Law & Order & the Hand of God: Behind Nelson Cruz’s Move to eXp Realty 

For many agents, real estate is a great second career. For Nelson Cruz, a retired Sergeant and Specialty Unit Supervisor for the Orange County Corrections Department in Central Florida, real estate is like a God-given second chance at life. 

Since joining The Funk Collection in October 2021, Nelson is projecting over $7 million in real estate transactions – in his first year.

Nelson Cruz has a close connection to the time 3:16.

Even more special: In June of 2022, Nelson was unanimously elected as Chairman of Trustees for the Florida State Fraternal Order of Police with more than 25,000 members, Nelson’s election is no small matter. It’s a high honor that shows clearly that Nelson brings tremendous goodwill and care to everything he does. 

Something special is lifting Nelson to new heights. 

Three years ago, Nelson had already survived one massive heart attack. But it was a second cardiac incident – and the way Nelson survived – that makes his success as a new eXp Realty agent so inspirational.  

The Clock Said 3:16 a.m. – Nelson Cruz Knew It Was a Sign From God

As Nelson describes it, for many nights over many years, he’d wake up and see that the clock always read the same time: 3:16 a.m. It happened so many times, he’d even wake up his wife. What could this mean, Nelson wondered.

Then, after stressful and long contract negotiations for the Fraternal Order of Police, Nelson woke up in his hotel room in Indianapolis and the clock once again showed 3:16 a.m.

Nelson Cruz was elected Chairman of Trustees for the Florida State Fraternal Order of Police.

“If it had been 3:17 or 3:18, I might have rolled right over and tried to go back to sleep. But it was 3:16 and it was like a siren in my mind and to my eyes. In law enforcement situational awareness is critically important. God trained me over a period of time he embedded John 3:16 in my heart.  I sat up in bed and felt discomfort in my chest. I got dressed and went to the lobby of the hotel and asked that they call me an ambulance,’’ Nelson said.

The Fraternal Order of Police made arrangements to fly Nelson home to Orlando on a medical jet to have open heart surgery right away. Instead, after two surgical procedures in 48 hours, Nelson had five stents put in and walked onto a domestic flight not needing open heart surgery. By the time he got back to Orlando a few days later, he knew divine intervention had taken place. As a man of faith, Nelson said he was grateful to be led away from a fatal heart attack. 

“When I was in the lobby, I was pretty calm. After I asked for them to send an ambulance I just fell to my knees and started to thank God for my life, my wife and for his provision. I saw His hand move in my life,’’ Nelson said.

‘I’m Not a Salesman. I Provide Value and Information’

Nelson also knew it was time to retire and start something that could utilize the research and negotiation skills he honed as a member of the Fraternal Order of Police.

He met with Jeffrey Funk, who along with his wife Renee founded The Funk Collection brokered by eXp. The Funk’s made him feel like an adopted son, they all had great communication. By October 2021, Nelson was on the team and signing contracts and listing agreements. 

“I’m just getting started. I’ve learned a lot already and I’m extremely excited to be in business with The Funk Collection led by Jeff & Renee Funk,’’ Nelson said.

The Fraternal Order of Police represents over 355,000 law enforcement officers in the United States, close to 25,000 in Florida. Nelson continues to serve the men and women on the frontlines. He may be a retired sergeant, but he’s still serving the frontline as  Chairman of Trustees with the trust and backing of his fellow law enforcement officers.

Learn More About Nelson Cruz:

Main territory: Greater Orlando Area, Central Florida 

When did you get your license? January 2021

Main focus: Single-family homes, investment properties, first-time home buyers.

Accolades, accomplishments & awards:

The Funk Collection ranks as a No. 2 team internationally with eXp Realty, earning three consecutive RealTrends America’s Best Award 2019, 2020, 2021. 

When and why did you join eXp?

“I joined eXp Realty in October 2021. A career in law enforcement fine-tuned my senses. Several conversations with Jeffrey Funk made it clear to me he was an innovative leader/visionary who had the ability to assist me in growing my real estate business. The Funk Collection has all the tools, systems and processes to help anyone  grow a real estate  business.”  

What makes eXp special to you? 

“The spirit of collaboration that exists within this organization.” 

Is there a significant experience you can share since you joined eXp?

“I’m growing personally, professionally and spiritually.” 

What is one thing about eXp that surprised you?

“The explosive growth it initiated in my personal life.” 

What kind of collaboration have you experienced at eXp?

“I don’t have words to describe the support I’ve experienced.” 

Best tip to share with other agents:

“Lean in to who you are personally, be thoughtful and approach every client and colleague from a position of contribution.” 

10 Fun Things About Nelson Cruz

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Spending time with people I love – family, friends, etc.

Who is the person you most admire?

I most admire my Dad and I wish I had an opportunity to speak to him and tell him – Thank you! 

One thing you can’t live without?

Faith.

One trait that has led to your success?

Persistence. Tenacity.

What celebrity would play you in a movie or TV show?

Robert DeNiro

Pet peeve?

Lateness. 

Little known facts about yourself?

I was a high school all-city baseball player. I studied optical mechanics in High School. I’m not shy about Karaoke.  

Song you never tire of?

“Wait on You,” by Elevation Worship & Maverick City 

Favorite meal?

Ribeye steak & mashed potatoes with a decorative vegetable 

Your epitaph will say:

Found Faith, Family, Freedom & Fulfillment 

__________

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