Regional realtor board OKs merger

By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent 

The Meadowlands Board of Realtors, which has served the needs of real estate agents and their customers in West Hudson and South Bergen for 93 years, is no more.

As of July 1, the group was merged with the Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors, creating the third largest realtor association in New Jersey, with more than 3,300 members.

Only the North Central Jersey BOR, with 7,742 members, and Monmouth County BOR, with 5,635, are larger, according to EBCBOR spokeswoman Melissa Piccinich. NCJBOR’s territory takes in Essex, Union, Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon, Sussex and Warren counties.

Kearny realtor Scott Bixler of the Bixler Group and vice president of the MBOR, worked with MBOR President Nancy Lastra, a Rutherford realtor, in helping draft the merger agreement and Bixler will join the EBCBOR board in 2015.

The EBCBOR will absorb the MBOR property in Rutherford but not the Meadowlands group’s single full-time employee or part-time staffer, representatives from both realtor groups said.

Piccinich said the move to link the two entities was a mutually desired outcome and leadership teams from both groups worked hand-in-hand for many months on shaping the merger agreement “to make sure that this was a good match for both.”

And that proposal was overwhelmingly approved by both memberships when they were asked to vote on the agreement May 29 at the Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe, she said.

In a prepared statement, Lastra said: “This unification creates an association that delivers maximum value for our members. The newly merged association will act as a catalyst to help all our members work better and become more productive.”

And EBCBOR President Bowen Pak added: “By combining the assets of both associations and pooling resources, tools and expertise, we will be better able to provide improved services and support, thus elevating the value of local realtors to consumers throughout Bergen and Hudson counties.”

Combining the two organizations expands EBCBOR’s existing 26-town territory to include Kearny, Harrison, Lyndhurst, North Arlington, Rutherford, East Rutherford, Carlstadt, Wallington and Woodridge and the 300-plus realtors based in that region.

Laura Rubinfeld, chief executive officer for the EBCBOR, said the consolidated forces of the group will strengthen its mission to advocate for the industry, educate members and provide them with resources and benefits to enhance their professional knowledge that will, in turn, help consumers in real estate transactions.

From its Hasbrouck Heights office, staffed by a CEO, three department coordinators and receptionist, the EBCBOR’s Bergen County Realtors Center for Professional Development offers multiple seminars and monthly workshops “focusing on the latest advances in the real estate industry, including technology, law, best practices, global marketing strategies and trends,” according to the group’s website.

Classes leading to licenses as a real estate agent, salesperson or broker-salesperson or realtor and continuing education are available at the Center.

Bixler said that a big factor that figured in the decision to merge was the availability and variety of educational opportunities for realtor members.

“They have a ‘Lunch & Learn’ every Tuesday where you can find out about different aspects of real estate, such as how to integrate technology with your business,” Bixler said.

Also, given mandates by the N.J. Real Estate Commission for realtors to take continuing education classes and by the National Association of Realtors requiring members to take a real estate ethics course, having access to the EBCBOR’s Bergen County Center is all the more beneficial, Bixler said.

“We couldn’t offer as much [at Meadowlands],” he added.

The Meadowlands board was initially founded as the Rutherford- Lyndhurst Board of Realtors in 1921 and was charted by the National Association of Realtors on April 27, 1921. In 1947, it became known as the South Bergen Board of Realtors to reflect expanded service in that area. In 1983, it again changed to Meadowlands Board of Realtors and in 1993, it merged with the Arlington Kearny board.

The Eastern Bergen County board was chartered by the national association in 1923.

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