So this is where I’m supposed to write about all my real estate experience, the deals I’ve closed and how great I’m supposed to be… blah, blah, blah. That’s usually how 99.99% of real estate agents start their “About Me” page. Well, that’s not me. In my business, I don’t want to be perceived as just another real estate agent. I don’t want to follow the herd and do what every other agent does.
My goal has always been to build a business around people, where the relationship is bigger than the transaction. I’ve learned over the many years that it all starts with trust. Trust doesn’t come from you reading a two paragraph “about me” page, with a picture of me in a suit and tie. Trust comes from you knowing how I do things, what I stand for, what motivates me, and how and why I make the choices I do.
You see, to me, trust is also about compatibility, just like in marriage. You and I have to connect on many levels in order to develop mutual trust and respect. To even think about working with each other we had better have more in sync than just the transaction. If all we have is the transaction then we have wasted a great opportunity to build a long-lasting relationship.
The first step to building that trust and respect is for you to get to know me better. To that end, I have written my story, not a boring about me page, but my story.
Where It All Began
Imagine for a moment a small island in the Caribbean circa 1960. A Friday night in November, a gentle breeze swaying the palm trees, the night lit up by a silvery full moon. That’s what my mother remembered about the night I was born in a small hospital in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
I lived the first 6 years of my childhood in Puerto Rico. I have lots of great memories of those years. Walking barefoot on dirt roads, not because I had to, but because that was the norm. Flinging mud at my grandmother’s house, I might have been somewhat of a brat when I was a kid. My father coming home from working in the sugar cane fields. My mother’s smile and quick wit. Flying homemade paper kites and playing marbles. The sounds, the smells, and all those memories all very much ingrained in me and all very much a part of who I am.
Growing Up in Brooklyn
At 7 years old my family moved to Brooklyn, NY where I would spend the next 29 years. Living in Brooklyn from the late sixties to early nineties was an unforgettable experience. During those 3 decades, I saw a naive young boy who couldn’t speak a lick of English grow into a husband, father, and a hard-working man. A man with an incredible thirst for knowledge and a strong determination to succeed.
I have many fond memories of Brooklyn and also memories of the struggles we endured. As I look back at those times we were by no means well off. Many times it was either lunch or dinner but not both, it was either buy much-needed groceries or pay the electric bill. It was a struggle my parents endured. A struggle I never understood until I reached my late teens.
Time to Work
Watching my parents struggle created a mindset I still have today. Work hard, very hard. My first 3 jobs right after high school were making boxes at a doll factory, night-shift dishwasher at a diner, and night shift pretzel maker at a pretzel factory. Wow! Pretty exciting work, right?
Each and every one of those jobs, for me, had one thing in common. I worked my butt off regardless of pay and regardless of conditions.
Fast forward a couple of years to when I began working in a fast food restaurant in mid-town NYC. I was only a cashier when I started, but I was determined to work harder and be better than any of my co-workers. Not long after I started work there I recall standing next to the Regional Manager, Mr. Foley one morning. He was a tough, hardened veteran of the Marine Corp who smoked Camels like they were going out of style. While we were waiting for customers to come in I asked him, “What will it take for me to become a manager at this store?”. He turned to me saying only two words, “Hard Work”. I thought to myself, “Great! That should be easy”. I was used to hard work. Six months later I was managing that restaurant and then went on to manage their number 1 restaurant in mid-town NYC for the next 4 years.
You Don’t Know How Far You Can Go Until…
By this time in my life, I was already married and had one child. I thought there had to be a better way to make a living than managing a fast food joint. With just a high school education and no college degree, I decided to join the military. As it so happened when I walked into the recruiting station the first desk I came upon belonged to the US Marine recruiter. Guess what branch of the military I joined? Yep, you guessed it, I was going to be a United States Marine.
Basic training was nothing like I was expected. It was downright brutal! June, July, and August were the hottest months of the year and I was at Parris Island, SC. Every single day I was challenged mentally and physically, being pushed to exceed my limits. I’m proud to say that although I had never fired a rifle in my life, I graduated from the Marine Corps ‘First in Class’ with a Rifle Expert Medal. It was a difficult few months, but with determination, I learned just what I was capable of accomplishing with the right mindset. It was empowering and has stuck with me throughout my lifetime. Nothing is impossible.
SUCCESS! Or, so I thought…
After my time in the Marines, I landed a job with AT&T managing, marketing, and negotiating access to rooftops of NYC buildings that included the Citi Corp building and the World Trade Center Towers. This was my launch into a real estate career in the telecommunications industry.
By the time I was 38 I was well on my way to what I thought I wanted out of life to be successful. I was married, had 2 kids, and had moved to South Carolina making a six-figure income as Vice President of CommSite International. We had built a brand new, huge 3200 sq ft home, had two cars, and had all the amenities and toys that came along with being successful. I had, what I thought, was everything that I wanted.
After a couple of years, the company was put up for sale. The new owners already had a management team in place, therefore my position was no longer needed. And, in the blink of an eye, I was laid off and my wife and I divorced. At the time, I was disappointed. But, I was resilient and determined to make a comeback. My early working years in the restaurant and my time in the Marine Corps had taught me valuable lessons. I knew this was not the end, simply the beginning of a new chapter.
What is Success To Me Today
As I sit here today telling you about my life story I can honestly say that I’ve made my comeback. This time around, my definition of success is very different. It’s no longer about the money, the big fancy house, or the toys. I mean, don’t get me wrong, all those things are nice to have under the right circumstances. But, now “Success to me is about family, friends, helping others, and the life experiences along the way. Simply enjoying what’s around me.”
I am married to the most wonderful and supportive woman on this planet, Tammy. Unfortunately, my real estate career in the telecommunications and right of way industry has kept me on the road a lot throughout our 15 years of marriage. But, she has always been understanding and supportive of my career.
At the beginning of 2016, we decided that it was time for me to be home full-time…for good. The real estate project that I was working on was coming to an end after thinking long and hard I realized how important it was to be home with my wife and 13-year-old son. No more working on the road away from home. It was time to be a full-time husband and Dad rather than a part-timer. It was time to enjoy all 4 of my kids and my grandkids. I’ve missed out on a lot over the years. Therefore, I decided to launch my own real estate business.
My Story Defines My Business
I want my business to be defined by who I am. In residential real estate, there is a group known as “The Guru Party”. These are trainers and coaches who teach real estate agents to cold call, knock on doors, bother relatives etc. That is NOT how I want to run my business.
My life experiences have not only molded my personality they have also molded the way in which I conduct business. My core values serve as the basis with which I make all my personal and business decisions.
Core Value 1: Treat others the same way you want to be treated.
Core Value 2: Professionals build relationships. Amateurs make sales. I’m a Professional
Core Value 3: Bring out the best in myself so I can help bring out the best in others.
Core Value 4: Be a Protector. A Protector to my family, my friends, and my clients.
Core Value 5: Give back to the community, specifically our community heroes (teachers, firefighters, police, first-responders, nurses)
Hopefully, by knowing who I am and what defines and drives me, it will help you determine if I am someone you would like to work with. My intent here has been for you to get to know me. Not by reading some email I threw together about local market statistics, but rather by the stories I have told about real life events that are intertwined with my passion for helping and protecting others.
If you feel that I am a good fit for you and that we would work well together then please give me a call. Let’s sit, have a cup of coffee, and discuss how I can successfully help you with your real estate goals.
Some Fun Facts About Me
- Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Brooklyn, NY
- Married with 4 awesome kiddos and 2 grandkids
- Served in the United States Marine Corp (7 years active and reserve combined)
- Received Rifle Expert Medal (Shot 247 out of 250)
- Began in real estate managing co-ops, condominiums and Section 8 housing in NYC.
- Worked in real estate projects in 18 different states.
- Can play guitar…somewhat OK
- Love fly fishing and fishing in general
- Wrote a book on Free Software. See it on Amazon.
- While working at an NYC bank cashed a check for Carly Simon and Paul Schafer…very cool!
- Favorite band: The Gipsy Kings and Kiss…Go Figure!!
- Pitched a no-hitter in the second game I ever pitched. It was Little League but still pretty nice.
- Owned and operated a donut/bakery shop in Hennessey, OK.