Matthew Iannone, owner of Freda Real Estate in Sea Isle City, talks with Bernadette Delozier at the agency's office. 

Staff photo by Dale Gerhard

This past week brought an honor and another year of work to Matthew Iannone, owner of the Freda Real Estate Agency in Sea Isle City.

The Cape May County Association of Realtors named Iannone its 2013 Realtor of the Year for his commitment to the community and Realtor practices and advancing the association’s work.

At the same time, the association announced that it had convinced Iannone to serve for an unprecedented third term as its 2014 president.

The association’s presidents generally serve terms of a single year, he said, although his immediate predecessor, Brian Groetsch Jr., of Re/Max At The Shore, served two consecutive years.

Iannone also was president of the group in 1998, so his term next year will give him the record three years as CMCAR president.

The association is in the midst of executing some strategic plans and so has good reasons for wanting the continuity of an extended term, he said.

In particular, the group is preparing to move from its longtime headquarters on Route 9 in the Clermont section of Dennis Township to a new facility in Middle Township.

Iannone said work is proceeding on the former Chef Ted’s building just south of the Avalon Boulevard connection, and he hopes the relocation there can take place in about 60 days.

The advantages of the new headquarters include that it is more centrally located in the county and has more space — particularly the former dining area — that can be used for the association’s growing offering of Realtor continuing education courses, he said.

His Realtor of the Year honor referenced his work with the Sea Isle Chamber of Commerce and its revitalization efforts. He said a lot of those involved arranging weekend events to draw people and business to the summer resort.

Iannone said he has been most satisfied by another community effort behind the award, his 15 years on the board of the Cape May County Special Services Education Foundation.

Among the many efforts on behalf of the county Special Services School in Cape May Court House, he said, the board has “raised funds so teachers could offer programs they couldn’t get from county funding alone.”

“We also built a handicapped accessible playground, one of our major accomplishments,” Iannone said. “We’ve done numerous programs over there, including providing the school with equipment such as cameras and supplies, and lifts for students who are non-ambulatory.”

He said the foundation’s major annual fundraiser, its 16th annual dinner and auction, will take place Nov. 1 at the Wildwoods Convention Center.

“There will be a cocktail hour from 7 to 8 p.m., followed by dinner. There will be a live auction and a silent auction, and the live auctioneer is John Lynch of the Convention Center, who does a tremendous job every year,” Iannone said.

Tickets to the event are $65 and Iannone said those interested can call him at Freda Real Estate at 609-263-2271.

As far as the accomplishments of the Cape May County Association of Realtors, he said, the unsung heroes are the staff at headquarters, including Executive Officer Ann Marie Uhlman; Anne Sanderson, public relations director and Multiple Listing Service auditor; Joan McMahon, membership director; and Harry Bellangy, technical instructor.

From the group’s annual golf outing, its major fundraiser, to its MLS to arranging agent education, “they keep the whole organization running, believe me. None of us can do what we do without them there,” Iannone said. “It’s very easy for an agent to get on the phone and get help.”

The third term of his presidency will be his last, the 63-year-old vowed.

“I shouldn’t be here. I should be retired,” he said with a laugh.

He has been working full time for 38 years in real estate, since 1975, and had his license a couple of years before that. He formerly lived in Sea Isle City, but now resides in the Seaville section of Upper Township.

“As the owner of Freda, I should think about cutting back a little bit,” he said. “I have the flexibility, and I get out and play tennis sometimes. But I still enjoy working.”

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