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Nick Portelli – Being at the top of one’s game

22nd March, 2024
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Nick Portelli
Issued by Frank Salt Real Estate Ltd.

Being at the top of one’s game means hard work, focus and dedication

Nick Portelli from the St Julian’s branch of Frank Salt Real Estate has been the top agent for a number of years now and his dedication consistently sets the bar higher and higher for others. With his insight, experience and professional approach regarding all things property, he is not only an encouragement for anyone who wants to pursue a career in real estate, but he also stands as an inspiration for his peers across the real estate landscape in Malta.

Nick’s story is certainly one that deserves to be told. He began his career with Frank Salt Real Estate in 2012 and relishes the diversity that comes with it. As a warm, energetic, people-oriented person with a genuine passion for helping others he prides himself on being a fierce believer in integrity, credibility and reliability. As the company’s star agent, he is also an excellent ambassador for promoting property investment as a means of wealth creation and diversified asset management. Nick is a very private, consummate professional who rarely gives interviews. But after winning our company’s top award again for 2023 at our recently held Annual General Conference, we just had to interview him. This is what he had to say:

Nick, you’ve been our company’s top performer for several years: what’s been your secret to consistently excelling in your role?

To be honest, there is no secret! It simply takes sheer determination and very hard work to reach self-imposed targets. At the same time one needs to stay conscious of the fact that time is limited and as a result there is a need to focus one’s energy on recognising any good opportunity that presents itself along the way.

Many people struggle to maintain their motivation over time. What keeps you driven and passionate about your work, year after year?

Setting new personal targets and naturally rewarding oneself once those targets are reached is the best motivation for me. Then there’s also the knowledge that with a career in real estate, at any point, things can take a surprising upward turn when we least expect it!

Can you share with us some of the difficult challenges or tough situations you have encountered over the years? How did you navigate through it successfully?

In real estate it is inevitable that you will come across challenges that seem insurmountable at first – but often, with lots of patience and determination, you stand an excellent chance of resolving any of these issues successfully. Situations usually arise when significant but unforeseen obstacles crop up that can threaten the entire sale or purchase transaction.

For example, these can range from a party that takes an unreasonable stand to unforeseen legal obstacles such as defects in title to the property subject of the transaction.

Beyond your professional life, what are your personal passions and interests? How do you balance these with your demanding career?

In this line of work, you are expected to be available outside office hours many a time, resulting in one becoming an excellent juggler of one’s precious time available between work and personal interests. Of course, I love to spend time with my family first and foremost and when there is time left I like to indulge in reading and learning more about performance cars… which happens to be one of my greatest passions.

We understand you’re a family man with a 2-year-old daughter. How has fatherhood influenced your approach to work and life?

As a matter of fact, I now have two children: only last week my wife and I welcomed a lovely baby boy, Tom, into this world! Children are a joy to have and they give you overall purpose in life, which in itself is a motivation to carry on working hard. But it goes far beyond that and I consider the joy of seeing them grow up and sharing life with me as an immense gift.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations, both in your career and personal life?

As far as my career goes, I am driven by the fact that you can never know enough and there will always be room for improvement. I want to continue to grow in my role, to learn more about what we do so that I can deliver an even better service to our clients and also make a positive contribution to our sector. In other words, to continue to excel and to be considered as “best in class”. On the personal side, I want to be the best husband and father: a good role model for my children, to be strong when faced with adversity and above all, to pursue happiness for myself and my family.

With your wealth of experience, what advice would you offer to individuals aspiring to pursue a career as a property consultant?

As in many other occupations, being a property consultant can at times be demanding both mentally and physically. However, if you put your mind to it, it can give you immense satisfaction. Initially there will be a learning curve and one needs to be patient and simply persevere. With determination and the willingness to learn and succeed, you will eventually reach your goals and then realise that it was well worth the effort.

Which two persons have been your biggest mentors and inspiration? Why?

One person who inspires me is the founder or our company, Mr Frank Salt. Frank established the company more than 55 years ago and during this time, together with his dedicated team, he painstakingly developed it into a very successful company. For many years Mr Salt was at the forefront of the real estate sector in Malta contributing to its development and shaping it into what it is today. Secondly, although there are other individuals who have been mentors to me or who have inspired me, I think here I should mention the entire management team at Frank Salt Real Estate. They have always been there to support me and assist me in overcoming any hurdles that I encountered on a day-to-day basis.

Malta’s real estate market has seen significant growth in recent years. What opportunities and challenges do you anticipate for the future of real estate in Malta, particularly in terms of sustainability and urban development?

I am very positive that this growth will continue, but it is now very clear that we need to do this in a more sustainable manner. Unfortunately, as we have seen time and time again, there’s been too much focus on short-term gain with the result that considerable damage has been inflicted upon the environment, both in rural and developed areas. It goes without saying that real estate development affects our lives in so many ways: on the one hand it constitutes one of the main drivers of our economy whilst on the other hand it can have a very negative impact on our daily lives and this we have witnessed by merely looking at the recent past. Nevertheless, I still see lots of opportunities. If we had to take this sector to another level with the participation of all stakeholders and give it solid foundations, we will be able to secure its future in a sustainable manner.

Can you share with us a memorable success story or achievement from your career that you’re particularly proud of?

In a way every sale is a success story is it not? Some are bigger than others but I cannot point to any one particular incident that stands out. Brokering a property’s sale or purchase is a long and sometimes arduous process. But for me, it is seeing both the seller and the buyer walk away from the transaction feeling good about their sale or purchase that gives me a great sense of achievement. At the same time, I am humbled by the fact that my clients have recommended me time and again and that our company continues to recognise my efforts, year in year out. This means a lot to me. I will always acknowledge that I could never have achieved what I have without their contributions.

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