Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead! The New Jersey housing market has lost its biggest set of pom-pom waving cheerleaders, and none to soon!
Sugar-coat this one all you want, but the fact of the matter is that Burdgdorff is gone, the axe was swung and those who survived were folded into the characterless Caldwell brand (not sure which fate was worse).
These folks were the self-proclaimed kings of real estate, nothing but arrogance and hubris. I’m sure many of you here are happy to see them gone. There is something inherently beautiful in the fact that a firm that vehemently denied the existence of a bubble ultimately being destroyed by it. Just desserts.
From the NYT:
TWO of the state’s largest real estate agencies — Coldwell Banker and Burgdorff ERA — are in the process of being melded into one by a parent company, NRT (which itself has a parent, Realogy, and a “grandparent,” Apollo Management). And some smaller, independent agencies are taking the move as an opportunity — to promote their smallness, and perhaps to grow bigger.
In Montclair, the week after the June 23 merger announcement, one smallish agency ran a full-page ad in the local weekly to tweak their larger rivals.
“Big is one thing,” it said under a picture of David with his slingshot, standing next to the gigantic hairy foot of Goliath. “Smart is something else. We’re something else. Rhodes Van Note & Company.”
In that community, the Burgdorff ERA branch had just been “rebranded” as a second Coldwell Banker office — less than a mile from the first. Instant rebranding took place in six other communities, too, including Short Hills and Summit. In mid-July, however, Burgdorff signs still hung on a few office buildings; even some lawn signs still hadn’t been switched.
In six additional towns, Burgdorff offices were closed outright, and agents moved to Coldwell Banker offices. NRT officials based in Parsippany described the merger as a way to cut costs and strengthen efficiency.
But for the affected agents, said Lois Schneider, a longtime Summit broker, the turmoil “has to be nightmarish.” Ms. Schneider, whose independent agency bears her name, also described the merger as “confusing for the public, at least right now.”
She said that she had built her firm’s success on “community-oriented, personal, friendly service,” handpicking a tight-knit team of agents, all women, and that she saw customers as being hungry for “local-ness” and personal attention now, more than ever.
Like both Ms. Schneider and Ms. Bigos, Mr. Baris said it pained him to see the demise of the Burgdorff brand, created by Douglas and Jean Burgdorff in Murray Hill in 1958 and sold to NRT in 1996.
The six towns that lost Burgdorff offices are Basking Ridge, Chatham, Hillsdale, Morristown, Princeton and Ridgewood.
In addition to Montclair, Short Hills and Summit, the towns in which Burgdorff branches became Coldwell branches are Cresskill, Livingston, Maplewood and Westfield.