Exclusive: Luxe Listings Sydney’s Gavin Rubinstein spills all about the workings of the highly competitive new reality TV series

Gain Rubinstein
Gavin Rubinstein Pic credit: Brook Rushton/Amazon Studios

If you have been waiting for the next season of Selling Sunset, wait no more. Amazon Prime Video has a series that will fulfill your longing for posh real estate with multi-million-dollar price tags, Luxe Listings Sydney, which is set in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the world: the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

The buying and selling of these multi-million-dollar homes is revealed through a trio of Australia’s top agents – Gavin Rubinstein, D’Leanne Lewis and Simon Cohen, who stop at nothing to deliver results for their demanding clientele, while balancing their hectic personal lives with their demanding careers. 

Rubinstein, who is the owner of The Rubinstein Group (TRG) tells Monsters & Critics in this exclusive interview that he was a natural to be selected for Luxe Listings Sydney.

“Throughout the course of the last ten years, since Million Dollar Listings was released, the amount of people who have always said to me, ‘You belong on one of these shows…’ if I got paid for every time someone said that, I wouldn’t even be in real estate. I’d be all right, right off the bat,” Rubenstein jokes.

That said, the Sydney real estate business is a tight community, so everyone knows each other, which means they are both friends and foes.

“Simon has got a great personality for this sort of thing as does D’Leanne,” Rubinstein says of why the three of them are worth watching. “I think the diversity between the three of us should make for a great dynamic. I was approached first off the basis of doing something like this, and then the other two came on, and here we are.”

Here’s more of Rubinstein’s take on the new reality TV show that gives viewers a sneak peek inside Sydney’s multimillion-dollar mansions. 

Gavin Rubenstein
Gavin Rubinstein Pic credit: Brook Rushton/Amazon Studios

Monsters & Critics: What makes Selling Sunset so successful is all the drama in the office between the women. What is going to make people tune in to watch Luxe Listings Sydney?

Gavin Rubinstein: A couple of things. First off, we’re shot in the best city in the world Sydney, Australia, and while you see a lot of reality television and you have done over the years, the majority base of it has been in the U.S., which is familiar.

Not a lot of people in the U.S. have traveled to Australia — a lot more in Australia have traveled to the U.S., people are very interested in what life is like on that little island. So, I think people will be intrigued.

No. 2, I think the properties and the property market here is something that’s very, very different to, again, the U.S. You’ve got Selling Sunset, Million Dollar Listing, the process is somewhat the same. You price your property, you show it a few times, and you usually end up selling it somewhere below the asking price in some cases.

In the climate at the moment, maybe you get two people fighting and you go above, but you don’t have this process called auction, which is a method of sale we utilize over here, which is quite exciting. It’s quite invigorating. It can be nerve-wracking, and I think people would be interested in that.

Then, of course, you’ve got the phenomenal cast. You’ve got Simon Cohen, you’ve got D’Leanne Lewis, you’ve got me. It’s different to Selling Sunset. Full respect to everybody who works on that show, but it’s more about the bitchiness and the back and forth than it is about the real estate deals. Ours is a lot more real estate deal/lifestyle-centric.

With the cast as a final point, each and every one of us have a very established career. D’Leanne’s been in the game 27 years. I was three when she started. I’ve been in the game 13-14 years. Simon’s been in the game 15-16 years. He’s the No. 1 buyer’s agent. D’Leanne is No. 1 in her firm. I’ve been the No. 1 producer for my firm for the last 7-8 years versus on these other real estate reality shows, a lot of the agents weren’t really at the top of their game before the show.

Now they’re at the top of their game because exposure has helped. The show has created and made a great platform for them to do great things. But for us with or without the show, we’ve got a very, very good established and solid business in real estate. So those would be the three main differences I would say.

M&C: A good show has heroes and villains. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald makes you out to be the villain with “flash, brash loads-a-cash swagger.” Do you consider that an insult or a compliment?

Gavin Rubinstein: I don’t really care about opinions to tell you the complete truth. Unfortunately, given the fact that I’m a real estate agent, a lot of people are going to stereotype me and have stereotyped me since the very beginning. You’ve got to be an ignorant individual to think that my practice is built on flash and not fire when you look at my track record. You talk about the largest real estate brand in the country, which is Ray White, which is a company I worked for. I was the No. 1 revenue producer across Australia for the last seven years in a row.

Then opening up my own company, I was awarded the No. 1 owner in year one. That’s all based on commission. So, I say that because at the end of the day, I clearly provide a service that adds more value than my competitors with a track record like that, and that’s not achieved through anything short of just complete hard work and wholehearted dedication.

But, of course, this is real estate and people are going to paint real estate agents with a brush. The people’s opinions I really care about are the ones who know me, and that’s it.

M&C: You are new to the TV audience, especially here in the U.S. How did you get into real estate?

Gavin Rubinstein: For me, it’s all about the art of the deal. I just freaking love the deal. Naturally, I’m a very competitive person and, unfortunately, I was never going to play competitive basketball for obvious reasons, so I needed to find an avenue or some way to channel my competitive nature.

Real estate is unbelievably competitive, particularly in these top markets across the world — New York, London, Sydney. It’s a very dogmatic kind of industry. I love that side of it.

I probably fell into it for the wrong reasons initially. At the start, I was attracted by the opportunity to earn an uncapped income without a tertiary education. I was not a study type of guy. I was not going to go to university. I was not going to sit. It just wasn’t for me as an individual.

I knew from an early age that I have more of the mentality of wanting to go through real-life experiences, be a sponge and pay attention to the patent and what works and what doesn’t, because that was what I was and what I am good at versus sitting down and studying from textbooks.

So, I got into the business as an assistant for two subpar performing agents. The more I discovered about what was really involved in it, because people have these false perceptions or stereotypes, people also have false perceptions about what’s involved in being an agent, and as I understood more of it and got deeper and deeper into it, I actually just fell in love with the whole process altogether and felt that and could see that I’m not only good at this, I’m really good at this and I can make something really special out of this business. And I didn’t really have an option B and wasn’t good at really anything else, so here we are. That’s the complete truth.

Gavin Rubinstein and the TRG team Pic credit: Brook Rushton/Amazon Studios

M&C: Your company was founded in 2019. How did you pick your staff and why bring your brother into the company?

Gavin Rubinstein: Actually, every core member of TRG, which is an acronym for The Rubenstein Group, was working with me in my previous office. Everyone I started with and have come up with, I’m still with today. I haven’t really had any of the core members and/or my agents leave me.

In fact, a lot of the guys who were my assistants and supporting my team, I’ve since encouraged to go out on their own and they’ve each got their own teams now and they’re absolutely thriving. So, everyone is winning which has been a very enjoyable process for me to be able to help give these guys the blueprint and provide their structure, if you like, for them to build really good businesses in their own right.

Getting Jared, who’s my brother, to come across was just an integral part of the process. I made a comment before that I’m not good at much except his real estate gig and that’s completely the truth. When you’re running a business, you’ve got to be good at everything. You’ve got to know to identify your strengths and your weaknesses.

It just so happens that the weaknesses of mine are the extreme strengths of my brother. So essentially, we create what I always say is the perfect storm because my strengths are kind of his weaknesses, and his strengths are my weaknesses. We just complement each other in a particular way that leaves no stone unturned.

It’s phenomenal to work with family. He’s my best friend. We’ve got an extremely close relationship, where we each mutually respect what each other does and each other’s strengths. We’re on the way to really building and creating something phenomenal, so stay close to it. Watch it over the next 10 years because it’s going to be big.

M&C: Why are the property values in Sydney going sky high now?

Gavin Rubinstein: I think it’s a combination of things. The major driver that I notice is this lack of supply. It’s the old equation of sales: supply and demand. There’s an increasing demand and a lack of supply in Sydney. Where I work is called the Eastern suburbs.

It is the most affluent part of Sydney. It’s this essentially little golden triangle that is surrounded by harbor. You’ve got beaches and you’ve got the city kind of wrapped in one. They’re not making any more land. There’s just no more land available, and so when you’ve got a situation like that and increasing demand, naturally prices are going to rise.

Interest rates are at an all-time low. Money is very cheap. That’s positively fueling sentiment, and I also think COVID has created what’s going on. Australians can’t travel. I haven’t been able to travel in almost two years. It’s expensive for Australians to travel, especially people in the east.

They spend hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on overseas trips, whether that be for business and or pleasure for the family. They haven’t been spending that money. They’ve been at home and it’s created things like, “Let’s upgrade our house,” or “Let’s buy a bigger house because we’re spending more time at home.” Or, “Let’s buy a holiday house because we can’t go away.” All of these factors have just fueled the market in general.

M&C: What about you personally? What is your home like? Do you have a harbor view?

Gavin Rubinstein: I’ve got a property right in Potts Point across the road from Bondi Beach. It’s literally across the road from us. My brother and I own it together. We purchased it a couple of years ago. I’ve got a couple of investment properties in and around, but I’m a bachelor.

I’ve just purchased a commercial property for a new office in Rose Bay, which is again across the road from the beach there in Rose Bay. Literally, one street away from the beach. I always buy close to the water. I think that’s just a no brainer long-term investment-wise, but once I get on top of The Rose Bay office and open it up, I will look at buying a block of land with a view of the harbor, and I look to build a home in in the next two to three years.

M&C: What was crazy was the home you were selling at auction had a bathroom that was facing the street, so it looks as if you would be able to see everything if someone was in their naked in the shower. Is that typically Australian?

Gavin Rubinstein: The bathroom that you see in that particular house is facing the street because it looks West at the Harbour Bridge. The value in property in Sydney is always angled towards the view, the Harbour Bridge or the harbor. So, what you’ve got there is you’ve got a bathroom, but you’ve got a piece of opaque film on the bottom half, so the design is created so that you can be having a shower and looking at the harbor at the same time from the top half. It’s not a typical city feature. That house happens to be on a cul de sac.

Luxe Listings Sydney premieres exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on July 9.

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