John and Natalie Costello Are Committed to Winning Together!
Written by: Heather Pluard
“Winning together” is more than a motto for Costello REI. It’s a commitment. By basing every decision made within the firm on how it affects the entire team, John and Natalie Costello have built a 300-plus-person regional brokerage in just six years. “Winning together” is their compass for success. If an action doesn’t align with winning together, John and Natalie will not do it.
“By making Costello REI’s value to our agents our top priority, this directly correlates into an amazing home buyer and seller experience,” Natalie explains. “We give our agents the best training, tools, and marketing resources available, and our brokerage culture inspires them to deliver exceptional service to the public. The way our team works together and supports each other is extraordinary.”
Before launching Costello REI together in 2014, both Natalie and John had successful, independent careers. Natalie initially worked in graphic design. In 2006, she obtained her real estate license and became an agent and investor. John was a business development director selling global turn-key engineering services related to product development for Fortune 500 companies. He also was a real estate investor before entering the industry.
“We felt we could make more of an impact on others by combining our personal business experiences and starting Costello REI,” says John. “We have relatively opposite strengths and weaknesses, which allow us to view situations in a broader scope. Our balance helps us understand the needs and desires of others. Since we are a non-franchise, privately held, family-owned business, we don’t have any red tape to hold us back. We can be as creative as we want to be. This gives us the ability to make quick decisions in a rapidly changing industry.”
Costello REI has three offices in North Carolina and South Carolina. Last year, they sold $350 million, and the Charlotte Business Journal ranked them in the Top Ten based on sales volume and agent count. John and Natalie credit this tremendous growth to staying disciplined to their vision of “winning together,” even in the start-up years when the business was not profitable.
“We want our values and agent focus to stay the same regardless of how big we grow or how difficult the obstacles are that we encounter along the way,” says John. “We keep a laser focus on our agents, not the firm. Agents pay us to serve their business, plain and simple. Our clients are our agents, and their clients are buyers, sellers, and investors in the market. We’re passionate about always exploring new opportunities of value to deliver back to the agents so they can serve the public at the highest possible level and take their business to whatever heights they wish.”
Fun is a part of the package! John and Natalie rented out Suffolk Punch Brewery in South End and brought in the lead singer of the band Boston to headline their year-end party. It was ’80s-themed, and just about everyone dressed up in their favorite ’80s attire.
“Our ultimate goal is to be the firm that delivers the most value to agents in all major markets in North and South Carolina,” says Natalie. “Our growth is roughly 98-percent organic, and we aggressively share in the revenue when this occurs in an incredibly transparent way. We compensate our team as if they are owners of the firm. Our core values as a company include prioritizing relationships, encouraging diversity, inspiring self-development, embracing technology, and delivering results.”
Giving back is another one. With every closing, Costello REI donates $35 out of the brokerage proceeds to Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks. Every month, their donations help provide 50,000-100,000 meals to those in need. Costello REI also supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, local schools, and various community fundraisers throughout the year.
“If we all work together and share unselfishly in the success, we can achieve far more than we could as individuals,” John says. “There’s so much opportunity in our market and the real-estate industry. With proper knowledge, communication, and care, we can all ‘win together!'”