Eight years ago, a local Terrigal 20-year-old with no industry experience donned a suit and approached a local real estate office looking for a job. Now, he’s just bought into that business.
LJ Hooker Terrigal’s new minority owner Matthew Farrugia is the first to say that he didn’t take a traditional route into real estate. While he puts much of his success down to the mentorship of principal Tim Andrews, from whom he just purchased a 20 per cent stake, Mr Andrews is quick to point out it’s the young agent’s hard work that got him where he is today.
Though his working life had something of a bumpy start, Mr Farrugia has always shown great initiative.
After being expelled from high school at age 15, he started work at the local McDonald’s restaurant, where he eventually moved up into a management role. Moving on from there, it was a chance encounter with a real estate agent while working at a golf pro shop that piqued his interest in the field.
The agent promised a job that never materialised, but Mr Farrugia wasn’t to be deterred. Based on Mr Andrews’ local advertisements, he decided to see if the LJ Hooker principal would give him a shot.
Mr Andrews wasn’t looking to fill any positions at the time but was so impressed by Mr Farrugia’s enthusiasm — and the fact that he turned up in a suit — that he agreed to take him on.
He was soon assured he’d made the right decision.
“He did letterbox drops, installed sign boards and put stamps on envelopes — happy to do any job we asked him and so it just went from there,” Mr Andrews recalled.
“He’s not adverse to putting in 12 hours six days a week, is a great member of our team and has become a good mate as well.”
Seeing his passion for the business, a number of years ago, Mr Andrews made a promise to his protégé, who had since obtained his real estate licence and transitioned into selling: he would one day allow him to buy into the business he had established 25 years ago.
The business owner kept his promise, even turning down an offer from another company to buy the outfit in full.
“I couldn’t bear the thought of not sticking to a promise that I had made, so I gave Matthew some time to think about it — but he came back to me the next day and said, ‘let’s make this happen’,” Mr Andrews said.
Mr Farrugia intends to build on his current 20 per cent stake, aiming to become a co-owner by 2025.
He says that stepping into this new part of his career won’t impact his passion for listing and selling property, and he is excited to play a larger role in cultivating the office’s team.
The young agent can stress the importance of workplace support in helping individuals achieve their potential.
“If our team is successful, then we will all be successful — I wouldn’t be where I am today without having someone who believed in me,” Mr Farrugia said.
“Looking back at my early life, I genuinely never thought it would be possible to be in this position. A few hard lessons along the way have taught me the value of focusing on the right things and aligning your interests and passions.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.