Jade Mills

PHOTO: Jade Mills, who works with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, is one of the top real estate agents in Los Angeles.

Jade Mills is one of the most respected names in Los Angeles residential real estate. The longtime agent for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage sold $471 million worth of real estate last year alone and has racked up $6 billion in sales over the course of her career.

Mills got her start in real estate after a divorce in the late 1970s when she worked as a cocktail waitress while getting her real estate license.

After some initial success, Mills took a break before returning with renewed dedication to the work — and she would become one of L.A.’s top-producing brokers. While Mills began by selling homes in Sherman Oaks, today she represents celebrities and millionaires and closes deals on ultra-luxury properties in wealthy enclaves like Beverly Hills.

Some of her most notable sales include the Chartwell Estate, also known as the “Beverly Hillbillies” mansion, which sold for $150 million; Spelling Manor, which sold for $120 million; and the Playboy Mansion which sold for $100 million.

Mills sat down with the Business Journal to discuss what drew her to real estate, her role as co-chairman of the International Luxury Alliance for high-level client services and how Covid has impacted the L.A. market.

How did you first get interested in real estate?
I didn’t really know what real estate was all about, and I was getting a divorce from my husband. We quit college to get married, and then I had a baby. So, when he left, I really had no occupation and nothing to do. But we had a little house in Sherman Oaks that we had purchased, and my real estate agent at the time said to me when I was saying I didn’t know what I was going to do, he said, ‘You should sell real estate.’

And what was your reaction?
I said, ‘Well I don’t know anything about real estate.’ He said, ‘You can go to Anthony School,’ which at that time was the place to go to get your license, ‘It takes about a year, and then you can come into my office,’ which was Forest E. Olson at the time. And so, I did. I worked as a cocktail waitress at the Century Plaza in the lobby until I got my real estate license, and then I started working. At that time, he changed and opened his own company called Booker Realty. I worked in this little three-person office in Sherman Oaks, and that was the beginning of my real estate career.

How did you go from that to luxury homes?
I married my second husband, who I met selling real estate. I was married until he passed away in 1988. I didn’t work for nine years while I was married to him, and then I went back to work in 1990 and married my present husband. We lived in Beverly Hills, and I started working with the parents of my children’s friends from school. That’s really how I got started in the upper-end, through living and working in Beverly Hills.