Rocco J. Sarni is a licensed New Jersey real estate broker for Tidewater Real Estate and Management in Hackensack, New Jersey. Tidewater has been in business since the 1970’s and strictly deal in multi-family apartments. Tidewater offers fully integrated real estate services that include but are not limited to the managing, maintaining, acquiring, assessments of multi-family properties and everything pertaining to them.
Rocco began his career in real estate at a very young age, and took his first sales call for a rental apartment at age 11. His mother has been a property manager for 30 years and his uncles have backgrounds in contracting, plumbing, electric, and carpentry. Working for all of his uncles since a very young age, and a mother with a resume dedicated to all aspects of real estate, Rocco realized the roadmap of success laid out before him, and understands the business from the ground up.
Following a brief period of studying law, Rocco decided that real estate was his true calling and passion, returned to his roots, and enrolled in The American School of Business. As of 2018, he is the youngest person in the school’s history to be licensed as a real estate broker. Despite his age, Rocco has already amassed an impressive list of achievements. For five years straight, Tidewater has been recognized as the Best Rental Property Operators in the City of Hackensack. He currently manages approximately 2000 units in New Jersey and is on track to do over fifty million dollars in sales this year. Rocco is also overseeing the development of a 350-unit top of the line luxury rental property in Hackensack.
On a daily basis, Rocco is engaged with facilitating acquisitions and negotiating with property owners, developers, investors, and private clients. As the vice president of Tidewater, he is depended on to work autonomously with full authority to act on behalf of the brokerage. This responsibility is not only impressive, but serves as a catalyst toward his ultimate ambition, which is to own and manage his own properties.
Outside of the office, Rocco tries to maintain an active profile within the community. He serves on the board and is the chairman of the board for Construendo il Nostro Futuro PAC, a political action committee dedicated to recognizing the incredible impact that Italian heritage has had on our lives and its contribution to our country. The PAC was created to preserve and enhance the culture, traditions and values of the Italian American culture. The PAC honors those that came before them by ensuring that their love of country, family and tireless work ethic are passed to all future generations and firmly commit to raising and providing financial support to local political candidates who recognize economic growth and Italian American values.
Rocco’s hobbies include motorcycling and reading. His largest joys come from spending time with his newborn son and fiancée, as well as his big, traditional Italian family. His main source of adrenaline though, is from his career. Rocco is excited every morning, when he wakes up to go into the office and start the day. He sets a daily goal that is founded on exceeding the successes of the previous day. Rocco can often be heard saying that what he does is not work…it’s always pleasure.
We talked with Rocco J. Sarni, vice president and leading Broker for Tidewater Real Estate and Management, in Hackensack, New Jersey.
Rocco, can you tell us a little about Tidewater Real Estate and Management?
Tidewater has been around since the 70’s. The man who founded Tidewater is my mentor, and like a father to me, literally the Plato to my Aristotle. We specialize in the acquisition, sale, and management of multi-family apartment buildings and we have been very successful in this arena. Commercial real estate sales are very different from residential real estate sales; there’s no staging or sentiment involved. It’s not so much about making an emotional connection with your buyer or seller. It’s just about the raw numbers.
You’re an executive but you still do sales. Why?
My VP role allows me to make decisions for the company, but I need to be out there to know what kind of decisions to make. I can’t sit in an office all day and still be on top of what’s going on out in the field. I enjoy negotiating and making acquisitions for the company but in order to do this effectively, I need to interact with developers, supers, property owners, and investors.
So you attribute your success more towards the Realtor role?
I’ve made a good living by selling and managing property, but I don’t call myself a “realtor.” That term always makes people think you sell houses. There’s just so much more to what I do and none of it involves selling houses. We manage about 2000 units across New Jersey and I’m currently overseeing the development of a 350-unit luxury rental property. Plus, it all contributes to the overall growth of communities. Schools get better, neighborhoods are restored, and families thrive.
So there’s a philanthropic side to you?
<laughs> Well, family is important and I’m all about that. Don’t get me wrong, the money doesn’t hurt, but I’m a giver by nature.
I’m a father with my own family now, so of course I appreciate the intrinsic values of community development. My son is 19 months old and it’s nice to think I’m trying to create a better place for him to grow up in.
You’re pretty young to have achieved so much. What’s your secret?
I got an early start.
I grew up in a big Italian household and most of my relatives are tradesmen; plumbers, contractors, electricians, and carpenters. I worked for them when I was still in high school and I probably would have followed in their footsteps if not for my mother. She has been a property manager for over 30 years, so I was exposed to that side of things as well and I began working for Tidewater at a very, very young age. I took my first sales call at 11 years old. All that experience definitely gave me an advantage and I’m ambitious by nature.
Did you go to college?
By the time I finished high school, I kinda knew I was destined for real estate, but I actually studied law at first at Seton Hall. I have a passion for the law and always wanted to be a lawyer, but my roots were in this business and I love this more. So, I enrolled in The American School of Business. Experience always beats education anyway.
I understand that you were the youngest person in the school’s history to be licensed. Is that true?
Yes. Youngest to earn a Broker’s License.
You have a lot on your plate with family and work. How do you manage?
Maintaining the balance between work and home life isn’t easy…there are not enough hours in the day. Plus, I have some outside interests that I try to find time for. My goal is to work as hard as I can now, while I’m young, so I don’t have to work as hard later.
You mention outside interests. Can you elaborate?
Well, let’s see….I’m really into motorcycles. I’m chairman of the board for a political action committee called Construendo il Nostro Futuro, which recognizes and promotes the contributions made to this country by Italian Americans and supports parties with the same interests. This is important to me because it helps to preserve the traditions and values of my culture.
We’ve heard that this year alone, you’re on track to sell over $50M. True?
<laughs> Yes, I have surpassed that as of today, but we still have a lot of 2019 left.
Lastly, what’s your motivation and what one word describes you?
I don’t really have one word I want to be described as. If I can use a few words, I’d say persistent, calculated, and loyal. I just know that I never want to be accused of being a millennial. <laughs>