SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – It has been almost twenty years since brothers Donald and Paul Lamastra – both long-time residents of Scotch Plains – have taken over the reins of the family business ERA Suburb Realty Agency from their father in 1997, but the they are just as passionate about real estate now than they’ve ever been before. Their father, Sal previously ran the company successfully for more than four decades.
“I’ve always had a burning desire for real estate; I’m very competitive by nature,” said Paul Lamastra, who first got into real estate part-time working summers since 1983 and full-time in June 1985 right after graduating Kean University. “I love to help people find a place that they call home. It’s a challenge, every client is a different client that has different needs so it never got monotonous like some jobs do. After 33 years of doing this business, I’m still learning every day and I’m still passionate about it because I enjoy that excitement of new challenges.”
One of those challenges that the brothers have encountered since taking over the family-run business has been the element of expansion. Their vision was to substantially grow its sales team to accommodate the increasing demand in the industry during the real estate boom in the 1980s. As its sales team grew, so did the need for more office space as the Lamastra’s expanded their office size by three times its initial size by purchasing vacant office space in the same building.
Some of the qualities their father instilled in them decades ago still apply today. In fact, they are principles to how the Lamastra’s do business with its clients.
“He treated people with such a great deal of respect treated clients the same way that he would want to be treated by someone,” suggested Paul. “That’s really the whole philosophy (of this industry) in a nutshell.”
“The other thing he brought to this business was the incredible enthusiasm he had for people,” Donald added. “My father was enthusiastic and had a passion that was off the charts.”
ERA Suburb Realty of Scotch Plains now features a team of more than 30 leading home finance experts and real estate agents. Many of their agents focus on sales of homes in the Scotch Plains and Fanwood communities.
“We’ve got a great group of people working with us,” suggested Donald. “I’m very happy with how the business has developed over the years.”
“I’m really enthusiastic about South Plainfied,” said Paul, whose company now has about eight agents that reside in South Plainfield. “We really have a nice foothold in South Plainfield, it’s a great town and we want to keep expanding our resources in that town. It’s a great town with some excellent schools. There’s a good cross-section of prices there.”
Donald added that “South Plainfield has developed so much over the years that it offers more opportunities to sell.”
Inventory levels in the town, however, are a little low for this time of year, and the Spring of 2016 was much lower than usual, which is why there was so much recent competition in the industry. It was typical for each listing in town to receive several bids at the same time, so there was a lot of competition in the market.
People want houses that are ‘move-in ready’ and that starts with updating bathrooms and kitchens for these homes, most of which were built from the 1950s to the 70s in Scotch Plains and Fanwood. The ones with the most up-to-date bathrooms and kitchens tend to sell better, but there are other low-cost alternatives to improving the timeline of selling your home, according to the Lamastra’s.
“A more cost-effective way of preparing your house for sale is to paint the interior walls, it makes the house look good,” said Paul, who has more than three decades of experience. “Cleaning it up and making it look neat are some of the inexpensive alternatives to getting your house ready for the sale.”
Both Paul and Donald agree that the industry has evolved, especially in recent years.
“Technology has changed our business tremendously for the better,” said Donald. “The agents can do more and do it faster. The idea of doing everything online is great.”
“I just think that technology is going to take us to a different level,” added Paul. “Not all of the houses are staged right now, but I do feel that the number is going to climb towards that.”
In the near future, ERA Suburb Realty, one of nearly 2,500 franchises in its international network is exploring more expansion opportunities, especially in neighboring towns. Both of them anticipate that to happen within several years as they continue to get more involved in neighboring towns such as South Plainfied, the site of Paul’s first sale back in 1983.
About ERA Suburb Realty
ERA Real Estate was founded on the premise of building a franchise system based on the principle of collaboration – the idea that by working together and helping one another, a stronger community of real estate professionals could be built. Each ERA office helps strengthen the communities where they work and practice real estate. ERA Suburb Realty is located near the center of town at 1773 E. 2nd Street, Scotch Plains. Visit erasuburb.com to view local listings and learn more.
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