Following in his dad’s footsteps, John Reinhardt has spent the last 38 years involved in the real estate business, rising to president and CEO of Fillmore Real Estate in 2001.
“My dad gave me a birthday card and a real estate application,” Reinhardt recalls of his 18th birthday. “I went to St. John’s University and was going to be a lawyer, but my dad asked who would take over the company since both my brothers were lawyers. So I went into real estate, and I’ve enjoyed it.”
Today, Fillmore Real Estate is the largest firm in Brooklyn, N.Y., with 14 locations serving Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. This year, the firm is celebrating 50 years in business. Looking back on 2016, Reinhardt is happy—for the most part—with what he’s seen.
“We’re up a little from last year,” reports Reinhardt. “Some parts of town are doing great, and the parts of town that had stalled are starting to creep up,” he adds. “The market is doing great. Not only is Brooklyn alive, but it’s the center of the world, and I think all in all, we’re fortunate to be in a market that’s in such high demand.”
Current challenges in Reinhardt’s market include a shortage of inventory and the constant battle to educate Brooklynites on the advantages of transacting real estate in this day and age. For example, many empty-nesters are remaining in their homes as they don’t see moving as a viable choice. However, once they learn about condos and other options, they’re more willing to put their homes on the market.
Reinhardt has a goal to double the size of the company in the next few years, and looks to do so through mergers and acquisitions, plus a commitment to focusing on recruitment. “We’ll be reinventing our compensation plan to be more aggressive and to compete in this marketplace,” he explains. “We’re the guys who were born and raised in Brooklyn, and we know the neighborhood better than anybody else.”
It’s that personal insight to the community that shows the firm’s roots run deep, and what Reinhardt feels attracts buyers and sellers, as well as new agents who are drawn to Fillmore Real Estate because of its cutting-edge technology, website and marketing.
“We’re dedicated to supporting our agents and doing the right thing, and that’s how you attract agents—by creating a company that’s profitable and exciting to work for,” Reinhardt says.
When it comes to technology, the firm recently launched an Agent Dashboard, designed to help accelerate agent success. It’ll also help experienced agents keep current with market changes.
“We have a lot of information available to our agents, such as how to deal with the millennial buyer, how to treat them differently, and how to communicate with them,” says Reinhardt. “You need to know that you can’t communicate with millennials the same way you would a boomer. That’s why we’ve deployed a new texting function in our technology that allows the agent to text the consumer.”
Being a home-grown brand is important to Reinhardt as he reflects on the firm’s 50th anniversary. A number that means a lot to him and his family, it’s a milestone he expects to double in another 50 years.
Vitals: Fillmore Real Estate
Years in Business: 50
Size: 14 offices, 285 agents
Regions Served: Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan
2015 Sales Volume: Approx. $460 million
2015 Transactions: 848
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