Perhaps no industry captures the essence of the American Dream for Italians more than real estate. Since Italians first migrated to the United States, home ownership, land investment, and development have represented the culmination of the American Dream for Italian families.
Italians have long been recognized for their contributions to the growth and development of real estate in the United States. Italian entrepreneurship, perseverance, and craftsmanship have contributed to the backdrops of nearly every important American city, suburb, and skyline over the past three centuries.
Our staff at Il Progresso by America Domani is interviewing influential Italian Americans who are paving the path for the future of real estate in the United States.
We recently sat down with Gino Bello, who founded Gino Bello Homes and has built his business into one of the top-selling teams in the affluent New York City suburb of Westchester County. Affiliated with Houlihan Lawrence, Bello Homes has facilitated more than 1,500 transactions and sold more than $500 million in homes.
America Domani: Tell us about your background?
Gino Bello: I was born and raised in the Bronx to Antonio and Maria Pia Bello who came from Naples. I attended Catholic school my entire life; it began at St. Dominic Elementary School to Cardinal Spellman Highschool and I completed my academic studies at Fordham University. I was the only child in a very traditional Italian home with humble beginnings. We did not have much to our names. Ironically, my dad worked at America Oggi as the Controller of the newspaper. I began my career working for KPMG, as a tax specialist. After 9/11 I realized that my passion was not sitting behind a desk, it was making the American Dream come alive. This is when I decided to pursue a career as a real estate broker. The rest is history.
AD: What does being Italian mean to you?
GB: Being Italian means a culture of love, family, and food. The most inspirational part about being Italian is our grandfathers and great-grandfathers came here and helped contribute to building this great land that we live in.
AD: What inspired you to get involved in real estate?
GB: I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives instead of just sitting behind a desk running numbers. Real Estate is the key to living out the American Dream and I wanted to play an integral part of that.
AD: What advice would you give to aspiring real estate professionals?
GB: Real Estate is a long-term commitment. You don’t reap the financial benefits until you put many years of work into the business. If you truly care about your clients, the outcomes will follow. Television shows often glorify real estate transactions, making it seem quick and easy. In my case, it took me a decade to become a so-called “overnight success.”
AD: What was your lowest career point? How did you overcome adversity?
GB: When the Financial Crisis hit in 2008, I just had my first child that year. There was so much uncertainty and panic, particularly within the real estate industry. I put my head down and I worked through it by showing clients that even during a time of sadness and crisis they could emerge with a sense of comfort and opportunity through real estate. I thought back to my roots and all the Italian immigrants who came to this country with five dollars in their pockets and made something of themselves. I think back fondly on those times as I grew my career while helping people at their lowest moments.