Regional Realty Firm To Close Verona Office

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach will be closing its office on Bloomfield Avenue opposite Verona Park and asking agents that have been associated with the office to transfer their licenses to either its Montclair or Livingston offices. About 30 agents will be affected by the decision.

A firm spokeswoman says that a definitive date for the closing has not yet been determined. The Berkshire Hathaway office in Montclair is located at 695 Bloomfield Avenue, just east of Whole Foods. The Livingston office is at 79 South Livingston Avenue.

End of an era for Verona real estate

The closing will mark the end of an era for Verona real estate. There has been a realty office at 538 Bloomfield Avenue since 1963, when B.N. Janett Realty opened its third Verona location there. (Full disclosure: This reporter’s father was a Janet agent for almost 20 years.) The firm’s first office was a tiny building near what is now Mountain Auto Body, while its second was on the second floor of the building next to Lakeside Deli. The firm became part of Prudential Realty in the 1980s, before being folded into Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. But it maintained strong ties to Verona, supporting countless community groups and projects over the decades.

“On behalf of the Janett family, we’d like to thank the entire Verona community and surrounding towns for their loyal support over past 70 years,” said Steve Janett, the son of the firm’s founders, in a statement. “It has been a privilege and an honor to have helped make homeownership dreams come true since 1954 for so many families in Verona and the West Essex region.”

“We now look forward to continuing the legacy of Bernie and Gert Janett under the current leadership of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach Realtors,” he added. “We appreciate your friendship and for giving us the opportunity to serve you over all of these years.” Janett served as chief operating officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices for almost 17 years, retiring in November 2022.

The first Janett Realty office opened near what is now Mountain Auto Body in 1954.

His sister Susan Janett was more emotional, writing on Facebook yesterday that her heart was “a bit broken.” “In the scheme of life, no one died,” she posted. “No one was injured. No one was physically hurt. And this heaviness will pass. But tonight there’s a 15-year-old girl inside me grieving for the loss of my Dad and of his legacy I have been carrying on.” Susan Janett will be moving her license to the Montclair office.

Changing needs for real estate offices

The office consolidation is part of a nationwide trend among real estate firms. While they were once required to have offices on a visible street and agents had assigned “floor time” to handle walk-ins, real estate firms now get most of their buyers from their website and social media listings. The agents’ cell phones have become the new office front door. Rick Lodato, a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach agent, has his cell phone on his listings and business card, as well as the long-time main number for the Verona office, 973-239-7700, which will be transferred to Montclair. “That phone will still be answered,” he said.

Firms have found themselves needing less office space, even as their ranks of agents have grown. Last year, Josh Jacobs, the owner of Hearth Realty, converted a large part his office space at 460 Bloomfield Avenue into The Collective Bookstore. The Janetts still own the building at 538 Bloomfield Avenue, but have not yet decided what might be next for the space.

Lauren Orsini is taking the change in stride. The Verona native, who is the team leader of the Orsini Real Estate and Marketing Group at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, will be moving her license to the Montclair office. “Over the years, the landscape of the real estate business has evolved,” she said. “We have always welcomed change; even when it is easier to remain the same. We serve our clients best by looking for best strategies even if it requires us to pivot in order to grow. Our commitment to our clients is the one thing that we will never change and we look forward to continuing to provide exceptional service to this very special, small town community we all know and love.”

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