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From jockey to Property Partner: How a brush with mortality led Damian Miller to a career in real estate

It was while recovering from a fall from a horse and surgery to remove a bone tumour, that former jockey Damian Miller realised he needed more in his life than horse racing.

Now The Agency’s newest Property Partner in Perth, Damian says the awakening in late 2020 was quick but poignant.

He’d dabbled in real estate on and off over the years, but had always returned to riding. 

But this time things were different and Damian knew the time was right to study and renew his real estate licence.

“I had a fall back in 2020 that led to them finding a bone tumour in my hip,” he says.

“While I was off having surgery for that, it was during Covid, so I renewed my licence and had something there to do with real estate.

“And through that period I was rethinking my goals in life…it was a good realisation for me that with life as a jockey, you’re only really one fall away from it all coming crashing down.

“So there needed to be something outside of that and that’s how I got back involved with real estate.”

Since that time, Damian hasn’t looked back, with real estate matching perfectly with his desire to give to others, as well as the community.

“It’s the most important decision most people make,” he says.

“It’s one of the few things you can do in life where there’s a win-win outcome. For the sellers, but for the buyers too.”

Damian says being involved in horse racing was a great “leveller” and he had little, if any, ego, which meant he’s able to relate to people from all walks of life. 

It’s something that’s served him well in his real estate career.

“Growing up in sport, particularly horse racing, you’re taught from a very young age that the guy that’s worth $5 and the guy that’s worth $5 million all treat each other the same on a race course,” he says.

“I had my first race ride when I was 15, so I’ve had to deal with a great cross section of the community and, for me, walking into a $400,000 house in a bad suburb, or walking into a boardroom in the CBD, there’s no difference to me.

“My biggest focus is always on what my clients are trying to achieve and how I can make that happen for them.”

Damian says there are also many crossover lessons between horse racing and real estate, starting with the fact both are goal driven and there’s no such thing as normal working hours.

“Racing and real estate are both very much a lifestyle,” he says.

“With racing, you’re up at the crack of dawn and on your first horse at 4am and if you’ve got races that day you’re not home until 8pm.

“It’s very full on and there obviously needs to be dedication in that sport. 

“Coming from that mindset builds resilience and the hard work is ingrained in me.”

Damian says after working for another agency for a while, a friend and fellow jockey introduced him to The Agency CEO of Real Estate, Matt Lahood, and his vision for growing his business aligned with The Agency’s model.

“The agency is such a progressive team, their backend systems are amazing and, for me, going forward and growing my business, it was the best model for me,” he says.

Damian’s selling area is largely south of the Swan River, with specialist suburbs including Harrisdale, Wandi, Oakford, and Serpentine.

But he readily admits he’s more than happy to travel to list a property.

Damian is also clear on his goals for the next six to 12 months.

“I’d like to come out of the next 12 months well on the way to growing a team, continued success and the expansion of what I’ve been doing,” he says.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.