Rob Ernst decided he wanted to live in Israel back in 1988. He never dreamed then that he would also help other Jews make their dream come true and buy a home in Israel too, and in the process provide them with the highest standards of professionalism and customer service.
Ernst went to Binghamton University and for a semester abroad in his junior year came to Israel and fell in love with the country. He graduated early to go to Ohr Somayach, and then after working for Unilever went back to school to get his JD/MBA degrees.
Ernst married Ofe in 2005 and went to Beth Aaron in Teaneck. Their decision to move to Israel was based on their belief that the future is in Israel. Like many, job, family and lifestyle delayed their aliyah but the fire inside never stopped burning. In 2017 they went on a one-year trial run to live their dream—and haven’t looked back. They now live in Ramat Bet Shemesh where the couple brings up their five children in a warm and happy community.
Ernst had spent most of his professional career as an attorney practicing in public finance, helping nonprofit healthcare and education institutions sell bonds for some greater good and purpose.
Still in the pre-COVID days, his office agreed to allow him to work from abroad for a year. Year one was successful and turned into year two. After two years the firm needed Ernst back in the U.S., and he realized that he and his wife needed to decide what the future of the family would be. After consulting with their rav they decided to stay in Israel and Ernst was able to begin working with another law firm remotely.
As COVID struck and the business dried up somewhat, Ernst decided it was time to explore a new opportunity, one where he could really pursue his passion—Israel. He loved the idea of bringing his fellow brothers and sisters to Israel. If they couldn’t relocate permanently, they could at least strengthen their connection by making an investment or purchasing a home.
Ernst said: “To me, the idea of being able to bring more Jews home, to help them with what is likely the largest financial decision of their life, advise them like a true professional, and work through all of the ups and downs of the market here is a true blessing.”
Having seen his family and his wife’s family flee from other countries, Ernst knows the importance of having money in Israel and even more so, of having a place to come home to. KLY Realty looks to provide American-type service with professionalism, honesty, integrity and treating each client as a family member.
“Most of our clients are either overseas or have recently made aliyah and are looking to purchase their first home,” Ernst said. “The experience is very overwhelming and atypical from what they are used to in their home country. We invest tremendously in building a relationship with each client where they know with full confidence that we are looking out for them every step of the process.”
A year ago, Ernst joined together with his friend Donny Fein and established KLY Real Estate and Investments, specializing in property in Ramat Bet Shemesh—while also helping Anglos find properties in other areas of Israel.
Rob’s expertise is in Ramat Bet Shemesh but he has developed relationships with agents and professionals in other markets so that he can help as many people as possible. In fact, KLY Realty recently offered an exciting development of new homes in Efrat. The project has already begun infrastructure development, and a waiting list has formed for anyone who wasn’t able to register in time.
Rob is also involved with the Neve Shamir development, located directly across from Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef and the newly developed Mishkafayim. While Neve Shamir is slowly beginning to open, the plan is to build 3,500-5,000 apartments over the next three-plus years.
Ernst said “If you are looking for somewhere to invest or have a home to come to in a few years time, Neve Shamir is an amazing option given the proximity to the developed community along with availability new apartments to purchase.
“Many clients from the U.S. have been buying these ‘on-paper’ properties for the past two year, and there is an expectation that prices will continue to increase as the supply dwindles” he added.
When asked how the pandemic has affected the business, Ernst said, “While COVID has put a lot of restrictions on travel, we have sold many properties to people who never actually stepped foot in Israel.”
In fact, COVID likely accelerated people’s plans to purchase a home in Israel as they understand that there may be a time that coming to Israel will be imperative—and that time may be sooner rather than later.” The bigger issue, Ernst said, is lack of supply, increasing prices and weakening of the dollar.
However, even with all that going on, the rate of purchases only continues to go up. Ernst believes that anyone who has been on the sidelines waiting for the dollar to strengthen, for prices to fall, or for some other reason should stop waiting and jump in now before the market continues to increase.
Rob believes that now is the ideal time to buy property in Israel—either to live in or as an investment. “On average, real estate in Israel has risen over 10% in the past 12 months and in Beit Shemesh more than 20%, with no stopping in sight.”
Ernst likes to quote Will Rogers: “Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait.”
To reach Ernst, email him at [email protected] or WhatsApp him at +972586366107.
By Benjy Singer