Keeping it in the family

by Scott Klocksin

Craig and Nick Fallico of Fallico Real Estate

You can’t clock out in the real estate business, any more than you can clock out from being part of a family. But what if family and business were inseparable? Siblings Marjorie and Matthew Allabastro know what that’s like. And so does father-and-son team Craig and Nick Fallico.

The Allabastro siblings, who work as a team out of Baird & Warner’s Lincoln Park office, come from a real estate family. Before starting a team together in 2017, Marjorie, now 46, and Matthew, now 41, worked together for their father’s architecture and development practice, where they both cut their teeth and got a feel for the industry.

After moving to New York for law school, Matthew got his license and became an agent in the Big Apple. The career stuck, but the city didn’t; after several years he was ready to return home to Chicago.

“Working together with Marj was pretty much part of the plan from the get-go,” he said. “I’ve always known that you get farther ahead with a team. She’s a great partner and mentor and it’s a lot of fun to work together.”

During some of the time her brother was in New York, Marjorie worked in corporate real estate. She said the combination of everything she learned from that experience, together with Matthew’s legal chops, made the decision to join forces all the more practical. Knowing each other since childhood didn’t hurt, though.

“The really nice thing about being a family team is that it’s a totally different level of trust,” Marjorie said. “Usually with teams, you have a ‘queen bee,’ and each team member’s goal is not to stay on the team but to move on when they get enough experience. But we’ve got a commitment to working together. It’s something that our clients look to.”

Their personalities and styles also complement one another, Marjorie said. “I’m second-oldest of five, and I’ve got some first-child alpha qualities. … [Matthew] is in some ways a classic middle child: A peacemaker, a negotiator — someone who’s really connected with people.”

But being family doesn’t automatically mean those complementary personalities will emerge. Just ask Craig Fallico.

“I have five kids,” said Fallico, 60, a co-team leader with his son, Nick, 33. “You can’t work with all your kids. But have three whom I can work with, and Nick is one of them. We complement each other’s personalities: He’s strong, steady and focused. I’m more emotional, fired up all the time. It’s a great combination.”

Craig joined Fallico Real Estate, a local Northwest Side brokerage founded by father, after obtaining his real estate license in 1981. His license now hangs at Dream Town’s office in Edison Park, alongside his father’s.

“Working in the industry was never on my mind coming out of college,” said Nick, who did a stint in the corporate world before diving into real estate full-time in 2016. “I haven’t looked back since.”

In some ways, Craig and Nick are a classic baby boomer/millennial pairing: Craig lends his experience, base of clients and deep knowledge of the business, and Nick helps to turbo-charge the operation by implementing new technology and building out a serious social media operation (Nick said the team’s Instagram account has around 18,000 followers).

The strategy seems to be working. The team, comprised of Craig, Nick, an assistant and four part-time agents, is on pace to sell around 150 homes this year, after selling 117 last year and 87 in 2017.

“I wanted Nick to be ultra-successful,” Craig said. “I was trying to help him, and what really happened is he’s helping me.”

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