Michael Russo: Mastering Real Estate

Real Estate Agent Magazine sat down with Michael Russo, Broker of RI Real Estate Services and a native Rhode Islander who, after years of experience, has negotiated the sale of 1,000+ homes, totaling over $300 million in sales nationwide.

REAM: What inspired you to transition from appraising and auction fields to traditional sales and marketing within real estate?

MR: When I entered the real estate industry I did so as an appraiser as my aunt is an appraiser and helped me into the field. After appraising raw land for a nationwide auction company for several years the recession of 2008 hit and the auction company hired me to help market and sell new homes and condos throughout the country that builders could not sell traditionally. This was a great experience that lasted for several years until the economy turned around in 2011. After returning home from many years on the road selling real estate I realized my true calling was in sales marketing and not in the appraisal field. I still dabble in the commercial real estate auction field and enjoy the auction platform.

REAM: As a top real estate agent in Rhode Island, what strategies do you employ to ensure a “no hassle” buying or selling process for your clients?

MR: As a busy real estate agent I am grateful for my clients and tailor my services to their very specific needs. I will move as slowly or quickly as they need and never pressure or hassle my clients into any hurried decisions.

REAM: Could you share a memorable success story or challenging experience that significantly shaped your approach to real estate?

MR: When I was selling brand new homes and condos during the recession to home buyers and families it made me very happy and proud as they were getting new housing at great prices. I was also helping the builders liquidate their holdings, so they could also move on, so it was a win-win situation for all parties. This really propelled my love for the real estate industry and helping buyers and sellers succeed.

REAM: How do you leverage your Rhode Island roots to better serve your clients and navigate the local real estate market?

MR: With Rhode Island being the smallest state in the country we have about a 3 degree of separation so “everyone knows everyone.” Treating people with the utmost respect and professionalism is paramount in a small market like ours. So leveraging is always being nice and professional to everyone even if they are not reciprocating. Good things come back to you.

REAM: As a managing broker, how do you balance your responsibilities between overseeing your team and serving your individual clients?

MR: It’s actually easy. I live and breathe real estate and enjoy helping others, so when an agent needs help, assisting them is a natural priority for me. Obviously, you have to prioritize based on the urgency of any client or agent situation, but there is always time to help. I learn a lot by helping others – it’s a win–win situation.

REAM: Could you discuss a particularly difficult real estate problem you’ve encountered and how you successfully resolved it?

MR: This is what we do every day – too many to list, but I thoroughly enjoy my job and solving problems to help my clients succeed.

REAM: How do you stay updated with the latest trends and regulations in the real estate industry, both nationally and locally?

MR: I use various local and national outlets to stay up to date on the current state of the real estate industry. These include local & national associations, blogs, trusted news platforms, and most especially my network with other experienced real estate professionals throughout the country.

REAM: Outside of your professional life, what are some hobbies or activities you enjoy that help you recharge and stay inspired?

MR: I’m a busy dad with a 6-year-old daughter, a 1-year-old son, and another son coming in July! My family and children motivate me to be my best both personally and professionally. My family life takes up most of my time, but we enjoy traveling, going to the beach, and eating.

REAM: Reflecting on your journey in the real estate industry, what values or principles have been instrumental in guiding your career and personal growth?

MR: Very simple: always do the right thing and be ethical. I see too often others not keeping their client’s best interest at the forefront. This is the purpose of our job and while not always easy, it’s very simple: always do the right thing and be ethical. If you do these simple things you will be successful.

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