Lucas Hammond isn’t your average real estate agent. For the past few years he’s been waking up at 5 a.m., lifting weights by six and on the rugby field at eight. By 10:30 he’s selling houses in Victoria.
These are the sacrifices one endures to be a Canadian Olympic rugby player. Hammond recently returned from the Tokyo Olympic games, which were held this summer after being cancelled a year ago due to COVID-19. This was Canada’s first year ever qualifying for rugby at the Olympics. Hammond was disappointed they lost in the quarter-finals to New Zealand but hopes to build on his performance and play in the Paris Olympic games in 2024.
Hammond competed internationally previously at the Pan Am Games, the Commonwealth Games and major rugby tournaments around the globe, but this was the granddaddy of them all. This is the reason athletes get up in the morning despite the soreness and never-ending training – this was his dream.
In Tokyo, “Everything was very strange with COVID. The Olympic village where the athletes stayed was incredible. The Japanese army was outside the village everyday, like airport security, ensuring the virus didn’t find it’s way into our living space.” Unfortunately most of the games were played without fans in the stands, which somewhat diluted the full experience for the athletes involved.
During March 2020 the world as we knew it shut down. Hammond, who had been training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games had no idea whether or not they’d be canceled. No announcements were forthcoming. All he knew was he couldn’t practice with his teammates. Every sporting league had been paused. Hammond trained on his own and couldn’t help but fixate on whether he’d receive the opportunity to represent his country. The only thing that kept him from obsessing was his day job, selling real estate in Victoria.
“It was a crazy time, but I had started the real estate course before the pandemic and I was planning on doing it after the Olympics. I had nothing else to do, so I powered through the course, got through it last summer, wrote the exam in September and had my licence by November.”
Managing rugby in conjunction with his new real estate gig wasn’t easy. Luckily, he was hired by former Montreal Alouette wide receiver Alex Carroll. His team, The Carroll Group, is with Engel & Völkers Vancouver Island. During the last year, Carroll has become a mentor for Hammond on and off the field. He understands the pressure athletes and real estate agents face.
Hammond says the hardest part of starting out in the world of real estate is getting those first listings. He’s had to build a network and let potential buyers and sellers know he’s now in the industry. He’s spent funds on ad campaigns and traveling to hustle up business. After working out in the mornings, he’d drop off hundreds of letters in mailboxes no matter how sore he was feeling.
“Right now I’m working my ass off every day, and aiming to sell higher-end residential homes,” Hammond says. “The amount of people purchasing these multimillion-dollar homes on a FaceTime call is crazy.”
Perhaps what separates Hammond from other Realtors is his ability to recuperate quickly from losses. He believes this will help him throughout his career. “In sevens (the type of rugby he plays) especially, with so many games happening so fast, you can’t dwell on one. You need to regroup and move on to the next one or you fail at the next one as well. I can definitely see that parallel with real estate. You get rejected every day and you just need to regroup and move on and keep focused on the end goal.”
Hammond’s perspective on selling homes is similar to his thoughts on training for a big game. “I use the work ethic I’ve developed in rugby to sell homes. Anything I do, I work as hard as possible. The other similarity between rugby and real estate is that they are both team games. Everything you do affects the next player. If we work together we’ll win. It’s all about trust and knowing your teammates are there for you.”
He developed his salt-of-the-earth personality while growing up in South Africa. His parents were missionaries who ran a Salvation Army and homeless shelters as well as AIDS hospitals. “Having missionaries as parents made me aware of how much suffering was going on in the world. We are so lucky to be here in Canada. Helping others and putting them first is the way I was raised.”
Hammond hopes he can use the “putting others first” philosophy to help people find the houses they really want. “I want to be honest to buyers and show them what they’re looking for.”
In South Africa, Hammond started playing rugby at the age of seven. When his family moved to Toronto from his hometown of Vryheid, in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, he continued with the sport until he ultimately moved to Victoria in his late teens to play with the national team.
“I love playing rugby, I’ve always loved it and doing it with the Canadian flag on your jersey makes it even more special.”
Now that he’s a Realtor, Hammond is planning to contribute a piece of each sale to disadvantaged young rugby players, since he saw too many young players pack it in early because they were not able to afford the cost of the sport.