FOR MORE THAN THREE DECADES, THIS INDUSTRY VET HAS BEEN HELPING NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS FIND DREAM HOMES
BY JESSICA JONES-GORMAN • PHOTOS © AMESSÉ PHOTOGRAPHY
When Robert DeFalco was attending graduate school at New York University, still hashing out a direction for life and career, he spotted a sign one night on a drive home that quite literally determined his fate. “I was still trying to figure it all out, deciding whether or not to attend law school, and saw this sign that read, ‘Get Your Real Estate License.’ The rest is history,” said DeFalco, the owner of Robert DeFalco Realty, of New York and New Jersey. “I completely changed direction, and stumbled on a career I love.”
Once he obtained his license, DeFalco worked from home, selling listings for a small company seven days a week. Within three years, he had worked his way up to broker and launched an eponymous company in a small office in Staten Island’s Grasmere neighborhood. After a successful four years, he expanded the business to nearby Dongan Hills, where he built what would become his corporate office: a one-stop-shop where homeowners and buyers could find all the resources they needed under one roof.
“I purchased the Dongan Hills property in 2001,” he said. “It had always been my dream to create a ‘superstore,’ where we not only sold real estate but also featured in-house lawyers, architects, mortgage brokers, and an on-staff title company. It took a few years, but that’s exactly what we accomplished.”
Over the years, DeFalco slowly added to the enterprise, developing a second office on the South Shore of Staten Island and then branching out into Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Manhattan. He currently operates five offices in New York and New Jersey, and employs between 300 and 400 agents.
“Our combined knowledge and experience has made the dream of owning a home a reality for thousands of families, and I think that’s what I love best about this job,” he said. “Especially working with young couples trying to achieve the American dream of home ownership.”
DeFalco, who is experienced and qualified in all aspects of real estate including commercial and investment properties, land and development projects, and new construction said he learned customer service from his father.
“I treat customers the same way my dad treated his,” he noted, describing his father’s decades-long work at his Italian market in Manhattan’s Little Italy. “He always stressed the importance of treating people with respect. That’s why I approach real estate from such a personal standpoint. Yes, we are big into social media and internet marketing, and I still believe in advertising in newspapers, but there’s nothing more powerful than face-to-face interaction shaking someone’s hand and earning trust from the start,” adding that he has also incorporated the latest technology into the business, using the internet and social media to create a more streamlined and user-friendly process.
“The result is a winning combination in the home buying and selling experience,” he said.
DeFalco also makes a point of staying actively involved with local agencies tied to the industry, and is a member of a long list of professional associations: the Staten Island Board of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors, the New York State Association of Realtors, and the New Jersey Association of Realtors, as well as multiple listing service (MLS) groups covering Staten Island, Brooklyn, and New Jersey’s Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties. He is also a member of the Building Industry Association of New York City, Staten Island Business People, the New Jersey Builders Association, the Shore Builders Association of Central New Jersey, the Colts Neck Business Association, and the International Council of Shopping Centers.
He is, as well, active in the community, raising thousands of dollars annually for groups in both New York and New Jersey, and was recently lauded for his volunteer work at the annual gala for ECHO.
“My parents taught me at a very young age that if you become successful in life, you must give back to the community in some way, shape, or form,” DeFalco said, detailing work with the American Cancer Society and the Juvenile Diabetes and Cystic Fibrosis Foundations. “I think as a business leader, you have that obligation.”
DeFalco lives in Colts Neck with his three children: Robert Jr., Anthony, and Amanda. He also has a beach house on the Jersey Shore and another home in Florida. Interests include sports and gardening, but in the end, real estate is his enduring passion.
“I love what I do,” he said. “Helping people find their dream home, where they will build their life, is an extremely fulfilling career.”
Robert DeFalco Realty
Corporate office: 1678 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island / 718.987.7900
South Shore office: 655 Rossville Avenue, Staten Island / 718.605.9300
Manhattan office: 379 West Broadway / 212.601.8800
Brooklyn office: 8823 3rd Avenue / 718.748.7000
New Jersey office: 340 Rt. 34, Colts Neck / 732.845.3200