Forget the old adage of never mixing business with family. Three formidable families of Miami’s real estate industry are joining forces — and brand names.
The Jills, the Miami Beach-based realty brokerage specializing in high-end luxury homes, and The Zeder Team, the mother-daughter-son team that focuses on Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami and Pinecrest, are merging to form The Jills Zeder Group.
The two firms have closed on more than $5 billion in real estate sales since 2005, according to the Miami Multiple Listing Service.
Among their largest deals are The Jills’ 2013 sale of the Versace mansion for $41.5 million and The Zeder Team’s 2016 sale of a Cocoplum estate in Coral Gables for $23.4 million.
The Jills is led by Realtors Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber, who have worked together since 1993. Hertzberg’s children Danny, 36, and Hillary, 31, and Eber’s sister Felise work in the firm as sales associates.
The Zeder Team is comprised of Realtors Judy Zeder and her children Kara Zeder Rosen, 34, and Nathan, 39.
Both firms say their experience working in harmony alongside family members made the idea of a merger appealing.
“Real estate is a unique business, but when you can make it work with a family dynamic, there’s nothing else like it,” said Danny Hertzberg. “The Zeders have embraced the work ethic they’ve learned from their mom, and my mom jokes that she’s old-school and my sister and I are new-school. Now with this merger, there are two generations at work across both companies. That’s why I think this is such a special fit.”
Judy Zeder said working with your family is a “privilege” that not everyone can have.
“Having been able to do that as we’ve done it, and then having the Jills do it as they have done it — how much more in common can you have?” she said. “Now we’ll be three families who think about and look at the future of real estate together.”
The merger means the Zeders will end their longtime affiliation with EWM Realty International and join Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.
“We thank Judy, Nathan and Kara for their time at EWM and wish them success in their future endeavors,” said Ron Shuffield, president and CEO of EWM Realty International. “With a 55-year track record of success, and as an affiliate of the Berkshire Hathaway national real estate network, EWM is poised to continue its growth trajectory.”
The Jills will continue to operate from their Miami Beach office, while the Zeders will remain in their Coral Gables base.
The Jills made headlines of the unwanted kind last year when they testified in court against Kevin Tomlinson, a rival broker charged with felony extortion for trying to blackmail the duo over manipulated MLS data.
Tomlinson was found guilty and is serving a 364-day prison sentence. But the case also earned national attention, including a piece in Vanity Fair that reported great resentment in the local real estate community over the lack of retribution toward The Jills.
But neither team believes the case will have any lasting negative impact.
“It’s difficult to be a victim of extortion,” said Jill Hertzberg. “We went through that and we’re back to business as usual. No matter what comes your way, you have to stay focused on your business and your work. We’ve done that. And now we are doing this merger because we think it’s the best thing for our families and it will also be the best thing for our clients.”