Jade Mills on listing Sela Ward’s home and her least favorite customers

Daughter of dairy farmer shares how she got into luxury real estate

TRD LOS ANGELES /
Mar.March 01, 2016 01:00 PM

Jade Mills, the force behind Jade Mills Estates Worldwide at Coldwell Banker Previews International in Beverly Hills, has been in the business for several decades and counts Britney Spears and Jennifer Aniston among her clients.

In 2014, Mills closed more than $350 million in sales volume. Two years earlier, she was Coldwell Banker’s top-selling agent globally, breaking the company’s sales volume record.

Mills’ current hot listing is a French Country-styled residence on eight acres in Bel Air. Owned by actress Sela Ward, the property has an asking price just shy of $40 million. The grounds include a guesthouse, amphitheater, pagoda, bamboo grove, vegetable garden, vineyard, entertaining pavilion and swimming pond with its own sandy beach. The Real Deal sat down with Mills to talk about how she got started, the L.A. luxury real estate market and her least favorite kind of customer.

DOB: October 5

Hometown: Oakland, California

Family: Married, 4 children, 6 grandchildren

You’re one of the agents selling Sela Ward’s house. What’s it like?

It is a fabulous compound on Stone Canyon. It is like nothing else in Los Angeles because of the proximity to the Bel Air Hotel as well as being totally secluded.

Which way is the L.A. real estate market going?

We are the best buy in the world. We have a lot of people coming here and saying, “Wow, I can buy a house for $10 million (in L.A.) that in Japan, in New York, even in San Francisco would be so much more.”

So the market is going up?

Although we are a very good buy, with everything that’s going on in the rest of the world, some people are a little hesitant. I think we aren’t going down, but we are leveling off.

What was your biggest deal ever?

My biggest deal wasn’t the most expensive house I ever listed or sold. It was one of my first listings. I lost my husband to cancer in 1989. I had no occupation. It was very difficult. My children’s friends’ parents Linda and Gary Briskman gave me my first opportunity to list a house that in 1990 was $3 million. To this day they’re referring me and are fabulous friends and clients.

You sold it?

Yes, I self-sold it to Gary and Jeanie Judis, who are also friends and have also referred me loads of business.

What’s your favorite area of Los Angeles?

The Westside. I love working from the Sunset Strip to the end of Bel Air.

Where did you grow up?

I lived between Alamo, California, and Turlock, California. My dad was a dairy farmer. I didn’t grow up with this lifestyle.

What’s your biggest pet peeve about selling real estate?

That I can’t do more. My husband says I am very controlling, but I don’t think that’s the right word. I love what I do. I seem to always want more.

Who’s your customer from hell?

The customer I can’t please. The best thing in the world to me is that someone is happy at the end of the deal. I found very early on that you can’t please everyone. If I can’t make someone happy, I would rather not work with them.

When do you plan to retire?

I never want to retire. Maybe at some point I will work less, but as far as actually retiring, I don’t have any desire to retire.


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