Getting to Know You: Anthony Kolich, Real Estate Developer

Growing up in Stamford, Connecticut, Anthony Kolich was introduced to the real estate industry from a very young age.

Because his family ran a real estate development company, he learned the lingo, strategy, and approaches endemic to the business even before graduating from high school. Being raised in this charged environment fostered a lifelong love of real estate and housing markets. While still in high school, he assisted his grandfather with apartment care and the essentials of real estate maintenance. These experiences provided the foundation of knowledge that he would later use throughout his career.

In time, he launched Kolich Holdings, a property management company based in Stanford, Connecticut. His efforts led the company to rapid growth. In time, he expanded it into commercial real estate along with his residential holdings. Kolich Holdings continues to thrive and manage more than a thousand apartments to this day, having successfully navigated the real estate downturn of 2008 where so many other companies folded under the pressure. Since the inception of his first business, Anthony connected with a partner to build a second; Empire Residential. This residential and commercial real estate development company continues to grow consistently, year after year.

A builder at his core, Anthony Kolich has stated many times that the creative nature of the real estate business continually inspires him to develop new and more ambitious projects.

What do you currently do at your company?

I oversee projects, facilitate new options for development, and provide guidance to our teams working on site. Every day is busy involving a lot of oversight, but we’ve got great people working with us. That’s a tremendous boon for the company. Having good people on your team makes it so much easier to get everyone to see and share in the vision for the projects in particular, and the company overall.

What was the inspiration behind the name of your business?

My partner and I own the company 50/50. One day we said, “Let’s create an empire,” which was quickly followed by, “That’s a great name. Let’s call it Empire Residential.” At the time, we were only working with residential apartments, so hence the name. Now, of course, we’ve expanded into commercial properties, too.

What keys to being productive can you share?

I think the keys to being productive include perseverance, persistence, great work ethic, while constantly evolving and learning. By developing these intangible traits and applying them to your goals, you can accomplish anything. I strive to apply all of this to my efforts each day.

How do you measure success?

There are a lot of different ways to define success, being knowledgeable is a requirement. Being aware of your industry, your options, and your current market are all critical components of finding success. It’s important to be sure to know what’s going on in the market to identify the best timing to engage in which project. So, I’d say you become successful in the real estate industry by doing all those things. Measuring success is done not just through money, but also by being able to pick and develop the projects of your choice. That will not be a place anyone gets to in their career without reading, planning, and effort.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

Read. Everything you read is a way to keep up-to-date on trends, situations, and opportunities. It’s also a way to keep up on ongoing lessons in the industry, as well as leadership, and new ventures. Trends, such as the continuing rise in self-storage units are expressed through many channels, like books, articles, blogs, and web content—but all require reading. That’s how you learn about opportunities like the improved ventilation and filtration systems being installed in apartment units that are making apartment living healthier and much better for tenants. Yes, that was inspired by and pushed along by the COVID pandemic, but it isn’t going anywhere even after the virus passes—too many people are learning about the value of having a home that is designed for healthy living.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

Based on what I’ve known and learned, I’d say go with your gut. It was not uncommon for me to hold back and dismiss my gut instinct early in my career. It became something I regretted. In fact, it proved to be a significant learning curve. Some deals disappeared while I was hesitating, and they would have been lucrative and helpful for the communities they were intended for. If your gut is telling you it’s a good deal, you should take it; you should sign the contract. I would also mention that hard work combined with a hunger for results is critical in this industry. It doesn’t matter what school you’ve been to or who you play golf with, as long as you’re applying yourself with full effort, you’ll create your own luck and your own success. It may require knocking on doors, driving by buildings to get addresses, or cold calling owners, but in making the effort, you will eventually succeed, even if only once out of a hundred attempts. But if you don’t put in that effort, you won’t get that one success story. I live by the model where the harder you work, the luckier you get because you’re manufacturing that luck. I truly believe that.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work? How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

I love spending time with my kids. I’m a divorced dad, but not an absent one. Making time for them and including them in whatever I ‌can is a critical part of my routine both during work and outside of it. Besides spending time with my children, I also value good health. I enjoy running and staying active in my off time. Keeping work and life separate is important but challenging. You really have to put consistent effort into the process. It’s critical to remember what’s most important in life and take the steps needed to prioritize those things properly.

What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?

I would say real estate search engines. We use them every day in this business. It’s both a research market tool and a tool for developing our strategies for a given area. By using multiple sites, we see different perspectives and that gives us the opportunity to envision a bigger picture for the area in question, and to develop a niche focus for our own position in the industry.

Developing success takes dedication. How do you continue to be dedicated to each new project?

That’s a good question. I find each new project is a new opportunity to create something unique and beneficial for a community. When you love what you are doing, that kind of shift from one project to the next just fuels the dedication. Doing what you’re passionate about makes it easy to keep moving forward and constantly renew that dedication. 

What advice would you give to someone getting started in this industry?

Read and continue to read. That is how you’ll monitor the marketplace and learn exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Having a firm foundation in knowledge is the bedrock of success.