Where did you grow up? I am originally from New York City. I was born in the Bronx and raised between Staten Island and Brooklyn, NY.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I play video games with my son, Noah, or listen to one of my daughters, Anaya, stories and get lost in how her imagination runs wild.
If you could meet any well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? Jay-Z. I would want to study his business acumen. Growing up in Marcy Projects to becoming a billionaire is pretty impressive. I am sure there would be a thing or two to learn.
Where is South Florida’s best-kept secret? Miami real estate can cater to almost every type of lifestyle. You have condos on the beach, suburban single-family homes, agricultural farms and travel south, you have the stretch of the Florida Keys. It’s amazing to have so much, so close.
What do you love most about the industry? There are always challenges and new ways to evolve. Hundreds of loans closed and I have yet to have one scenario that is exactly the same as another.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Living in a predominantly Spanish speaking market and not speaking Spanish. Especially given the fact I am Puerto Rican. I’ve gotten used to the usual “Oh wow, it must be difficult to work in Miami and not speak Spanish.”
What are you binge-watching/reading/listening to lately? Lately my wife and I have been watching “Dark” on Netflix.
What’s your favorite meal in South Florida? Thai fried rice stone pot with king crab from Kyu in Wynwood. If you haven’t tried it you’re missing out.
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in South Florida? Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. Growing up in New York, I have always been mesmerized by older architecture. Ten years ago, I purchased a co-op in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It was built in the early 1900’s and is one of the oldest co-ops in New York City. It had unique, one-of -a-kind things like wall-safes, original wood floors etched by hand — aesthetics you can’t find anymore. Vizcaya brought me right back to that apartment. Everything about the architecture is unbelievable and to know it was someone’s house at some point makes you feel like you’re walking back in time. If you haven’t paid a visit you really should.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you on the job? Years ago, when I still lived in New York City, a random person came into my office to ask if we sold Metro cards — public transportation cards to ride the buses and subways. Back then delis, bodegas, and select vendors sold them, so I walked him to nearest one and struck up a conversation on the walk through midtown. About a month later, he moved more than $10 million in assets for my team to manager because in his words, “If you are willing to go out of your way for me the same way you did for the $20 subway card, then I know I am in great hands.”
What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you? I collect watches. I have always been a fan of watches since a teenager, but the reason I started collecting was prompted by a book my wife got me a few Christmases ago called “A Man & His Watch”. It’s a coffee table book that’s an easy read and inside you find all types of watches from celebrities, entrepreneurs, artists, and a few watch aficionados. The common theme, regardless of the value of the watch, is someone special gave them this watch, or there was a landmark moment in that persons life. So I collect now to have a decent watch collection to pass on to my children and commemorate special milestones with the hope that when my time has passed they can always have a little part of me that reminds them of me.
What’s your favorite vacation spot and why? Blue Ridge Mountains. I have come to absolutely love the mountain backdrops and wilderness hiking.
In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the lending industry? Study your guidelines and become an expert in your field.