It is no secret that charisma is a trait many successful people share. Upon meeting Joshua (“Josh”) Deitch, it took little time to recognize his magnetism and well-rounded persona. Outwardly friendly with an approachable demeanor, Josh’s thirst for knowledge, dedication to his craft and devotion to his community were immediately evident as he discussed his expertise in Mill Valley real estate with humility. Those who’ve met or know Josh, attempt to explain what makes him so different and exceptional to be around. This all became apparent the first few minutes of our interview. Even while wearing a mask, we could see that he was smiling through his eyes as he revealed his passion for Mill Valley, its residents and businesses. His passion for real estate in Mill Valley is conveyed through his impressive #1 status over the last four consecutive years while currently ranked one of the top real estate producers in Marin County.
Perhaps more impressive is Josh’s highly respected standing in our community — ranging from his clients, peers and friends, to the baristas at Equator Coffee and random strangers he passes on Mill Valley’s streets.
Josh grew up in New York City and later Florida, eventually attending University of South Florida in Tampa. Standing 6’4”, he was kicked off his high school basketball team every year as the ski slopes never failed to beckon him over the winter holiday breaks. In college, though, Josh persisted as an avid recreational basketball player and was recruited at his local rec center to play professional basketball in Israel. He played abroad for a full season, a phenomenal experience he cherishes to this day.
From a very early age, Josh was certain he wanted to become a chiropractor. He was intrigued by the human body, how it works, how it heals itself, and how remarkable it is that you can remove interference with your hands on the spine. He also knew he was good with his hands — beyond dribbling a basketball. Incorporating those adept skills with his genuine love for people, made seeking a career in chiropractic medicine seem like a no-brainer. Meanwhile, his father had decided to make a life/career change and join Josh — and so their journey to California began when his dad suggested they go to school together, an experience Josh reflected on as” truly special”. He and his dad attended school together every day for four years to which he affectionately coined his dad, his Rodney Dangerfield buddy at school.
Chiropractic learning taught him much more than just the inner workings of the human body. Specifically, the study of Chiropractic Medicine includes intense learning about people, life and philosophy. His intrigue with this practice began when he was just 13 years old, which Josh attributes to his innate understanding of people and human nature. He recalled a time when he was at Disneyland’s Epcot Center. His uncle, a chiropractor as well, was attending a chiropractic seminar nearby. After spending time with his uncle, Josh, enthusiastically chose to remain at the seminar versus joining all the other kids on the rides at Disneyland. It was in the summer when the seed for what would become a flourishing love affair with Mill Valley was planted. After discovering there was a Life Chiropractic College West Campus in Hayward, California, Josh, his very best friend and mentor, Jason Deitch (his brother who had just graduated Chiropractic school), and his father headed west from Atlanta to scout the Bay Area for a place to live. Knowing very little about Marin County, let alone Mill Valley, Josh remembers “doing a 360” at age 22 as he stood outside The Depot in downtown Mill Valley in utter awe of Mt. Tam and the inviting village. At that moment, he knew in his gut, “I want to live here one day.” He mentally earmarked it for the future but decided to settle into his new life out West in the East Bay. As he gradually learned more about the Bay Area’s geography and how close everything was, his weekend mountain biking jaunts on Mt. Tam finally solidified his love for our town.
Upon graduating in 2000, Josh tapped into the dot com world and creatively established a practice called B to B Chiropractic in San Francisco. Much of his work was onsite at companies, including AOL, Spinner and Wells Fargo to name a few, where he would provide chiropractic care in their offices, complete with a mobile table in their conference rooms. He eventually relocated his practice to Mill Valley on East Blithedale and subsequently established the highly regarded Café Of Life on Miller Ave. It was 10 years into his indoctrination here where Josh feels he met so much of the Mill Valley community while raising two amazing children — his 18-year-old daughter, Jordan and 14-year-old son, Jenson. He recalled hanging out at Peet’s Coffee downtown, pre Equator Coffee days, always eager to meet and learn about people. Even back then as he chatted up his chiropractic clients about their homes, he was becoming more and more intrigued by real estate and development. It makes sense as he admittedly told us, “I always loved building things, was always creating and tinkering as a kid, and a remote control geek.” After suffering three significant physical accidents — stemming from two bike accidents and a ski accident, in 2011, Josh felt it was a sign from the universe and time to transition careers to his new evolving passion.
Often seeing up to 70 clients per day in his chiropractic practice, he felt he was “pregnant with the Mill Valley community” and he loved that. A career in real estate revolves around being social, making new connections and learning about people from all walks of life. It also involves helping people make life-changing, well-informed decisions as you help your clients navigate sometimes one of the most emotional experiences in their lives. Additionally, real estate development allowed Josh to harness his creativity in all aspects of building, remodeling and designing houses, which has also shaped his distinctive real estate prowess. He secured his real estate license while recovering from his accidents, with the intent of a career in real estate development. He began his new career at Sotheby’s International Realty before joining Frank Howard Allen, where he was recruited by Andy Gillepis who unforgettably helped mentor, support and encourage him. “On a human level, Josh is super trustworthy and exceedingly knowledgeable. On a business level, Josh possesses an extraordinary understanding of Mill Valley real estate. His ability to articulate his knowledge and his ability to keep everybody committed to a win-win solution, not just to close the deal is why he stands out as the outstanding realtor he is today” Now at Compass for the past two years, Josh is thrilled to be a part of this modern-day real estate firm.
Ethan Moeller, a fellow Compass agent, enjoys working closely with Josh. “Working with Josh in a team environment while maintaining our individual independence represents the perfect balance as independent Realtors. Our collaboration is dependent on mutual trust. Josh raises the bar which inspires me to make my transactions both smarter and more joyful for all involved. I appreciate and continue to benefit from this leadership quality in him”. “He’s just got this aura and is a people person”, is how another fellow Compass agent, Michelle Nelson describes Josh. She considers Josh “a part of the fabric of Mill Valley. He cares about this town and it shows through. He is as much a part of this magical place as it is a part of him. He works here, dreams here, lives here and loves here.”
This general consensus about Josh combined with his savvy development background, including learning about the “DNA of a house”, whether the house is healthy or not — all of the angles of how to approach a property from the regulations and jurisdictions and what you can and can’t do — to valuation, its condition and to its design, contributes to his overall expertise. It’s all about the design, structure and function. Josh’s ability to put on his vision goggles when assessing a house is when he has the most fun helping his clients. Josh’s love and gratitude for Mill Valley blossomed when his kids were young and he religiously took his daughter on the Lovell Loop every morning in the stroller, rain or shine, returning home to pick up his son to head to The Depot pre-nap time then back again, post-nap. Hanging out in the plaza, constantly meeting other people in the community, always meeting someone new, was simply part of his everyday ritual with his young children. A few years later, he inspired his mother, Barbara to move to Mill Valley to be close by. His mother is Josh’s unsung hero who he described as the one who has always been there, unconditionally for him no matter what. Her guidance armed Josh with the courage to take risks and pursue his dreams, knowing she will always be there for him through thick and thin. As Josh avowed, “My mom is my anchor.” Josh has since transitioned from his stroller days to cruising around town in an electric Polaris GEM 4 cart. Originally purchased for the village/resort lifestyle living prior to Covid, his EV cart has now become an exciting and practical way to take his clients on house tours in the open air, together while wearing masks. As fate would have it, the EV cart turned out to be a wonderful asset to his client service.
Before you go shopping for the right house, Josh encourages you to go community shopping, “Every community is very different with a different texture, feel and rhythm. Go to the coffee shop in Kentfield. Go to the coffee shop in Ross. Go to the Coffee shop in Larkspur. Look around. Do you feel compelled to meet the people you see around you?” Mill Valley was always the highest on Josh’s list. As Josh asserted, Mill Valley is a dead-end town versus the other drive-thru towns in Marin. You go to Mill Valley with a purpose. It’s different from the rest of Marin’s towns. Beyond roaming and exploring the streets on leisurely walks for hours with his kids — another ritual from back when his kids were young, Josh fell in love with mountain biking on Tam. Throw in the proximity of San Francisco, Muir Beach and Stinson Beach, all a hop, skip and a jump away and what more could you ask for? But it’s the people here in Mill Valley that ultimately make Josh feel the most comfortable in his own skin. Josh is often teased for always picking up trash anytime he sees it in his beloved town. Keeping his community clean is of the utmost importance to him. While his new favorite eatery is Bootjack Bakery, he particularly loves Beerworks and Playa along with all of the other incredible restaurants in town. Josh admitted though, it’s nice to go off grid every so often with a pilgrimage to Burning Man—the ultimate love of people, life, art and music—once even going with his dad and his brother, Jason. Josh openly shared his 2021 personal growth goals—“My purpose in life is to authentically live with love, passion, joy, health, abundance and inspiration and share it with the world.” His work mission statement includes “serving at the highest level with honesty, authenticity, knowledge, experience and wisdom. Everyone is my mentor… kids, adults… everyone. I learn from everyone. If we make eye contact, I believe we should know each other… and I love inspiring people.”
The work as a real estate agent is undeniably dynamic and universal. In Mill Valley, there’s a consistent flow of new people moving here. Josh was quick to point out how much he looks forward to engaging with them both personally and professionally. A friend of his, Martin Sacks, described Josh as successful because “he truly cares about doing the right thing for his clients. He’d rather walk away from an opportunity than steer his clients in the wrong direction. Those who know Josh, know him to be a truly good and caring human being, which combined with an incredible work ethic and an instinct for business, account for the success that he’s seen as one of Marin’s top realtors”. Sara Falke, Josh’s loyal right-hand assistant, described Josh as “the most grateful and appreciative boss I’ve ever had”. She admires his natural ease with his clients as “he brings everyone in, almost like family as he gets to know his clients.”
Josh’s team-oriented methods, his impeccable knowledge of Mill Valley — every single one of its streets and neighborhoods, and his ranking as one of the top realtors in Marin with 95% of his business in Mill Valley — is unique and clearly sets him apart. However, being a top producer in real estate is certainly not without its challenges, especially considering the 24/7 demands without boundaries. Josh was quick to acknowledge how incredibly grateful he is for his beautiful partner of five years, Jamie Edelen. Jamie has stood by him every step of the way. In thinking about the future, Josh revealed that one day, he could see himself becoming a metal art sculptor, which ties back to his love of working with his hands. As he learned from his father, it’s never too late to be inspired and try something new. But in the meantime and “For the love of Mill Valley” it is clear that Josh’s work ethic, his love for people and property, his open communication, his responsiveness and his craftsmanship all continue to solidify his stellar reputation and contribution to our community.
Photos by Laura Reoch, September-Days Photography.
This article originally appeared in Mill Valley Living.