Ed Zislis is the type of young man every mother would be happy to have as a son-in-law. He has his life all figured out, and running his own business and living in his own home are all part of the plan. “I’m very ambitious,” Ed says. “I’m determined and hard working.” Which is par for the course if you’re a busy real estate agent in Fairfield County.

Ed immigrated to the U.S. from the Ukraine with his family in 1990 during a period of anti-semitism there. “We lived for a few months in Austria and then in Italy,” he says. “My father’s brother was living in Stamford so we all moved here.” Ed attended the Stamford public schools and then put himself through the University of Connecticut by bartending at Barcelona and the Black Bear Saloon.

“I met so many interesting people when I was bartending,” he says. One customer taught him about the value of leverage. “That opened my eyes,” Ed says. “I decided I didn’t want to work for a company and earn a salary and bonus. I wanted to be the owner of the company.” So while his classmates went into hedge funds and banks, Ed planned on a career in commercial real estate, inspired by a friend of his father’s who was a successful real estate investor in Brooklyn. “He started with one house, fixed it up and flipped it,” says Ed. “Now he owns several buildings. I thought that was a good idea.”

Today, Ed works in residential real estate and he has a business partner, Deirdre Virvo. Business is booming. Their company, CT Property Network, LLC, specializes in short sales (property sales in which a home is worth less than what is owed to a bank) and real estate investment. The two recently expanded and formed a real estate team under Keller Williams, and now they’re looking for agents to join them.

Ed doesn’t have much time to relax, but when he does it’s in the home he bought (in a short sale) and which he gutted and rebuilt. Is he tempted to flip it? “No,” he says, “I’m going to live there for a long time!”

House prices are very low. Have you been tempted to invest in real estate? I’d love to hear what you think. .