A SEASONED BROKER DISCUSSES STATEN ISLAND’S RECENT HOUSING BOOM, HOW THE REAL ESTATE LANDSCAPE HAS CHANGED, AND WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BOROUGH
BY JESSICA JONES GORMAN • PHOTOS BY AMANDA DOMENECH
When the COVID 19 crisis first gripped the nation and government regulations drastically changed the way businesses could operate, the country’s real estate market came to a screeching halt. No showings. No open houses. All closings and in person transactions were postponed for two long and arduous months. But somewhere in the midst of all that uncertainty, Joe Tirone said many people started thinking about how to reorder their lives.
“COVID was a dark cloud for everyone, but every cloud has a silver lining,” noted Tirone, an associate broker with Compass Real Estate, a nationally renowned agency that pairs the industry’s top talent with technology to make the search and sell experience intelligent and seamless.
“I think the silver lining here was that it made everyone a little more introspective,” continued Tirone. “During those two months of lockdown, people thought a lot about where and how they were living, and once some of the restrictions were lifted, they immediately started following through on those thoughts.”
The result, according to Tirone, was an immediate flood of inquiries for Staten Island properties.
“Staten Island was one of the places where people were seeking refuge,” said Tirone. “Houses here were selling almost immediately because people were tired of being cooped up in their tiny Manhattan apartments. There was a new appreciation for having outdoor space. It was a really interesting phenomenon. I’ve been in this business for over 30 years and have seen my share of active up cycles and down cyles, but I have never in my life witnessed anything like this before.”
Headquartered in Stapleton, not far from Urby and all of the area’s other renaissance projects, Tirone’s team of agents handled the boom seamlessly, even selling a few high end condos off Street Easy, a de facto database for property listings across the city. “Staten Island has always been looked upon as the forgotten borough, but in the wake of this COVID crisis we really became the go to borough,” said Tirone.
Tirone, born and raised in West Brighton, is one of the borough’s biggest cheerleaders. His Staten Island roots run deep. His family owned and operated Tirone’s Family Shoe Store in Port Richmond for 62 years, and it was at that very store where Tirone learned his work ethic.
“I started working there when I was 12, and I immediately learned that working for family is a lot harder than working for a typical boss,” laughed Tirone. “But my father and my uncles (who retired in their 80s) stressed that the ‘customer is always right.’ That grew into finding what’s right for the customer, and I’ve taken those concepts and applied them to my real estate career.”
The broker, who received a BBA in accounting from Pace University and an MBA in finance from St. John’s University (where he has since taught economics as an adjunct professor), got his start in the real estate industry when he was still a Wall Street executive.
Working at First Boston (now Credit Suisse), he was tasked with researching and learning about underlying collateral mortgages, which eventually led him to run the REO department for a Citigroup and Steinhart Partners joint venture in the 1990s. There, he developed an expertise in foreclosures, auctions, titles, and chapter 13 real estate related bankruptcies impactful knowledge that helped him launch a successful residential and commercial real estate career in the early 2000s. After close to 20 years of success, he partnered with Compass a move that Tirone said propelled his career.
“My partnership with Compass here in Staten Island has allowed my team and I to specialize in both the high end residential and small commercial markets,” noted Tirone. “We bring high tech, high touch to this end of the market while our hyper local expertise combines Compass brand marketing that has greatly benefited our clients here. Our affiliation with Compass commercial brings NYC market expertise to our ever growing commercial development that is taking place on the North Shore.”
And Tirone said it was Compass’ Concierge service that fueled his team’s 2020 boom.
“Compass is really high tech. A lot of other brokers had to pivot and change the way they did business when COVID hit, offering more digital services, but we were already there. We were among the first to do virtual open houses because we already had the technology in place and Compass’ Concierge services allowed us to make some improvements to homes, renovating or staging, so that when everything opened back up those houses were extremely attractive to buyers.”
Tirone noted Staten Island’s recent commercial growth spurt also contributed to the surge in business.
“People are finally discovering how much Staten Island has to offer,” he said. “There is so much development going on here right now. Our mall is expanding when everyone else is contracting; they knocked down a shopping center in New Dorp only to upgrade it and put the bi level ‘Boulevard’ in its place. In addition to all of our hidden gems the Lighthouse Museum, Alice Austen House, St. George Theater, and Richmond town there is a lot of change and renaissance happening. It’s a very exciting time for Staten Island.”
In addition to his position as founding broker of Compass Staten Island and leader of the number one top residential and commercial Compass team in the borough, Tirone also owns and operates Jostin Capital, LTD, which performs real estate advisory and consulting services.
He is also dedicated to giving back to his hometown community. In response to Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Tirone helped organize the Oakwood Beach Buyout Committee for the purpose of pursuing a state run buyout of the storm ravaged community. As a board member of the Staten Island Board of Realtors, he was recognized by the group for his community outreach and awarded the prestigious 2013 Community Service Award. A founding board member of Zone A NY, a nonprofit organization whose charter was to assist Sandy affected homeowners in understanding and applying for state and city assistance programs, he also currently serves as a board member for the St. Teresa Holy Name Society, whose membership has grown to the largest in Staten Island history during his tenure.
Recently, Tirone’s Compass team donated 5,000 KN95 masks for children in the community in response to COVID19, and his philanthropic efforts with the Travis Roy Foundation are an annual endeavor. For the past 20 years he has donated to and competed in the foundation’s annual Wiffle ball tournament. The total funds raised since inception nears $5 million. In the future, Tirone aspires to take on a larger commercial presence, a move he hopes will help better serve his Staten Island neighbors. “Over the past several years I have developed a great relationship with Compass,” he concluded. “I really enjoy what they bring to the table all of the research, technology, and agent support. And now with recent news of the company going public, I know support and resources will only increase. I’m excited about the future as Staten Island continues to grow and change.”
“I’m excited about the future as Staten Island continues to grow and change.”
The Joe Tirone Team of Compass
145 Beach Street / 718.448.1991 / thejoetironeteam.com