Darlene Hutton: Entrepreneur at Heart

DARLENE HUTTON
PACIFIC UNION
310.428.4861 | PACIFICUNIONLA.COM

FIRST IN CLASS
One of the original 11 founding agents of Partners Trust, now Pacific Union, and soon-to-be Compass

GIVING
Co-Chair of the Pacific Union Community Giving Fund

MARKET INTEL
Author of the monthly Hutton Report, which features off-market listings and neighborhood market updates

 

“IT’S ONE OF THE TOP THREE BIGGEST DECISIONS PEOPLE MAKE: GETTING MARRIED, HAVING KIDS, AND BUYING A HOUSE,” SAYS HUTTON. “IT HAS TO BE TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY, AND IT CAN ONLY BE EXECUTED PERFECTLY WITH PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING.”

It’s a familiar tale—a Midwest gal heads to California seeking greener pastures and bumps into her destiny. “I was in my twenties and working in marketing and PR, and probably making $60,000,” explains leading Westside real estate agent Darlene L. Hutton. “A decent salary, but not a lot.” While flipping her first home, her interest in real estate was piqued after discovering what the agent earned on the deal. “She made around $40,000. Almost my salary, and she didn’t do a good job!”

Armed with a marketing degree and a contact list of sports and entertainment figures, Hutton earned her real estate license and found quick success: “In my first deal I earned what I made in my first year salary,” she says of this early achievement, which was laden with elbow grease. “You definitely have to pay your dues. You’re at the bottom of the pool. I used to door-knock all the time. That’s how I used to build my business. I would network, go to women’s events.”

In 2009, she moved from Sotheby’s after being selected to be among the first round of agents at the newly formed Partners Trust, now Pacific Union—and soon to be part of Compass. The upcoming union will result in a 6,400-agent team nationally, and become the largest independent brokerage in the state. “It’s a very interesting time,” says Hutton of the merger. “The market is definitely starting to shift.”

Listening to Hutton’s voice, rapid-fire and friendly, one gets the impression of a person who moves quickly to get what she wants. “I’ve been a go-getter since a very young age,” remarks Hutton. “My father was in sales, and I’ve always wanted to be in business for myself.” Her attaché of real estate knowledge includes flipping homes and working in marketing, in addition to buying and selling homes. “It helps on another level” she says of these experiences, which connect her to her work in a personal and deeply satisfying way. “It’s not just my job, giving you firsthand experience,” say Hutton. “It’s me as a person, because I’ve done it.”

A current specialty of Hutton’s is off-market listings, which she points out as ideal for buyers who are not finding their dream property in the open market, or who are losing out in multiple offer situations. “The off-market stuff gives you a special edge, and I have a lot of experience in that, so it attracts certain buyers to me,” she notes. Another is the range of price points that Hutton deals in—anywhere from $300,000 upwards to $30 million—with the goal of servicing clients beyond the super well-heeled and, more strategically, knowing that today’s first-time condo buyer will be buying more substantive properties with her help in the following years.

The meet-and-greet marketing of her early real estate days has not gone by the wayside for Hutton, who still cites networking as her most valuable strategy. She places a special emphasis on past clients. “It’s a built-in referral,” she says, considering how closely a client will link their home to their real estate agent. Love your home? You probably love your agent. And vice versa. “It’s one of the top three biggest decisions people make: getting married, having kids, and buying a house,” says Hutton. “It has to be taken very seriously, and it can only be executed perfectly with people who know what they’re doing.”

PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF DARLENE HUTTON

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