…NRIA’s policy is to install a green roof on every one of our multifamily buildings. Predominantly, green roofs are for the enjoyment of our luxury residents with beautiful perennial greenery. The plants in the green roof as selected by green roof professionals to survive year-round with limited maintenance. Green roofs act as a sustainable storm water management system to capture excess rainfall in a retention tank, which is can be reused during dry periods. Additionally, the green roof acts as an exterior insulator limiting how often air conditioning and heat run, lowering our operational costs.
As a part of our series about “Homes Of The Future”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Richard Stabile.
Richard Stabile manages National Realty Investment Advisors (NRIA) successful partnerships with all external marketing and sales firms in selling finished development projects. He has sold and or built over 1,000 new homes, townhomes and condominiums in New Jersey alone throughout his career in real estate. Rich has significant experience in site procurement, zoning approval, entitlement, local government affairs, and overall site management in the Northeast.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I’ve been in real estate for 44 years, starting in 1976. I received my real estate license and became involved in real estate development deals for commercial and residential properties. I switched to residential full-time after the Savings and Loans Crisis in the early 1990s, building and selling homes myself and with others. The savings and loan crisis devastated the real estate industry, a catastrophic collapse of banks and their ability to provide mortgages and lending to business and real estate projects.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
In 1991, a commercial developer and friend of mine was stuck with a residential property he was going to lose. My friend badly needed to sell the property and settle his loan out. I needed a builder buyer. Builders could not get financing. Banks were willing to do loans due to the Savings and Loans Crisis. So, as a young guy, I set up a meeting with the bank to convince them not to foreclose on my friend’s property and give a loan to my new builder/buyer.
In those days, not everything was metrics-based or data-intensive; you could negotiate with bankers, human-to-human. My plan was to pitch the bank an alternative to foreclosure that would provide them an exit strategy for their loan and save my friend from foreclosure. My friend and I met with the bank’s Chairman, Executive Vice President and other staff and I pitched my idea: My new Builder and investor would purchase the property, but I would need to refinance and receive another loan to purchase, build and sell the new homes. A young guy without any successful track record asking for big loans was madness at this point. The Bank Chairman asked me, “What will you do if this doesn’t work out?” “I’ll find something that does work; I’ll make this work,” I responded. It worked, a deal that changed my life and saved my friend from financial ruin.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
The day I walked out of the bank with that loan changed the course of my life and ultimately where I find myself today. The deal enabled me to grow my business as a home broker developer, becoming a homebuilder, ultimately building over 1,000 homes. I learned that day the detailed and sophisticated business plans only go so far in business. There’s a real human element to deals, where honesty and confidence are as important than track records. People want to trust problem solvers, people they believe can get the job done, one way or another. If you can convince people to believe in your idea as much as you do, you’ll be “making deals.” You’ll be a winner to them, confident in yourself and your ability to get the job done — and people love being associated with winners.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My father was my biggest inspiration, without question. I live by his golden rule every day: Only do business with good people, because bad people will always hurt you — especially in business. My father believed relationships are the most important part of your personal and professional life.
In 1979 before I entered real estate, my father’s trucking business shutdown due to deregulation. Non-union and independent truckers could charge cheaper prices to move goods, making more expensive union trucking companies like my dad’s uncompetitive. I quit my high school education because I thought I’d run my dad’s company for the rest of my life. That year, a man (whose name I won’t say) wrote me a check for an enormous amount to go buy as many trucks as I could. We sat down and hashed out the details of the loan, but this man allowed me to start my own trucking business. This man was a friend of my father’s. We weren’t family, but he believed as my father did to surround yourself with good, genuine people in business whose loan gave us a chance to rebuild.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. The book was crudely written and riddled with typos, but I bought 20 copies and gave it out to people because I thought the book’s message so powerful. The basic philosophy was when you’re down, you’ll be motivated to work harder because you’ll never want to be in that position again. The book flipped the issue on its head: Ignore the problem if there’s nothing you can do to stop it and concentrate on your own personal success, not wallow in the uncontrollable. The message is so powerful for those going through rough economic and personal hardships. Anything out of your control is a distraction. Focus on bite-size wins each day to pick yourself back up. You’ll certainly fail more before you succeed, but you’ll slowly — but surely — dig yourself out of the pit.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” — Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich. Talent certainly helps, but nobody is born successful. Success is earned through failure. You’ll never learn or grow if you don’t get knocked down here and there. Nothing is easy in life, but I know success really is around the corner if you’re wise to learn from your mistakes.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Homebuilding in the US has grown tremendously. We’d love to hear about some of the new trends and techniques that are being used to build the homes of the future.
Luxury residential homes today need more than a perfect location, spacious rooms, pools and other affluent features. Homebuyers want to know their home is fully integrated and controlled by their cell phone or tablet, can survive the 100-year storm, clean air purification systems, and has sustainability and energy efficient features. Luxury multi-family apartment developments are expected to have more office space and large community lounge amenity spaces as people spend more time at home. Green roofs and pet amenities are now a must-have for all our buildings as tenants expect more from their apartments.
Can you share with us a few of the methods that are being used to make homes more sustainable and more water and energy efficient?
NRIA’s policy is to install a green roof on every one of our multifamily buildings. Predominantly, green roofs are for the enjoyment of our luxury residents with beautiful perennial greenery. The plants in the green roof as selected by green roof professionals to survive year-round with limited maintenance. Green roofs act as a sustainable storm water management system to capture excess rainfall in a retention tank, which is can be reused during dry periods. Additionally, the green roof acts as an exterior insulator limiting how often air conditioning and heat run, lowering our operational costs.
There is a lot of talk about Smart Homes. Can you tell our readers a bit about what that is, what that looks like, and how that might help people?
Smart homes are no longer a fantasy, they’re the expectation in our Saddle River NJ and Palm Beach County, FL homes. We install automation systems throughout our luxury homes to control everything from opening and closing doors, operate security cameras, heating and cooling, humidity levels, appliances, lighting, audio and video, garage, door lock, intercom, pool temperatures and status, and more. As many of our clients live in multiple homes throughout the year, our homes are so automated you essentially put your home on an “away mode” while you’re gone.
Aside from Smart Homes, can you talk about other interesting tech innovations that are being incorporated into homes today?
Even before COVID0–19, our clients wanted to live in healthy homes with high air quality. We’ve installed ultraviolet adapters to air systems to help kill airborne or surface microorganisms like mold, bacteria, viruses, and other outdoor contaminants and pollutants. The UV adapters are great for residents with serious allergies and asthma. To better combat viruses like the common cold, some homes feature ionized walkways and UV lights throughout the house that are harmless to humans.
Can you talk about innovations that are being made to make homes more pet friendly?
The number of tenants with pets has increased, meaning our multi-family developments need to prioritize pets. We offer a number of services like pet concierge, where a traveling tenant will allow a building’s representative to enter the unit and care for the pets without hiring a pet sitter; pet bathing rooms so tenants can clean their pets in a designated area to avoid dirtying their own bathrooms; and dog walk courtyards so tenants don’t need to leave the building. We’ve found that pet amenities are an extremely effective tenant retention strategy because tenants can’t easily find other apartments with the same benefits for their pets.
How about actual construction materials? Are there new trends in certain materials to address changes in the climate, fires, floods, and hurricanes?
Today, National Realty Investment Advisors builds homes with sheer walls made of concrete and steel, designed to sustain wind pressure from major hurricanes and tropical storms. We build our Palm Beach County homes to survive the next 100-year storm. While we can’t predict which storms will hit in any given season, our homebuyers want to know their homes can withstand devastation from natural disasters.
For someone looking to invest in the real estate industry, are there exciting growth opportunities that you think people should look at more carefully?
Real estate is a large industry that can provide financial opportunity for anyone who can make it work. While the idea of home flipping looks great on HGTV, it is a significant challenge many younger investors simply don’t fully comprehend. Not only do you need to afford the home, but you also you need to have a significant amount of money in the bank to updated kitchens, move walls, lay wood flooring, etc. Often, I encourage people to stick to what they specialize in. If they’re not truly willing to put in the work, hire professionals to do it for you. The last thing you want is to hire a professional to fix and replace your screw up — and there’s a lot that can really go wrong. If you do decide to flip a home, be honest about your skills and pick a few easier projects to do yourself while leaving any major renovations to the professionals.
Let’s talk a bit about housing availability and affordable housing. Homelessness has been a problem for a long time in the United States. But it seems that it has gotten a lot worse over the past five years, particularly in the large cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and San Francisco. Can you explain to our readers what brought us to this place? Where did this crisis come from?
Homelessness should not exist. Many people view homelessness as a political issue, voting one way or another to provide government assistance. In my opinion, people must change their entire perspective on how they treat human beings because homelessness is a moral, political, economic and public health failure. Whether the homeless are veterans, single moms or dads with kids struggling to get by with kids, people struggling with treatable addictions or mental health issues — there is no reason people should sleep on the streets.
Bergen County in New Jersey solved chronic homelessness. Everyone rallied to solve an issue most people would rather pretend doesn’t exist. They created a proactive outreach program that finds and support middle-aged and young adults experiencing temporary homelessness from every becoming “chronically” homeless. Bergen County achieved something humanity has struggled with since the birth of society, and Americans everywhere should implement Bergen’s approach in their local areas.
Is there anything that home builders can do to further help address these problems?
While everyone has a role to solve homelessness, homebuilders can be far more effective together. Many associations advocate on behalf of home builders to solve national issues, but I think homelessness is inherently a local issue needing local solutions. I believe home builders can best address local issues by collaborating with the local experts: social workers. These are the people who know the homeless population and their needs, and we need to let them guide our donation and fundraising efforts.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could wave a magic wand, I’d solve homelessness. You simply cannot ignore or wish the problem away and is far too complicated of an issue to be solved with a “silver bullet” solution. I really believe proactive measures are needed to significantly reduce the homelessness crisis. If you get a cut, you wash it with soap to prevent infection and disease. Similarly, we need to do a far better job to prevent chronic homelessness. People’s problems only worsen in the streets and is much more difficult to get back on their feet without support.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!