The Exit Realty Central office at 133-07 Cross Bay Blvd. is quiet at 10 a.m. on a rainy Monday morning. The new workweek has not yet kicked into full gear.
But it will.
The staff of 55 is just starting another busy week in the fast-paced New York real estate market, showing housing, closing sales and helping people find the perfect place to live or realize their dream of owning their own home.
It’s been 10 years since then-newlyweds John Rodriguez and Martiza Ortiz-Rodriguez opened the doors of Exit Realty Central for the first time. Then they had only a handful of employees, but today their staff allows them to branch out far beyond Ozone Park, selling homes from Downtown Brooklyn to Suffolk County.
Rodriguez said what has helped them succeed is the model provided to them by Exit Realty, a Canada-based franchise chain.
“Before opening Exit, I was with small mom-and-pop offices,” he said. “I was looking for a better system that is good for the broker, the agent and the business itself.”
Through a friend, Rodriguez was introduced to Exit and its concept, in which management shares the responsibility for recruiting business with the agents.
“I knew this was the right place to be,” he said.
The real estate roller coaster of the last year was a “struggle,” Rodriguez said, but the company made sure it had the support it needed to survive.
“It was the hardest time to support keeping the business open,” Rodriguez said. “The income that the Exit system provides helped us through that.”
Ortiz-Rodriguez said regional management keeps in close contact with her and her husband to make sure they have all the resources they need to succeed.
Her husband added that several agents sit on boards of organizations like MLS that help the real estate industry and several political action committees that lobby politicians.
Exit Realty Central doesn’t only sell homes, but also works with those who seek to rent as well.
In the next decade, Rodriguez said he hopes to move the office to a paperless system and bring in new talent.
“Our growth is going to be helping the agents that we have and bringing in new agents,” he said. “It’s getting to the point where agents are beginning to call us. Our market share is getting higher.”
The Rodriguezes are a neighborhood family. They live in Ozone Park and their three children, ages 10, 8 and 5, attend St. Mary Gate of Heaven School.
Ortiz-Rodriguez said the realty also does community outreach, including workshops to help people understand the process of buying a home.
“We try to educate the buyers out there,” she said. “It’s their dream come true and we want this. It makes us happy to help them realize that.”
After Hurricane Sandy, Exit Realty Central had a binder full of apartments for rent that helped dozens of families in devastated areas such as Howard Beach and the Rockaways find temporary housing.
“We were able to help so many families on a temporary basis and helped give them a place to stay while they got their houses together,” Ortiz-Rodriguez said. “We were very happy we were able to help during that time.”