Residential Properties Ltd. acquires Libby Kirwin Real Estate; RPL opens 8th office in Newport: NEREJ


Sally Lapides, President and CEO of RPL, at the inauguration ceremony
for the opening of an office at 418 Spring Street – Newport.

Newport, RI Residential Properties Ltd., one of Rhode Island’s leading real estate companies, opened a new office at 418 Spring St. following the acquisition of Libby Kirwin Real Estate. Along with the opening of a new office, RPL has added seven local real estate experts who will operate from this location, including broker partner Libby Kirwin.

Since opening its first office in 1981, Residential Properties Ltd. quickly grew to become the state’s largest and most successful independent real estate brokerage. The company was recently included in the 2021 REAL Trends list of the 500 most successful real estate companies nationwide. It now has more than 250 agents and a total of eight offices.

Libby Kirwin Real Estate (LKRE) has been a leading boutique firm in Newport since 2010. Kirwin and his agents have deep roots on Aquidneck Island and an excellent reputation. “Libby has built a strong and respected business in Newport and was looking to take her business to the next level,” said RPL President and CEO Sally Lapides. “Residential Properties has been Rhode Island’s No. 1 in residential sales for over a decade, surpassing the billion dollar mark last year. With the addition of Libby Kirwin Real Estate to our more than 250 energy brokers, RPL will quickly expand its presence in Newport, Portsmouth, Little Compton and Jamestown.

To start this new chapter for residential properties, we recently caught up with Libby Kirwin to discuss RPL membership and the range of opportunities ahead.

What about RPL that you found well suited to you and LKRE?
“I recognized that my business had a size and capacity that, in order to grow and remain competitive, would be important to team up with a larger business that was not present on Aquidneck Island. Residential properties was the ideal solution. I was very impressed with Sally’s reputation and wanted a woman-led business to run Libby Kirwin Real Estate.

What did you think of RPL before joining the company?
“During all the years I have spent in the company, I have become aware of Sally Lapides’ leadership skills. My husband Kevin Kirby happens to have had business interactions with Sally through the insurance business at Starkweather & Shepley. It was Kevin who suggested that I contact her.

Why is now the right time for you and your business to take this step?
“Libby Kirwin Real Estate has had as many as 15 agents and as few as eight. Once we became a smaller office, I figured it would be easier if we did a transfer. The time had therefore come to unite our forces.

What does RPL provide that makes it such an attractive company to work for?
“Their infrastructure is certainly important. We are a competitive business and trying to wear all hats is not sustainable in the long run. It’s crucial to be supported by RPL, with a team that can help you appraise properties, prepare your paperwork, and keep you up to date with your business plan. When I first met Sally and Libby, I could see that their teamwork was something I wanted to be a part of.

Can you tell us about the Spring Street office and why it is a great place for agents and clients?
“The Spring Street location has been a great place for LKRE to grow and remain recognizable. There are a lot of different directions of movement, which means a lot of eyeballs. People love the way the building is located in this beautiful corner. When I look at the other office spaces occupied by RPL, it certainly seems to go into the directory. It is simply a darling and elegant office with great exposure to potential clients.

What is your design philosophy or aesthetic orientation?
“I am a modernist at heart. I tend to design and renovate homes with a modern aesthetic. I love rough diamonds and am passionate about great design, which I studied at the Massachusetts College of Art. I am always inspired by emerging artists. Whether it’s photography or oil painting, I love the feeling of connection through art. Of all the museums I have traveled to, the RISD Museum in Providence is probably one of my favorites because it has small collections of absolutely everything. I look forward to spending more time in Providence and growing my business outside of Newport.

How do you inspire your team? / What inspires you?
“I like my agents to focus on matchmaking. When you’ve got someone looking for a home, whether it’s a tenant, buyer, or contractor looking for the perfect commercial space, the moment they find it It’s incredible. You feel that you have contributed to someone’s future. A property is a place where people will grow up and watch their families grow. So, I inspire my agents by having them visualize where they see a particular buyer.

What are you most looking forward to by joining RPL?
“I can’t wait to have more people in my world! I already love having the support of Sally’s team. It’s great to surround yourself with positive people, which I have missed over the past few years. I am delighted that it all comes together.

Meet the RPL Newport Business Associates:

Joseph costa – With a bachelor’s degree in commerce and sociology from Providence College, Joe launched and built a successful business at the age of 25, having since held sales, marketing and management positions in startups technology and management consulting. He bought, renovated and sold 14 luxury homes across the East Coast.

Pawler garrahan – Pawler is an experienced Newport real estate agent, having also worked in Narragansett. Prior to returning to Rhode Island, she gained invaluable professional experience with CBS Morning News, with Morgan Stanley in institutional sales and as an executive recruiter.

Brian Govednik – Brian graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Mechanical Engineering degree, where he was a member of the Sailing and Skiing teams. He has been a lifelong resident in Bristol which gives him an in-depth knowledge of the East Bay and its real estate processes.

Sarah Kirwin Brady – Originally from Aquidneck Island, Sarah started working as an office administrator and personal assistant to her cousin Libby in 2010. In 2012, she obtained her license and worked as a real estate agent at Libby Kirwin Real Estate.

Samantha tobin – Sam enjoys living on the coast and settling on Aquidneck Island. It was when buying her first home in Newport that she knew she wanted to pursue a career in real estate. Sam brings his negotiating skills, analytical skills and understanding of relocation to his clients.

Kathleen wilson – With an 18-year prior career as a high school counselor, Kathleen decided to take up the challenge and change during the pandemic to become a real estate agent. His 20 additional years of experience in the restaurant industry and his long term residence in Newport gives RPL important connections within the communities of Rhode Island.

Marisa Ferris – Marisa has been a licensed real estate agent for 10 years and is a top performing agent in residential properties. As a native of Rhode Island with extensive knowledge of the area, her professionalism and tenacity consistently guides her clients to success.

Libby Kirwin, Associate Broker – Born and raised in Newport, Libby has successfully navigated the real estate industry for over twenty-eight years staying one step ahead. Additionally, she is the Senior Design Consultant at Libby Kirwin Renovation & Design Consulting, established in 2012.

Residential Properties Ltd. is Rhode Island’s largest privately held real estate company and has served sellers and buyers of distinctive properties since 1981 through service, innovation and hard work. The company, with eight local offices in Barrington, Cumberland, East Greenwich, Narragansett, Newport, Providence, West Side (PVD) and Westport, Mass., Serves all of Rhode Island, the Connecticut coast and the Southeast and Central from Massachusetts.

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