The Real Deal New York

Rental heavyweight Rapid Realty launches sales division

Brokerage will offer “flex pay scale” with up to 100% commissions
By E.B. Solomont | April 23, 2015 01:00PM

With its tiny offices and assembly-line approach to rentals, Rapid Realty took the rental business by storm in recent years. The firm inspired such loyalty among agents that some went out and got tattoos with its logo.

Now, it’s jumping headfirst into the sales market.

“We’re going to put our foot on the gas pedal,” said founder and CEO Anthony Lolli, who began franchising offices in 2009. Today, Rapid Realty has 47 locations around the city, predominantly in the outer boroughs, and about 800 agents.

While sales represent a new direction, Lolli said his agents were “tripping over” sales business, thanks to strong ties with landlords. “We started picking up these organic listings from solid relationships we had over the years,” he said.

The Brooklyn and Queens markets – both areas of strength for Rapid – are strong. During the first quarter, Brooklyn’s median sales price shattered a record, according to Douglas Elliman, jumping 17.5 percent to $610,894. In Queens, the median sales price rose 20 percent to $446,434.

Officially, Rapid will launch the sales division on June 1, when it rolls out a sales commission structure. Lolli said he will offer a “flex pay scale” that includes five menu options for agents, ranging from a 60 percent commission split to 100 percent commission. By offering options, he said he hopes to recruit experienced agents.

Already, Lolli said Rapid has completed more than 50 sales transactions in the past six months. It has 5221 Flatlands Avenue in Old Mill Basin going into contract today, for $5.995 million, said COO Carlos Angelucci.

Lolli launched Rapid Realty in 1998 with a single Park Slope office. Today, Rapid leases hundreds of rentals a month, and Angelucci said they’re not exiting that business. “That will always be our bread and butter,” he said. But “sales is part of our fabric now,” he added.

Rapid is also launching an internal credit repair division by partnering with an outside firm, Credit Advisory Group. “We decided if we’re going to have clients interested in buying, we should make it easier for them to get approved,” Angelucci said.

Lolli predicted his sales agents will bring the same aggressiveness to the market that his rental brokers are known for. “Our guys climb fire escapes if the keys don’t work. That’s what they do on small commission rentals,” he said. “Imagine what they’ll do for sales.”