FOR THIS MONMOUTH COUNTY BASED REALTY COMPANY, HELPING CLIENTS “FIND THEIR HAPPINESS” IS AS VITAL AS THE BOTTOM LINE
BY JESSICA JONES GORMAN • PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE
After buying their first home in Greenwich, Connecticut, completely gutting the property, and putting up an architecturally authentic Queen Anne in its place, Kerrin and Tamara O’Brien became fascinated by real estate.
“We bought a house, knocked it down, and started from scratch,” Kerrin said. “There was so much involved so many decisions to make and so many pieces of the puzzle to fit together. But we enjoyed the process. Throughout the project, we were both simply bitten by the real estate bug, and after a lot of thought and consideration, we left our careers to start anew.”
The timing couldn’t have been much worse the pair made the move immediately after the stock market crash of 2008. But even through the sting of the resulting recession, they persisted I had previously worked as a writer/producer for different networks HBO, Showtime and did a lot of voiceover work, and Tammy was a stock broker, so this was a complete lane change for us,” Kerrin said. “But we self-educated, got our licenses, sold our house for a profit, and moved closer to home.”
The couple, both native New Jerseyans, met in high school and dated for a decade before marrying in 2004. They decided they wanted to raise their daughters in the same community where they grew up. “I was born and raised in Monmouth County. I love this area and know the value of it,” Kerrin said. “But I still had to work seven days a week to find my niche. I studied other towns and their benefits, researched school districts, tax rates, and community attributes. I realized buyers had to fall in love with a neighborhood before they committed, so I dug deep to find the charm of each and every community I represented.”
Kerrin’s formula proved successful, and after five years of selling real estate, she branched out and opened O’Brien Realty with her wife in 2013.“We started these new careers at such a difficult time everyone was suffering financially. But I think that was the best way to learn,” she said. “It kept us humble, it kept us hungry, and it kept us focused on the client. We don’t sell houses to make a profit. We sell them to help people build a life and find their happiness.”
O’Brien Realty has grown rapidly in the past five years. After opening their first office in Monmouth Beach, the couple soon expanded to Oceanport and currently has an office under construction in Atlantic Highlands. They employ about 100 agents in total.
“We’ve seen tremendous growth, of which we are extremely proud,” Kerrin said, detailing particularly how her company had been recently ranked as one of the top realtors in on mouth County. “But I think that growth serves as a testament to our philosophy: We are a local, homegrown business that genuinely cares about the people of this community. Our job is to make sure clients are happy, and when we achieve that goal, those clients help our company grow through word of mouth. Because of those referrals, we’re becoming a household name.”
Kerrin, who’s a working broker, also takes pride in offering her agents a fair split, simply because, as she detailed, success breeds success.
“Real estate is about customer service,” she said. “I’m not interested in fees and royalties, because I think that is a disservice to clients. Our goal has always been to surround ourselves with a top notch staff who go above and beyond to help people get through the journey of buying a home. I’m a big believer in the laws of attraction positivity and good energy are important parts of making anything work.”
Kerrin also devotes a good portion of her time to assisting local charities, supporting several schools, community based activities, and programs in the Monmouth County area. She also serves on the board of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey.
“Giving back has always been a huge part of our philosophy,” she said. “It’s extremely important to support the community in which you live and work.”
In the future, Kerrin hopes to build on O’Brien Realty’s training program, giving each one of her agents the tools they need to succeed. “We just love seeing our staff do well,” she said.
“We’re also seeing a lot more consumer confidence out there than there has been in the past,” Kerrin concluded. “Monmouth County as a whole is doing extremely well. I think there’s a big draw here for summer folks who are currently gravitating here instead of the Hamptons…simply out of convenience. And there’s some huge growth going on in Long Branch and Asbury as well. It’s wonderful to see so many positive things happening in a community that I love so much.”
37 Beach Road, Monmouth Beach
732.229.3532 / obrienrealtyllc.com