Lennard Charles, is highly regarded as one of the brightest real estate professionals in New Jersey. From sales to rentals, residential to commercial, small transactions to large–few if any can match his 40+-year career.
After graduating CCNY with a Masters Degree he became a mathematics teacher and moved from Sedgwick Housing projects in The Bronx to Fort Lee, NJ.
While teaching, he realized that each student is an individual, learns and understands in their own unique way. In order to reach each student he developed a learning centre and the first Math Lab in NYC and gave presentations to the School District Math supervisions at 110 Livingston Street.
The Math Lab concept was to recognize each student was special with different skill sets. A few minutes of personal time with each student in most instances allowed a teacher/student interaction to deal with issues effecting the students learning and growth focusing on concepts, more so than simply mechanics.
At 23 years of age, while driving he noticed a For Sale sign in Pal Park, price $21,500. He purchased the home with 10% down and after teaching he would go to the library to learn construction; then to renovate the house on weekends.
After it was finished he moved into the home and about 18 months later he sold the house for $63,000 and made his first handsome profit.
Immediately thereafter he purchased many homes in Englewood and Teaneck and rented them to students from FDU. These homes were purchased in the mid $80k range and later sold for $125-$145K as the market appreciated in a very short time.
During this time he moved from place to place taking advantage of the coop and condo conversion mania taking place in Bergen County.
He also partnered with investors taking ownership of over 20 units in The Briarcliff, Med N, Med W and Central Court whose buildings converted to either cooperative or condominium ownership.
In 1984 the owner of a trailer park, now Westgate purchased and relocated residents to Linwood Park a Fort Lee cooperative. About 40 units became available and he was approached by the Board of Directors to purchase the units which he did. He flipped and hold them for a substantial profit. Today he is the largest shareholder.
Opportunities and hard work; taking calculated risks and using certain rules of investing started to generate enough profit and income to leave the teaching profession and open SMART Realty.
For the next decades he has represented high profile clients and has personally purchased and sold many different properties including the original Alexander Hamilton Bank building in Weehawken where they first minted money where he partnered with the town.
In order to separate Smart from the rest of the Realtors he understood generating leads was crucial to a successful business. And rather than do it arithmetically, develop a system to generate leads geometrically which he did.
Throughout his career he has continued to invest and develop relationships with high profile investor clients both at home and abroad;
from China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, London and Dubai.
When times are good or bad, the big boys Ask Mr. Smart.
Brief Overview of Large Transactions:
Admirals Walk, Edgewater – Represented developer American Landmark; sold all commercial units and remaining condominium inventory 1990’s.
Atrium, Hackensack – Represented Bank of China and Minn Metals purchased building from lender after foreclosure 1990’s.
The Avenue Collection: Sold the first commercial units at 1200 Avenue to real estate developer and doctor 2017.
Avora- Negotiated a 2 for 1 combination masterpiece duplex $2.4 Million 2018.
Cliffside Park Towne Centre, Cliffside Park – Represented AriLex – Set up marketing, pricing, website- staffed Onsite rental office - Leased the 314 luxury rental units - 2018.
Cliffside Park Towne Centre Retail – Sold the 50,000sf retail component for $16,500,000 to Saudi investor. Leased Sedona Taphouse, Anytime Fitness, ATT - 2018.
Edgewater Commons, Edgewater- Represented Starwood Heller and negotiated the transaction with Hartz Mountain regarding the 70 acre waterfront tract to bring the first and largest shopping Center on the New Jersey/Hudson River Waterfront.
Edgewater Medical Center, Edgewater, NJ - sold the free standing Medical Building to an investor- 2015.
Edgewater Towne Centre, Edgewater - Represented Starwood Heller and leased 70% of the community via the internet from website created by Smart in the 1990’s.
Fort Lee Plaza, Fort Lee – Represented Cardinale to Kim – Created the first all Korean Shopping Center in Fort Lee in the mid 1980’s. Leased entire mall. Sold the entire Plaza on three separate occasions to different investors and managed the mall for over one decade.
Gateway, Weehawken – Eagle Rock developer –Built website, priced and marketed 10 story luxury rental building –set up and staffed Onsite rental office- leased out the 152 luxury units.
Grand Cove, Edgewater – Chemical Bank – Investor purchased remaining townhomes in early 1990’s for Chinese investor. Resold townhomes to owner occupants – 1990’s.
Half Moon Harbour, North Bergen – Barrett Organization- performed all marketing and pricing – set up and staffed Onsite leased entire building for developer – 2000’s.
Hudson Mews, North Bergen – AriLex – developed marketing plan, created logos, website, social media campaign and pricing – set up and staffed Onsite rental office - 2018.
Imperatore property, Fort Lee – Jenti – sold the 1.2 acre estate for $4.5 million to Korean family for subdivision - 2018.
Jane St. 504, Iron Mountain Building - Fort Lee - sold 40,000sf climate controlled warehouse for film storage.
Lennar - Henley on the Hudson - Represented Lennar and took over there sales office to sell out the final phase of $38 million in luxury condominiums - 2020.
Manahawken- Leased and sold Day Plaza 1998.
Metro Plaza, North Bergen set up marketing and leasing plan along with websites and social media campaign -2021.
OrthoRem, Cliffside Park, NJ - sold 8,100sf building, plus house and large garage to Child Care facility - 2017.
Park Regency, Cliffside Park – Bank of China - Sold entire building after foreclosure and resold all remaining condominiums – late 1990’s.
Portside/Hudson Plaza, Edgewater – Rehabilitated old garage into a retail plaza in the heart of Edgewater at the intersection of Route 5 and River Road - 1990's.
Prasker Family, WNY, Union City- sold several of their commercial and Industrial properties including warehouses which were then converted to a residential use 1990.
River Road, Edgewater Properties Sold- 890 River Road/ Restaurant, 986 River Rd./ Medial Center, 2 Dempsey/vacant land, 986 River Rd/Hudson Plaza 1020 River Rd./ China King, 1026 River Rd. Laundromat, 1030 River Rd., 1033 River Road/ Admirals Walk commercial, 1086 River Rd., 1257 River Rd./ Les Jardin, & 70 River Rd. acres/ Edgewater Commons.
Roc Harbour, North Bergen – Bank of China/ Minn Metals/Xue In the 90’s after the developer defaulted on his maintenance at Roc Harbour investor purchased three bank loans and foreclosed on the developer.
Smart resold remaining townhomes and set up an onsite sales office on premises.
After 2 years of litigation, settled the lawsuit between Roc Harbour & Half Moon Harbour getting a new gatehouse, use of amenities & about $100k in cash.
Saddle River Estate- Simmons - Sold a $13,500,000 Saddle River mansion–the highest residential sale ever recorded in the New Jersey MLS up to 2001 to music celebrity couple.
Tenafly – Shairco Saudi Arabia - Recently assembled approximately one acre of property in Tenafly for Shairco a billion dollar Saudi company at the intersection of County Road and Highwood for development of mixed use retail and residential use 2016.
The Duchess, North Bergen- Arranged marketing and Broker open house to stimulated rental activity for Post Brothers.
The Promenade, Edgewater – Starwood Heller -Staffed the Promenade, Edgewater sales office and sold out the project- 2000’s.
The Oyster/Views at Edgewater Harbour – represented the developer and leased the remaining inventory 2016.
Restaurants Sales and Leases: Opened the Dragon (night club) Club in Paramus with local developers and former owner of Studio 54, sold Lookout -LeJardin, Barge Inn, Edgewater Bar and Grill, Café Terana, Snow Pea, Haagen Dazs, Cafe Metro, several Korean and Indian restaurants.
Alexander Hamilton Bank Building / Wells Fargo - Purchased the mixed use building with a strategic partner in 2022.
Internet Marketing: Perfected lead generation, harvesting e-mails and connecting with potential purchasers and tenants.
Consultant and broker to Hongkun, a Chinese development company with large waterfront holding on the NJ Gold Coast.
Built and operates 28 Websites, Own 574 Domain Names
Marketing: from Logos, Promotional materials, pricing, design to:
Drip campaigns, e-mail and Text blasts, CRM, Merge & Forward, Statistics, Reports and Analysis.
Lead Generation: Trulia, Zillow Apartments.com, ApartmentGuide.com Rent.com, Agent Bizzup, Abodo, Zumper, Lovely Hot Pads, Street Easy, …
Familiar with Management and software systems: Buildium, Appfolio, Yardi......
Admirals Walk, Edgewater –American Landmark/Olympia York
Atrium, Hackensack – Bank of China and Minn Metals,
Cliffside Park Towne Centre, Cliffside Park – AriLex
Cliffside Park Towne Centre Retail – Shairco, Saudi Arabia
Edgewater Commons, Edgewater- Starwood / Heller / Hartz Mountain
Edgewater Towne Centre, Edgewater - Starwood / Heller
Fort Lee Plaza, Fort Lee – Cardinale to SunLae Corp.
Gateway, Weehawken – Eagle Rock
Grand Cove, Edgewater – Chemical Bank
Half Moon Harbour, North Bergen – Barrett Organization
Henley on Hudson & 1200 Avenue - Lennar
Hudson Mews - Hudson Mews Urban Renewal LLC
Imperatore Properties, Fort Lee - Jenti
Hongkun USA - Chinese Development Company
Infiniti, Edgewater - Waterton
Metro Plaza - MTC Urban Renewal LLC
Park Regency, Cliffside Park – Bank of China
WNY, Union City properties - Prasker family
Roc Harbour, North Bergen – Bank of China/ Minn Metals
Riello, Edgewater - Waterton
Saddle River - Def Jam Records
Tenafly Properties– Shairco Saudi Arabia
The Duchess, North Bergen- Post Brothers
The Promenade, Edgewater – Heller
The Oyster, Edgewater– Pembroke Management
The Views at Edgewater Harbor - Pembroke Management
Russell and Kimora Simmons
New Jersey Association of Realtors President - Commercial Investment Division;
Member of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Association of Realtors, member of Board of Directors of National Association of Realtors; President, Commercial Investment Committee of the Eastern Bergen Board of Realtors.
Realtor 40 years; - member New Jersey MLS, Hudson County MLS Garden State MLS; President Master Board Kensington Park; President Board Hudson Terrace, Treasurer and Board Member Linwood Park.
President of Hudson Terrace (225 units) Board of Directors (8 years); Renovated interior and exterior of 3 buildings; added canopies, stairs as well as redecorating hallways; largest shareholder.
Director/ Treasurer of Linwood Park (1,170 units); member of Board of Directors; Currently largest shareholder and owner.
Director/ Treasurer of Linwood Park (1,170 units); member of Board of Directors; Currently largest shareholder and owner.
Condo & Co-op Board Affiliations:
A Board member is responsible for creating and preserving shareholder value as well as maintaining the financial integrity and common areas of the Association.
President of Kensington Park (110 Townhouses) President Master Board (4 years); as President built the new gatehouse, gazebos, courtyard and established new security protocols.
Mr. Smart's Tips for Tenants
Location- Quick easy and affordable transportation to your job; close to family, grocery stores, restaurants and parks. It is about your quality of life!
Security- The Neighborhood should be safe and secure; 24 hour security, gatehouse, alarm system, low crime statistics.
Good Schools- If you have school-age children then the school system should be a top priority along with safety.
Parking- If you have a car, make sure it is safe, convenient and affordable.
Condition and Amenities- New is better, less chance to break and easier to maintain; more space and storage creates a better living experience; terraces, patios, outdoor space or large recreational areas and amenities are the topping on the cake.
Mr. Smart's Tips for Buyers
Low Taxes- If you want your investment protected look at the tax rate; low taxes, especially with the new tax law is critical. Check for any recent or projected increases.
Great Schools - It is tough to find the combination of low taxes and great schools, but if you find it, then you are golden and your investment is probably safe with your children the beneficiaries.
Location & Commute- Quick, easy and affordable transportation to your job, school, daily living experience, recreational activities and parks are all great bonus.
If you can get the combination of these, your investment is as safe as can be expected regardless of the market conditions.
Mr. Smart's Tips For Investors
1% - 1/2 of Rule Out Calculation for Investing used as a General Guideline
To be safe Monthly Income should be
1% of Purchase Price
Expenses should be less than 1/2 Income.
Included in Expenses
Taxes, Insurance, HOA Fee ( If Applicable), Management, Maintenance/Repairs.
Use as Quick Rule or Rule Out Calculation for investing in Real Estate.
Financing and Market Conditions are not Part of the Calculation.
Simplicity works if it keeps you from making a costly mistake. Better Safe than Sorry.
If the Monthly Income is 0.75% then Expenses cannot exceed 25% of the income.
Keep the Net Monthly Income at 0.5% of Sale Price.
The Charles Rule
A. Determine the Fair Market Rental Value.
B. Calculate 100% of Price Financed at Prevailing Interest Rates Plus All Other Costs.
"A" Must be Greater than or Equal to "B".
Your Gross Rent Must Exceed or be Equal to all of Your Expenses Including 100% Financing of Property.