Named for legendary tennis participant Bjorn Borg, it was all however a on condition that Bjorn Farrugia would pursue the game.
Rising by means of the newbie ranks, the Australia native took a leap of religion within the early 2000s when he moved to america after receiving a tennis scholarship. 20 years later, he is put down the racket and used the life-lessons realized alongside the way in which to start out 4 corporations earlier than diving headfirst into Los Angeles’ high-end actual property scene.
Amongst L.A’s top-producing brokers final 12 months, Farrugia credit a lot of his success to maintaining himself accountable and dealing to all the time keep on the high of his recreation, whether or not its on the courtroom or the Westside’s ultra-competitive market. He just lately sat down to speak about his journey and striving to be, as he places it, “the Roger Federer of actual property.” His feedback have been edited for readability.
NL: Inform me about your life earlier than actual property?
BF: I grew up in Melbourne, Australia. I used to be all the time touring round Australia enjoying tennis, and I wished to be a tennis professional. I performed collegiate school and obtained a scholarship to come back to America — that is finally why I got here. Tennis has all the time been a giant a part of my life. I used to be 21 years previous after I left house.
NL: You had fairly a journey to get right here. How was the flight?
BF: Let me inform you, mate, it wasn’t a clean street. I had by no means been on a airplane earlier than. The primary airplane I went on, I went to Georgia. To get there, I flew from Melbourne to Sydney, from Sydney to Japan, from Japan to L.A., from L.A. to Detroit after which lastly from Detroit to Georgia. It was one of the horrendous flights, however how would I do know any higher?
NL: Was shifting to the U.S. a giant adjustment for you?
BF: To depart all the pieces behind like that was loopy. Occurring a airplane for the primary time in your life, leaving your loved ones and all the pieces you understand to journey to the opposite facet of the world, to observe your dream, you actually must be self-sufficient. I by no means did dishes or used a washer earlier than that. It actually made me grow to be me.
After Georgia, I moved to New York to work in finance, and that was one other actual check of resilience. New York is nice in some ways but it surely’s additionally a spot that may bury you. It is not for everybody. Town that by no means sleeps, it sleeps. If in case you have no cash, you will be sleeping quite a bit. It is costly as [expletive]. However it taught me the way to make it. As Frank Sinatra stated, if you may make it in New York, you may make it wherever. I did not make some huge cash in New York, however I actually minimize my enamel there.
NL: Being a former athlete, do you draw any parallels between sports activities and promoting high-end houses in Los Angeles?
BF: On the tennis courtroom, I can management what I do. I can not actually management my opponent; I can solely give the very best effort that I can provide. That is how I do my enterprise — I am all the time making an attempt to be the very best I could be. I all the time wished to be like Roger Federer, and that is almost inconceivable. But when I could be the Roger Federer of actual property, that is a great second place for me. It is a few legacy — I need to go away my mark.
NL: What classes did you study from beginning 4 corporations?
BF: I like beginning corporations; it is enjoyable, but it surely’s laborious. I like that type of hustle mentality of combating your method to the highest, making an attempt to get to the highest. However whenever you get there, there is a second of ‘OK, I did it. What’s subsequent?’. The wonderful thing about actual property is that you’ve got a contract with your self, and also you’re accountable for that. So, you’re a direct results of the work you place into it. No matter you do, is due to the trouble you are placing into it. The financial a part of it’s a blessing, but it surely’s all about what you place into your self.
NL: What hurdles did you face early on in your actual property profession?
BF: Once I first obtained into actual property in L.A., I labored for one bigger firm, after which I went to an architectural agency. I met Alphonso Lascano and we began working collectively as a crew. We have been one of many greatest groups at that agency, however after we’d go to speak to individuals, nobody understood our firm. They thought we have been architects or attorneys, and Alphonso and I noticed we wanted a much bigger model. It taught me that even should you’re the very best dentist or journalist or photographer or architect, if nobody is aware of who you’re, who cares.
NL: Inform me about working with what you are promoting partnership with Alphonso.
BF: Alphonso is nice. We’re very completely different, like Yin and Yang or cold and warm. We’re like-minded, however on the similar time, his objectives and my objectives are very completely different, and so they steadiness one another. Having a partnership is enjoyable and invaluable. We complement one another in some ways.
NL: How did you each come to Hilton & Hyland?
BF: Hilton & Hyland simply appeared like the suitable match for us. If you wish to promote properties for beneath $3 million, you possibly can keep at a few of these different brokerages, and that is OK. If you are going to get to the large leagues, Hilton & Hyland supersedes all in L.A. — it is not even a contest. I find it irresistible right here.
NL: Was it a straightforward transition shifting right into a extra aggressive panorama?
BF: Hilton & Hyland, they’re robust, mate. They are not heat and fuzzy at first. They’re very protecting of their individuals and their model, and you actually must earn your stripes. It is type of like being a member of Wimbledon Racquet Membership or Augusta Nationwide. I respect that greater than something now. In some ways, we’re like a household. We solely need the very best.
NL: Apart from your tennis heroes, what motivates you to be a greater agent?
BF: I need to be just like the Drew Fentons of the world. Anyplace you go, if you understand high-end actual property, you have in all probability heard Drew’s identify as a result of he is bought among the costliest actual property on the planet. That is how I need to be remembered.
NL: What recommendation would you give somebody who needs to start out promoting luxurious actual property?
BF: I might additionally say, whenever you’re simply beginning in actual property, it is best to work on a crew. I feel that’s key as a result of most brokers don’t survive the primary the primary 18 months. They may get a few offers from their buddies and their household, after which they’re left questioning, ‘The place am I going to get my subsequent deal from?’. I feel brokers get short-sighted as a result of they need all of the fee once they begin. If somebody had known as me after I first began [in real estate] and requested, ‘Hey, I need you to promote my $5-million home in Bel-Air,’ I wouldn’t have recognized what I used to be doing. Engaged on a crew — so you may get some expertise in deal-flow and the way to talk and negotiate — it’s invaluable data that you may’t study out of a e book. That was a giant a part of my journey. While you’re beginning in actual property, have a crew, have a mentor.
NL: Promoting luxurious houses is extremely aggressive. Do you’ve got any recommendations on the way to proceed to develop what you are promoting expertise?
BF: Discuss to individuals. Name all the large actual property brokers and trouble them till they comply with meet with you. Early on, I might name brokers and ask if I might come to have a espresso with them. I might sit them down and say, ‘I need to perceive actual property such as you do.’ Not lots of people try this. Possibly they’re scared or intimidated, I do not know why, but it surely takes a selected individual to name one in all your friends like Jeff Hyland and ask, ‘How are you so profitable’?
NL: Who did you monitor down for a espresso?
BF: [Laughs] Final 12 months, I requested Drew Fenton if I might sit within the automobile and drive round with him all day. I simply sat within the backseat and simply spent the day listening to him and watching him and seeing how he does it. It was a useful expertise, and you may’t actually put a value on that. He is an actual professional.
Hilton & Hyland is an unique member of Forbes Global Properties, a client market and membership community of elite brokerages promoting the world’s most luxurious houses.