March 12, 2013 Filed under: Press
With more than $3 billion in residential sales over the course of her career, Malin Giddings is a force to be
reckoned with in San Francisco. She is the woman behind the record-breaking sale of the Getty Penthouse, and for more than 35 years, her focus on the luxury market has earned her many awards and rankings each and every year. She was ranked No. 6 of the top 400 real estate agents nationwide by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage last year. She is also a founder of Elite Estates International, which is an international strategic alliance and unique affiliation with some of the world’s top real estate professionals. Max, a fourth generation San Franciscan and member of the prominent Armour family, is Malin’s right-hand professional and a driving force of his own right. Together, personal attention to their clients’ needs and focus on the most prestigious neighborhoods are the keys to their success.
HAUTE LIVING: Where are you from originally?
MAX ARMOUR: I was born and raised in San Francisco. I grew up on Russian
Hill and spent my summers in Sweden.
HL: When did you first become interested in a career in real estate? What
about it sparked your interest?
MA: My fi rst introduction to real estate was our old house on Russian Hill.
It was such a unique property with absolutely fantastic views. I adored that
house and fell in love with San Francisco’s architecture. Professionally I got
my start in the business working as a commercial real estate appraiser. I
have Robert Moore to thank for schooling me. He took me in and I learned a
tremendous amount from him. With such a solid knowledge base concerning
valuation, cap rates, construction techniques, and underwriting demands, I felt
very comfortable moving into sales.
HL: Who taught you the tricks of the trade in luxury real estate? What are
some of the lessons that you learned?
MA: Well, Malin has certainly been my professor. I have learned the
importance of specializing, negotiating, and most importantly never giving up!
HL: What is the secret to succeeding in the San Francisco real estate market?
MA: There is no secret. Hard work is the only way.
HL: What is it about the Bay Area that is attractive to those seeking a
MA: I think it is the allure of California as a whole. There are so many
interesting people here who are trying to make a difference. There have been
so many products, trends, and philosophies coming out of California. People
can move here and be whomever they want, and there is so much opportunity
here. We are quite accepting, which allows for open-minded thinking. Plus,
the climate is wonderful.
HL:Where is the first place you would take an out-of-town visitor and why?
MA:The first thing I do with a visitor is take them on a driving tour. I have a loop I
do to show the beauty and diversity of our city. This way they can have a context of
where they are and I get a chance to give them an intimate insider’s introduction.
HL: Where are the best luxury shopping venues in San Francisco?
MA: I love Barneys, but really I leave the shopping to Malin.
HL: The last place you went for fine dining?
MA: Spruce is our watering hole! We celebrated Malin’s big birthday there in a
private room and white tie—the best!
HL: Your favorite Friday night out?
MA: I fi t in an evening surf at Ocean Beach, then head downtown to the
Olympic Club and take a steam shower and prep for the evening. Next, I would
meet my wife and friends at Spruce for cocktails and munchies. From there,
head to a good restaurant with the goal of going dancing.
HAUTE LIVING: How did you and Max get started as partners?
MALIN GIDDINGS: We have known each other since Max was a twinkle in
his parents’ eyes—his parents being good friends of mine for years and years!
We both believe in doing things right and keeping an open mind. When we
came together, it was good timing for the both of us. Max had been appraising
commercial property for a few years and was moving into sales. His appraisal
background and intimate knowledge of the city having grown up here made him
a valuable addition to my business. Now we have two heads instead of one!
HL: What are the benefi ts of working together?
MG: Clients get two agents for the price of one. Max brings a youthful energy,
construction knowledge, and a get-it-done attitude while I have a big-picture
outlook from my 35 years of experience. We are constantly striving for
expanding the boundaries of real estate and thinking of innovative ways to
better market our properties and provide better service. We often set new
industry standards for the high-end, and imitation is the highest form of fl attery!
HL: What is the secret to succeeding in the San Francisco luxury market?
MG: For us, our strength comes from doing business only in the best locations.
We stick to what we know, and this translates to our clients having confi dence
in our expert advice.
HL: What is something that people would be surprised to fi nd out about
the two of you?
MG: That we speak Swedish with one another. I was born in Sweden, and
Max is half Swedish and married to a Swedish beauty, so he is fl uent too. We
speak the same language in more ways than one!
HL: You’ll never be found without your...
MA: Surfboard, golf clubs, and a sense of humor.
HL: When not selling properties what is your favorite pastime?
MG: Max is a surfer/skier/golfer and family man. My standing joke is “Golf is
life...the rest are details!”
HL: What is your proudest achievement?
MG: Our last sale!
HL: If you weren’t in real estate sales you would be:
MG: Max would be pitching for the San Francisco Giants and I would be
touring with the LPGA.
HL: What are your predictions for the local market in 2010?
MA: Spring market in San Francisco is always the best
(Article Jan/Feb 2010)