t something that I necessarily wanted to commit my life to. I’m an entrepreneur, so I thought that by creating The Malibu Life, that I would not have to be present to represent my brand at all times.
You sell luxury. What does the modern luxury home look like?
Speaking from my experience in Malibu more than anywhere else, I would say that it is an efficient home. It has some modern technology and is eco-friendly in a lot of ways, because some of those things cost more money to put into a home. And it’s a blend of unique materials, great light, and definitely has a “wow” factor.
What’s your home looking like these days?
I live in seclusion. It borders the state and federal parks in Malibu. It’s a single-story, indoor/outdoor home with a pool and more then 3,000 square feet of just patio and deck space. I’m surrounded by oak trees and the natural landscape and, of course, I have my own natural garden. I have a green thumb with plenty of space for my dogs. The home itself is a post and beam that I’ve remodeled completely with white French oak floors and just a lot of natural elements, something we call a ‘Malibu modern.’
What are a few home décor trends for 2017?
Natural woods. Rose color. White walls with a tint of rose, and then neutral palettes with a touch of color. I’m also seeing a lot of the old world brass and black contrast as the bold statement colors.
Accessible luxury: Is it a thing, and how can one get that luxury look for less?
First of all, luxury is defined by the individual. And if you are looking to make your home more luxurious and you’re on a budget, I think that you can go a long way with having consistencies. That actually carries over to how I was young and trying to put together my brand and a successful, luxurious image. It was about consistencies and the little things. In your home, if you want to take it a step up – and this sounds ridiculous but people do it and it makes the world of difference – is replacing all of your light switches and electrical socket plates to be matching, and spend the extra money to get the ones where you don’t see the screws. Also, changing your AC or heat vents and spending the extra money to get a custom detailed one really elevates the look of the home dramatically. Also, the hardware: door handles and kitchen cabinet knobs. Of course making sure they are matching; it looks consistent and sturdy.
What’s one thing you should never settle on?
Location. But that is, of course, in terms of real estate. When it comes to your home, I definitely think that the flooring is something you should not skimp out on. If you’re going to do wood floors, do real wood floors and not the pergo or some kind of laminate. That is really where you should spend your money. People don’t want carpet either; that’s the opposite of luxury.
What does the love market look like for Madison?
Well, it’s all about my one boyfriend, so I guess there is no market. My love market is a relationship that I am very happy in. It’s going awesome.
What’s the biggest obstacle you have overcome living together?
We are both sound sleepers, but I snore. So for him, it would be adjusting to that. Other than that, I think it should be easy if you’re going to move in with someone. Sharing closet space was difficult because I have so many clothes. But we wear the same size, so that’s kind of convenient.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I think it’s awesome that a lot of people are wanting to get into this career, but the advice I would give – because I mentor a lot of people – is that I am a little concerned about people who watch the show and love to show houses and sell real estate that think that this job is easy and they can just go get their license and go out and make money. But the truth is that it is extremely difficult and you are literally running your own company from top to bottom: you’re secretary, running your own marketing, an expert negotiator, organized, time efficient and tech-savvy. There are so many elements, not just showing houses. And it takes money – you need to have enough money in the account to be able to support yourself for at least six months without making any money. It’s glamorous and fun, but it’s not what it looks like on TV. V
by Kevin Schmidt