“Everything’s fluid. Whenever you feel you’re at the height of your game. Change. Shift. Adapt.”
Ross Hams, award-winning and record-breaking sales Director of Marshall White Projects lives and breathes this ethos. And with good reason.
A decade and a half ago, Ross was flying high on the Gold Coast. In his early 20s, the Melbourne-born entrepreneur was experiencing life at full throttle. He’d just sold his share of a gym he’d set up with his sister and was successfully selling off-the-plan apartments by day, while acting as VIP host in upmarket nightclubs in the evenings.
It was here that he caught the eye of Jo, a lawyer, who had recently appeared on a reality TV show. Within 18 months the high-profile couple had got engaged, enjoyed a spectacular wedding, had bought a dream home on Miami Hill in North Burleigh and were expecting their first child. Things couldn’t get any better.
But then the GFC hit, impacting the Gold Coast business community particularly hard, and things, well, came crashing down.
“Jo lost her job; I lost my job. We realised we would have to rent out our new home and start looking elsewhere for work. Fortunately, Jo, who is originally from Adelaide, got offered a job in Melbourne, as a corporate lawyer for Fonterra, so it was decided to return here,” explains Ross, who grew up on a 12-acre property in Croydon Hills, not far from where his family had originally settled back in 1907.
The couple based themselves in Port Melbourne at first and Ross began working for Buxton’s Real Estate Group selling a mix of established homes, apartments, and off-the-plan properties.
“I was doing well but knew I could do better. We were both working hard, by now had two kids and living in rentals. I wanted more for my family.”
Ross says he never forgets the day in 2011 when he discovered that Marshall White was about to open their Port Phillip office in Albert Park.
“Something clicked inside me, obviously my Managing Director at the time wasn’t too pleased, but in the back of my mind, I knew that’s where my future would lie.”
After what seemed like a lifetime, Ross was invited to meet with Marshall White Directors John Bongiorno, Mark Dayman and James Connell. Marshall White’s Projects department had recently opened up, and Ross’s past successes in selling off-the-plan properties had not gone unnoticed. He listened to what they had to offer, and after sound advice from James Connell, who Ross describes as ‘the greatest mentor I ever had’, he made the decision to join the company’s newly founded Projects division, where he could put his ‘off-the-plan’ selling skills to the test.
“My first job was to sell ‘the unsellable’. A new complex on a busy Toorak Road corner that two other agents had failed to sell.”
Ross promptly sold out the development, and he knew from that moment on where his career future lay.
“That first Marshall White project was with Ewart Leaf Architects, and I’ve since worked with them on more than 20 projects. To me, it’s all about the relationships formed with the builders, designers and also about helping our clients to secure their futures,” says Ross.
“It’s all stemmed from that first project with Ewart Leaf and that has led to working with Moda, Roulston, Salta, Fortis Property Group and Cobild. These types of high-end Projects and Development companies were in their infancy when I started and it’s been great to all grow up together,” he says.
Likewise, his career trajectory at Marshall White has soared, going from Sales Agent to Partner to a Director who has now recruited others to become fellow Partners and Directors.
“The Projects team is incredible. And I honestly couldn’t do it without the support of my amazing Executive Assistant of six years, Larissa Rael, who will be with me until we retire,” he states.
So far, Ross has managed to sell close to $1.5 billion worth of properties off-the-plan including the sale of a $15 million apartment in Armadale, the highest sale price ever for an apartment in Armadale and the third highest Armadale price ever.
Ross and Jo are now enjoying life at cruising altitude, and they couldn’t be happier.
Just over a year ago they moved into their Warrandyte dream home with their three children, Sienna, 13, Isabelle, 10 and Ashton, 7.
Ross’s focus is now on recreating the idyllic childhood his parents gave to him.
“My mum used to describe our place in Croydon Hills as the ‘halfway house’ because every afternoon after school, my sister and I would have friends back to hang out, swim, play tennis, basketball. Everyone was welcome and we all loved it.”
The next-gen Hams family residence is a three level, 4-bedroom, sandstone home on over 4000 square metres with beautiful views of the Dandenong’s, a swimming pool and full-size basketball court.
“We gutted it, transformed it and now it’s everything we as a family could want. The old tennis court is now an NBA size plexi-pave basketball court, that can also be used for tennis and soccer. Sienna is a state-level swimmer, so we have the pool, and Isabelle, like her dad and younger brother, is a basketball fanatic. Jo who loves fitness and running, has her own gym set-up, so we have everything we want, and the kids have as much space that they need.”
Of course, Ross has his own ‘man cave’/wine cellar which is stocked high, courtesy of Levantine Hill. The home also has multiple living and dining zones, both formal and informal, and they are currently designing a new pool house to enhance alfresco living options.
“At the moment, it’s perfect for us. It’s 25 minutes to the MCG in one direction, and about the same to the Yarra Valley in the other.”
“We moved in during Covid and it’s been amazing. The friendships we’ve made have been phenomenal. We’ve already had the kids’ birthday parties, pool parties.”
Ross is always mindful that he wouldn’t have been able to provide such a fabulous home for his own family without the support of the Marshall White family.
“I do work long hours, but I actually love what I do. And we are all family and support each other. Everyone knows it’s ‘family first’ and it’s because of that culture we can all enjoy the successes together.”
Ross has never looked back from his decision to focus 100 per cent on selling off-the-plan properties through Projects.
“I don’t deal in investment-grade properties. I love helping my clients to secure their future homes, that’s what it’s all about. It’s not downsizing as such. These people have extensive wish lists. They may have lived in their family homes for 20 or 30 years and they want and deserve the same level of comfort and luxury – but with low-maintenance and lock-up-and-leave capabilities – so they are free to enjoy their futures the way they want to live. I had a client on the phone just the other night, I called to tell her that she had secured her apartment, and she cried. That’s why I do what I do.”
These days, Ross looks back on his high-flying Gold Coast life with a sense of nostalgia and gratitude.
“After the GFC I knew I had to be financially prepared for another rainy day, and that is the position I am fortunately in, thanks to the opportunities I’ve had with Projects.”
And, thanks to his beautiful family, fabulous team and of course the words that define his ‘Everything’s Fluid’ ethos, he now has his feet planted firmly on the ground.
Discover more about Ross Hams.