“REALTOR TO THE STARS” JOSHUA M. BARIS, AN INNOVATOR IN THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN REAL ESTATE, PUTS CLIENTS, AND FAMILY, FIRST
BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI • PHOTOS BY AMESSE PHOTOGRAPHY
New Jersey luxury real estate agent Joshua M. Baris has created a uniquely recognizable brand selling some of New Jersey’s most opulent homes by maximizing his assets – and recognizing emerging opportunities.
Enamored with technology, Baris was building websites early on. Before other entrepreneurs realized they could use social media for marketing and advertising, Baris was already utilizing it. He was among the first real estate agents in New Jersey to employ drones, along with a robot outfitted with cameras that followed him on a guided virtual reality property tour. From the beginning, to make his listings stand out, Baris consistently recognized unique opportunities that could take his promotional efforts to the next level. Hence his trademarked slogan “Bar is Raised for Real Estate!”
“When I wanted to pursue larger scale projects, I decided to create high-end luxury videos,” Baris noted. “Videos create unique content which helps my listings gain higher rankings on Google as more people view them, generating more traffic. Today, my website NJLux.com gets anywhere from 15,000 – 45,000 unique visitors on a monthly basis. I’m a huge believer that one must invest money to make money, while taking risks with new ideas and marketing strategies.”
Each film, enhanced by dramatic music and “jaw-dropping” cinematography, has obtained as many as 775,000 views on YouTube, propelling him to the pinnacle of success in his field.
The Englewood Cliffs native was a shy student at the University of Rhode Island, where he received his marketing degree and met wife Hilary. After marrying in 2002, their first home was a condominium in Edgewater. In 2011, they moved to Tenafly, where they still reside.
As he sought a stable income that combined his knack for relationship building and passion for technology, Baris sampled jobs that proved similar – sales, advertising, and online digital marketing. He later chose real estate, obtained his license, and joined a commercial real estate company in Paramus.
Shortly after working in commercial real estate, Baris decided to focus on residential real estate. Soon after marrying his college sweetheart, he decided to leave real estate to find a more stable career with a base salary and benefits. His next move was to a home warranty company, where he gained confidence in public speaking and training thousands of real estate agents throughout New Jersey. When the housing bubble hit in 2009, Baris was laid off and went on unemployment, vowing to keep a positive attitude.
“The very next weekend, someone wanting to list their condo knocked on my door asking if I was still selling real estate,” said Baris. “A few days later, another person randomly knocked on my door for the very same reason. I saw it as a sign and decided to give real estate another try.” He joined Coldwell Banker, and there he undertook the relatively new practice of posting his listings online via social media. “It was Facebook’s early years. Others weren’t using social media for marketing, and I saw that as an incredible untapped opportunity,” he said.
In 2010, he was selected to speak on a panel for social media best practices at Planet Real Estate. He later went on to earn the NJ REALTORS Circle of Excellence Award, at the Platinum level from 2014 through 2019, the highest level designation one can achieve. In 2019 Baris achieved approximately $62 million in sales. He owns well over 500 Internet domain names, including NJlux.com. Utilizing his technological expertise, he customizes most to the towns he works in, redirecting them to his main site. If someone looks up “Schools in a certain town” or “Things to do,” they are connected to Joshua Baris and NJlux.com.
He conquered a Bucket List goal when a publisher approached him to write a section for a book he was compiling The Essential Guide to Buying and Selling Luxury Real Estate. Baris helped promote and market the tome, which later earned him the designation of “Best Selling Author” of a “Best Selling Book.”
“Realtor to the Stars”
Baris’ first celebrity client was NBA center Jason Collins of the New Jersey Nets and Atlanta Hawks, who was living in a North Bergen luxury penthouse when his mom learned of Baris through a realtor friend. After Baris met Collins and his parents, he sold the condo. Living in the same building were actor/rapper Ice-T and his wife Coco, who were starting their E! reality show Ice Loves Coco. Baris met and eventually completed real estate transactions with the couple, including one that resulted in Baris appearing on the first episode of the show. Referrals, word-of-mouth, and his strong online presence led to doing business with other celebrity clients, including Sean “Diddy” Combs, Mary J. Blige, and Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers.
Baris declined to discuss details of his boldface clients, saying, “It’s about helping them sell and buy real estate while maintaining their privacy. I want to make sure they and their families are safe.” His reputation and expertise has led to appearances on television shows like Living Large (CBS), Open House (NBC), Luxury Living (News 12), and more. He is frequently interviewed by publications including the NY Post, Daily News, New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Bergen Record.
Real Estate in the Age of COVID-19
Despite an initial, brief pause in real estate operations due to novel coronavirus shutdowns, Baris has continued to work with clients, showing and selling properties at a brisk pace in recent months, many to people looking to leave large cities, especially New York.
“I’ve been insanely busy,” he said. “You must respect each person’s comfort level with regards to COVID-19.” Baris provides masks, gloves, and booties, along with waivers to be signed by buyers and sellers. “Buyers are concerned about health, safety, and quality of life. They want yards, pools, and home offices in the suburbs. There is amazing opportunity right now.”
The Keys to Success
“Be honest and genuine, practice good Karma, pay it forward, work hard and smart, and hone a good reputation,” Baris advises. “Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. People see and appreciate that.”
Baris continuously ranks in the top one percent of Licensed N.J. Real Estate Agents, is one of the Top 1000 Real Estate Professionals in the country, and has a multitude of awards and accolades listed on his website. Forbes named him a 2020 Market Leader and included him in their prestigious Forbes 500 List.
“The most important thing to me is family,” Baris summed up. “It’s all about supporting my family and spending quality time with them. Everything revolves around family with me.”
JOSHUA M. BARIS
201.741.4999 / NJlux.com
Coldwell Banker Realty / Global Luxury Division
375 Park Avenue Suite 21 / Fort Lee / 201.461.5000