You know what they say: “Home is where the heart is.” In the world of real estate, if you are not into it, heart and soul, it’s quite difficult to make a living. Enter Lev Mavashev, founder of Alpha Realty, a commercial real estate brokerage firm based out of Brooklyn that focuses on brokering the buying and selling of multifamily units in the tri-state area.
Lev transitioned to real estate from a career in accounting, because—in his words—“I didn’t want to count other people’s money. I wanted to make my own.” He started out in the real estate industry with zero connections and a fortuitous first cold call.
Today, Lev and his team are ranked among the top 50 brokerage firms in the US, having sold more than 1,000 buildings since the founding of the company. Lev recently made headlines for a $25 million-dollar sale of a 115-unit property in Queens, despite the volatile market. A sought-after voice in the field, Lev has authored several articles for Real Estate Weekly, sharing his insights on the ever-changing industry. He had plenty of insights to share here, as well. Enjoy!
I was born in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. We came here when I was seven years old and settled in Boro Park, which at the time had a very substantial Bukharian community. Later on, we moved to Staten Island, where I attended high school.
“My father is an electrical engineer and continued doing the same work here as he did in Uzbekistan. My mother was a preschool teacher who always dreamed of working in fashion; she was eventually able to actualize her dream after moving to New York. I went to Shearith Yisrael until ninth grade and then I went to public school for high school. I come from a very traditional family; we kept all the Yomim Tovim and were very proud of our Yiddishkeit.
“I didn’t come from money. I was always looking for ways to make a few dollars. When I was eight or nine years old, I would buy a big bag of lollipops from Costco and sell them to the kids in my building for 25 cents a piece. My first real job was working as a cashier at a bagel shop after school when I was 15 years old. At the age of 16, I came across a wholesaler who wanted to unload several boxes of sunglasses. I bought them all and listed them on eBay for double or triple the cost. This was my first real taste of entrepreneurship and I loved it.