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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

New Jersey’s TheONE94Group joins Coldwell Banker Realty

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TheONE94Group has joined Coldwell Banker Realty’s Ridgewood, New Jersey, office. The 20-person team has a lifetime sales volume of more than $80 million.

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New Jersey-based boutique firm TheONE94Group has joined Coldwell Banker Realty‘s Ridgewood office, according to an announcement on Friday.

Led by Jay and Katherine Levine, TheONE94Group has more than 20 agents who serve buyers and sellers throughout Bergen and Essex counties. The firm has over $80 million in lifetime sales volume.

Jay and Katherine Levine

“Jay and Katherine are not just leaders; they are innovators in real estate training and culture,” Coldwell Banker Realty Ridgewood/Glen Rock Branch Vice President Joseph Sarkar said in a prepared statement.  “Their commitment to nurturing their agents, backed by 24/7 support and a suite of tools, aligns seamlessly with Coldwell Banker’s core value of empowering agents to lead exceptional lives.”

“The inclusion of ONE94’s dynamic group, known for its unique culture and innovative training, enriches our organization,” he added. “I eagerly anticipate enhancing their business capabilities with Coldwell Banker Realty’s robust marketing and technological resources.”

The Levines started their real estate careers in 2016, after several years of owning and co-managing a Verizon Wireless store in New Milford. The couple had developed an interest in real estate well before 2016; however, growing discontentment with Verizon’s corporate leadership and untenable working hours pushed them to make the jump sooner than planned.

“When Apple came out, [Verizon] did not let stores like mine sell their product for about a year, so it was a huge blow to the business,” Jay said. “They were also asking us to renovate our store and we spent $50,000 to $60,000 renovating our boutique store and it put us in a large hole.”

“I had just gotten into real estate and I realized the writing’s on the wall. I knew that I had to accelerate this career in real estate because I didn’t want to work under that kind of pressure,” he added. “I didn’t want that retail lifestyle anymore. I missed my family. I never knew what a Friday after Thanksgiving felt like to be at my house.”

Jay said he felt well-prepared for the jump into real estate, thanks to the variety of lessons he learned as one of Verizon’s top salespeople and independent owners in New Jersey and as a luxury car salesperson. He also had the benefit of watching his father operate a mom-and-pop hardware shop, which served as the center of town life in New Milford.

“His hardware store was like the Cheers of hardware stores,” he said. “People came in [and] they knew his name. Sure, they came in for screws and nails, but they really came in to say hello [and] share a bagel with him. You know, come in and tell him their baby was just born, like the important things in people’s lives.”

Jay said that was the spirit he and Katherine wanted to embody at TheONE94Group, which they launched in 2019 after three years with Venture Realtors. The couple has taken a special interest in helping families navigate divorces and are the real estate agents of choice for the Bergen County Superior Court.

“If I could sell 300 phones per month and if I could sell 10 luxury cars a month, I realized I could sell homes,” he said. “And it’s not just about a bigger price tag. It was about being a bigger part of people’s lives. I could make a bigger impact.”

“My parents divorced later on in my life, but I sold my parents’ home during their divorce. And after doing that, I realized that if I was a little kid at that moment, it would have been a really tough situation,” he added. “So we started helping families that are going through a divorce. We had husbands and wives who were constantly at each other’s throats, but could come to an agreement with us.”

Jay said TheONE94Group has found steady sales success over the past several years, despite a pandemic and several atypical market shifts. However, he and Katherine realized they needed to align their firm with a bigger brand to ascend to the next level.

“I don’t mean this in a literal sense, but I felt like I was always the smartest in the room,” he said. “I had no one I could look to for support except these incredible relationships that I’ve cultivated. But at the end of the day, they weren’t part of my company or team.”

“Every decision Katherine and I have made is to provide strong leadership and promote growth for our agents,” he added. “So now I have I feel like I have a whole board. I have PR, I have HR, I have marketing — just talking to [Inman] feels like a vision coming to fruition for us.”

Jay said his 2024 goal for TheONE94Group is hitting $60 million in annual sales volume and becoming one of the top two teams at Coldwell Banker Ridgewood. “I believe we can do it,” he said.

Coldwell Banker Realty East Regional President Rob Norman said TheONE94Group’s decision to affiliate with Coldwell Banker Realty shows there’s room for former indies to keep their individuality while reaping the benefits of aligning with a larger brand.

“Our innovative strategy empowers them to function independently within our network while powering their business on a much larger scale with industry-leading technology, marketing and support,” he said. “We handle the substantial aspects, managing behind-the-scenes infrastructure, enabling agents and teams to concentrate on their specialized markets and grow with the backing of a global industry leader.”

Email Marian McPherson

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