From Doorman to $600M Broker!

Having a famous last name can get you places, but can it get you to become one of the top real estate brokers in the City?

Just ask Raphael De Niro, the older son of actor Robert De Niro.

 The NYT featured a hugely-long piece in the Sunday Metropolitan section titled "The Name Rings a Bell" and saying that in the six years he has gotten a real estate license as a broker, "he has sold $600 million in properties landing among the top 10 sellers each year at Prudential Douglas Elliman.

His father was interviewed extensively for the piece and Robert was very much the Analyze This and Analyze That about his son - saying how he let him find his space in the world, how he'd bring him to meetings and slowly but surely the young Man began to ask the right questions at real estate meetings and Robert began to feel the need of having him around to ask those tough Goodfella-like questions!

Apparently, Robert was impressed by his son's natural curiosity at meetings when he would ask questions that only a celebrity-laden-insider with an all access pass would ask or demand. When discussing a hotel project, his son, as reported by the paper, questioned why a celebrity paying $500 a night for a hotel room would be asked to pay for a drink from the mini-bar? 

The NYT follows the son from his days growing up getting into fistfights and what was termed his "growing pains" to the ultimate success in real estate when a friend introduced him to Gary Cannatta, an executive Vice President at Prudential Douglas Elliman who suggested he get a brokers license and then hired him later that year.

The paper quotes some celebrities that have benefitted from his inside knowledge of the real estate market. David Blaine. model Carmen Kass, Justin Timberlake, Chuck Low, and an ex-girlfriend of his Dad, are some of the people mentioned in the article that have enriched themselves through real estate deals he has been able to cut on their behalf.

The essence of the story is that the actor's son closes deals on his own. His father's last name helps, so do some tickets to the Tribeca Film Festival which his father started. But there are days when even his father's last name doesn't cache in a return call from a referral as his father acknowledges in the article. Clearly, a deal can't be closed on a last name and a lot of work goes into it.

Raphael has a team that works for him, including his wife, Claudine DeMatos, who the paper says he met through a nightclub owner in 2004 and married in the Bahamas in 2008. They live in Greenwich in a 2,500 square foot apartment they bought for $2.9 million and they are expecting their second child.

Sounds like a local real estate dynasty in the making? Fuggedaboutit!

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