Mark Kitching of Partners Trust
As told to Danielle Accovelli
Photography by Paul Jonason
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Mark Kitching found his true home among the bustling, eclectic and artist-driven streets of Venice Beach after moving to California 13 years ago. While in Venice, Kitching developed a passion for real estate—especially the luxury architectural and new construction markets—and today is a top-producing agent for Partners Trust.
Here, Kitching shares with DIGS his penchant for architecture and design, love of the Westside beach life and residential real estate expertise.
What inspired you to pursue a career in residential real estate?
I was fascinated with the frenzy that took place during the last boom and started reading up on investments, despite not having more than a few hundred dollars to my name. I’ve always been an entrepreneur and ultimately saw this business as something that could be a lot of fun, with unlimited potential for success, too.
What about the Westside appeals to you most?
I moved to Venice 13 years ago because I was drawn to the beach life and its casual yet eclectic community. There was an energy that was unique and inspirational.
What are some of your core professional values?
Trust is the main core value. I come from a very genuine place and I’ve been through more bizarre transactions than I could have ever imagined in the past nine years, so my experience is rich and my intentions are true to my clients’ best interests. My clients, colleagues and family trust me. It’s the anchor of a sustainable business and balanced life.
How has your ability to diplomatically approach complex real estate scenarios contributed to your success?
There is an abundance of highly successful people in this town from all walks of life, and many times, large personalities accompany them. My level of empathy is beyond average and I have an innate ability to find common ground with a mutually beneficial outcome.
What are some of the most important skills to posses when selling real estate?
Building trusting and respectful relationships are greatly important in the long run. As for the day-to-day, critical thinking, creativity, as well as effective communication are all paramount skills to enjoy a successful career.
How did you come to secure a business that runs almost exclusively on client referrals?
I started in real estate as an assistant to two wonderful and respected agents at Sotheby’s. They had a remarkable referral based business led by their coach at Buffini & Company, whom I’ve since started working with. The premise for my client referrals is that I choose to work with great people, take exceptional care of them, and in turn, they refer me to all their friends and family. The goal is to earn a client’s business for life, not just for one deal. It’s quite simple but highly gratifying.
How do you work to create a customized strategy for each of your clients?
Since every client is different, we will meet with them and go over the most important aspects of their needs. I usually provide a handful of suggestions and procedural logistics then collectively, we come up with a plan that is suited to their needs, convenient for their lives and effective enough to achieve their goals.
Your expertise lies in the luxury architectural and new construction market. Can you elaborate?
I’ve always appreciated style and quality, and it was only natural that once I got into real estate that I would be drawn to some of the more charismatic homes in the city. I’ve had the pleasure to be involved in the sale of homes designed by some of the more iconic architects, such as John Lautner, Ray Kappe, Lorcan O’Herily, T.T. Tanaka, Rodney Walker, Marmol-Radziner, and more. Over the past few years, I’ve been heavily involved—from concept to completion—with new construction by helping clients choose locations, layouts, styles, and finishes. I also really enjoy the process of restoration. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a disheveled Craftsman home be transformed into a modernized version of its original character.
You also have a genuine appreciation for architecture, style and the story of a home.
All homes have a certain energy, an expression, a vibration. I have a special affection for older homes flooded with character and rich in history. Whether it’s finding out that your oddly shaped garage used to be a horse stable or discovering a newspaper from 1926 that was used as insulation under your hardwood floors, these examples of nostalgic events, which both occurred while restoring our 1926 Craftsman, are deeply cherished.
Any favorite architects who inspire you?
I actually draw a lot of inspiration from a local and modern architectural design firm Marmol-Radziner. I had the honor and privilege to list and represent the Radziner’s personal residence in Venice, which broke the single-family home record for sales price. More important, however, was that I had the opportunity to engage with Mr. Radziner on several occasions while some of my clients were interviewing architects. Their approach to design is incredibly personal, thorough, and even emotional, yet still highly functional and aesthetic. I’d like to think that my approach to working with clients either buying or selling a home is similar and involves a much deeper connection than a budget and a certain criteria.
What do you enjoy doing when not selling real estate?
I spend as much time as possible with my beautiful wife, Leah, and our 6-month-old daughter, Canyon. We enjoy traveling, great food and wine, staying active at her Pilates/Spin Studio ELEVATE, and spending a generous amount of time with our friends and family.