When Pat and Karen Roberto cut the ribbon on their new business, ERA Millennium Real Estate on Ferry Street, their children were young and their life was much different.
Now, 20 years later, the business has grown exceptionally, and at the same time their family has grown as well. Looking back over 20 years, Pat Roberto said this week he is proud to be the Realtor and brokerage that has welcomed everyone through its doors.
“After 20 years of business, my kids are grown up and I have grandkids now,” he said. “Real Estate has gone up and down since I’ve opened…My life-long dream was to open up a restaurant, but I ended up opening a real estate company. But they are really the same things in many ways. You have to serve people and make things nice and comfortable for them. Whether you’re serving food or helping them find a home or helping them sell a home, you have to make sure people are treated nicely.”
Part of that goal 20 years ago was making sure anyone wanting to buy or sell a home would be treated fairly and with respect – and that included speaking multiple languages.
“When I opened up, I wanted a balance of serving everyone – whether Brazilian speaking Portuguese, or Haitian-speaking Creole or French, or the Spanish speakers,” he said. “I wanted to have a lot of languages spoken at ERA. I wanted to be able to serve anyone no matter what language they spoke. This is what Everett is about now. My parents came from Italy on a boat. I was born here, but they came to have a better life. It was Italian then, and before that Irish, and now there are so many people from everywhere.”
Roberto said in the last 20 years, he has seen real estate go way up until 2005, then way down from 2007 to 2009, and finally the recent boom that started in 2011.
“The market in Everett has been going up ever since 2011,” he said. “So, my concern now is when do the prices stop going up. It seems to me we have to be close to the top of the market. It may be ready to level off and maybe even drop. We may have another two or three years of increases, but we might be close to the top of the market.”
However, he also said that now seems to be the time for Everett.
“First it started with Boston being too expensive, then Somerville was too expensive, and Medford became too expensive, and so did Charlestown,” he said. “Those are all the cities that surround Everett. It’s Everett’s turn now and it’s close to Boston and the roads are a little better now.”
While Roberto has operated ERA Millennium for 20 years, he has been selling real estate in Everett for 34 years. He began in 1985 with Century 21, which became Century 21 Citywide. In the 1990s, he worked for an independent company called Middlesex Realty. In 1999, he set out on his own, and hasn’t looked back since.
At the 20 year mark, Roberto has 12 agents working for him under the nationwide ERA franchise brand, and finds great joy in managing the company and the responsibility of owning a business.
“It’s more responsibility and is being responsible for other agents and not just yourself,” he said. “But there is great joy in that because their success is my success.”
Additionally, Roberto is an instructor with the Harris Real Estate School, and can help those interested get their real estate license there at the office. As an interesting tidbit, three years ago Roberto got a call from Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara who was seeking to get his real estate license. Roberto had him come into the office, and forged a relationship with the star defenseman – as he does with everyone – and helped him get his license.
In sum, Roberto said his brokerage is friendly, welcoming and ready to help another generation buy or sell property in Everett.
“We can help anyone buy or sell a home, or get licensed if they want to sell real estate,” he said. “We’ve been open for 20 years in Everett and I’ve been selling real estate in Everett for 34 years.”
Roberto is married to Karen Roberto, and has three children and four grandchildren.