Born in San Diego, CA June 9th, 1981 Jason Mitchell was born as Jason Charles Tapocik. Never meeting his biological father, his mother Denise was left to raise her firstborn as a single mother. She would later move back to Detroit in the summer of 82.’ Raised by his grandmother and grandfather Jason was taught the values he holds close to him to this day. At six years old his mother married the man who would become his father and took the last name of Mitchell. Thomas, legally adopted Jason and life began.
Early childhood was tough. The family had very little money, and south Detroit offered very few opportunities at the time. Jason lived with his grandparents, mother, father and uncle throughout his childhood years. "I was too young to understand that it wasn’t normal to have your entire family living with you (it was great having everyone living together)." In 1988 his grandparents moved to northern Michigan leaving the home for the family. A year later his sister Danielle was born, his brother Tommy would follow two years after.
Having an understanding at a young age of the family’s financial position, Jason knew that things would not come easy. At just 10 years old, he took his first job counting cans at a local liquor store. "I remember begging the owner to hire me, I rode my bike to get to work, I felt so privileged to get that job." He made less than minimum wage and illegally worked to make money. His pay was $3.50 an hour. "It was a disgusting job, I would sit in the back and count cans that had stale beer, tobacco spit, you name it, but it was the only place that would give me a check, so I did it."
"I remember my mother worked delivering papers to our neighborhood just to try and make ends meet. We had a 15-year-old Ford pickup; the driver door would literally not latch shut. As a kid, it was embarrassing having your mother collect for the paper at your friend's house and being seen in that truck. Today, I look back at what she did and can’t even express how much I admire her. She did what she had to do for us. She’s an unbelievable woman, a survivor."
At 12 years old, The State of Michigan allowed for permitting certain types of jobs. Jason took a job as a caddy at a private golf course and did that for a period of two years. This is where his love of golf began. "I would see people pull up in their Mercedes and BMW’s and think one day I want to drive a car like that."
After a few years, he then got a job closer to home at a fast food restaurant. In the 7th and 8th grade he went to school and worked as much as the state would allow, 20 hours a week.
As an adolescent, Jason’s big break (in sales) came when he was 15 years old. He took a job as a telemarketing sales representative cold calling from a phone book. The company at the time consisted of 60 sales associates, years later it would become the largest telemarketing firm in the country. It is here where his love for sales started. "I would ride my moped to school and the minute the bell rang I would haul it to work, I wanted to be on the phone rather than class." In his senior year of high school, Jason was working a full 40 hours a week as well a being a full-time student. "I would go to school from 7 to 3, (and) work from 4 to 10 Monday through Friday and do 9-7 Saturdays."
Despite being the youngest sales rep in the company, Jason became the #1 grossing salesman in the entire firm. As a 17-year-old he was the highest paid salesman in the company. Prior to graduating, he was offered (by his boss and life mentor) an opportunity to manage a sales team after graduation. Understanding that the position was an incredible opportunity he would pass it up and head to college instead.
Jason attended Central Michigan University in the fall of 1999. His freshman year he joined the fraternity Sigma Pi. ("Central was the best time of my life, nothing will top those four years.") The cost of college was always a concern. He needed to make the money necessary to pay for school and living expenses. Throughout his years at CMU Jason worked as a pizza delivery guy and found a way to get by. He graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Major in Marketing.
While finishing up his senior year at CMU Jason interviewed with a Fortune 500 company, (called) Pulte Homes, the nation’s largest home builder. "I didn’t know what real estate was really. (I had a close friend hired there and saw that he made almost 200k his first year out of school, that was all I needed to know.") There were over 150 candidates and only four positions for the summer internship program. After an extensive interview process, Jason was chosen along with three students representing Michigan State, Western Michigan, and Eastern Michigan.
The internship program at Pulte Homes wasn’t exactly an easy one. The drive was over an hour drive from his parent’s home and paid very little money. "I remember my first day I wore my best suit and had to spend six hours cleaning up cigarette butts on the construction site. Nothing came easy at Pulte; you had to earn your stripes. I knew the potential though, and I wasn’t going to fail." During his internship, Jason was slowly proving to his mentor, Mike McGivney, and his VP of sales, Sean Strickler, that there was something special about this newcomer. After two months he was given the rare opportunity to sell homes to customers. (This was a rare circumstance in deed.) In 30 days Jason sold seven homes and was 2nd in units sold out of 42 sales reps in the division. He was then given an opportunity by the President of the division to sell out a community with five spec homes that remained. This was an unprecedented opportunity for him as an intern and he was determined to succeed. Jason had exactly three weeks to sell out before his final semester began at CMU. The President of the company made him a bet, it was simple, sell out and there will be no interview for a full-time position when you leave. The job will be waiting for you. Jason sold the community out in 12 days. The interview was never held.
Jason as a rookie there were many challenges to face. The training program was a six-month process. Jason learned not only the ins and outs of how to properly sell a home, but also having an understanding of construction, materials, P&L’s ect. In addition to learning how to manage a community with a 100 million dollars plus capital investment, a pretty large undertaking for a 22-year-old. Jason passed out of training in three months and began to sell. That year, 2003, he led all sales consultants with 52 units sold. (With having great mentors such as Lance Bethel and Sean Strickler) Jason quickly began to make a name at the company. In his second year, he was placed in Pulte’s Top Gun Program preparing him for management. That year he became the youngest trainer for incoming rookies and again led the sales team in units sold with 62 homes and again in 2005 with 67.
That year Jason was presented an opportunity to head west to Arizona, the hottest market in the country at the time. His community was an active adult community in South East Phoenix. "I came out here on my own, I left everything I knew back home, it was the hardest thing I had ever done." His VP at the time David Jackson took Jason under his wing and showed the confidence in him that he needed. In three months Jason sold more homes than all four sales consultants combined. He then took over a community a few miles east where he broke the single month existing inventory record of sales selling 29 homes in the month of July 2006, posting 8.4 Million dollars in volume.
Taking a Plunge
Leaving Pulte was a very difficult decision. However, wanting to branch out and start a real estate team was something he had envisioned for quite some time (and so it began).
Having groups of investors/speculators who were ready to buy, made the transition rather easy. In his first two years, Jason sold over 40 million dollars in real estate, and things were going better than according to plan. It wasn’t until August of 2008 when he would be faced with his first true test of adversity.
The real estate and lending market was shut down. Banks were collapsing, and values quickly plummeted leaving investors and speculators in a whirlwind of loss. "2008 and 2009 were the worst two years of my life not because I wasn’t making the money I once was, but because of the loss that not only my investors but someone of my closest and dearest friends took. My character was constantly being challenged, I had ulcers over it, I couldn’t sleep at night, it was by far the worst feeling I ever had. To make matters worse, it was out of my control."
The punches continued to come. Jason opened a mortgage brokerage at the end of 2007 and when the collapse hit, he had over 26 employees to also worry about. In addition, he also opened a marketing company Creative Market Solutions with his business partner James Wexler. The company employed a team of engineers out of the Ukraine and Philippines with the companies marketing platform. "I would help my guys build websites, landing pages, create java scripts and html codes with them. We would then trigger our leads into a software we created that verified an accurate lead which would then distribute to our LO’s in real time. The system was genius, the timing was not. We bought huge databases and sent our marketing to millions of homeowners across the country. We generated thousands of mortgage leads. It was a 24/7 job. I had to manage our team overseas in the midnight hours though Skype and instant messaging. (It was a TON of work.) "
The work would eventually turn a small profit true catalyst of keeping the doors open. "Without CMS we would never have made it through 2008, it was the smartest business move I ever made."
2009 was a hit and miss year. "There were good months, and there were bad months. Although we had to downsize, given the state of the economy, the companies did better than most."
At the end of 09’ Jason was asked to join a private lending company based out of Manhattan NY. For a little over a year, he served as Regional Vice President and oversaw all operations on the West Coast. "My time as RVP really expanded my knowledge base of the secondary market and the true understating of how mortgage back securities work. It was a great decision to take the role and could not put a price on how much I learned."
At the end of 2010 seeing that residential real estate was about to increase dramatically, Jason got back to his true passion, real estate. Armed and ready for new challenges he brought more knowledge with him than ever before. "I had started three companies, employed over 70 people, made millions and lost the same, all in the worst economy in generations. I felt like I lived a lifetime and I was only 29-years-old."
In 2016 Jason Mitchell was named Arizona’s most influential millennials. Following national recognition in GQ magazine and television appearance on HGTV, BRAVO, and ABC Jason and his team broke real estate sales records in becoming the #1 real estate agent in the State of Arizona. Jason and his team also now serve as the official real estate team of the national top organizations like Quicken Loans, Redfin, Estately, and HomeLight. In addition, they also were nominated for one of the top real estate platforms for technology in the industry. While Jason currently represents some of the valley’s most exclusive properties and his team producing more than 500 sales in 2016, The Jason Mitchell Group is now ranked as one of the #1 real estate teams in the United States.