A lot of people ask me how I got into the mortgage business and it’s actually a pretty strange back story. Back in the mid 1980’s I found myself drawn to the quirky business department at the high school I attended in Girard, PA. Not that learning shorthand and typing really helped boost my social life, but I did find myself intrigued by finance and the systems that made it work. Granted, most days I was schlepping my teachers’ crusty coffee mugs half full with cigarette butts down to the cafeteria for incineration, but I was onto something. It was a seed that was planted & buried for a while. Money was magical.
I attended a small Christian liberal arts college about 45 minutes outside of Buffalo, NY called Houghton. After 2 years of pre-med, I really didn’t see a future in it (not to mention I got the first “C” of my life in Organic Chemistry), so I changed course and pursued a Business degree. No, actually, I got into Education. English for that matter. I really liked kids and figured that teaching English would give me the greatest opportunity to be an influence in their lives. And I was right.
I moved to Bradenton, FL in 1993 and started teaching middle school English at Harllee Middle School and then eventually moved up to teaching high school kids at Bayshore in 2000. That was such an incredible chapter of my life and I got to spend my days “selling” Shakespeare, grammar, Robert Frost, essay formats & more importantly, the belief that the world is full of opportunity and hope.
In 2003, I was part of a group of teachers that launched one of the first academies in our county, the Bayshore Business Academy. This was an infused curriculum centered on developing “real life” business experience and skill sets. I found myself really embracing this twist on my job description and I developed an alter-ego named Donald J. Tullio who led the class (red comb-over wig and all) in project-based adventures to see who could accumulate the most points and become the next “VP”. I was having a lot of fun.
In the meantime, I had been investing in real estate in Sarasota since 1996 and found myself running with an ambitious group of friends who were buying, fixing, renting and even selling properties. By 2004, I found that all of my past business experiences and “on the job training” led me to a point where I wanted to learn more. My wife Meadow was already in the banking world and was considering making a switch with some co-workers into the mortgage industry. At the same time, my neighbor who was handling some of my real estate transactions was a mortgage broker and I found myself asking a lot of questions.
Questions that began having some pretty compelling answers, especially as 2005 rolled around. So after spending 12 years with some amazing middle and high school kids, I decided to answer the “What if?” with a “Why not?” As much as I loved teaching, I connected with a passion that started 30 years prior plugging numbers into an adding machine trying to be the first one done with the problem. It was time to solve some problems for some people and come up with the best possible solutions.
So more than 10 years and hundreds of loans later, I’ve created a successful mortgage practice built on relationships and sound advice. I love being able to connect with clients and add value to their lives. Sure, at the end of the day, people just want their money (with the lowest rate & cost of course) and they want to close on time, but I guess it’s all in how you do that. Your delivery. And your team.
Do I miss teaching? Funny, I find myself doing it every day. And I’ve even had the joy of helping dozens of my former students find the perfect loan for the perfect home. Each morning brings new challenges, changing lending guidelines, unique scenarios and so many wonderful people and I can’t imagine doing anything else right now. It’s a great place to be.
And when I’m not in the office or closing loans, I am out creating adventures with my wife and my two kids, Tyson & Chloe. Whether we’re out on the boat spotting dolphins, at the beach kicking a soccer ball around, watching a Disney flick at home on a Friday night stuffing ourselves with popcorn or just sitting around the dinner table telling lame jokes, we know we’re in it together. And as crazy as the days can be, my job is to be present, to embrace the now & to lead them down the right path.
So that’s what I invite you to do. There is always going to be a cheaper rate. Other banks or people will promise things. But what I’d like to offer you is my experience, my ability to be present and figure out your needs & to have a world-class team handle things for you so we can go down the right path. Together. I look forward to meeting you and playing just a small part in your story. Until then, be blessed!