With 37 years of experience in the Northern New Jersey real estate game, Charles Oppler understands that there’s no better sales tool than experience. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons that the chief operating officer and broker/owner of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Tenafly, N.J., has seen his firm have the highest average sales price in the state for the past five years.
“We have a tremendous, experienced sales staff that’s been here for many years,” says Oppler. “Our expertise in the luxury market sets us apart. We speak 35 languages, so we’re a mirror image of the New Jersey marketplace.”
The secret to keeping agents happy, Oppler notes, is to treat them as if they’re customers.
“From a managerial and operational standpoint, we have to provide them with the tools and support necessary to be successful so that they can then provide the same to their clients and customers,” he explains. “I also look at it as quality versus quantity. You want the best players on your team, not necessarily the most players.”
Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty offers an ongoing training program for its agents, providing them with access to Grovo, a cloud-based video training platform that offers videos for more than 130 Internet tools, cloud services and professional topics.
This not only helps newer agents, but provides every employee with the latest tools and advice for reaching today’s homebuyers, which Oppler says are becoming more millennial-focused.
“We’re younger than most companies, and that’s by design,” Oppler says. “Hoboken is a millennial market, as is the whole waterfront. We’re a luxury brand, and millennials like luxury, so they’re intrigued by fancy things in this area. We do a lot of videos and social media-based marketing to reach them.”
Coming off a year that saw 2,200 transactions and close to $1.6 billion in sales, the firm is positioning itself for even bigger numbers in 2016, with a goal over the next few years to increase its number of offices and agents, and to get over the $2 billion mark. The firm recently acquired an office in Hoboken, bringing it to its current count of 13 offices and 575 agents.
Through the first quarter of 2016, Oppler has started to see a slight increase in transactions, small increases in sales prices and pent-up demand from buyers who are coming out of hiding after an active first few months of weather in the Northeast.
“There’s definitely been a lack of inventory and consumer confidence in the economy, and it’s a concern,” says Oppler. “We’re finding that infrastructure and the ability to commute to work are an issue for a lot of people today. In the metropolitan area, we’ve seen a lot of buyers head back to their urban roots because of mass transit options. Having the housing stock to match this is important.”
While Oppler understands that some potential sellers may be waiting for prices to go up, he feels that waiting isn’t always the best answer in real estate. “The reason to sell is because you want to change your lifestyle, and we have the experience to help people do that.”
Vitals: Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty
Years in business: 37 (as Sotheby’s since 2009)
Size: 13 offices, 575 agents
2015 sales volume: $1.59 billion
2015 transactions: 2,200
Region served: Northern New Jersey, from the Rockland County border of New York down to Westfield
For more information, visit www.prominentproperties.com.