Bill Malouf: the godfather of Eastern Suburbs real estate

A born and bred publican, Bill Malouf never thought of leaving the hotel industry until he decided to buy a house in Strathfield in Sydney’s Inner West.

Providing several real estate agents in the area with exactly what he was looking for in a property, Bill quickly learnt the importance of customer service.

“I’ll never forget this – I was in my mid-twenties, and I’m now 67 – I sent a letter out to six agents specifying what I was looking for, and I found it amazing that so many of the agents’ stock did not come within 70 per cent of my personal requirements,” Bill recalls.

“Then I met George Devine.

“George showed me three properties, two of which were very close to what I was actually looking for, and, in the end, I purchased one from him.”

Bill was both impressed and inspired by George’s dedication to meet his needs, so much so that he was influenced to make a career change into the real estate industry, leading him to where he is today – a director at Highland Double Bay along with his son David.

Personal service

At 35, Bill finally switched to real estate, having felt strongly for some time that this was the right decision and chose to focus on the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

“I said to my dad, if I’m going to have a career change into real estate, then I might as well try at Double Bay from the beginning because if I don’t make it in Maroubra, I’m not going to make it in Double Bay,” he says.

Bill knew from his own experiences that the personal service wasn’t where it needed to be and still believes it pays forward if you go the extra distance for clients.

“It’s usually one of the biggest purchase and emotional decisions for most people, and just like if you had a serious health concern, you’d want to go to the best doctor with the best reputation, your property decisions should also be with the best in the industry,” Bill notes.

“A private home is usually the last expensive asset one will buy while they’re building their wealth.

“And it is probably near and dear to them, and if they decide they want to sell, they are entitled to the maximum that can be pushed out in the marketplace. 

“It’s our job to make that happen for them, and that’s what we do.”


It’s evident after speaking to Bill that family is extremely important to him, but when his son, David Malouf, wanted to start a career in real estate, Bill gave him the same advice his father had given him.

“It’s my name, and I’m lending it to you, do not tarnish it,” he said.

“I told him, ‘As long as you understand, I will not feed you. I will mentor you because I’ve got people working for me, and you, like they once did, will have to cut your teeth. If you fine-tune your communication, I think you will make it in this industry’.”

While those words may seem tough, Bill attributes his success to these words, and he wanted to pass this on to David.

“My father’s instructions to all his sons were, ‘Whatever you decide to make as your career, make sure that when you get up in the morning, you are not just going to a job, you are going to a place you want to be, and it’s what you want to do’,” Bill notes.

“To David’s credit, he has worked incredibly hard, and because he has a background as a personal trainer, I think he understands the values of persistence and dedication to achieving goals.

“You must be prepared to work long hours – this isn’t a 9am to 5pm job. This career is about being the first guy in the office and the last one to leave, and David does this and now is a highly competitive and successful agent in his own right.”

Family and son team a competitive edge

Bill firmly believes that the real estate industry is all about service and credibility. 

“Having each other to bounce ideas off has been extremely helpful, but the service we both bring to our clients as a team keeps bringing back repeat business,” he says.

“We’re both available for our clients whenever they need us, and our clients can see how we go the extra distance and that builds respect and credibility, which has given us a completive advantage in the industry.

“I always say to my staff that word of mouth is gold.

“If you go to a restaurant for the first time and they provide unbelievable service, and the food is spectacular, I guarantee you have built a return for the business within a week or two by talking about it. That’s what this game is all about. 

“If you’ve been doing this for 10 years and you’re still door knocking and cold calling for new leads, you’re doing something seriously wrong.”

Industry changes

Bill has seen it all when it comes to the ups and downs of economic trends in the property market, and he believes that while there are always factors concerning politics, economics, and world trends that affect the market, some things haven’t changed.

“Whether a client is a multi-millionaire or a first-home buyer, it doesn’t matter,” Bill says.

“What they don’t want to hear, and unfortunately what they often get, is an over-expectation by agents to get them on the dotted line.

“That is why you see many properties still around three months and six months later, and all the agent is trying to do is rewind the owners’ expectations, never giving them a clear and clean expectation when they went to the market, and they will cost a serious amount of money to those vendors over a period of time.

“In all my years of selling property, an agent never really knows how it will finish, but with experience, we know where the property should be within a certain bracket.”

The future of Highland

Bill and David joined the Highland property group in 2021 and it’s been a fantastic partnership to date.

“I purposely was looking for an organisation that could bring the extra piece to the puzzle that I didn’t already have – and that was the behind-the-scenes support staff and the directors that head up all the sales departments,” he says.

“Highland is a well-oiled professional team, and the mentoring that goes on behind the scenes contributes to much of the success of the sales.

“Highland isn’t just a workgroup, it’s a family, and that’s what we like to call it.”

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