Source: Australian Financial Review, Australia. 22 Jun 2018, by Brad Pillinger. Domain, page 9

Open Home



BRAD PILLINGER from Pillinger

Brad Pillinger, 52, is the principal and founder of Pillinger, Double Bay. He joined the industry in 1990, while still a rugby-union player for University of Sydney. Last year he sold the most expensive home in his career, a Point Piper property for $61 million. Not bad for a bloke who once worked as a parttime garbo. Brad is married with two children and two dogs.

Who are your heroes in real life?

One of them is Bruce McWilliam, the commercial director at Network Seven. Since the mid-1990s, we’ve done over 40 property deals with him as vendor or purchaser, but more than that, he’s been a real mentor. He’s clear thinking, knows how to get a deal done and moral in his outlook.

What is your greatest achievement (outside of property)?

If you want to talk rugby, it was unreal to have played more than 100 firstgrade games for Sydney Uni, and I loved pulling on an Australian jersey – albeit for only one weekend – when I played with the Rugby Sevens in Argentina. Being Trinity Grammar’s first Australian schoolboy rugby player was also awesome. I’m also a big supporter of the Salvation Army. I was their biggest individual Red Shield Appeal collector in 2016 and 2017. This year, my goal is to raise $50,000.

Which living person do you most admire?

Dr John Best, a former sports doctor to the Wallabies who also coordinated the medical team for the 2003 Rugby World Cup. We share a lot of core beliefs and he has given me a lot of spiritual guidance since my father died 20 years ago.

What was your first job?

At university, I worked as a garbage collector and furniture removalist. I was a footy player and I wanted to keep fit. The garbage collecting was from 3.30am to 6.30am and you got paid a fortune; about $100 an hour. In the late ’80s, that was big money.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

I’m dyslexic. There wasn’t much about it in the 1970s and ’80s when I was at school. My parents got me a tutor and said keep at it until he can read. Going on to get two scholarships to high school was the hardest and most awesome thing I’ve ever done, and laid a foundation for life.

Name your guilty pleasure …

Oh, there are a few. Bingeing on junk TV all night when you’ve got to get up and work the next day. And when it comes to sweets, I’m like a 10-yearold child

If you weren’t in real estate, what job would you be doing?

A pastor or a sports manager.

What attracted you to real estate? I got my passion for real estate from my father, Ron. He was a colossus of real estate. He sold the first milliondollar home in Sydney in 1975; The Hermitage, owned by the Hemmes family. By the time my father died in 1994, there’d been six Sydney sales over $10 million and my Dad had sold four of them.

Most memorable sale, and why?

My first $20-million sale in 2004, Mandalay, in Point Piper. It took 15 months of perseverance. The people who eventually bought the property lived in America and I chased them all around the world to get the sale.

Success to you is …

Fulfilling potential. I’m a long way from that, but I feel like I’m doing awesomely