SPOTLIGHT ON: Lynne Freda
Mary Prenon | February 2020
Lights, Camera, Real Estate!
Fifteen years ago, Lynne Freda was working in the fast-paced world of television news in Tampa, FL. As an executive producer, she found herself in a different place every day, covering everything from natural disasters to new luxury real estate developments.
Today, as a 15-year veteran with her family’s real estate business—Matthew J. Freda in Callicoon—Freda contends not that much has changed. “It’s still all about people having a story to tell,” she explained. “It was actually a pretty easy transition. I’m a ‘people person’ and real estate is all about people.”
After growing up in a real estate family in Sullivan County, Freda didn’t really think much about joining the company her father started in 1969. While attending junior college, she worked as a pharmacy tech and originally had her heart set on becoming a pharmacist.
However, when she transferred to the University of South Florida, she changed her major to Communications, with a focus on television. “I always liked writing—I was the editor of my high school newspaper and yearbook,” she recalled. Upon graduation, she landed a job as a producer with a local TV news channel and the rest was history. “I just loved it and ended up staying for 26 years.”
It was her father’s passing in 2005 that brought Freda back to her roots. “He was 84 years old and was actually in the office that day making plans go to a NAR event,” she said. Freda wanted to return home to be with family and to help care for her mother, who will turn 98 this May!
Freda hit the ground running, earning a real estate license in 2005 and immediately working with local buyers and sellers. “I really love every single day,” she added. “Just like TV, you never know what’s going to happen.” Many of her clients are second home buyers from New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. “Of course, they all have a story about why they want a vacation or weekend property on the Delaware River.”
Describing the local market as “very hot,” Freda noted all of the outdoor activities available by the river including kayaking, fishing, swimming and rafting. Properties in that area of the Catskills are generally more affordable, with average listing prices of $250,000 and low taxes. “I get to know my clients very well and become friends with many of them,” she said. “We’ve even had some celebrities buy properties here.”
An HGMLS subscriber since the Sullivan County MLS and Hudson Gateway MLS merged in 2018, Freda was at the forefront of bringing the merger together on her side. Acting as Chairman of the Sullivan County Board of Realtors at the time, she became convinced of the win-win situation that such a merger would bring to both MLSs.
“I remember that my Dad was instrumental in creating an MLS for Sullivan County so I knew a merger would be really important. In the past, we had been in talks with a different group that would have put us into an MLS in upstate New York, but we didn’t feel that it was a good fit,” she explained.
The merger with HGMLS, she said, just “made more sense.” “It was a natural fit since Sullivan is right on the border with Orange County,” she added. “Plus, everyone at HGAR/HGMLS has been so welcoming and the outcome has been great.” Freda noted the increase of referrals on both sides.
Freda also served as President of the Sullivan County Board of Realtors in 2016 and 2017, and currently serves as a director of the Pike-Wayne Board of Realtors in Pennsylvania. She is licensed in Pennsylvania as well and lives just across the New York border in Damascus, PA. Her daughter Casey, now 22, also lives nearby.
As for working with her family members every day, Freda describes it as “awesome.” Her brother Tom is the managing broker, her brother Joe is an associate broker, and her sister-in-law Elise is an agent there as well. The office has a total of eight people. “Sometimes people ask me how I can work so closely with family, but I was in Florida for 26 years and didn’t’ get to see them that often. Now I can see them all the time and we all watch out for each other,” she said.
A photo of their father and founder, Matthew, also hangs in the office. The veteran of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War was also Sullivan County’s first “Realtor of the Year.”
One of Freda’s goals for 2020 is making Realtors more aware of RPAC—the Realtors Political Action Committee. As RPAC Chair for the Sullivan County Board, she is committed to bringing more people to Lobby Day and participating in face-to-face meetings with local legislators.
Another goal is communicating the importance of continuing education in real estate. “I believe in CE like crazy. I probably take over 100 hours of CE in a year,” she quipped. “You can never know enough.”
This spring she’s planning a reunion trip to Florida to connect with former colleagues in the TV broadcast business.
Looking back over the years, Freda said she doesn’t really miss living in the Sunshine State. “I think Sullivan County is on the verge of a resurgence. People are moving back and some young people are staying,” she said. “And you all know the old saying—there’s no place like home.”