By Anthony J. Machcinski
For some, the real estate business is a way to make some quick money, or a hobby turned career. For Fernando Semiao, the real estate industry was something into which he was born and raised.
“When I was a teenager, my dad bought a couple homes and had them as rentals, so I learned from him,” Semiao said. “In 1988, my dad bought a property in Florida and made each of (us children) buy a lot and I thought it was pretty cool.”
Originally an engineer, Semiao found the job boring and turned to real estate, which soon became a passion.
“I had been stuck in the same job,” Semiao said. “When this came up, I took the real estate license test and I was able to have more fun.”
Semiao, now the owner and broker of Century 21 Semiao Associates, said that his attitude toward life has made him into one of the top real estate salesman in the area.
“I’ve always been a gogetter,” Semiao said. “That’s what made me successful in sales. I wanted to start building and selling houses and to have a good team of agents that would follow the standards that I set.”
For Semiao, the real estate business was never about the sales; rather, it was about helping families reach their goals.
“When I started in real estate, I never thought about selling real estate,” Semiao explained. “I was trying to help families achieve their dreams, and it’s still the same thing today.”
He continued, “I’m not trying to sell them anything. I’m just trying to get them where they want to be.”
With 19 years in the real estate industry, Semiao has built himself a stable business that survived one of the toughest housing markets in recent history.
“At the height of the market, we had five offices,” Semiao explained. “We downsized to two just to make sure we survived strong.”
Semiao believes that the business got through the tough times due to leadership and high standards.
“I like to consider myself having high standards,” Semiao said. “I’ve always been a leader, and I’ve been able to lead a team that can help others achieve their goals.”
That leadership has been recognized on several occasions, as, for example, when Semiao was named the 2013 Realtor of the Year by the Meadowlands Board of Realtors.
Semiao was additionally afforded the opportunity of speaking in Portugal at the Century 21 Iberian Conference, where he was the keynote speaker.
“That was an honor,” Semiao said of the experience. “I put in some good preparation to present the best practices I used in the states, both in taking care of clients and teaching agents to be professional.”
Semiao said the location of the conference added to the milestone.
“My dad emigrated from Portugal in 1965, and to be able to speak over there, it was an honor,” Semiao said.
A resident of Kearny for much of his life, Semiao, a Franklin School and Kearny High School alum, said that his experience in the area has also helped him.
“Our offices definitely represent the towns that we service,” Semiao said. “We speak dozens of different languages and all the people live in the neighborhoods that they sell to. They know those neighborhoods.”
Semiao believes what separates him from other realtors in the area is his standards and his morality.
“What separates me is being honest, having integrity and keeping my word,” Semiao said. “It’s all more important than making a dollar. I won’t cross that line for anything. I believe I’ve built a reputation in the area and it keeps our repeat customers coming back.”
Century 21 Semiao Associates has two locations: in Kearny at 213 Kearny Ave. and in Lyndhurst at 761 Ridge Road. For more information, call the Kearny office at 201-991-1300 or the Lyndhurst office at 201-460- 8000.