01 September 2022

GETTING TO KNOW: Zev Freidus | Boca Raton, FL

With 20+ years experience, Boca Raton, FL's Zev Freidus is routinely recognized as one of the town's most esteemed and knowledgeable real estate professionals. Driven by his passion for tech, Freidus launched Boca Executive Realty in 2005 which was aimed at combining technology and superior agents for a seamless and robust real estate experience. We will discuss that aspect of his professional life later on. In the meantime by way of this Q&A-style interview, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce to you Mr. Zev Freidus of ZFC Real Estate.

The American Man$ion: Zev, let's start with a bit about your background. Where were you born and raised?

Zev Freidus: I was raised on a family farm in upstate New York. And on that farm, my eight siblings and I all contributed our daily chores to provide for our family.

TAM: What local and collegiate schools did you attend? What subject(s) did you major in?

ZFI was not afforded a college education. I left home at age 19, moved to the city, and began a minimum wage job at a mail-order computer company. Eager to learn about technology, I would read the product manuals and technical specifications in my spare time. I taught myself about computer networks and eventually learned several computer programming languages.

TAM: I am not saying that college isn't necessary for some fields but for others, I believe that college is an overrated and expensive experience. Much like yourself, I did not attend college in a traditional sense. My career in architectural design was built on self-education and hands-on application. I also had the privilege of being groomed by some of the best of the best in my field.

Let's talk about your mother and father. What did they do for a living?

ZFMy mother (may she rest in peace) was a school teacher and a homemaker. My father studied architecture at Harvard, although his current profession is real estate broker.

TAMIt looks like your father and I have something in common; except I wasn't smart enough to attend Harvard University. 🤣🤣🤣

Do you have any siblings? What do they do for a living?

ZFI’m one of nine children. One sister is a real estate agent in New York and one brother is an agent with ZFC Real Estate down here in Boca Raton, FL.

TAM: Around what year did you begin your career in real estate?

ZF: In 2001.

TAM: With the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I'd imagine that 2001 probably offered a few challenges in real estate towards the bottom end of that year.

That being said, some 21 years later, what has been your biggest success in your real estate career thus far?

ZF: In 2005 I founded Boca Executive Realty, with a mission to combine innovative technology with superior agents to provide an unparalleled real estate experience. I grew the business to about 250 agents generating over $20 million in commission annually. In 2014 I successfully exited the business by selling a controlling interest to a private equity group. The entire period of time, including startup, growing, and ultimately selling the company was the most rewarding period of my life.

TAM: That is very impressive! I like how you combined your passions for tech and real estate to create a scalable brand; not everyone can pull that off successfully.

17610 Sparkling River Road, Boca Raton, FL | 4,484 Square Feet | 5 Beds, 7 Baths | $2,550,000

TAM: What adversities have you faced in your real estate career?

ZF: Fierce recruiting from aggressive competitors combined with a total lack of loyalty in this industry has made it very difficult to invest in growing your agents business. Some of the largest national brokerage brands have been enticing agents with a total payout package that exceeds what the agent generates. Obviously this is not sustainable, but with deep pockets these companies are able to keep luring agents away.

TAM: Before interviewing a few other successful top-producing agents, I never knew that the real estate business was so cut-throat. Like most other competitive industries, it follows the traditional dog-eat-dog protocol. It's really sad because there is so much out here for us all; we just don't know how to work together to get it.

TAM: What adversities have you faced in life and how did these adversities shape your career in real estate?

ZF: Having grown up in poverty without an education, I was not taken seriously for employment opportunities and when I was, I was taken advantage of. Real estate is a career that people fall into, no one dreams as a child of being a Realtor when they grow up. My agent base is comprised of a wide range of backgrounds from attorneys to hedge fund managers to agents with no formal education like myself. My struggles early on have influenced how I treat my agents, I look more at the person's work ethic, drive, and commitment to the business over their experience or education.

TAM: We need more business people like you at the forefront of recruiting great staff members. Too many "educated" people get jobs that they honestly do not deserve. Meanwhile, the hard-working person with tremendous work ethic, gets tossed to the side.

Tell us a bit about your family. Married? Children?

ZF: I am divorced with two adult children; Amy and Aaron. I’m currently engaged to Chenise Bhimull and we will be getting married this November.

TAM: Wait! What!? I never would've guessed that you have two adult children; my mind is officially blown 🤯😂 And congrats on the coming nuptials. I've been married and divorced twice. I definitely plan to get married again.

Zev and his fiancée Chenise!

TAM: If you were not a real estate professional, what career path would you have chosen?

ZF: My passion is aviation! I’m a private pilot and I’ve flown my private jet around most of the world as a single pilot (no co-pilot). If I was not in real estate, I almost definitely would be flying for a living.

TAM: I find aviation to be incredibly fascinating. There is a military base nearby (Quantico MCB) and it has a commissioned airfield which I visit from time to time. I love when the cargo aircraft are on base; they are huge and so imposing, especially when you see them at night.

TAM: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in life-both personally and professionally?

ZF: I would have to say that building a successful business and successfully exiting the business is my greatest accomplishment both personally and professionally. As an entrepreneur, professional and personal lives blend into one, we live and breathe our ventures in a way that in permeates through to our personal lives.

Zev with his ZFC team members!

TAM: What did you spend your first real estate commission check on?

ZF: Transitioning from a full-time position to being a Realtor will deplete your rainy day fund. I’m pretty sure my first commission check went to paying overdue household bills.

TAM: Seems pretty accurate. We can't all be as "blessed" as the 45th president and get a million dollars from our fathers to launch a business 😁

If you had one day left on earth, what would you do with your time?

ZF: Spend it with my family.

TAM: Abso-damn-lutely man!

What are some of the most memorable places that you have traveled to?

ZF: Europe, Costa Rica, and Bahamas.

TAM: Do you remember your first car? What was it?

ZF: My first car was a 1981 BMW 318i. The car was so banged up. The driver’s door wasn’t even operational and I had to climb in from the passenger's side. Back then BMW was the “ultimate driving machine” and despite it’s age and limitations, it still drove amazingly well. 

TAM: My favorite movie of all-time is ''The Neverending Story", do you have an all-time favorite movie?

ZF: Top Gun.

TAM: Top Gun definitely ranks up there as one of my top-50 favorite films and one of my top-10 favorite Tom Cruise films.

TAM: What's your biggest pet peeve as a real estate agent?

ZF: The lack of professionalism in the industry. Agents cling to their status as “independent contractors” as a justification to disregard company policy. While I can’t really force a dress code on independent contractors, I wish agents would better understand how important being professional is.

TAM: That is definitely a fine line, considering you have a lot agents who dress really nice i.e. suit, tie, dress shoes, etc. and then you have a lot of agents who are super casual in their appearance. You have to wonder which one is more attractive to the client or if it is even a deciding factor for the client. Hmmm...

What drives you to be successful?

ZF: My desire to help the people I care about. That includes those directly involved in the business, as well as my family who I provide for by running a successful business.

7300 NE Bay Cove Ct., Boca Raton, FL 33487 | 5,648 Square Feet | 5 Beds, 7 Baths | $7,475,000

TAM: Is there something that you've done and you told yourself that you'd never do it again?

ZF: I’m sure there must be but I don’t dwell on that. If I look back at my life, my regrets are surrounding things I did not do, more so than for things I’ve done. Fear of failure prevents people from trying new things, yet not trying guarantees failure.

TAM: What a great perspective!

TAM: This is one of my favorite questions to ask. Looking at your life now, what advice would you give to a 21-year-old Zev Freidus?

ZF: Believe in yourself. Anything is possible. Anything you want to do or accomplish in life is possible if you simply learn how to do it. Just go for it, reach for the stars, even if you fall short, you will be ahead of the game.

TAM: Solid words of advice right there.

TAM: What are some things that you make you happy in life?

ZF: Flying, boating, achieving success in business, spending quality time with my family.

TAM: Your average day consists of you doing what?

ZF: I typically spend about 10 hours in the office each day. I wake up at 7:00am and spend an hour meditating before starting my day. I’m in the office by 8:30am and I usually work right through lunch. The majority of my time is spent on lead generation as that is the lifeblood of the company. I do my own SEO and write my own code, which I feel gives me an edge. This is very time-consuming and takes of most of my day, unless I’m helping an agent close a deal or work through an obstacle. I end my day with a private workout with my personal trainer, a healthy dinner and I try to get to bed relatively early so that I can be at my peak performance the following day.

TAM: Sounds like your days are full and very productive.

TAM: I love this part of my interviews. Let me throw some off-beat random short questions at you.

TAM: Wine or mixed drink? Why?

ZF: I prefer wine, but if I want to avoid a hangover, I stick to Gin and Club soda.

TAM: Lobster or steak? Why?

ZF: Steak. I was raised orthodox Jewish and so we were kosher, so lobster was not permitted. Although I have not remained kosher, I have never tried lobster (or any other shell fish).

TAM: I have had a bit of lobster and just like college, it is an overrated and expensive experience 🤣

TAM: Ferrari or Lamborghini? Why?

ZF: Lamborghini which is owned by VW (along with Bentley, Audi, Porsche, and Ducati) and is far superior to Ferrari engineering. Ferrari was owned by FIAT for many years and while they have spun off Ferrari as a separate company, the FIAT/Chrysler engineering is still plainly obvious. For example, the infotainment system in the Ferrari is taken from a Jeep Cherokee, hardly what I expect from a super car.

TAM: Your saying that Lamborghini's engineering is far superior to Ferrari's, are fighting words. Obviously I am a fan of Ferrari 😂

TAM: Mercedes-Benz or Audi? Why?

ZF: Audi, for the same reasons as Lambo vs Ferrari. Coincidently Audi is owned by the same company as Lamborghini and Mercedes also has a history with Chrysler. 

TAM: Dubai or Monte Carlo? Why?

ZF: I’ve never been to either but would choose Monte Carlo before Dubai because I prefer European culture over Middle Eastern culture.

TAM: If you were going out for lunch, what does favorite casual outfit include?

ZF: This really depends on the venue and the company I’m with.

7405 NW 27th Ave., Boca Raton, FL | 8,085 Square Feet | 6 Beds, 8 Baths | $7,250,000

TAM: Can you describe what your dream house looks like?

ZF: My dream home in Florida would be a direct ocean-facing single family house with enough land to provide privacy from your neighbors and have subterranean parking. If we are dreaming, I’d like to have a summer home too; somewhere to escape the hot Florida weather. For this home, I would prefer it to be in the mountains complete with a private runway. I’m fortunate to have most of the above bucket list items in my current home; I don't have all of them, which is good since it is important to always have goals to strive for and a future to look forward to.

TAM: Your dream homes sounds absolutely splendid, especially the Florida one with subterranean garage parking-I love it!

TAM: To wrap this up, do you have any final words that you'd like to share with the readers of The American Man$ion?

ZF: Nothing worthwhile is easy to attain. Don’t get discouraged, don’t give up. Most give up before reaching their goals; if you just stay the course you will succeed. You don’t need to come up with the next great idea or do anything revolutionary to be successful, you simply have to do whatever it is you are doing better than your competition.

TAM: More great words of advice to take away from this interview.

TAM: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with us Zev. I appreciate the candor in all of the personal and professional information that you provided.

4800 N Federal Hwy., Suite A207
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
(561) 235-2161

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