A REAL ESTATE STAR'S RACE TO THE TOP
Written by Constance Dunn
Nearly 20 years ago Bjorn Farrugia hopped on a plane to the United States. “I had never been on a plane in my life,” recounts the Melbourne native. “The first plane I went on was to come to America to pursue the thing that I had been dreaming about my whole life.” That thing was tennis. Hailing from the sporting capital of Australia, Farrugia grew up playing Australian football and cricket, but tennis was where he’d make his mark. Eventually Farrugia snagged a scholarship to attend school in Georgia and play Division 1 of the sport. “I wanted to be the Roger Federer of tennis,” he says. “Now I want to be the Roger Federer of real estate, but I’ve got a long, long way to go.”
Perhaps not too long. After only five years in real estate, Farrugia’s made his mark at prestige firm Hilton & Hyland, where he’s captured highest sales volume accolades for the past two years, becoming one of the brokerage's top-producing agents. He also develops properties both here and in Australia, and has made a longtime wish come true—to buy his mother a home.
“My mum got the house,” says Farrugia. “But I got so much more out of it.” It was a gift of gratitude for his family’s support, but it also meant he had reached a certain level of success, and it felt good. “To have the power and the ability to make it come to fruition—I feel really fortunate that God gave me the power to do that. It was one of the best things I have done in my life.”
Tennis may be part of a past chapter in Farrugia’s life, but the fire and focus instilled in him during those years still burns strong. “It really hurt a lot to realize that [being a pro tennis player] wasn’t going to happen,” he says, recalling how he abstained from the sport for two years in a kind of mourning. But in the end: “I used that same desire and pursuit for excellence to take the dream I had for tennis and channel it into real estate.”
It was a field that had interested Farrugia for years. There were family members in the business and even as a boy he had “a fascination for houses and architecture.” After a stint working in the dizzying world of New York finance for three years, the West Coast—and real estate—beckoned. “Every business has a few fundamental characteristics that are needed to be successful,” he points out. “I feel that my strengths resonate with real estate.” There was something else about it too; namely, the ability to directly shape and reach one’s goals. “What really entices me about real estate is that there’s no limit,” says Farrugia. “I am a direct result of my actions. If I do nothing, I get nothing—and if I can do it all, the sky's the limit.”
His current firm is a strong match for his ambition, which is boundless. “Working at Hilton & Hyland really opened up a lot of doors,” he says. And last year was a good year for Farrugia, who wrapped 80 deals—the most at the firm. Many people would be quite content with that figure, he explains, but not him. “The thing for me is, I feel I can triple that. I always want more. That’s a good thing, and not a good thing. Because you’re never really that satisfied—but it always keeps you hunting for more deals.”