By Thomas Marshall
If you didn’t know that The University of Tampa had a real estate club, well you do now. Thanks to Matthew Pamfillis, senior at UT, the real estate club is underway where professionals in the industry from the local area and all around the country speak to the club every other Wednesday to tell their story of how they got into the industry and even offer club members the chance to connect with them for career advice.
One of their most notable guests was licensed real estate broker Peggy Zabakolas who is well known for her role on Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Listing New York” and the Netflix show “Million Dollar Beach House” that takes place in one of the most prestigious real estate markets in the country, The Hamptons on Long Island. Zabakolas is a broker with Nest Seekers International, a global firm based out of New York City.
Pamfillis, president of the real estate club, had an interest in real estate by the time he was 16 years old after his father took him to a seminar where he was able to meet professionals in the industry.
“Everyone at the seminar was very nice and loved the fact that I was so young and was interested in real estate,I remember everyone saying they wish they had started when they were my age,” said Pamfillis.
In the ‘90s, the university offered a state approved real estate night course that would allow those who were pursuing a career in real estate to receive their license and begin a career in one of the most lucrative industries in the world. Although UT no longer offers the course and is one of the reasons why Pamfillis began the club in the Fall of 2020.
With the help of Pamfillis’ two friends Damian Barrios and Ethan Marsh, all students at UT, the group saw an opportunity to incorporate real estate back into the university through starting a club of their own. Matt approached one of his former professors, Dean Koutroumanis, a professor in the college of business and a licensed real estate broker, and asked him for his advice and guidance in starting a club.
Koutroumanis was thrilled to hear the passion the group had to start a club and offered to be an advisor for the club and oversee operations. Koutroumis said that his brother had attended a few of the night classes that UT offered back in the ‘90s and is really impressed with the progress the club has made in such a short time, not to mention during a pandemic.
A real estate club in Tampa is fitting as Tampa Bay is one of the fastest growing markets in the country, sitting at number four behind Phoenix and Nashville according to the real estate brokerage Zillow. The average home price in Tampa sits at around $300,000 and according to Fox Business, nearly 1,000 people are moving to Florida every day.
Despite graduating this May, Pamfillis plans to stay involved with the club moving forward in hopes of seeing real estate become a program at UT some day. Florida State University, The University of Central Florida, and The University of Miami already offer real estate programs as well.
For those interested in joining the club, you can follow @ut_realestateclub on Instagram to find out when the meetings are and communicate with the clubs executive board. The club intends to have philanthropy and networking events starting in the Fall of 2021.