Once Olympians and professional athletes, reality TV stars or even Hollywood stunt doubles; these successful real estate agents have traded life in the limelight for the fast-paced property market.
These are the celebrity secrets and colourful past careers behind some of the high-profile players making multimillion dollar deals as QLD rides a real estate boom:
BRENT SAVAGE — LS Properties
Savage travelled the world from a young age as a pro surfer, but the Tweed Coast local always found the beaches back home were the best.
This passion for his home town led Savage to a career in real estate with LS Properties at Casuarina, showcasing beautiful houses along the booming northern NSW coastal stretch.
Placed in the world’s top ten on the junior surf tour, the young dad continued to compete in the waves after transitioning to real estate seven years ago, and was runner-up in the Australian surf titles 2018-19.
“Real estate is competitive to a degree and really is similar to sport in the sense you’ve got to wake up and make it happen every day,” Savage said.
“It’s a good business to get into if you have come from sport because there is a flexibility to create your own luck. For me, it was in pursuit of living a really good lifestyle and being able to sell what I’ve grown up loving, which is beautiful beaches and good surf.”
ED CHERRY — Harcourts Coastal
Southern Gold Coast specialist Ed Cherry has made headlines with recent big-ticket sales, including a $10m beachfront record for Currumbin, and QLD’s most-watched auction of The Palms, a designer house at Burleigh Heads, which sold for $3.75m.
But the down-to-earth Harcourts Coastal agent is no stranger to the spotlight, even sharing screen time with famous US blonde Pamela Anderson as a former Big Brother contestant.
Cherry grew up on the Gold Coast and headed to Sydney after his reality TV stint. He spent five years there working in marketing and events for corporate clients, including Billabong and Corona, before heading back north to make his mark in prestige property.
EOGHAN MURPHY — Kollosche
Irish-born Murphy found early success as a real estate agent, taking out the prestigious title of Rookie of the Year at the REIQ awards in 2017, aged 22.
He was working with Queensland Sothebys at the time, switching to Kollosche in 2019.
Later that year Murphy joined the reality TV ranks when he signed on to enter the villa for the second series of Love Island Australia.
Murphy joined the cast after the break-up of a long-term relationship, but was adamant the celebrity experience was not something he would want to repeat.
Instead, the top-ranking agent turned his charms to closing big deals, including the $5.5m sale of a Hamptons-style mansion at Mermaid Beach, and a prized double block on Burleigh Hill, which sold under the hammer in February.
DAVID LONIE — LJ Hooker
Another top athlete who found a natural fit in the high stakes of selling houses, David Lonie made a name for himself in American gridiron while earning a degree from the University of California in Berkeley, USA. He went on to play with the Washington Redskins and Greenbay Packers as a punter in the NFL. Returning to QLD, the former Palm Beach Currumbin High School student joined LJ Hooker and has been in the property game for 13 years.
Lonie is based at the agency’s Palm Beach office and has handled a slew of sales in the southern Gold Coast hotspot, which has led the city’s house price growth in 2021.
This glamorous Gold Coast identity went the other way, gaining her real estate licence several years ago before launching full-time into a fitness career on the back of her social media fame.
Though not active in the property industry, Burnley has retained her registration, assisting on past occasions in the office of her sales agent father.
Since 2017, Burnley has focused on a new career in social media marketing through her business, Burnley Media.
A former Australian champion triathlete, Burnley is a qualified personal trainer and health coach who owned a fitness studio in Broadbeach and has also published a recipe book.
JASON AKERMANIS — Blue Moon
AFL legend Akermanis first made his mark in the industry in 2020, joining Ray White Ascot as an estate agent and auctioneer.
In January, the Brownlow medallist opened his own agency, Blue Moon, also in the well-heeled Brisbane locale of Ascot. In typically goal-driven form, he spoke of expansion plans for Hamilton, Hawthorne and Bulimba, as well as Burleigh Heads longer term.
Akermanis played 248 games for the Brisbane Lions, kicking 263 goals and winning the AFL Premiership three times.
He now runs a cryptocurrency business alongside selling homes.
Akers’ recent sales include a four-bedroom house in Birkdale and an apartment in Newstead.
JAMES ROBERTS — Kollosche
This two-time Olympic swimmer is the most recent real estate recruit with a high-profile past, joining prestige agency Kollosche this month.
Roberts, 30, is a bronze medallist who narrowly missed Tokyo selection but has hung up the goggles to make a splash in the property pool.
The self-motivated athlete has 14 years’ experience in competitive swimming, along with a degree in advertising and marketing.
He studied for his real estate licence during lockdown last year.
“Having been looking for a property myself, I thought why not give it a crack. I like communicating with people and helping someone to buy their dream home struck a chord with me,” Roberts said.
Originally from Tweed Heads, Roberts competed in London in 2012 in the 4 x 100m medley and freestyle relays and then in Rio in 2016, where he earned his bronze medal in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay.
MATT SRAMA — The Srama Group
Former Gold Coast Titans hooker Matt Srama has become the go-to buyers agent for professional athletes looking to get a foothold in QLD’s booming market.
He launched his innovative buyers agency, the Srama Group, after first becoming a sales agent when injuries ended his six-season NRL career in 2017.
Since then, Srama has scored goals in the property game for an impressive roster of Titans players, including Brian Kelly, Moeaki Fotuaika, Jaimin Jolliffe and Kevin Proctor.
He specialises in helping buyers find their dream home, often securing property for clients off-market, as well as sharing market knowledge.
Srama purchased his first house in Palm Beach at age 24 and now has a multimillion dollar portfolio across the Gold Coast and Brisbane.
ALEX AND VICTORIA FLERI — Amir Prestige
When not fuelled by the adrenalin of chasing a big sale, Amir Prestige sales agents Alex and Victoria Fleri get their thrills training in stunt work for Hollywood movies.
The property power couple recently wrapped up their debut feature film, Avarice, which was filmed in Perth and will hit national cinemas in 2022.
Alex and Victoria are entertainment industry veterans who switched to real estate last year after Covid-19 forced film and TV productions to shut down.
Alex had won acting and stunt contracts for Marvel, Netflix and the Elvis biopic, which were all cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The pair’s recent sales include a Paradise Waters mansion, which changed hands for just less than $10m.
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