OBrien Interviews – Max Martinucci

Juggling a growing family, a busy career and a full time university course, OBrien Real Estate’s Max Martinucci is a busy man. Coming from humble beginnings, Max’s story is inspirational and highlights the dedication he applies to each aspect of his life. Born in Argentina, Max came to Australia with his parents and younger sister in 1985 at the age of seven. He explained that though they didn’t have a lot when they arrived, including the ability to speak English, his family never allowed this to hold them back from prospering.

“My parents are very hard-working people, and they sacrificed everything for their kids,” says Max. Fondly categorising his father as a ‘workaholic,’ Max says, “I learnt how important it was to bust your butt and do a good job and work hard.” “Mum is the entrepreneurial hard worker – she was always looking at get rich quick schemes, and she got it wrong a lot of the time, but that’s fine.”

Max Martinucci from the Oakleigh office.

The Martinucci family settled in Springvale South, while Max attended school in Mulgrave. Throwing a spanner in the works was the fact that Max and his family didn’t speak English – only Spanish. Being thrown in the deep end at school in a new country and being forced to learn a new language, Max described himself as ‘disinterested’ at school. He explains he moved schools part of the way through his secondary education, and wasn’t expecting such a vast difference. “I went from a boys’ school to a state school and got the shock of my life,” Max laughs. Upon leaving school, Max embarked on an Arts degree. “The best way to describe myself after I finished school is all over the place,” he muses.

From Left: baby Francesca, Emilia, Max and Leo.

However, this degree was later forgotten when more interesting things came about in life. Max’s first job out of school was working at a record label, packing CD orders at Sanity Music and later working in the retail section. With a deep love of music, Max was also working as a DJ and club promoter. “Everyone loves a good tune, especially when you’re young,” Max explains. “Why just turn up at clubs when you get to control the crowd? It’s the best, you don’t want to be dancing to someone else’s music, you want to be creating the music that they’re dancing to.”

Max enjoyed this lifestyle for a short time before travelling to back Argentina at age 18, visiting family and enjoying post-school freedom. In Argentina, Max spent time working on a radio show and engaged further in his love of music. He also became involved in event management, creating and facilitating large rave events. This was Max’s life for several years, until he returned to Australia in his early twenties.

Max and Francesca

There, he had a friend that worked in real estate. Having held a long-standing interest in real estate, Max followed this friend’s career for a while, and soon came to the conclusion that he wanted to work in real estate. “I’d always wanted to get into real estate, and I started quite late,” says Max. It was just one of those things where I had to make it, no matter what. I basically said, ‘Tell me what To do and I’ll do it.’ I was coachable, I was willing to do whatever it took.”

It was at this stage that Max discovered that real estate was one of the great loves of his life. He has been Oakleigh South’s leading real estate agent for the past five years, as voted by clients on Ratemyagent.com.au. “I went from spinning records to breaking them,” he chuckles. When asked what drives him to be so successful, Max is stoic. “Well,” he says, “what option have you got? Why do anything unless you’re going to do it well?” “It’s real estate, so if you don’t do everything well, there’s always someone there that’s going to take your place.”

Max explains that the thrill of the chase is one of the top perks of the job. Building and nurturing
relationships with people is also a great bonus, he explains, as once they know they can rely on your
help, they always come back to you. Auctions prove to be one of Max’s favourite sales methods, but he also loves the entire process of a sale.

Max and Leo

However, like everything, real estate work has its downfalls. “I hate disappointing people. It’s not all that often that it happens, but when the market turns, you don’t enjoy disappointing people,” Max says. “You don’t enjoy seeing other people in your team being disheartened. You can be tough as nails, but not everyone else around you is the same, and they can take things a lot more personal.” Max puts his initial love of real estate down to the game of Monopoly. “My mate and I used to play Monopoly all night, like for hours,” he says. “I was so competitive with Monopoly. Max’s career in real estate has also led him to find another great love in his life.

In 2010, working at his first real estate agency position in Oakleigh, Max met the business’s young receptionist, Emilia. “She walked into a sales meeting and introduced herself for the first time, and, you know, our eyes caught,” Max says. Emilia’s mother worked at the bakery next door to the agency and would often bring food to the office. One day, Emilia’s mother arrived in the office with some freshly baked goodies for the sales team. “She walked in and I said to her, ‘Gee, you’d make a good mother-in-law!’” Emilia’s mother told this same story at her wedding to Max in 2017. Max and Emilia are now the proud parents of three-year-old Leo, one-year-old Francesca, and are expecting the arrival of their third child, a daughter, in December.

A psychologist, Emilia worked with young people at mental health organisation Headspace. She is now a fulltime stay at home mum, for which Max is infinitely grateful. Usually a fairly independent person, Max was surprised at the level of attachment to his kids he felt when he became a parent. “I didn’t expect I’d be so attached to them. I thought I’d keep being independent, but it’s great,” he says. Max’s demeanour lifts even further when speaking about Emilia and their children, and he believes that his kids have changed him in a positive way. “I’ve probably become a little bit nicer; it’s probably just softened me up a little.” “Leo is just a cheeky little boy; he just loves his dad, and Francesca is a pretty stubborn, hot headed little baby,” he smiles. “And then, of course, we’ll find out about the third!” Max explains that Leo loves coming into the office with his dad. “I’m not sure I’d want him to get into real estate,” Max laughs.

The Martinucci family at Pioneer Memorial Park in Oakleigh

Max explains that he and Emilia work together to design and furnish their home, with the couple sharing a love of art and furniture. “It’s a really expensive bad habit to get into,” Max says. “We love vintage posters. My favourite is one we have of a woman in the 1930s holding a plate of dripping honey as an advertisement.” Max and Emilia enjoy watching Selling Sunset, as well as Channel 9’s the Block. Though the power couple operate smoothly at home, Max thinks the pressure of time constraints and other restrictions would put him and Emilia at each other’s throats.

“We’ve talked about it, [going on the Block], but it would not go well,” Max chuckles. Max and his family also enjoy going on walks in their spare time. “We just love to walk, you know, walk down to the park,” he explains. “Though I can’t convince [Emilia] to go camping – I love camping, she won’t camp it, she’ll only glamp it. I’m working on that and chipping away.”

Until about a year ago, Max was working seven days per week, as well as late nights. He now has Sundays off work and doesn’t accept appointments after 6.30pm. Max says he values the time he has away from work to spend with Emilia and their kids and would love to go on a holiday soon. “I loved Greece, it was beautiful,” Max says of his past travels. “I’d like to go back to South America, where I was born, and visit family there with Emilia and the kids.” Max and Emilia also enjoyed a whirlwind trip to Mexico in 2018, but he says it’s something he’d only do when the kids are older. “Mexico can wait another couple of years for our kids,” he laughs. Max also explains that his children are learning his first language of Spanish; a skill that his own parents are eager to foster within their grandchildren.

To top off Max’s jam-packed life of family, work and travel, he also made the decision in 2021 to return to tertiary education. He is now studying a Bachelor of Commerce and Property as a double degree, after completing a diploma at La Trobe University last year. “I would say that online learning was the best,” Max explains, “it was really convenient as I wasn’t going to travel an hour to get to class.” “COVID and lockdown was hard, just because I took on too much, with study full time and work full time, as well as managing employees and the other added stresses of a pandemic.”

Max, Emilia and Family in Eaton Mall, Oakleigh

When asked what prompted him to start studying again, Max is blunt about his reasoning. “I got bored,” he says. “I just love learning, so I went back.” I am pretty good at my job but I just got into auto pilot and I needed a new challenge.”

“I needed to push myself and see whether I could do it, and I killed it actually… though it nearly
killed us, doing full time online study while working full time with a family.”

If reading the story of Max’s life and career so far makes you feel tired, you’re not alone. OBrien Real Estate has landed a travelled and experienced man full of charisma, enthusiasm, determination and loyalty. Max has achieved a lot of success in his life – all has come about through his endless hard work, though he’s still young and isn’t finished yet. “I probably work harder than anyone else, I’m just a workaholic,” Max says, echoing the same statement about his father. “I’m always constantly trying to improve and look for an edge.”

Max Martinucci works at the OBrien Oakleigh Office. Find out more on Max