A Day in the Life of Shlomo Chopp


Some real estate powerhouses keep a regimented schedule. While others, like Shlomo Chopp, managing partner at the New York-based real estate investment firm Terra Strategies, don’t keep set days.

“It depends on how crazy the day and the night were the night before,” he says. “I’m generally nocturnal.”

Still, Chopp, 43, finds plenty of time during the day to run Terra, which he launched earlier this year and now has five employees and a couple of partners. The firm focuses on advising borrowers in distress in negotiating with lenders, as well as investing in distressed debt.

Unlike a lot of real estate professionals, Chopp does his best to keep his deals out of the headlines.

“In one business I do trades, and I don’t want to let my trades out of the bag,” he said. “The other business I do workouts and my clients prefer I don’t publicize their deals.”

Speaking in broad terms about a recent month-long workout involving a 1,000-unit multifamily portfolio that involved challenges with interest rates, value of rentals and just generally economic headwinds. 

“It’s been interesting digging into all of the assets, finding time to dissect where there’s opportunity, where there isn’t on a creative basis,” he said.

More broadly, he described his job as a whirlwind of activity in front of computers, on the phone and in video conferences with borrowers, lenders and other financial string pullers. 

“It’s a lot of work,” he said. “I tend to have a loud mouth. … I do tend to piss people off.” 

And though his day is never the same, he did tell The Real Deal what one of his days can be like. 

6 a.m. to 10 a.m. I work crazy hours. I’ll get up anywhere from 6:00 to honestly, some days, I’ll just say screw it and stay in until 10:00 because I woke up late. It depends on how crazy it is. Today I woke up at 7 a.m.

7:30ish a.m. The first thing I do after I shower and get dressed is I find a place to pray near me, around the Hudson Valley.

8 a.m. I talk to the wife for a couple of minutes, eat a small breakfast, coffee and maybe some scrambled eggs. 

I’m down from almost 300 pounds to about 200 pounds and still headed down, so I try not to eat too much. During Covid, I had a lot of time to be introspective and I realized I could do anything I wanted to do. Anything I want to do, I could accomplish. So I put my mind to it and tried to lose weight. I’d never tried to lose weight before. 

I started a diet, started going to the gym every day except Saturdays and some Sundays. Even if it’s five minutes, even if it’s 10 minutes, or an hour, just make sure to do that. It’s a commitment. I operate at a million miles an hour. I accomplish a lot in a short period of time. When I eat, I don’t even pay attention. … I had to find the path to not just stuff my face.

8:30 a.m. I drive into the office, which takes an hour to 90 minutes. I’ll work in the car along the way.

10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. My day looks like I am surrounded by huge screens showing me 15 different things at once, the phone is ringing off the hook, and I have a bunch of meetings and I try to fit in some time for my employees between meetings, always juggling stuff, always high octane, always building.

I usually don’t do lunch. I down a bunch of coffees and waters all day and I find it hard to lift myself out of my seat once I am at my desk at the office. I try not to do business lunches because just getting there and back kills so much prime time day time. Let’s just think 8-ounce cups of coffee … I probably have about five a day. I’m sitting here and I’m like, holy crap, I have to make some changes over here. But it’s the closest thing to eating without actually eating. 

I absolutely enjoy what I do and I don’t want to stop. Ever. I love every second of it. I find no need to take a break. The biggest challenge I have today is too many people have my phone number and what I’m trying to do is get people to talk to people that work for me more and more. Having people pick my brain is too much.

6:30 p.m. I go to the gym. I did it slow. It’s about 45 minutes at the end, showering and slowing down. Some days it can be a half hour. I do curls, I use the kettle bells, I use weighted balls, leg presses. Nothing extraordinary or crazy. … Being fit is table stakes. That’s something that has to be done and it’s something I never focused on because I’m driven to be focused on other stuff, but it’s all part of the custom, so to speak.

9 p.m. I’m home. I got some food. I’ll eat a salad with some protein in it. I take some calls in my car. My days look something like that every single day.

11p.m. to 2 a.m. Go to bed. Depends on the evening. I briefly open Netflix then fall asleep. I’ve started more TV shows than I know what to do. I’m a sports fan, but my sports teams aren’t fans of me. My Jets are not the best.

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