YOUR PROPERTY, MANAGED®️: Episode 1 with Emilio DiSpirito from the DiSpirito Team
Nexus Property Management® is proud to share its first episode of Your Property, MANAGED®️, a long-form video interview series with some of the biggest players in New England Real Estate. Hosted by Nexus General Manager and jack-of-all-trades, Greg Rice, this discussion with the DiSpirito Team's Emilio DiSpirito is a welcome reminder (in difficult times) of the benefits and importance in rooting ourselves in core values with a focus on ambitious, long-term goals. While the conversation is one that revolves around winning business strategies and approaches, you’ll also find yourself sharing some laughs with these two giants of local real estate as they touch on everything from shoveling snow, to Stop and Shop, Shaquille O’Neal, urinal cakes, the best way to eat sushi, Payless Shoes, and the 1997 blockbuster, Titanic. By the end of this one you should be ready to re-evaluate your current business approach, brainstorm about how to refocus and inspire your team, and be ready to brush the dust off that bike that’s been in the corner of the garage for far too long.
Greg’s guest is Emilio DiSpirito, of the DiSpirito Team, at HomeSmart Professionals. Emilio is a Rhode Islander through and through despite growing up in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts. Attachment to extended family and roots in the Ocean State is what brought him back to RI as a teenager and it’s this great appreciation and value of “family” that guides the success of his real estate team. In fact, during the discussion Emilio references his DiSpirito Team of six as “our immediate family” without skipping a beat. There is no doubt that the love and admiration he speaks of toward his son transcends his professional relationships as well (more on that below). But it may have been Emilio’s discussion of his company’s name that was most interesting, especially through the lens of someone trying to find a trusted and genuine real estate agency.
WHAT’S IN A NAME
As Forbes Magazine and many others in the business world have come to agree, using your last name to name your company has fallen out of favor in recent years. Emilio accepts this as sound advice but adamantly defends his decision to use his last name for his company. “It’s who we are” and when all is said and done “all we own is our name”. What makes this statement even more lasting is the fact that Emilio shares that name with four generations (he is Emilio IV, and his son is Emilio V). To brand your life’s work with not just your name, but the name of family before and after you illustrates the pride and confidence that DiSpirito brings to the real estate world. To then share that emblem with his professional team (the DiSpirito Team) once again illustrates how Mike, Jackie, Joe, Cara, and Pam are more than just co-workers. In Italian, the name means “with spirit” and this mantra guides all that they do. Emilio also credited early experiences working his way up the ladder (when he worked selling urinal cakes and toilet paper) to the full creation of his team’s logo. The dove was a natural add on as it represents loyalty and peace, but it was in selling to Stop and Shop and learning about their logo change in 2008 that completed the look by bringing purple to the forefront. “I learned that consumer studies show it comforts people”. It’s also rare and represents luxury and royalty. With the added purity of white and the spirited and collaborative name, the DiSpirito Team holds its name and logo as much more than just a reference to who they are:
“It means something...When your business means something you get people with you, you stand for something. The whole team believes in the same thing and that represents something bigger than (each person alone).”
In addition to the close bonds he has with his co-workers and the importance of their name, Emilio talks candidly about the importance of resilience, positive thinking, teamwork, and the pride he cultivates as both a team leader and a parent.
In bringing it back to family, Emilio credits his dad with modeling hard-work from an early age. Growing up in a blue collar family (where dad’s working upwards of 90 hours a week while mom works two jobs herself) can be challenging on kids, but can also be instrumental in their growth into hard-working, highly motivated young people. Emilio goes on to explain that he was about 9 when he began knocking on neighbors’ doors, trying to create his own little companies. Mowing lawns, offering gardening help, shoveling the driveway; from a young age he was motivated to help out in any way he could. Like he reminds his son and co-workers regularly, it’s all about finding a way to help others.
As successful adults, Greg and Emilio rap about the importance of “the struggle”. “You’ve got to experience failure”. You’ve gotta live in the city and understand your neighbors. You’ve gotta live in a multi-family unit with others. You need to build resilience and accountability. You need to learn who people are because as Emilio put it, “Success in rentals equals understanding the common person.” Both agree that the lessons that best translate to success in real estate (and life in general) are born out of discomfort (and subsequent learning opportunities) from earlier in life. What better approach for two professionals who have chosen the task of guiding families in some of the most important decisions they’ll make in their lives? When things get challenging, it’s just another opportunity to learn and grow...and in this case, guide and support.
One of those challenges and hardships hit Emilio when he was close to getting evicted from his East Greenwich apartment. It was 2012 and while trying to figure out how to make rent, he found himself having to find a place to move his car as a major snowstorm was moving into the area. Channeling his inner 9 year old, Emilio saw the ensuing storm not as an added hardship but instead as an answer to his problems. He grabbed his hat, gloves, and shovel and at around $80/driveway, Emilio took his blue collar education and turned his despair into action. In his own words, “everything turned around from there”.
If I’m looking to invest in real estate or buy a family home, I want someone who has this characteristic in my corner. I want someone who describes himself as “a climber”; someone who embraces challenges and surrounds himself with other positive people. When Covid-19 began its sweep through the U.S., uncertainty in the economy and real estate quickly followed. With a positive and grounded approach, the DiSpirito team didn’t retreat but instead doubled down by dedicating themselves to improving their online presence and product while actually adding a member to their team (while so many others were downsizing)! You need to stay positive so you can objectively find “where your clients are and what they need help with”. As an experienced driver, you need to encourage and guide your clients through the potholes of real estate no matter how bad the roads get.
TEAMWORK AND THE TEAM
As much as Covid-19 has had a massive negative effect on us as a planet, a nation, and as communities, it has also been quite revealing in terms of what and who is most important to us. With resiliency and positive thought at their backs, the DiSpirito Team has a “daily team huddle” to help build connection and unified direction. While some of their competitors may employ a nameless, faceless crew of 50 or 60 agents, the DiSpirito Team is an intentionally small, close knit team of six. As Emilio put it, “What really makes our organization wonderful is the people. Everyone has a niche”. Everyone has a unique purpose. There is loyalty and every team member has their own corner to handle and master without internal competition that can so often disincentivize teamwork and erode companies from within.
The DiSpirito team includes Emilio, who specializes in luxury homes, relocation, and sell and buy. Joe Fazio is the go to guy for first time sellers and buyers. Joe is super detailed with great management skills and he’s taken on the hardships that can so often come with new construction projects. Jackie Karam also works with first time buyers and sellers as well as new construction projects, but in the other half of the state. Mike Tellier is the Team’s Veteran Specialist, himself a retired serviceman in the Navy. No one is better with VA mortgages and the ins and and outs that veterans’ services demand. Cara Champigny caters to investors as well as first time buyers. And Pam Hogan, who joined the Team in May, has built her own niche in condominiums and waterfront luxury homes. Together, they are the Top Real Estate Professionals in Rhode Island.
When asked what the next step is for the DiSpirito Team, Emilio explained that he envisions his team building out vertically very soon. Right now, everyone has built and is further developing their expertise in their niche (horizontal mastery). Down the road, they will build their own teams under them within each niche. In that way, they’ll continue to scale in a way that is guided by demand and ensure that all members remain integral to the operation. Reading this as an investor or savvy home seller or buyer, this efficient approach screams best bang for your buck! There’s nothing worse than working with someone whose organization is convoluted, bloated, repetitive, and ultimately wasteful.
Not only does Emilio’s outlook encapsulate optimism and confidence in the continued success of the company, but it also points to a characteristic that helps explain why he’s been so successful. In essence, what he is saying is that as the company grows more and more profitable and they control more and more market share, he wants each team member to take on more and more responsibility, which ultimately could decrease the role and importance he has in the day-to-day affairs. For someone who has tied his company through its name to five generations of his own family, this reduction in role seems surprising and potentially risky. But, this makes all the sense in the world for someone who responds to a question about maximizing sales with, I “just want to be the best I can be at being a team leader”.
Through his responses and his vision, it is clear that Emilio values the expertise and ability that everyone brings to the table. He sees that it is his job to help people continue to grow into those roles. If this is how the DiSpirito Team operates internally, you can expect the exact same focus and dedication to getting it right for their clients.
Emilio DiSpirito’s story starts with his admiration for his role model in life, his father. It is no wonder that he has stepped seamlessly into that role with his company and his Team. When I look at the DiSpirito Team there is one word that keeps jumping out: PARTNERSHIP. This is a family of six who are tried and true partners. They are rooted in collaborative relationships and that’s exactly what you can expect should you make the wise choice to garner their real estate services.
Mick Lefort is the Vice President of Operations for Nexus Property Management®. A National Property Management Franchise that manages all types of rental property from single family homes or condos to large apartment buildings and complexes.
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