All in the familyRSR partners building a lineage
It's not uncommon for sons, daughters and extended family members to join the family business.
It happens in every industry, including real estate.
If the company is successful through the first two generations, maybe a third or a fourth comes along to carry on the legacy.
However, RSR now has multiple generations within its partnership group, including three generations of the Rothman family. Partner Jim Koury has two sons, Jeffery and Jimmy, in the firm, while Jan Castner has his daughter-in-law, Charity, and Sam Reed has his niece, Angela Moyer.
“I wanted to work with my dad,” said Greg Rothman, the firm’s president and CEO, who is fresh off a special election victory for a seat in the state House.
It’s as simple as that for many members of the firm’s younger generations.
They’ve been exposed to the business for much of their lives. They’ve seen the success and also the flexible hours that real estate careers provide. But you “eat what you kill” and “you gotta work at it,” Jimmy Koury said about the challenges of being your own boss.
Founder Bill Rothman, 73, said he really didn’t want his children to follow him into real estate, a field he first joined in the early 1960s. The firm was started in 1970.
“I wanted them to do it because they wanted to do it,” said Rothman, who now focuses primarily on land development deals with Reed, which brings new product into the office.
Both Greg and his younger brother, Garrett, the firm’s broker of record, followed their father into the business. Greg’s stepson, Niko Corado, went for his real estate license at 18 and joined RSR on a full-time basis about 18 months ago.
“The radio was never on in the car. It was just real estate calls,” Corado said.
Greg and Garrett said they were taught to work hard at a young age because their father led by example. And he always seemed to be doing something different — from selling lots in Texas and condos in State College to site-selection work for convenience store chains.
RSR has always been a bit different in the market because it focuses on both residential and commercial sales, along with appraisal services.
“It can be alienating to the people in our family. We all love it,” Garrett said of the business. “It’s not just the deals. It’s the clients and relationships.”
Other partners and their family members said being a tightknit group outside of the office — giving advice or swapping “war stories” — has made RSR strong and sets it up well for the future. It’s also small enough to be flexible as the market shifts.
“It’s not just sons and daughters of partners in the business. It’s a very strong group of agents,” said Jim Koury, reflecting on the wide range of experience levels in the firm.
Most expressed a desire to be partner in the firm some day. Having strong families in a firm does make it easier to shrug off potential offers from larger firms to buy the company, said Jan Castner. “You’ve got to take care of your people.”
“I think being a smaller company does help,” said Charity Castner, who has been in the business about two years. “We know the owners and talk to them every day. There is a pride to that.”
With the steady rise in the local real estate market in recent years, RSR had its best months ever this summer, the Rothmans said. Its best year was 2006 with 480 sales and $338 million in volume.
But don’t discount the challenging times, which make you a stronger agent, added Moyer, who joined the team at the end of 2006. “I have a great appreciation for coming in at a more challenging time. I had to work twice as hard.”