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


ID 122235067 © Pattanaphong Khuankaew | Dreamstime.com

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.”

Spotlight on … Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith - Century 21 Cedarcrest RealtyPatrick Smith has served in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman, worked for various retail establishments, sold cars at dealerships, and provided customer service at the MetLife Stadium. His multitude of early work experiences and broad skills were all rooted in his love for helping others, which guided him to becoming a real estate agent.

Pat found his love for real estate by mistake. He enrolled in a real estate licensing course with his mother to spend time with her and coach her through the material; they both passed the exam. Engaged to be married, working long hours in retail, Patrick realized it was time for a career change and took a chance on his new real estate license. It didn’t take him long to fall in love with his choice.

“I cannot imagine doing anything else,” he says. “No two days are ever alike and each one is an adventure.”

A resident of Bloomfield, Pat has been helping residential real estate customers in Essex and Passaic counties for approximately 25 years, all within the Century 21 system. Patrick joined Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty about three years ago for one reason: broker owner John Sass.

“John is a people person with great understanding and a keen ability to train others,” says Pat. “The family atmosphere we enjoy in our office and everything that makes Cedarcrest Realty what it is, is a direct reflection of John.”

Today, Pat specializes in working with homeowners dealing with short sales. This allows him to help people going through hard times to reach their ideal end goal.

He works closely with the banks to arrive at a sales figure the lender will accept, noting that short sales have a much longer closing process than typical transactions because of the negotiating these transactions entail. He is accustomed to working in divorce situations as well as estate sales, balancing the competing interests of multiple parties to make sure the contract gets signed. He is also involved in commercial work with multifamily rental and investment properties.

Pat’s hard work has paid off in many ways. He is a member of the National Association of Realtors and a New Jersey Association of Realtors Circle of Excellence multi-year award winner, and he has acquired the E-Pro for Realtors and Certified Negotiator designations, and the Military Relocation Professional and Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource certifications.

When asked for advice to new real estate agents and what he values about his career, Pat says that he values the flexibility. “As a real estate agent your sales will fluctuate, so you must become an expert at budgeting. However, you also have the option to create the availability in your schedule to be with your children; for me as a dad, that’s my favorite job of all.”

Spotlight on … Adrienne Wheeler

Adrienne Wheeler is used to getting things done. As a former network television producer, she appreciates timelines, deadlines, accountability, and challenges. Having worked with some of the biggest names in TV, she knows the importance of honesty, integrity, and confidentiality. These are some of the factors that are making her a successful commercial and investment real estate specialist at Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty.

Adrienne joined Cedarcrest in January 2017 about a year into her real estate career; she says that after meeting broker owner John Sass, she knew she’d found the right fit.

“I knew right away that this was the best place for me. I needed an agency whose broker invested in his agents. From our first meeting, I felt I could become successful under John’s tutelage.”

With more than 49,000 real estate agents in northern New Jersey alone, Adrienne knew she had to focus on a particular sector that would lend itself to the skills she had from producing. After researching and talking to people in the commercial part of the business, she focused her efforts in that direction.

Working with real estate investors, developers, and sellers in Essex County, Adrienne focuses mostly on multi-family properties, warehouses, and industrial buildings. She is building a clientele in Newark, which is experiencing increased interest in real estate, as well as in Bayonne, which is also undergoing renewal and new development. She “produces” every commercial real estate transaction, prioritizing her clients’ goals and listings, keeping all the players involved and all the pieces moving ahead, as she ferries each listing to a completed sale.

Part of producing those transactions is keeping both the buyer’s and seller’s attorneys in the loop throughout the process and staying a step ahead of all parties to make sure everyone is prepared at all times. She helps the other agents through the transaction as well to make sure it goes through smoothly and on time. She also believes that her commitment to client confidentiality, business savvy, and her personal and professional integrity have helped her grow her book of business.

“This is an area of business that requires hours of preparation and leg work, and a strong contact list. I also know it’s all in the marketing; you have to know how to write a story about what you’re selling.”

Adrienne’s process includes doing thorough research, canvassing the area, and providing an executive summary of the properties to her buyers. “I’m a bottom line person committed to a positive outcome; I go into each transaction fully prepared and ready for any objection.”

Her efforts and attention to detail result in getting to the closing table in a shorter-than-average sales cycle. Adrienne reports that every one of her commercial and residential transactions has gotten multiple offers within four to six weeks, which is especially unusual in commercial real estate.

A resident of Essex Fells, Adrienne also does residential real estate in Essex County, working with buyers and sellers. But, she likes the challenge of working in commercial and investment real estate, which she admits is a tougher end of the business; she proudly points out that only 37 percent of all commercial real estate agents are women. She is a member of CoStar, which offers a vast suite of tools and resources for the commercial real estate market, and she continually invests in additional training classes specific to commercial real estate, which she believes is a win-win for both her as a real estate agent and for Century 21 Cedarcrest.

Of the office and its broker owner, Adrienne says that, “Every agency and broker claim to be the best but I have the best right here. John Sass goes above and beyond; he doesn’t just talk about what he’s going to do, he does it. He supplies me with the tools I need to create my success.”

Spotlight on … Bruno Marino, Jr.

Bruno Marino, Jr. has grown up in the Century 21 system, the son of a former franchise owner in a busy Belleville, NJ office. Bruno joined his father and mother, who was the agency’s bookkeeper, after graduating college in 1985 and has been an award-winning real estate professional ever since.

Although his original career plans out of college did not include real estate, his father asked Bruno to join him in the agency, Century 21 Homes Thru Us. He decided to go for his license, passed the test, and began making a name for himself in Essex County real estate in October 1985.

“We were one of the first franchises in the area,” said Bruno. “We used to wear the gold Century 21 jackets. They certainly stood out but they made a difference, people noticed.”

Over the years, Bruno worked side by side with his parents, until his father decided to retire. He subsequently joined Cedarcrest Realty in June 2013.

“Bruno is a consummate professional, a Quality Service award recipient year after year and is loved by all,” said John Sass, broker owner of Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty. “We are so fortunate to have him on our team.”

Since joining Century 21 Cedarcrest, Bruno has been a recipient of the Century 21 Centurion Award, the system’s highest honor, a Quality Service Pinnacle awardee, and he has been recognized many times for his high production levels. He is also a past REALTOR® of the Year Award winner and a Distinguished Sales Club Award member. In addition, Bruno is a member of the Graduate Realtor Institute* (GRI), a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), and a member of the NJ Association of Realtors.He works primarily with first-time home buyers as well as seniors who are selling their homes to downsize, and adult children who are handling their parents’ estates and selling a home.

When asked to what he attributes his success over the past 32+ years, Bruno says that “99 percent of my business is from past customers. The Century 21 system was built on the golden rule. I was trained that you always treat people right and it comes back to you. A favorite quote of mine is ‘People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.’ I’m one of those guys who cares.”

This is borne out by the fact that now, Bruno is working on next-generation customers. “I remember when my clients’ children were little, walking around as I was showing the parents a house. Now I’m selling those children their houses; I never thought I’d do that!”

He believes that those referrals are a result of his approach to real estate, which comes from the life lessons he’s learned about what’s truly important.

“Having helped take care of my mother, watching out for my father, seeing family come together to support each other—that’s what’s it’s all about. That commitment that we had for each other is something I bring to my work every day. To be successful in real estate, you have to understand that it’s a long-term commitment; and you need to be honest and open with everyone you deal with. If you treat everyone fairly, it keeps you in business as long as you want to be.”

When asked what he enjoys most about real estate, he says, “When you help someone and they’re thankful, you want to do it again. That’s what keeps me going every day.”

Congratulations to our 2017 Award Winners for Production and Customer Service!

As happens every January, we held our annual awards breakfast on January 24, 2018, when broker owner John Sass announced Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty’s top agents in terms of production and customer service. These awards recognize those real estate agents who earned the highest gross closed commissions and highest customer satisfaction scores in 2017.

John presented the following Century 21 customer service and production awards at the event:

1 – Quality Service Producer: Patricia Popola and Joey Scotto for attaining an overall 90 percent approval rating in the past year.

2 – Quality Service Pinnacle Producer: Bruno Marino, Tracy Chan and Frank Conturso for attaining a 95 percent approval rating for two or more consecutive years.

3 – Century 21 CENTURION Producer: Tracy Chan, the number one agent in production at Century 21 Cedarcrest. Not only that, Tracy has distinguished herself in another way: she is ranked 13 out of over 1000 agents throughout Century 21’s entire New Jersey/Delaware region (putting her in the top 2 percent!) and a Century 21 Presidents Award winner. She had over $16 million in sales volume in 2017. Tracy is also a New Jersey Association of Realtors® (NJAR) Gold Level Circle of Excellence® Sales Award® winner.

4 – Century 21 Masters Emerald Level: Frank Conturso and Joey Scotto, who ranked second and third respectively in gross closed commissions at Century 21 Cedarcrest. Both are also NJAR Silver Level Circle of Excellence® winners.

In addition, Patricia Popola, Susan McGarrity and Bruno Marino were recognized for being among the top six agents in gross closed commissions in the office. All Century 21 Quality Service and Top Producer award winners will be recognized at the Greater New Jersey Brokers Council Gala at The Venetian in Garfield, N.J. on March 8, 2018. At that event, another Century 21 Cedarcrest agent, Paula Cano, will receive an NJAR Circle of Excellence® Bronze Level Sales Award®.

Office recognition
John also shared the year’s high points at the event, including the agency’s growth in terms of commission figures, numbers of transactions and numbers of real estate agents since he became the broker of record and owner of Century 21 Cedarcrest in late July 2009.

“We had about 16 people and we were doing between $15 and $20 million in sales volume at that time and in 2017, we did over $90 million in sales volume. Last year was our eighth straight year of positive growth, and we closed transactions in 59 different municipalities throughout New Jersey,” said John. He also pointed out that the growth curve meant that not only did Century 21 Cedarcrest survive the Great Recession and the housing market collapse but continued to show positive growth year over year—in sales volume and agents. We now have 70 real estate agents on our roster.

More good news revealed at the awards breakfast: for the fourth year in a row, Century 21 Cedarcrest Realty was the GOLD MEDALLION Office Award Winner and Century 21 Quality Service Pinnacle Award winner for the region, reflecting total office production and customer satisfaction scores. We are delighted to add this to the honor of being named “Best Realtor” in Suburban Essex magazine’s 2017 Best of Essex Readers’ Choice Awards, in recognition of our high level of customer service, for the third consecutive year.

What’s the secret to all this success? John points out several factors:

  • Our team’s commitment to customer service and leveraging the leading real estate technology tools to expand listing reach, improve lead generation and enhance customer relationship marketing
  • Onsite training and professional development, including informational and educations webinars and seminars, and professional development classes
  • His investment in external marketing efforts, including website updates, social media marketing, TV commercials and direct mail campaigns.

We’re all looking forward to a great 2018 for the home buyers and sellers we help throughout northern New Jersey and beyond!