Residential Properties Ltd., Rhode Island’s leading real estate company, takes pride in recognizing a rare achievement this month, as the company celebrates its 40th anniversary. Since opening its first office in 1981, Residential Properties Ltd. has grown to become the state’s largest and most successful real estate brokerage. With over 260 agents and a total of nine office locations, RPL has prided itself on providing unmatched professionalism, service, and results within the local real estate industry. In 2020, the company became the first and only brokerage to ever top $1 billion in Statewide MLS sales, and is annually included on both REAL Trends’ and RIS Media’s lists of the top 500 most successful real estate companies in the entire nation.
This year, RPL has already surpassed $1 billion in sales through just the first 10 months, marking the most successful year ever in the brokerage’s 40-year history. 2021 also saw the opening of RPL’s eighth and ninth offices, with locations in Newport and Little Compton, rapidly expanding the company’s presence throughout Aquidneck Island and the South Coast. Residential Properties has been No.1 in Rhode Island residential sales volume for over two decades running, a well-earned accomplishment garnered by hard work and unparalleled dedication to their clients and communities.
To gain further insight on this amazing milestone, we spoke with RPL President and CEO Sally Lapides to discuss the company’s past, present, and exciting future.
Can you tell us a little about the founding of Residential Properties?
Sally: In 1981, Liz Chace and I decided to open an office with a goal of selling houses differently than our competitors. Interest rates were 17.5 % and everyone thought we were nuts to think we could break into a male-dominated field at such a time. Six brave women joined us, however, and RPL was born. We were kind of a disruptor in a space populated by traditional brokerage firms. We marketed differently, we advertised differently, and simply put, we worked really hard.
To what do you attribute the company's success over the past 40 years?
Sally: Our goal was always to hire the smartest, most ethical, hardworking colleagues, who believe in giving back to the communities we serve. Our commitment to providing home ownership to our clients has allowed us to grow into the most successful real estate company in Rhode Island. RPL has always understood that this is a people business and that every client deserves the best in service, integrity, and knowledge. We were also one of the first companies to embrace the internet, and today the results speak for themselves with our marketing and technology departments producing pieces that are not just effective, but also beautiful.
Looking back at the history of the company, what are you most proud of?
Sally: I am proud that we have always been a women-owned and women-led business. I had to work twice as hard as my male colleagues in the ‘80s to prove myself. We opened the doors for professional women to consider real estate as a career and have provided opportunities for professionals to live productive, independent lives over our 40 years in business.
What makes the Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts real estate markets unique compared to other areas?
Sally: We are so fortunate to live in an area that has miles of ocean and fresh waterfront, beautiful communities, vibrant cities, fabulous arts and culture, amazing restaurants, renowned colleges and universities, and wonderful people. For a small area, we are lucky to have all the things that homebuyers dream about.
How do you think Residential Properties has managed to form such close relationships with its clients over the years?
Sally: We take relationships seriously and develop close ties with our clients. Like any close relationship, we nurture these friendships because we care. After 40 years, we have watched children grow up and buy their own houses from the same RPL real estate advisors their parents have always trusted.
When you first founded the company, did you ever imagine that you would someday emerge as the market leader, employing over 260 agents in nine offices?
Sally: I never thought that the company would grow to this size, but no matter how large it has gotten, it still holds its original values at its core. I am grateful to everyone who works at Residential Properties and am beyond proud of the impact that we have made in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts.
What values guide your work as a leader and community member?
Sally: I value hard work, integrity, honesty, relationships, and strong communication skills. I am curious and creative. I have high expectations for myself and so does everyone around me. I believe that giving back to the community is a priority.
What are your hopes and aspirations for the future?
Sally: Like all conscientious companies, our goal is to create a place where everyone, from clients to colleagues, feels uplifted and empowered. That’s why I include working on diversity, equity, and inclusion as a priority for RPL going forward. In the years to come, we will continue to re-examine our definition for success in this area and look forward to an even more vibrant workplace.
I also look forward to spending more time in all three of our newest offices. During COVID-19, we opened offices in Newport, Little Compton, and Westport, MA. Having promised our management team that I won’t retire until I’m 95, I hope to have many more years to grow and be creative in the real estate business!
What are your celebration plans?
Sally: We plan to celebrate all year with our clients and in our offices. Stay tuned!