Named for legendary tennis participant Bjorn Borg, it was all however a on condition that Bjorn Farrugia would pursue the game.
Rising via the novice ranks, the Australia native took a leap of religion within the early 2000s when he moved to the US after receiving a tennis scholarship. Twenty years later, he is put down the racket and used the life-lessons realized alongside the way in which to begin 4 firms 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 holding 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 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 faculty and acquired a scholarship to return to America — that is in the end why I got here. Tennis has all the time been an enormous a part of my life. I used to be 21 years previous after I left residence.
NL: You had fairly a journey to get right here. How was the flight?
BF: Let me inform you, mate, it wasn’t a easy highway. 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 probably the most horrendous flights, however how would I do know any higher?
NL: Was shifting to the U.S. an enormous adjustment for you?
BF: To go away every part behind like that was loopy. Occurring a airplane for the primary time in your life, leaving your loved ones and every part you realize to journey to the opposite facet of the world, to observe your dream, you actually should be self-sufficient. I by no means did dishes or used a washer earlier than that. It actually made me change into me.
After Georgia, I moved to New York to work in finance, and that was one other actual take a look at of resilience. New York is nice in some ways nevertheless it’s additionally a spot that may bury you. It is not for everybody. The town that by no means sleeps, it sleeps. In case you have no cash, you may be sleeping quite a bit. It is costly as [expletive]. Nevertheless it taught me how one can make it. As Frank Sinatra stated, if you can also make it in New York, you can also make it wherever. I did not make some huge cash in New York, however I actually lower my enamel there.
NL: Being a former athlete, do you draw any parallels between sports activities and promoting high-end properties in Los Angeles?
BF: On the tennis courtroom, I can management what I do. I am unable to 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 attempting to be the very best I could be. I all the time wished to be like Roger Federer, and that is practically unimaginable. But when I could be the Roger Federer of actual property, that is a very good second place for me. It is a few legacy — I need to depart my mark.
NL: What classes did you study from beginning 4 firms?
BF: I like beginning firms; it is enjoyable, nevertheless it’s onerous. I like that sort of hustle mentality of preventing your option to the highest, attempting to get to the highest. However once 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 set into it. No matter you do, is due to the hassle you are placing into it. The financial a part of it’s a blessing, nevertheless it’s all about what you set into your self.
NL: What hurdles did you face early on in your actual property profession?
BF: Once I first acquired 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 group. We had been one of many largest groups at that agency, however once we’d go to speak to individuals, nobody understood our firm. They thought we had been architects or attorneys, and Alphonso and I noticed we would have liked 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 might be, 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 targets and my targets are very completely different, they usually 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 correct 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 massive leagues, Hilton & Hyland supersedes all in L.A. — it is not even a contest. I adore it right here.
NL: Was it a straightforward transition shifting right into a extra aggressive panorama?
BF: Hilton & Hyland, they’re powerful, mate. They don’t seem to be heat and fuzzy at first. They’re very protecting of their individuals and their model, and you actually should earn your stripes. It is sort of like being a member of Wimbledon Racquet Membership or Augusta Nationwide. I recognize that greater than something now. In some ways, we’re like a household. We solely need the very best.
NL: Moreover your tennis heroes, what motivates you to be a greater agent?
BF: I need to be just like the Drew Fentons of the world. Wherever you go, if you realize high-end actual property, you’ve got in all probability heard Drew’s identify as a result of he is bought a few of the costliest actual property on the planet. That is how I need to be remembered.
NL: What recommendation would you give somebody who desires to begin promoting luxurious actual property?
BF: I might additionally say, once you’re simply beginning in actual property, you must work on a group. I feel that’s key as a result of most brokers don’t survive the primary the primary 18 months. They could get a few offers from their pals 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 after they begin. If somebody had referred to as me after I first began [in real estate] and requested, ‘Hey, I would like you to promote my $5-million home in Bel-Air,’ I wouldn’t have identified what I used to be doing. Engaged on a group — so you will get some expertise in deal-flow and how one can talk and negotiate — it’s invaluable data that you could’t study out of a ebook. That was an enormous a part of my journey. If you’re beginning in actual property, have a group, have a mentor.
NL: Promoting luxurious properties is very aggressive. Do you will have any recommendations on how one can proceed to develop what you are promoting expertise?
BF: Discuss to individuals. Name all the massive actual property brokers and hassle 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 do this. Perhaps they’re scared or intimidated, I do not know why, nevertheless it takes a specific particular person 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 automotive 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’ll’t actually put a value on that. He is an actual professional.
Hilton & Hyland is an unique member of Forbes Global Properties, a shopper market and membership community of elite brokerages promoting the world’s most luxurious properties.