THIS REAL ESTATE EXPERT, HARNESSING NEARLY TWO DECADES OF EXPERIENCE, SPECIALIZES IN HELPING GARDEN STATE RESIDENTS FIND THEIR PERFECT RESIDENCE
BY JESSICA JONES GORMAN • PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE
After several corporate relocations uprooted her family five times in a span of 10 years, Bernadette Barnett became an expert at moving.
“One move was to Hong Kong. My husband’s company sent him over right away, leaving me to sell the house and cars and pack up the kids,” Barnett recalled. “Yes, it’s true that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but it definitely would have been nice to have a relocation specialist help navigate that process.”
The series of relocations from Hong Kong to California, Connecticut, New York, and eventually back to New Jersey inspired Barnett to enter the real estate industry.
“I started by becoming a real estate assistant in 2001,” she said. “The experience of moving from place to place taught me the importance of having an agent you can trust as your advocate and advisor when focusing on a financial investment as substantial and as personal as one’s home.”
But Barnett said her history of relocation wasn’t the only factor that inspired the new career.
“My mother was a single mom, struggling to make ends meet and pay our ridiculously high rent, and when I was about 17, she decided to see if we could afford to buy a house,” Barnett detailed of her Upstate New York upbringing. “She found a place she loved, but it was more than she could afford, so I spoke to the realtor, who in turn was able to secure this lender loan mortgage because my mom lived in such a rural area. It had a one percent interest rate, which made all the difference, affording my hardworking mother the opportunity to buy a first home. Afterward, it was in the back of my mind…the desire to help people the way that realtor helped my mom.” Barnett worked as an assistant with Pacific Union while living in California, then took a job in Weichert’s mentoring program upon her move to Rumson. She became a certified real estate specialist and focused on relocation services.
“Eight years into it, the market began declining and I started looking for other opportunities,” she said. “I made an appointment with Mary Burke, owner of Heritage House Sotheby’s International Realty, because her agency was the only one in the area that was gaining in a down market. After our meeting, there was no doubt…this was the company I wanted to be with. All of the resources and support they provided was invaluable. I’ve been here for 11 years and I still feel exactly the same way. There is no place I’d rather be.”
In her ten year career at Heritage House Sotheby’s International Realty, Barnett has been named Company Top Producer three times. A licensed real estate agent in the state of New Jersey since 2000, she is a member of the New Jersey Association of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors, the Monmouth County Association of Realtors, the NJ Realtors Distinguished Sales Club, the NJ Realtors Budget & Finance Committee, and the NJ Realtors Political Action Committee. She has earned the NJAR Circle of Excellence Sales Award Platinum level for the last seven years, and in 2017, achieved her personal best, with sales totaling over $32,000,000.
“My passion is truly to help people,” Barnett said. “It goes back to that realtor getting my mom to a place that she herself didn’t think she could afford. I really love helping homeowners navigate the obstacles of ownership. It’s extremely rewarding.” Barnett is also one of Monmouth County’s biggest cheerleaders.
“I’m sitting here in my office in Rumson looking across a tennis court and staring at the Navesink River,” she said. “The beach is a mile and a half away, and the entire town is covered in parkland. I’m so fortunate to live and work here; it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful Monmouth County is, and it makes it easy to sell something when you really believe in it. I consider myself lucky to have seen so much of the world and lived in so many different places, but there truly is no place like home.”
She gives back to the community by donating to and participating with several charitable organizations, and is particularly engaged with Lunch Break, a Red Bank based nonprofit that provides food, clothing, life skills, and fellowship to those in need in Monmouth County and beyond.
“Our company is being honored this year at their fall gala, and I am extremely proud of the volunteerism that we are able to provide,” Barnett said. “We’ve bagged groceries, assisted with toy and coat drives, and donated items to their closet, which is open to anyone in need of free suits for job interviews. It’s an amazing group, and we’re happy to assist them in any way possible.”
Such community involvement is yet another reason why Barnett appreciates the opportunities her job provides.
“I love what I do,” she concluded. “Real estate is a seven day a week job, but when you help a family find a home and give back to a community that means so much, the rewards become endless.”
Bernadette Barnett | Heritage House Sotheby’s International Realty
23 W River Road, Rumson / 908.902.5035 sothebysrealty.com