Get to know Simon!
We kick off September interviewing Simon Marchett who is the assistant branch manager and also a property sales consultant at the Cospicua branch in The Three Cities. Simon started in real estate in 2009 and says he loves a challenge but also has a keen interest in all things property such as art, architecture, design, Malta’s historic buildings and the country’s rich heritage. One piece of art that made a huge impression on him was seeing Picasso’s “Guernica” in the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid some years ago. He is especially fond of Maltese houses of character and believes that the local village cores and conservation areas – like those found in The Three Cities and Valletta – must be safeguarded through everyone’s cooperation and contributions, including that of estate agents and other affiliated professionals.
Simon has been the recipient of various awards during his career and also obtained a Higher Diploma in Management and Administration from the University of Malta and was subsequently appointed as Assistant Branch Manager in 2018. When Simon feels like switching off from work, he dotes on travelling, trekking, exploring different cultures, wine tasting and attending cultural events. We spoke to him this week to find out more about him and this is what he had to say:
Simon, what can you share with us that sums you up as a person in roughly 100 words ?
I love nature, hiking, old heritage, the sea, wine, cooking, kayaking, spending time with friends, traveling, exploring different cultures and cuisines, positive people, and my adorable cat. I enjoy being helpful when possible and have a positive attitude towards most things in life. When things hit the fan, I tend to see that as an opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn. Although I don’t mind at all spending time on my own, I am quite the social butterfly. But I tend to walk away from negative vibes or people who find joy in bringing others down.
Tell us about your past, the early years and about your family?
I am the youngest of three siblings and have three nephews. My parents emigrated to Sydney in the 70s where they spent over 15 years. They moved back to Malta when I was 2 and I grew up here. I consider myself lucky to still remember myself playing in the street with other kids from the neighbourhood. Fgura was so different then. I used to love crafts and once turned my billiard table into a town! I built housing, a football stadium, roads and more with any material I could find. I populated it with Kinder Surprise toys, from dwarfs to sharks… That’s quite representative of my interest in architecture, real estate, town planning and my love for diversity, I guess! Furthermore, I was a very quiet kid and was quite attached to my mother whom I consider as the backbone of our family.
Tell us a bit about your past work experience…
There is not much I can tell you about that because I literally grew up at Frank Salt. I was 21 when I joined the company and I was probably the youngest consultant within our organization back then. But before I joined, I booked a one way ticket to Italy and spent a year or so living in Rome. I had the time of my life there and also worked with students in different schools in Rome and other parts of Lazio.
What attracted you to join the Frank Salt Team?
I grew up in Fgura. There’s been a Frank Salt office on the main road for as long as I can remember. We had cable TV installed at home back in the 90s and Frank Salt had some airtime on a local channel featuring beautiful homes around Malta which I used to watch religiously with my parents. Also, my father was always interested in real estate and spoke highly of the company. So, to me Frank Salt has always been THE real estate agency.
Additionally, I place a high value on reputation and that’s been one of the key reasons for me why I joined the organisation when I was just 21 years old… and remain there to this day!
What is the most important thing to you when it comes to being in a management position?
Supporting and bringing out the best in my team members whilst unleashing their potential gives me great satisfaction. Some people find it harder than others to recognize their strengths and what they could potentially achieve through their abilities. I believe that a confident, skilled and happy workforce contributes to a better working environment, improved customer satisfaction and the image of our office and company.
Name something you’ve done that goes beyond the call of duty in your professional life…
I once got contacted by the then owner of an important historic building… which I was trying to sell for over a year and she wanted me to help her waterproof some areas of the roof. I knew she lived on her own and possibly had no one to help her out, so I just rolled up my sleeves and tried something new! I never got to sell the house though! At least I had the opportunity to explore one of Malta’s historic treasures.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
My cat – called Luna – and I say hello, I then have coffee, rice cakes with ham and cheese, a croissant and then finally a shower.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
This job has given me the opportunity to meet so many people from all walks of life and from around the globe. It enabled me to learn more about people, their struggles, joys, habits, behaviours and different cultures. Above all, it is customer satisfaction that fulfils me the most.
What advice will you give to someone who wants to become an estate agent in Malta?
It can be a very rewarding job. Commitment, consistency, hard work, patience, determination, a positive attitude, reputation, maintaining relationships and the ability to act respectfully and professionally in different situations are the keys to success in our industry… in my opinion. When I started, I had no previous experience in real estate but I recognised the importance of these attributes which contributed to my progress, along with the support that I received from my colleagues and the company. Some skills can be taught though and at Frank Salt we do provide training and support to all new recruits so they can succeed too.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
When you’re going through hell, keep going. I read this somewhere on social media and quickly adopted it as my motto.
What item will you never leave the house without?
What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought besides a house or a car?
Probably my phone.
Do you have any bad habits or is there anything in others that you detest?
I love pizza, even when it is topped with pineapples, IF that is to be considered as a bad habit! I detest discrimination, intolerance, arrogance, narrow-mindedness and disrespect in any way, shape or form.
Let’s say you won the EuroMillions tomorrow…what would you do?
I’d repay my loan, obviously invest again in property, both in Malta and overseas, explore all the continents and make some donations.
What instantly improves the quality of your day?
When I see my colleagues in the office smiling, when we share jokes and personal experiences, a coffee and cigarette break, and of course an accepted offer!
If you were the lead singer of an international band, which one would it be and why?
I’d choose between One Republic and Coldplay. I think they’re both cool, I love their songs’ lyrics and tunes.
Do you have an iconic piece of art or architecture that you admire? Tell us about it!
I had visited the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid and couldn’t take my eyes off Pablo Picasso’s Guernica. There seem to be different interpretations of the Guernica but it certainly is representative of the horrors of war and the suffering of innocent civilians during war which makes it relevant until today. Guernica is a town in the Basque Country which was bombed and reduced to rubble by the German forces in support of General Franco during the Spanish civil war.
Is there anything you loathe doing and if so, why?
Ironing clothes. In fact, I do not iron clothes. I think it’s a waste of time and I don’t have the patience for it.
Working in The Three Cities, have you ever been to a property and felt that there was something paranormal going on?
Having focused on older properties for most of my career at Frank Salt, I think I no longer believe in those things. But I did get the shivers once during a pre-viewing on an abandoned house in Valletta. As I entered, the front door slammed and the entrance hall suddenly became dark. When I turned around I thought I saw someone wearing a bright coloured costume. I reopened the front door to bring the light in and found that it was just a mannequin dressed in a fancy carnival costume. The house was vacant and temporarily used for storage. Must admit though, it was creepy!
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
What would you like to know more about, but haven’t had the time to look into it?
Give us a one-liner that you would like others to remember you by one day.
“Don’t chase validation. Increase your vibration.”
Do you have any possession that you treasure? If so what is it and what does it mean to you?
I have some drawings that my nephews gave me when they were little. They are a constant reminder to me of how time flies!
If you had a warning label attached to you, what would it say?
“I don’t bite, but keep the drama away from me.”
What music do you listen to in your car?
My Spotify playlist has all sorts of songs and artists in it, from Purple Disco Machine and Kygo to Sam Smith and Imagine Dragons.
How important is your mobile phone in your life?
Super important! But I wouldn’t mind spending a few days without it.
Tell us about your love for heritage architecture and especially houses of character…
I think that all countries and regions have things that are unique to them. When I travel I’m always on the lookout for interesting architecture and authenticity. Malta, despite it being minuscule, has a lot to offer in terms of heritage and architecture. When I started working in real estate I started appreciating what we have… more than I used to!
Having visited so many beautiful properties, many of which have laid abandoned for years, I find old properties really fascinating. It is how our forefathers used to build; the original buildings all had a definitive purpose and I love to see how some were eventually repurposed, as well as their architectural features and much more. It’s such a shame that so many gems still remain vacant and abandoned. But it’s great to see more and more people appreciating and buying these types of properties.
Let’s say we give you an unlimited budget for a party…where would it be held and who will you invite?
That would be held on a super yacht and I would want to invite my best friends, colleagues, the Finnish prime minister, Dua Lipa, Peggy Gou, Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden and favourite chef Akis Petretzikis. Wouldn’t that be one hell of a party?
Do you ever cook and if so, what?
I love cooking and experimenting with new recipes. I particularly love Italian and Greek food. I can do pasta, salads, pies and sometimes meat. One of my favourite recipes is a Greek feta and leek pie.
Let’s say you suddenly have superpowers overnight…..what kind of hero would you be and what will be your name?
I’d evacuate people out of some towns, demolish everything except for the old and historic buildings and rebuild everything subject to proper planning, line all the streets with trees, create green pockets and then bring everyone back to live happily ever after. Can’t think of a name though… “The Sweeper” maybe?
Is there anything that makes you angry?
Those who drive at 30km/h on a road with a 70km/h limit.
What do you think is the short answer to saving our planet?
What will you do if you had a time machine?
I’d probably go back to the era when the French ruled Malta to see what exactly went on. We are hardly taught anything about that period in Malta’s history except that the French ‘stole’ from us. But I’ve read that within the short period of time that they occupied the islands they introduced some very important radical reforms which were in line with the revolutionary ideals of France.
Some fun facts about Simon we'd like to share.
I do but I generally wear clothes that I feel comfortable in.
The universe. I recently looked at NASA’s first images from the James Webb Space Telescope and I was astonished at how much we are yet to learn about the universe.
I love wine or a Negroni in the winter and an Espresso Martini or a G&T on warmer days.
I go to bed generally after 11.30pm and my alarm rings at 7, 7.05 and 7.10am.
Not really. But I guess my cat will always be my favourite animal!
- Everything was exciting then.
Lucifer Morningstar. I love his sarcasm. He is also charismatic, intelligent, kind, arrogant, rebellious, and manipulative, all at the same time.
I’ve travelled a lot in Europe, but I still have a lot of places on my bucket list. Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Iceland, Croatia, US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Maldives, Cuba, Turkey, Thailand and South Africa are some of them.
Good company, food, drinks, music and a dance floor.
I regret not keeping drawing and painting as a hobby. It’s never too late though!
Cospicua Branch - Manager
Simon is the Cospicua branch manager at Frank Salt Real Estate.