Named for legendary tennis participant Bjorn Borg, it was all however a on condition that Bjorn Farrugia would pursue the game.
Rising by 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. 20 years later, he is put down the racket and used the life-lessons discovered 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 yr, Farrugia credit a lot of his success to retaining himself accountable and dealing to at all times keep on the high of his sport, 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 at all times touring round Australia taking part in tennis, and I wished to be a tennis professional. I performed collegiate school and received a scholarship to return to America — that is finally why I got here. Tennis has at all times been an enormous a part of my life. I used to be 21 years outdated after I left dwelling.
NL: You had fairly a journey to get right here. How was the flight?
BF: Let me let you know, mate, it wasn’t a clean 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 one of the vital horrendous flights, however how would I do know any higher?
NL: Was shifting to the U.S. an enormous 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 realize 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 turn into 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 can bury you. It isn’t for everybody. Town that by no means sleeps, it sleeps. When you have no cash, you may be sleeping quite a bit. It is costly as [expletive]. But it surely taught me how one can make it. As Frank Sinatra mentioned, 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 reduce my tooth 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 most effective effort that I can provide. That is how I do my enterprise — I am at all times making an attempt to be the most effective I may be. I at all times wished to be like Roger Federer, and that is almost not possible. But when I may 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 be taught from beginning 4 corporations?
BF: I like beginning corporations; it is enjoyable, but it surely’s onerous. I like that type of hustle mentality of preventing your approach to the highest, making an attempt to get to the highest. However while 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 trouble you are placing into it. The financial a part of it’s a blessing, but it surely’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 received 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 largest groups at that agency, however once we’d go to speak to folks, nobody understood our firm. They thought we have been architects or attorneys, and Alphonso and I spotted we wanted an even bigger model. It taught me that even if you happen to’re the most effective 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 totally different, like Yin and Yang or cold and hot. We’re like-minded, however on the identical time, his objectives and my objectives are very totally 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 precise 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 isn’t even a contest. I adore it right here.
NL: Was it a simple transition shifting right into a extra aggressive panorama?
BF: Hilton & Hyland, they’re robust, mate. They don’t seem to be heat and fuzzy firstly. They’re very protecting of their folks 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 admire that greater than something now. In some ways, we’re like a household. We solely need the most effective.
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. Anyplace you go, if you realize high-end actual property, you’ve got most likely heard Drew’s identify as a result of he is bought a few of the most costly actual property on this planet. That is how I need to be remembered.
NL: What recommendation would you give somebody who desires to start out promoting luxurious actual property?
BF: I might additionally say, while you’re simply beginning in actual property, it’s best to work on a crew. I believe 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 believe brokers get short-sighted as a result of they need all of the fee after 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 how one can talk and negotiate — it’s invaluable data that you could’t be taught out of a e-book. That was an enormous a part of my journey. Once you’re beginning in actual property, have a crew, have a mentor.
NL: Promoting luxurious houses is very aggressive. Do you’ve got any recommendations on how one can proceed to develop what you are promoting expertise?
BF: Discuss to folks. 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 do this. Possibly they’re scared or intimidated, I do not know why, but it surely takes a selected 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 yr, 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 worth 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.