A 20-plus year veteran of the real estate industry, Anthony Kolich is the founder of two successful companies. He is the sole creator of Kolich holdings and the co-founder of Empire Residential, both based out of Connecticut. Anthony came by his vocation naturally, having been born into a family boasting many real estate developers. As a result, he grew up learning all aspects of the business, including practical matters such as tenant relations and maintenance, as well as overall strategy. Throughout his formative years, Anthony Kolich assisted his grandfather in apartment management, listening intently to his interactions with renters, contractors, and other industry professionals.
While attending college, he worked with his father in construction, taking advantage of the experience to learn as much as he could about the trade in order to further his understanding of this crucial element of property development. Around the turn of the millennium, Anthony Kolich founded Kolich Holdings, a firm that concentrated on both property management and construction. After a short amount of time, Kolich Holdings expanded their purview to include commercial real estate. When the financial crisis and housing market collapse of 2008 took hold, Kolich Holdings was one of the few property development firms that emerged relatively unscathed, thanks in large part to Anthony’s creativity and resourcefulness. In the days since then, Anthony worked with his business partner James Heffernan to co-found Empire Residential, a company the currently owns and oversees more than one thousand apartment units in Fairfield County, Connecticut.
How have you achieved success?
I was lucky enough to come into this world as part of a family that was already heavily involved in the real estate development and construction industries. I think a large part of my success can be credited to that. As a boy, I would often tag along with my grandfather as he performed various duties at the properties he owned, everything from settling disputes with tenants to performing repairs on a unit, and a bit later on, negotiating contracts. By the time I was in my late teens and early twenties, these things were truly second nature to me. It was quite a leg up to have this kind of experience when I founded my first company. The things I learned as a boy became immediately applicable in the business world, and because of them, I think I avoided some of the painful lessons that others might’ve had to learn the hard way. By the time the housing bubble burst in 2008, the teachings instilled in me by my family—specifically, my grandfather—came back to pay tremendous dividends. I survived that tumultuous time period whereas many others in the industry did not, and I believe it was because I was brought up immersed in all things real estate.
How has your definition of success changed over the years?
My definition of success has evolved a lot over the years. In the early days of my business, success took the form of closing a deal on a property that I wanted for a lower price than I anticipated, or selling a property for more money than I expected. I now view these as smaller victories—although, victories to be sure. After a few years, I realized that there were larger victories for me to pursue. Victories such as growing the company in order to leave a healthy, profitable, and reputable firm to my descendants and chosen heirs, or cultivating a body of work to look back on with pride in my old age. Also, I want my contribution to the family legacy to be a positive one. I want what I accomplish in life to compliment the achievements of my grandparents and my parents.
What obstacles have you overcome in the process?
As I alluded to in one of my previous answers, the housing crash of 2008 and ensuing Great Recession was quite a challenge, especially for those of us in the real estate industry at the time. Those were bleak days. It seemed that every single day brought with it another bankruptcy of a major financial or insurance firm brought about by the implosion of the housing market, so you can only imagine how those of us running smaller to medium-sized firms felt. We were terrified. When it seems like the entire system that underpins your business is falling apart around you in real time, there is very little to take comfort in. However, that being said, we circled the wagons and dug in for the long haul. By keeping an extreme long-term view, as well as addressing the needs of the moment as they arose, Kolich Holdings survived those dark years and eventually emerged stronger than ever.
What drives you to succeed?
I think I have an innate desire in the core of my being to survive where others have not, and to achieve victory where others have failed. The well-being of my family and co-workers also provides me with ample motivation to go out and work hard each day.
What has success meant to you?
Success has meant the growth of my companies, both Kolich Holdings and Empire Residential. Whatever successes I have, I put straight back into the companies. However, I also think that success shouldn’t merely be measured in dollars and cents. It also has a lot to do with balancing a rewarding professional life with a rich, fulfilling personal life. It’s about having a strong family unit and being surrounded by people that love you, while simultaneously being successful in business.
Do you have advice for others on how to be successful?
The single best thing I had going for me when I first entered the property development industry was the wealth of experience I accumulated as a youth. I would wholeheartedly recommend that anyone who is considering entering this field start off shadowing people who already know what they’re doing. Try to get your foot in the door with a well-established firm that operates with the highest standards, either as an intern or an entry-level employee, and then observe, observe, observe! Seek out a knowledgeable mentor. I realize that I was very lucky to find such a mentor in my immediate family, and not everyone has that, but developing a relationship like that—wherever it may come from—is definitely in the best interest of any would-be real estate professional.
Website — https://empireresidential.net/
LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-kolich/
Medium — https://medium.com/@anthony-kolich
Crunchbase — https://www.crunchbase.com/person/anthony-kolich