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The Man Behind NYC’s Top Real Estate Rental Firm: Anthony Lolli

By Yitzi Weiner and Casmin Wisner

“I noticed that fellow landlords and colleagues in the industry were very interested in selling properties, but when it came down to rentals, no one was focused on that aspect of it. So I decided to focus on the niche of renting apartments, not only for myself but for landlords and management companies.”
We have all heard the expression “It doesn’t matter where you came from, all that matters is where you’re going.” Anthony Lolli epitomizes that mantra as the Founder and CEO of Rapid Realty, one of NYC’s top real estate brokerages. Growing up poor in Brooklyn, Anthony came from humble beginnings, working his way to become one of the top real estate moguls in NYC.
Since the day they opened their doors in 1988, Rapid Realty has expanded to 40 offices nation-wide, and has been named the top rental firm in New York City. Lolli fiercely chased his dream and proved to us that there is no substitute for hard work. He became a millionaire at the young age of 21. Lolli also recently released his newest book, The Heart of the Deal, on how to invest and negotiate like a real estate pro.
We sat down with Anthony to dive into how he came to be one of the top Real Estate moguls in NYC, and how Rapid Realty came to be one of the fastest growing real estate companies in the world.

What is your backstory?

I got started in real estate when I was 19-years-old. I bought my first property at 21, and started my own real estate brokerage at 21. I learned all the ins and outs of real estate—as far as the transactional end goes—and soon after, the landlord end. I stumbled onto an unserved niche market, which was rentals. I noticed that fellow landlords and colleagues in the industry were very interested in selling properties, but when it came down to rentals, no one was focused on that aspect of it. So I decided to focus on the niche of renting apartments, not only for myself but for landlords and management companies.

I started off as a small “mom and pop” company, and then I expanded and opened up several locations. I decided to grow my company, and soon went from one location to over 40. Over a couple of years I also expanded my portfolio of real estate. I started buying more real estate, learned about financing and construction and property management in all aspects, and negotiations. I lived, breathed, and slept real estate.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

Over 100 people decided to tattoo the Rapid Realty company logo on themselves to show their loyalty to the brand. The story went internationally viral, and was all over the internet and the news. All of the sudden over 2,000 news outlets, and television and newspapers were asking me what’s so special about my company that people decided to brand themselves with it. This took branding to an entirely new level!

So what does your company do?

Rapid Realty is a full-service real estate brokerage. We rent apartments, commercial retail spaces, and we sell houses as well as businesses.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

We cater to today’s working demographic with Generation Y and Millennials. I think what makes us stand out is the fact that I live and breathe real estate. I own property, and I lease property that I own. I am a true leader in the sense that a boss says “go,” and a leader says “let’s go.” I joined hands with everyone in the company and I showed them how the business works. We specialize in taking people that know nothing about real estate, and turning them into real estate rock stars.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

I credit the whole team—everyone that works in the organization. I talk about this in my book, The Heart of the Deal, but I credit a gentleman named Carlos Angelucci, who is the Chief Operating Officer of Rapid Realty. I call him my “Woz” in my book, for Steve Wozniak. He’s been my right-hand throughout the entire process so I give him the bulk of the credit.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

My company and I are involved with over 20 different charitable organizations. Not only have I been able to provide job opportunities and business opportunities, but I’ve also been able to inspire and motivate people that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to make it in the industry.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I launched my startup” and why.

  1. Things take time. It’s not going to happen overnight, so patience is definitely a virtue you need to have. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  2. It takes a village. You can’t do it by yourself. You have to surround yourself with motivated people that want to work hard, and have interests and goals that are aligned with yours.
  3. You have to give everyone—including yourself—a sense a purpose.
  4. People do what you INSPECT, not what you EXPECT.
  5. Don’t keep yourself busy trying to find shortcuts. A lot of people try to supposedly work “smarter,” not harder. From my personal experience, and my observation of really successful people, I say it’s not one or the other. You have to work smarter AND harder. There’s no getting around it.

Q: Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

A: I would say Gary Vaynerchuk. I admire what he’s been doing in terms of the new way we’re marketing and promoting social media, and branding. I appreciate his gift of unifying people of the same thought.

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If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series In Huffpost, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.