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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on April 26, 2000. All rights reserved.
Henderson to Nilson To General Motors
Less than two years after one of Princeton’s most prestigious
family-owned brokerages — Henderson Realtors — merged with
a Shrewsbury-based firm, Gloria Nilson Realtors (www.glorianilson.com) that firm has itself
been sold to a division of one of the largest corporations in the
nation, General Motors.
The 350 agents will still do business under the Gloria Nilson name,
at least for now, but will operate as part of GMAC Real Estate’s New
York Metro Division. Founded in 1998, GMAC has more than 1,450 brokerage
offices and 25,000 agents. It also has the third largest relocation
company in the nation (www.gmacrealestate.com).
Gloria Nilson Realty did almost $800 million in business last year.
The Princeton office leads the area when it comes to sales of homes
worth more than $500,000. At the time of the Henderson sale, real
estate professionals wondered whether or not the acquiring firm could
maintain the Henderson reputation, developed over 40 years, as a specialist
in the selling of high end Princeton houses (U.S. 1, September 16,
1998). The answer then was that Nilson, the woman who wears the trademark
hats in her photos and in person, had a similar reputation in the
upscale areas of Monmouth County. Now Nilson is selling to a bigger
player but she will remain as executive vice president and director
of the Luxury and Elegant Homes Division for the division.
Pat Bell is president of the GMAC Real Estate New York Metro Division,
headquartered in Liberty Corner. Bell had sold her business, Country
Heritage Real Estate, to Richard Schlott in 1985, and she became regional
vice president for Coldwell Banker/Schlott in 1991. With 22 offices
she had one of the top regions in the country for Coldwell Banker
"A well established high-end company in Central New Jersey has
chosen GMAC as the company that will serve the needs of the agents
and has recognized the need to retain the quality of character of
the firm," says Maureen Penta, senior vice president and general
sales manager of Gloria Nilson Realtors GMAC.
"The salespeople have been very positive about the acquisition,"
says Penta. "We made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon at
the Oyster Point in Red Bank. GMAC recognizes the importance of maintaining
the character and philosophy of the existing company. The organization
will be built on the foundation of the company that they are happy
with presently. This is the company they have worked to build. It
has been good to them. GMAC is not going to change our company but
support our company in technology."
Insiders noted two years ago that the Hendersons sold to Nilson at
a time when the industry was becoming more complicated and more technology
dependent. Now Nilson seems to have reached a similar conclusion.
"In excess of $200 million will be invested in technology overall,"
says Penta. More than $20 million of that will be put into real estate
over the next 12 to 18 months. The lion’s share of the money, nevertheless,
can be used to build an immense database, the kind of database that
GM can use for many purposes.
Home purchase, home financing, home relocation, auto purchase, auto
financing — everything will go into this database. Bell says GMAC’s
ultimate goal is to meet the needs of the consumer, not only during
the transaction process, but long after, to have them as customers
for life. An international company with a database so comprehensive
is a long way from a 40-year-old family business.
Penta says that Gloria Nilson Realtors GMAC will indeed be the permanent
name. "Promises like that are promises that are kept in real estate,"
says Penta. Schlott’s name lasted with Coldwell Banker for 10 years,
she points out. "But with the merger of the offices of Gloria
Nilson and Henderson, there was never a promise to keep the name."
— Barbara Fox
Princeton 08542. Catherine McCool, manager. 609-921-9300; fax, 609-921-3299.
08690-1709. John Burke, office manager. 609-890-0007; fax, 609-584-1247.
Suite 1, Pennington 08534. Anne Nosnitsky, manager. 609-737-9100;
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