- Posted January 18, 2011 by
Jerry Celenza got me connected in Times Square
By Paul W. Fitzgerald
We all know that there is plenty to do and see in New York City – the city that never sleeps.
I admire the city for all it has to offer.
This past weekend (Jan 12 to 14) I had the chance to travel to the “Big Apple” for something a little different.
My trip was not about checking out sporting events, nightlife, clubc, or plays. Instead, I was assigned to cover to the popular conference, Real Estate Connect 2011.
I wasn’t really sure what to think when I got the offer to cover the event. I just knew it was another chance to go to one of my favourite places and take part in something new.
As they say: “When in New York.”
The backdrop for the conference was the celebration of its 15th anniversary, and during the three day event hundreds of professionals in the real estate industry had the chance to meet, network and learn more about tools that will help them and their businesses grow.
The Marriott Marquis Times Square was the locale for the unique event. As I entered the upscale establishment I was in awe with all the people in attendance.
While in the registration line my three day journey became more defined as I met Jerry Celenza from Home@Ease Realty Inc (wwwHomeAtEase.ca). They have offices throughout Ontario, Canada, and are a growing outfit, servicing hundreds of people selling their homes.
“We are one of the fastest-growing full service discount real estate brokerages in Ontario,” said Celenza with much enthusiasm in his voice. I was impressed with his introduction.
He added, “Sure we are growing, but I am here to learn – I am always seeking ways to grow my business and help my clients.”
The guest speakers of the conference were out of this world and so were the sessions.
During the conference I had more time to spend with Celenza who confessed one of the biggest ingredients for success for realtors in today’s market: “The world wide web and social media.”
Celenza and his team are all well experienced and are great with their clients. This is a big part of the company’s success.
But as Celenza reiterated over coffee, social media is a new wave that must be utilized by realtors to grow.
“This is one of the biggest reasons I am attending this conference,” he later told me over dinner.
“Websites, blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter – this is where it’s all at now,” he explained.
Celenza knows about the changing landscape of the real estate industry. Being an experienced real estate broker he recently opened up Home@Ease Realty Inc.
His company has two commission packages for those selling their homes. The first option is the 1% full service plan where the Home@Ease listing agent receives 1% for listing the home for sale and the person selling their home decides how much. The second option they offer is the $395 Flat Fee MLS plan. With this plan, the person selling their home receives MLS, professionally installed yard sign, Internet advertising, and much more. Taking this route, the person selling their home has much of the work themselves. Still, in all, either plan means more commission in the pockets of home sellers.
While Celenza knows that he has tapped into a niche area in the industry, one that is growing, he continued to stress the importance nowadays of the Internet.
“Point and click with the mouse – that’s what it’s all about,” he said as we walked through Times Square.
He added, “While our company is cutting edge and is very customer oriented, we will be doing plenty of unique things on-line… The time has come and we want to ride the wave of technology to help ensure people selling their homes will discover us and in turn we will only help them put more of their hard earned money back in their pockets.”
On the final day of the conference, I had the chance to meet up with Celenza one more time.
His three day sojourn was as good as mine. We both felt empowered with all the people we met and all the information we digested.
“Everything is out there on the world wide web – we just all need to make the best use of it and communicate effectively to new clients,” he said.
Celenza concluded, “I have learned one thing from this conference, if you are not using social media, then you are not in the game.”
Paul W. Fitzgerald is an international journalist. His work appears in a large number of newspapers and magazines around the world. Notable publications that have published his work include The Globe and Mail, Maclean's Magazine, The New York Times, The New Canadian, CNN-I Report, and EQ. He is also the President and CEO of Salt & Pepper Media Inc, a global public relations/mass media firm. He is also the Editor of Thursday Night Magazine . He resides in Toronto, ON.