Slidell-based firm Top Agent Realty is now part of ERA Real Estate. Military veteran Stephen Molero purchased the firm in 2013 and serves consumers throughout Southeastern Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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ERA Real Estate is strengthening its presence in the Delta with ERA Top Agent Realty, a veteran-owned affiliate in the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan area. Founded in 2008, ERA Top Agent Realty serves buyers and sellers throughout Southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Stephen Molero

“We’re incredibly proud of the growth we’ve experienced to date and the reputation that we’ve built along the way, but we know it’s time to take our operation to the next level,” broker-owner Stephen Molero said in a prepared statement. “As a firm operating across two states, it takes not only well-designed infrastructure but also incredible brand recognition to stand out in every market we serve.”

Before entering real estate, Molero served in the Louisiana Air National Guard for 31 years. After retiring from the military, Molero became a notary, property investor and licensed Realtor. He joined Top Agent Realty in 2009 and purchased the firm in 2013.

Molero said his military experience has helped successfully him a “family-like atmosphere” for his agents and staff, all of whom have deep ties to the communities they serve from the Bayou to New Orleans’ bustling, world-famous streets.

“Marketing and recruiting via word of mouth as an independent brokerage can only generate so much success; however, ERA Real Estate provides both the networking and onboarding services to elevate our existing processes,” he said of the move to ERA Real Estate. “We get to not only benefit from the offerings of a nationally recognized brand, but we also get to do so while maintaining our local reputation and operating in the way that we know is best for our local clients.”

Alex Vidal

ERA President Alex Vidal lauded Molero for his leadership skills and entrepreneurial spirit and said ERA Top Agent Realty is the perfect addition to the ERA network.

“Like many of our other broker-owners, Stephen knew that he was an entrepreneur before he ever knew that he was primed to be a real estate professional,” he said. “He effortlessly builds relationships, connects with clients and attracts people to his personal brand — all of which make him the perfect fit for ERA Real Estate.”

“His innate people skills have made him a top independent agent in his market and also prime him for future success, which ERA Real Estate is incredibly excited to be a part of,” he added. “We want to lend our services to help Stephen and his company continue to grow in some of the most popular markets in Louisiana and Mississippi, while also embracing the natural people-driven sales prowess that has gotten him to where he is today.”

ERA’s push into Southern Louisiana comes on the heels of a joint report from Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University published on Thursday.

Researchers at both universities used Zillow data to examine average home prices in the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas and compare them to long-term pricing trends. The researchers also looked at price-to-rent ratios to determine in which markets it’s better to buy than rent.

New Orleans topped the list, with houses selling 5.09 percent below the city’s long-term pricing trend. The average home price in the city is $235,103; however, it should be closer to $247,721, based on statistical estimates. New Orleans’ price-to-rent ratio is 12.53 percent below average as well, meaning residents should buy versus rent.

“It’s incredibly difficult to time the bottom of a housing market, but New Orleans’ price-to-rent ratio strongly favors ownership over renting at this point, and the fact that people can buy at a discount relative to the area’s long-term pricing trend suggests that this is clearly the best buy among the nation’s largest metros,” FAU College of Business real estate economist Ken H. Johnson said of his team’s findings.

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