Robert Alfeldi, the fly-fishing agent whose prized catch could be a brown trout or a $10 million sale
Can you paint a picture of your early life for us?
I was born in Port Hedland in Western Australia. My father was in the mining industry. Unfortunately, he had an accident and passed away there, so my mother moved with my sister and me to Adelaide to be closer to her family. We lived near the beach. I played cricket in the summer and AFL in the winter. I was very sporty. I’m still very active.
How did you wind up in Sydney?
Back in the day, there wasn’t a great deal happening in Adelaide. After school, I did a trip through Europe. When I came back, I realised there was probably a little bit more to the world than sleepy old Adelaide, so I made the move to Sydney.
Did you have real estate on the brain back then?
I initially worked in hospitality, which is obviously a very people-centred environment. You’re constantly communicating. You can translate that into property. It helped me understand what people were interested in; what they were looking for in a particular scenario.
My first job in real estate was selling apartments off-the-plan in Homebush Bay, now called Wentworth Point. I later set up my own office on Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont, and later expanded into The Rocks. I always had this interest in the waterfront. I kept moving up the harbour, getting closer to the city. This is my second year at CBRE.
CBRE is better known for marketing new developments. What’s the idea behind the residential agency?
They wanted to build a residential agency section within the business. For me, the biggest attraction was that CBRE is a global real-estate company with a true position in Asia and a very strong position in the UK. I was able to come in and set up a brand new division, building the team and the business.
Our core market is high-net-worth private individuals. We deal with the top end of Sydney and global buyers. We also work very closely with the projects team, allowing us to offer some of the finest luxury apartments in Australia.
Is there a sale that stands out as particularly memorable?
There are a few confidential ones, unfortunately. I’m proudest of some of the benchmark sales I’ve done at Sydney Wharf, including a combined apartment sale at $12 million. Selling in that building gave me a very good platform into the prestige market.
You’ve sold so many slick new apartments – do you live in one yourself?
I live in Linley Point, a tiny island just next to Hunters Hill. There’s no high-rise, retail or duplexes. I’m in the city and around big apartments half my working life. It’s nice to escape to a leafy home on the harbour. It’s beautiful there.
Tell us more about your life away from real estate.
My wife Kim and I have two teenage girls, Milly and Bella. We’re a very close family unit.
Real estate is a high-pressure environment but we don’t lose sight of the things that are important to our family. We try to have as good of a balance as you possibly can in Sydney.
Now what’s this I hear about fly fishing?
Through an interest in fishing, I fell into fly fishing. I’ve concentrated on New Zealand for a few years now. The landscape is spectacular. A helicopter drops us near a stream in the backcountry.
We’ve got our waders and boots on and we’re carrying a backpack with a tent, sleeping bag and supplies for the next four or five days. It’s adventure stuff.
We catch and release everything. It’s very much sport fishing.
I remember being on a back-country river on the North Island surrounded by mountains and forests, with not another soul for a thousand miles, wading through crystal clear waters with a monster brown trout in front of me.
The pressure is on to put the perfect cast. It helps me in those times of pressure at work. I’m not sure which I’d prefer to land – the brown trout or a $10 million sale.
I think we both know the answer to that.