Happy 10th Anniversary to Us! Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty Celebrates Ten Years of Consistent Growth and Superior Service

In June 2009, John Sass became broker/owner of CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest Realty, Inc. at its Caldwell office. John and the team are celebrating the agency’s tenth anniversary this month, marking the milestone with pride, a shelf full of regional and national real estate industry awards, and a second office in Little Falls to better serve home buyers and sellers as well as commercial clients throughout North Jersey.

Prior to taking ownership of Cedarcrest Realty, John had worked in other CENTURY 21 offices in recruiting and training—a major driver in the agency’s professional development program for real estate agents at all experience levels. All agents receive training in sales and customer care, the transaction process, contracts, and using the digital marketing tools provided by CENTURY 21 Real Estate most effectively to their clients’ advantage.

The company, which started with six people in 2009, has grown 15-fold to over 80 real estate agents today—some among the region’s highest producers—plus a director of career development and two sales managers. Here’s a look at some of our achievements over the past decade:

Ten years of growth and recognition

  • Grew sales volume by 500%, from $20 million in 2009 to $110 million today
  • Multiple awards for sales volume, gross closed commissions and customer service:
    • CENTURY 21 Quality Service Pinnacle Award every year since 2010, based on a high level of customer satisfaction
    • CENTURY 21 Gold Medallion Office Award for production, 2012-2017
    • CENTURY 21 CENTURION® Award for superior production, 2018
    • CENTURY 21 President’s Award, 2018 – the most prestigious award given by the system to producers, teams and offices that achieve both CENTURION® level production and the Quality Service Pinnacle Award in the same year
    • Gold medal as “Best Realtor” in the Suburban Essex magazine’s Best of Essex Readers’ Choice Awards, 2015-2018
    • Numerous New Jersey REALTORS® Circle of Excellence awards for sales
  • Added Fine Homes & Estates division in 2015
  • Designated by CENTURY 21 Real Estate as a certified commercial specialist in 2018
  • Opened second office at 44 Main Street in Little Falls in March 2019
  • Top donation site for 10 years in a row for the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots holiday gift program in addition to supporting Easter Seals, NJ Special Olympics and area charities that aid the local community

“I’ve always cultivated a family feeling that values teamwork, which translates into better customer service out in the field,” said John as he looks toward the future. “We are well-positioned to continue our forward trajectory as we strive to always deliver—in the words of CENTURY 21 Real Estate—relentless service and commitment, and a superior experience for everyone involved.”

Agent spotlight on . . . Michelle Christenson

Michelle Christenson loves CENTURY 21® and Little Falls so much, she couldn’t stay away! Having worked at another CENTURY 21 office for about 14 years earlier in her career—which had been located in Little Falls—Michelle reached out to John Sass to discuss joining Cedarcrest Realty when she heard about our new Little Falls office. She was more recently with another group, and was eager to rejoin CENTURY 21 and work in Little Falls.

“It’s so nice to be back at CENTURY 21,” said Michelle, a licensed REALTOR® in New Jersey for 19 years. “The system and support is superior to what is available at competitors, no question. And I’m delighted to be working at Cedarcrest Realty with a great team of real estate agents. Once I talked to John, I knew it was a good fit for me.”

Although she and John have not worked together before, their paths have crossed many times in the North Jersey real estate world, and she contacted him when she knew she was ready to make a change. Michelle said she is excited about the opportunities in Passaic County.

“There is a lot of new development in Little Falls, townhouses are going up in the area, and it’s an expanding market. Plus, downtown Little Falls is experiencing a resurgence that’s been great to see. I really like the area.”

Michelle, who lives in Cedar Grove, got into real estate when she was raising her children (who are now grown). As a career, it offered her the opportunity to arrange her schedule to meet family commitments while also meeting her customers’ needs. The flexibility has also enabled the lifelong animal lover to volunteer throughout the years with various animal rescue and foster organizations. But in real estate, for Michelle it’s all about the people.

“I love working with and helping all the different people I meet, from first-time home buyers to sellers. It’s the people aspect that keeps me in this business. Here I am, 19 years later and still loving it. And now that I’m back in Little Falls, I told John that’s it, I’m never leaving.”

Spotlight on . . . Nancy Scancarella

Nancy Scancarella waited until her children were a little older before going to work as a real estate agent . . . and wasted no time making her mark in the field.

That was 27 years ago and since then, the Woodland Park resident—who started her career in another CENTURY 21® office—became a licensed real estate broker and later ran a boutique real estate agency for another company. She joined the CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest Realty team in November 2018.

“I’d had a good experience the first time around with CENTURY 21®, so I was delighted when the opportunity came along to work with John Sass at Cedarcrest Realty. I’m looking forward to building up the new Little Falls office,” said Nancy. (At the time of this writing, we are nearly done with the extensive renovations to our new space at 44 Main Street in the heart of Little Falls.)

Nancy loves the energy that many of the younger agents bring to CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest, as well as the training programs and technology that help her to better serve her customers.

“All the new programs are great and the training at Cedarcrest is phenomenal,” said Nancy, “especially for seasoned agents who may not adopt new technology as readily. John and Susan Mazzetta (director of training & development) made it so easy to understand, learn, and use.”

While she acknowledges that many of today’s buyers are doing a lot of research online, Nancy feels that the experience and insights of a real estate agent remain a valuable part of the transaction. For instance, she noted that the information posted on various sites is sometimes inaccurate or out of date, or not pertinent to the area, which can misguide home buyers and sellers.

“Although today’s customers are very savvy, it is so important to gain their trust at the outset, and show them what your real estate expertise brings to their home buying or selling experience,” said Nancy. “We know the towns—the neighborhoods, schools and taxes—from our own firsthand knowledge as well as from industry resources and tools that are not available to consumers.”

Nancy especially loves working with first-time home buyers, whose needs are generally different from others’. “You have to have the patience and willingness to show first-time buyers dozens of houses in many different areas, as they hone in on the type of house they want, the towns they like, and what they can afford,” she explained. ‘I enjoy nurturing them along the path to home ownership and it’s so rewarding when we get to that closing.”

Having raised her family in Totowa and having worked before in Little Falls, Nancy really knows Passaic County well. However, she’s also worked with home buyers and sellers up through northern Bergen County and throughout Essex County.

As for CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest, Little Falls, Nancy is eager to get into the office and has brought five real estate sales associates with her. “It’s a new, modern office in the heart of Little Falls, which is developing into a great little walking downtown,” said Nancy. “I’m really excited about our potential here.”

Announcing our CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest Realty 2018 Award Winners for Service and Sales

Award Winning CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest RealtyAs always, our annual awards breakfast was filled with applause as John Sass announced the winners of CENTURY 21® and NJ REALTORS® awards for 2018, based on customer service and gross closed commissions.

John shared the good news that for the ninth year in a row, CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest grew in terms of gross closed commissions (23 percent higher than 2017!). Our team closed transactions in 57 towns throughout New Jersey, and our office is in the top ten in our entire region, which comprises New Jersey and Delaware. But the best news of all: For the first time ever, we are thrilled to share that CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest Realty has won the CENTURY 21 President’s Award. It is given to producers, teams and offices that achieve both CENTURION® level production and the Quality Service Pinnacle Award in the same year. We can’t wait to add this prestigious trophy to our awards shelf!

2018 service award winners
The CENTURY 21 Quality Service awards are presented to agents and offices that consistently provide high levels of customer service. The winners will be recognized at the New Jersey Brokers Council gala in March. Drum roll, please, for our Cedarcrest Realty winners:

  • Quality Service Award – Paula Cano and Susan McGarrity (minimum 90 percent overall approval rating and 8 returned surveys in a calendar year)
  • Quality Service Pinnacle Producer Award – Tracy Chan, Bruno Marino and Joey Scotto (minimum 95 percent overall approval rating and 8 returned surveys for two or more consecutive years)

In addition, CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest Realty won the Quality Service Pinnacle Office Award, CENTURY 21’s top award for quality service.

2018 production award winners
These are awarded based on real estate agents’ gross closed commissions for the year.

  • New Jersey REALTORS® (NJR) Circle of Excellence® Bronze Award – Nancy Scancarella and Paula Cano
  • CENTURY 21 CENTURION Individual Producer Level Award
    • Yaw “Tracy” Chan was our #2 producer last year. Tracy has consistently earned top honors for sales and service at CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest and was recently inducted into the CENTURY 21 CENTURION Honor Society.
    • Joey Scotto earned the top spot as #1 producer, adding this honor to the others he’s won since starting his real estate career with us less than three years ago.
  • NJR Circle of Excellence® Gold Award – Tracy Chan and Joey Scotto; double congratulations to them this year!
  • CENTURY 21 Masters Team Level Award – The Rick Lodato Team (Rick Lodato, Lizette Brown and Peter Locurto), who joined Cedarcrest Realty last year.

What’s our winning formula at CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest?
The positive, long-term relationships our agents build with home buyers and sellers.

Using all the available real estate technology available to us to source and nurture leads more effectively and to better serve their customers.

Our ongoing in-house training and development, with courses offered to agents at all levels of experience, so newer agents can build their skills and knowledge while our more experienced agents are refreshing theirs.

Now, on to a successful 2019 with the CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest team!

Agent Spotlight on … our Newest Real Estate Team Members

CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest Realty has been growing significantly this year, with three new agents joining our team in the last two months.

Krystle Delgado - Century 21 CedarcrestKRYSTLE DELGADO is new to real estate but her dream of working in real estate dates back to her high school graduation! After some other endeavors and dealing with a serious health issue, Krystle examined her life and made her career goal a priority. During her recovery, she took the real estate course and passed the exam.

She was looking for schedule flexibility and was talking to several agencies but none felt right. A conversation with a family friend led to her contacting Susan Mazzetta, CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest’s director of training and development.

“Susan made me feel very comfortable and at ease, and right away, I knew that Cedarcrest Realty was a good fit for me.” Krystle, who lives in Bloomfield, joined our agency in early October.

As to “why real estate,” she has a strong sales background and values independence and self-sufficiency. “I like the idea of being in charge of my own business; if I’m not successful, there’s no one to blame but myself.”

Regarding CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest, Krystle says, “Everyone is very willing to help and answer questions; I never feel intimidated. Everyone walks you through the processes and offers assistance. I also like to learn new things and there’s a lot of training here, which is great.”

Natasha Barinas - Century 21 CedarcrestNATASHA BARINAS also joined CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest in October after several years selling real estate in Los Angeles. Prior to that, she worked in fashion design and production, in retail, and owned her own swimwear line.

“I like real estate because you’re independent, taking responsibility for your business,” she says. “I also like the dynamic of working with so many different people; every day is different.”

She finds similarities between real estate and her work in fashion, where she did a lot of negotiating and interpreting ideas into reality. “With real estate you help buyers determine where they really belong. I love helping them discover the dream home they truly feel is right for them.”

After moving to Verona this past summer, Natasha enrolled in the NJ state licensing classes; she told her instructor she wanted to connect to a more intimate, boutique-style brokerage, like the one in California. “CENTURY 21 is exactly what you’re describing” was the advice she received. She says that she felt that immediately when she interviewed with Susan at Cedarcrest Realty.

“In Los Angeles I interviewed at around 30 agencies before finding the right one but here, I found exactly where I want to be right away. The way the agents joke around and really know each other—it felt like family.”

Carolina Marin - Century 21 CedarcrestCAROLINA MARIN of Clifton, who’d worked a few years ago at a Coldwell Banker office, has returned to real estate after a brief hiatus into other fields. She joined CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest in early November after a chance meeting with a friend, Paula Cano, one of our real estate agents.

“I mentioned that I wanted to get back into real estate and was looking for an agency that offered training and development. Paula recommended CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest because of the training and professional development here,” says Carolina. “I really appreciate that Cedarcrest Realty gives us the tools to develop our real estate practice.”

She says she likes helping clients find the home they’ll love, and that being at the closing and seeing them so happy makes her day. She also likes that “Everyone is very helpful and so nice about answering questions. In some offices, they leave you on your own with no support. But at CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest, everyone is willing to assist you.”

If you’re looking for a real estate office that supports its people—from new agents to seasoned pros—contact Susan Mazzetta for a confidential interview at (973) 228-1050.

CENTURY 21® Cedarcrest Realty is now a Designated Certified Commercial Specialist

We have expanded our expertise at CENTURY 21® Cedarcrest Realty, Inc., having achieved the designation of Certified Commercial Specialist by CENTURY 21 Real Estate LLC. In addition to the office, Broker Owner John J. Sass, Sales Manager Dennis DiSabato, and sales associates Adrienne Wheeler and Joseph Scotto have also been certified as commercial specialists. They all completed an intensive three-day training through CENTURY 21’s Commercial Management Academy, which covered a broad range of topics related to marketing commercial real estate; among them were:

  • Market opportunities, trends
  • Investment analysis, CAP rates
  • Identifying quality leads and prospects
  • Talent recruitment
  • Lease analysis, negotiations, best practices
  • Developing and managing a commercial real estate division

CENTURY 21 Commercial®
The CENTURY 21 Commercial® program helps real estate offices and agents leverage the core strengths of the CENTURY 21 System in the small-to-mid-tier commercial real estate and investment property markets. As a designated member of CENTURY 21 Commercial, CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest joins a network of 375 commercial designated offices throughout the United States.

Commercial real estate at CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest
Our office will market retail centers, office and industrial buildings, multi-family properties and hospitality properties for sale or lease, working with commercial real estate investors, owners and lessees in Essex County and surrounding areas. We look forward to growing our portfolio with quality commercial properties to list, lease or sell.

Join our team in commercial or residential real estate
We’re also looking forward to adding experienced real estate agents to our team, in both residential and commercial real estate. For a confidential conversation about joining our award-winning office, contact John Sass at (973) 228-1050.

Looking for a Job as a Real Estate Agent?

Here’s What We Look for in a Candidate at Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty


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All employers want to hire people with a passion for their work . . . and so many job candidates say they went into their field because of that passion. But what does that really mean? At Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty, we dig deeper to find out what makes candidates tick when we are interviewing real estate agents for our Caldwell, NJ office.

  1. What drives the person?

    How is that true passion for real estate sales expressed? What is that person’s “why?” Are they motivated by the need to support a family or to create a better life for themselves? Are they driven to help others get a piece of the American dream? Can they actually tell us?

  2. Does the candidate truly understand what the job entails?

    Although real estate is a “people person” occupation, it is foremost about sales. Therefore, the agents who come through our doors must demonstrate that they truly understand what the job entails—and be excited about it. Getting your real estate license is a first step but far from the last one any successful agent will take. We look for people who take the job seriously, who are open-minded about getting sales and marketing direction, and who want to continue their real estate education beyond the licensing course and exam. Continuing education—whether about sales techniques, real estate trends, or the latest technology tools—is a given at Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty.

  3. Is the candidate a business person?

    Real estate is a business. Each agent is responsible for building his or her book of business, cultivating leads, nurturing clients along the transaction process; the brokerage is responsible for providing the tools and support.

    Prospective agents must understand that, as with any other business, there is an investment involved in maintaining and growing it. Licensing fees, dues to the New Jersey Board of Realtors (or local boards), insurance coverage (errors & omissions) are part of the investment agents make as they develop their sales pipeline. They invest in the time it takes to bring a transaction to a closing. And they must invest in training and education, vital to growing their business.

  4. Does the agent have integrity?

    Real estate is a field with intense interpersonal activity and a lot of paperwork; there are listings and showings, contracts to draw up and sign, and people’s futures are on the line. Transparency about each transaction is a must; there’s never a reason to lie about an offer, a buyer, or a seller. Never.

Some other “can-do” elements we look for when hiring real estate agents are:

  • Past success in door-to-door/outside sales (such as pharmaceutical or medical sales) or multi-level marketing are strong indicators that the person is a good fit for real estate sales.
  • Prior sales positions that required strong follow-through, attention to detail, and customer service, such as insurance or retail.
  • Those who understand real estate’s longer sales cycle and the pace of closings and commission payments (and therefore, understand the need to always feed the sales pipeline).
  • Individuals who are highly disciplined and organized, but like the flexibility a real estate career offers, especially as a second career; younger retirees, military veterans, and first responders are among those we’re interested in talking to at Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty.
  • People who are involved in their community and have a wide network to tap—and know how to network effectively.
  • Team-oriented individuals who are willing to give help and accept it, try new techniques or technologies, and support others in the office as needed. Our office is a family atmosphere that values collaboration and cooperative efforts.

Are you nearing retirement but would like to pursue a new career that fits with your lifestyle? Have you completed your military service and want to continue helping others through your work? Have you had your fill of a large sales territory, and prefer to focus your sales efforts on Essex County or surrounding areas? Contact Susan Mazzetta, Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty’s director of career development, at 973-228-1050 to arrange an interview.

Spotlight on … Claudette Seide

For Claudette Seide, who recently joined Century 21 Cedarcrest, service to others has always been at the foundation of her life—reflected in her passion for helping people find their perfect home as a real estate agent.

Claudette had been working at another real estate company for four years, and decided to make a career move to Century 21 Cedarcrest for its global exposure and access to the latest technology, tools, and data to help her more effectively market her listings. She says she found so much more.

“I wanted an office that offered stability and opportunity for growth; one with a comfortable working atmosphere, which I felt right away. I was also looking for an agency that fostered strong working relationships—among the agents and between agents and management—which I was not finding elsewhere. (Broker owner) John Sass made me feel so comfortable right from the beginning and (director of career development) Susan Mazzetta was wonderful. When you walk in here, you feel an immediate sense of belonging.”

She was also attracted to Century 21 Cedarcrest’s award-winning history for production and service. “That’s where you want to be—with the best, with a company that’s thriving, which in turn will help me grow my book of business.” A big factor in her growing business is her skill at negotiating; Claudette is adept at helping her customers buy and sell their homes at the best price, making sure they receive the best service and value in every transaction.

In her prior professional life, Claudette was a healthcare professional in various disciplines, including as an EKG and phlebotomy technician, for over 20 years. She is also certified in medical coding and billing, is licensed to sell life insurance, and is a notary public. All of these endeavors have helped Claudette develop a vast professional network.

Serving others is a big part of her personal life, too. Claudette does ministry work in her church, helping at-risk children locally and abroad. She has traveled to Guatemala to help children escape lives of desperation and poverty, and her ministry partners with World Mission orphanage and other groups to help develop churches and schools, and shelter and educate children. The Bloomfield resident also mentors area high school girls who need a positive role model in their lives.

Claudette is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, the Passaic County Board of REALTORS, and the Garden State and New Jersey MLS; she works in Essex County and surrounding areas. “Wherever clients need service, it’s my pleasure to help guide them through the process of buying or selling a home.”