50+ Year History

The Balistreri Heritage

In 1964, Joseph S. Balistreri founded Balistreri Real Estate. Solid homegrown values provided him a strong foundation and predictable steadiness. The record reflects he fulfilled his purpose with great success, with uncommon joy, grace, generosity and above all with love.

The Balistreri family has been blessed by the vision of Joseph S. Balistreri. We honor him by continuing to uphold the values with which he imbued the company. We celebrate all that he was – and still is. Under its new leadership, the company has built upon the success of Balistreri’s legacy and expanded into luxury real estate.

At Balistreri we are passionate about delivering exceptional consumer experience. By offering a complete suite of real estate services, we ensure to meet our consumers every need, from sales and rentals, to mortgage, commercial, new developments, and title insurance, we have experts in every field to skillfully guide you from beginning to end. Today’s consumer needs a trusted source who can separate and navigate the complex world of real estate.

Jim Balistreri

Joe Balistreri, Jr.

Joe Balistreri, Sr.

 

A Rap on the Window

Celebrating 54 Years: 1964-2018


For three generations, the Balistreri family and their business, Balistreri Real Estate, have built an integral part of the foundation of what is now a thriving Lighthouse Point community.

 

It started with a ‘rap on the window’. It was 1946. Joseph S. Balistreri, Sr. had just returned from service in World War II to his parents’ Wisconsin home. He earned a business degree from Marquette University while working part-time at his father’s grocery store – Sendik’s – with four older brothers. “At the store, I met a beautiful blonde girl, Rita,” the late Joseph Balistreri once recalled. “One year later, we were married.” But not before having to overcome the challenges of a Polish woman marrying an Italian man – something unheard of at the time. Reluctantly, the families agreed to the marriage. A few weeks after the honeymoon while walking along the business section of the  Milwaukee suburb Shorewood, Joseph Sr. heard a ‘rap’ on the window of a real estate office. “An old college buddy waved me to come in,” he once wrote. “He sat me down and convinced me to sell real estate with him.”

 

A year later, Joseph Sr. started his own company selling homes in the Milwaukee area, which thrived for 12 years until moving to Lighthouse Point with his wife and six children where his brother Frank lived. Moving day happened to be Nov. 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was shot. The family reached Florida in time to celebrate their first Florida Thanksgiving at the home of Frank and Annie’s – which became a long-time tradition.

 

Joseph Sr. took a job selling real estate with a Pompano Beach firm. In 1964, he and Rita bought a waterfront lot in Lighthouse Point constructed by ‘luxury custom home builder’ Merle Smith.  Just as the home was being finished, Hurricane Cleo hit. It was symbolic of the many challenges family members would meet and successfully mitigate. Joseph Sr. soon joined an old friend at a larger real estate company in Fort Lauderdale.



Not much later, he rented a 20x20 square-foot storefront and hung up his shingle: Joseph S. Balistreri, Inc.  “It was my privilege and good fortune to get to know and work many of the areas in Broward and Palm Beach counties,” Joseph Sr. had recalled, adding “we experienced some gratifying expansion.” One of the driving factors in the company’s growing success was due to Rita. “Mom played a huge role in the company, from answering the phone to running the entire day-to-day administration for many years,” Jim Balistreri points out. “She would keep the ‘bibles’ up to date: the Balistreri listings as well as all the Multiple Listing Service inventory ‘cut sheets’.” As there were no computers at the time, it meant Rita would have to keep track of new 8.5 x 5.5 loose MLS sheets as they arrived each week, keeping them up-to-date and in a box so the company’s agents would know what inventory was available for sale.

Meanwhile, the Balistreri family happily settled into Lighthouse Point community life, including the pleasures derived from living on the water. “Chip Barger and I would use our boats to transport ‘building materials’ from waterfront homes under construction to build our multi-level tree waterfront forts on vacant lots,” Jim  recalls. One of those forts made the newspapers and was subsequently torn down by Lighthouse Point Public Works. “Joe, Jim and I grew up cruising the canals of Lighthouse Point and the Intracoastal in our Whaler,” adds Carol Balistreri.  All of the second-generation Balistreri children attended Norcrest Elementary School, which one of Joe’s grandchildren now attends. All of the second-generation Balistreri children attended Pompano Beach High School as well as Jim’s third-generation boys, Dominic and Clayton.

 

Three generations attended Lighthouse Point summer recreation camp. “My sister Anne was a summer counselor who worked with John Trudel, former Parks and Recreation Director, who was also a summer counselor at the time,” notes Carol. The family attended Mass in a Lighthouse Point factory building near the LHP marina used by St. Paul’s Catholic Church until it built its own building, which Joseph Sr. and many others helped support. In time, Joseph Sr. would be joined in business by son Joe upon his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, where he worked on helicopters. He became a top seller in the company and now serves as president. His daughters Laura, Kathleen and Christine – married to Lighthouse Point Commissioner Kyle Van Buskirk – now work for the company. “Laura and Christine are the top salespeople in this company,” notes Joe. “They are hard workers and sell millions of dollars of real estate to very happy customers, which is more important than how much they sell.” Joe also runs his own DJ company. He enjoys rehabilitating houses. He’s designed each of Balistreri Real Estate’s offices. Eldest daughter Kathryn, having graduated from Florida State University, also joined the team and would later be acknowledged as the youngest Broker in Florida. Today, she lives on Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, and sells beautiful homes through her own firm, Balistreri Realty. Son Jim, a graduate engineer from Auburn University, came to the business after working for a large Atlanta construction firm. Soon after, Jim became the President of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors®. He now serves as CEO of Balistreri Real Estate. Carol, a Florida State University graduate, began her real estate career in the early 1980s. She began selling real estate at Haggerty Realty in Boca Raton for three years, then sold for Balistreri Realty for nearly two years before relocating to Durham, North Carolina where she sold real estate for 12 years. Carol relocated back to South Florida from North Carolina in 2000. The family opened an office in Delray Beach, which her brothers wanted her to manage.

When the market crashed, we consolidated the company and closed that office. Eight years ago, I started managing the Lighthouse Point office and after living in Delray Beach for 13 years, I moved to Lighthouse Point, where I have resided for just over a year,” she says. It’s truly a blessing and rewarding to carry on the family business Mom and Dad began 51 years ago,” notes Carol. “I would call Dad almost every day as he had an interest in what was going on in the industry after he retired.  He shared his wisdom from years of experience, which was a treat for me!” While not directly involved in the business, two other Balistreri siblings have put their stamp on the company’s success, supporting it through referrals of people moving locally or around the country.

Margaret, who has a real estate license and is affiliated with Balistreri Real Estate’s referral company, lives in Lighthouse Point and with her husband is active in the community. Anne lives in Atlanta with her husband and they have three sons. Anne and her husband are Florida State University graduates.

 When Joseph Sr. wasn’t doing real estate deals, he was extensively involved in civic life, helping to start the town’s library and sponsoring a T-ball team and girls’ soccer. Balistreri Realty also is a generous sponsor of Florida Atlantic University’s football team, including funding a $12,500 athletic scholarship each year. After his retirement and before his passing in 2006, Joseph turned the company over to Jim and Joe, who continue to expand the business throughout South Florida and around the globe as member-brokers of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World with offices in London, Chicago and Singapore.

 

“God blessed us with children who are conscientious, energetic and dedicated to serving people respectfully and, above all, performing with honesty,” Joseph Sr. would say. “We consider my family and ourselves fortunate and thankful to God. And it all started with ‘a rap on the window’.”Joe remembers his father always saying: “Have integrity and do the right thing. It may hurt, but you’ve got to do what’s right for the customer. Work hard, be honest and do what’s right.”  Joe points out Balistreri Real Estate’s emphasis is on running a business – a business that happens to sell real estate. Agents who are motivated will find a successful career there, he says. The company invests significant time and funds in creating agents who are “educated, motivated and professional,” he adds. “We manage the people. We offer them opportunities. We show them the way the business should be run in a professional way.”

 

In addition to ongoing training, the company offers its agents national training and international contacts. “We’re part of the largest relocation network in the world,” says Joe of the company’s affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. “Jim and I don’t list, we don’t sell. We float that business to our agents so they can do it because the customer would be better serviced with a full-time agent than with the Broker of the company.” Jim remembers his father always saying, “Keep your hands out of other people’s pockets’. “In other words, keep the client’s interest first,” Jim adds. “He also reminded us to ‘never break the public’s trust’. This is the bedrock of integrity Dad put in place on which we have continued to build a great company.  Our most important asset is our people – our agents and our clients.”

Balistreri Real Estate and Leading Real Estate Companies of the WorldBalistreri Real Estate and Luxury Portfolio International