From Big Macs to celebrity parties to mansions, Gavin Rubinstein has sold it all.
At just 28, the real estate young gun became one of the industry’s brightest rising stars when he was named Ray White’s residential agent of the year in 2015, after selling $230 million worth of property in 12 months.
He is the head of his own team, The Rubinstein Group – based at Ray White’s Double Bay agency in Sydney – and has been the global real estate group’s number one sales agent in NSW for three years running.
So what do hamburgers, nightclubs and real estate have in common?
You have a spontaneous streak and it’s taken you around the world. Tell us how and why?
Due to the exchange rate being so high 10 years ago I really wanted to go to London to earn the pound.
I basically had no money right after completing high school and wanted to join friends on a gap year. So I bought an airfare and on arrival [in London] a friend from Sydney mentioned I should catch up with his friend Nick for what I thought was just a casual chat.
I remember wearing jeans and thongs to that meeting, and, after a brief chat he commented that this wasn’t something he usually did but spontaneously offered me a job with his promotional company, Nick House Entertainment, which managed promotions for some of London’s best nightclubs — the rest is history.
So what did you do, hang out with celebrities? Sounds like a dream job for a teenager from Down Under?
Our company managed particular nights at venues and the main nights I looked after were Wednesdays at Mahiki, a popular cocktail bar and club in Mayfair in central London, and Kensington Roof Gardens on a Friday night.
We did host parties constantly for celebrities, but there were no real run-ins with them as they were always with major entourages. If I had a night on, I was only required in the office at 2pm the following day … slightly different to the 5am starts Monday to Saturday that is my life now.
But although I enjoyed myself at the time, I soon realised this career path wasn’t going to provide the lifestyle that I wanted for the future and after about 18 months I started thinking about coming home and making a move to real estate.
What attracted you to real estate? Have you always had an obsession with housing?
Quite the opposite! When I started looking into real estate what became apparent, which is still something I think many agents haven’t worked out, is the real estate business is more about people than bricks and mortar and getting along with people, developing rapport.
Attention to detail was always something I could do well.
I was also attracted to the fact it was one of these rare industries that provides opportunity to earn an uncapped income without any tertiary education, and I hated studying!
What – aside from working after hours – do nightclubs and real estate sales have in common?
My whole life I have been serving people, from my first job at McDonald’s at 13, to my retail jobs, to the nightclub industry. Real estate is also a service-based industry.
The clientele in London were demanding given they were paying £500 minimum, and in some cases up to £10,000, to sit at a table in these venues.
Always ensuring they were happy and coming back/telling their friends about the venues I was managing was key to ensuring I always hit my targets. Marketing also played a big role as it was our job to ensure the nights we were running were full and it was through this I learnt about the power of press and the importance of creating/selling a buzz, which is also extremely important in my real estate career.
What is your most challenging listing to date?
A trifecta sale I pulled off in my first year as an independent agent after being a PA (personal assistant) for two years.
In my first year as a PA I cold-called a lady and built a relationship with her over the phone by providing her with information related to property, mindful of never crossing the line of pestering.
Three years down the track … she gave me the listing for her house, which I sold for $9 million. One of the buyers who came through that campaign didn’t suit that particular property because the block of land was not wide enough, so I referred them to another family I had cold-called around a similar time three years prior, and who I had also been in touch with regularly on the same street who owned a wider block of land.
I managed to get an opportunity to show this buyer through that home and ended up selling it for $9.5 million.
Finally that buyer also had a house to sell and because he appreciated me finding him a buying opportunity he gave me the listing to his house, which I sold for $8.5 million, setting a record still held on the street.
This trio of sales was challenging because all of the above sellers had relationships with agents who were well established and far more experienced than me – remember I was only 22-23 – but the results were a clear indication that even at a young age, I had put in the extra work compared to my competitors.