Born in San Diego, CA on June 9th, 1981, Jason Mitchell was born as Jason Charles Tapocik. Jason never met his biological father, and was raised by his mother Denise. She moved them to Detroit in the summer of 1982, where Jason spent considerable time with his grandparents. It was their instruction and encouragement that instilled Jason with the values of honesty, loyalty and hard work that he still holds close to this day. When Jason was six years old, his mother married Thomas Mitchell, who legally adopted Jason and became a true father to him.
Early childhood was tough for Jason. 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–though it was great having everyone together,” Jason recalls. In 1988, Jason’s grandparents moved to northern Michigan and left the home to the rest of the family. A year later his sister Danielle was born, and his brother Tommy followed 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 begged the owner to hire me. I rode my bike to get to work every day, and I felt so privileged to get that job,” Jason says. He made less than minimum wage and was actually working illegally–he was too young–and the 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 inside…but it was the only place that would give me a check, so I did it. My mother worked delivering papers in our neighborhood just to try and make ends meet. We had a fifteen-year-old Ford pickup; the driver door literally wouldn’t 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.”
When Jason was 12 years old, The state of Michigan permitted a few jobs to be held by kids of his age. Jason took a job as a caddy at a private golf course, and did that for two years. It was how he was introduced to golf, a sport he’s passionate about to this day. “I would see people pull up in their Mercedes and BMWs and would 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 seventh and eighth grade he went to school and worked as much as the state would allow, which was 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, and years later it would become the largest telemarketing firm in the country. That was where Jason’s love for sales started. “I would ride my moped to school and the minute the bell rang, I’d 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 seven a.m. to three p.m., and would work from four p.m. to ten p.m. Monday through Friday. Then I’d work from nine to seven on Saturdays.”
Despite being the youngest sales rep in the company, Jason became the highest-grossing salesman and at 17 years old was making the most out of any other salespeople in the entire firm. Prior to graduating, he was offered the chance by his boss and life mentor to manage a sales team after graduation. Jason understood that the position was an incredible opportunity, but ultimately chose to attend 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,” Jason says. The cost of college was always a concern, however, as 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, Pulte Homes, which was the nation’s largest home builder. “I didn’t know what real estate was, really, but a close friend of mine was hired there and made almost two hundred thousand 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, but after an extensive interview process Jason was chosen as the CMU intern along with three other students who represented Michigan State University, Western Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University.
The internship program at Pulte Homes wasn’t exactly an easy one. The drive was over an hour from Jason’s parents’ home, and paid very little money. “I remember how on my first day I wore my best suit, and spent six hours cleaning up cigarette butts on the construction site,” Jason says. “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 indeed.) In 30 days Jason sold seven homes, and was second in units sold out of 42 other 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 Jason 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 simple bet: “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.
As a rookie, there were many challenges Jason had to face. The training program was a six-month process. Jason not only learned the ins and outs of how to properly sell a home, but also how to have an understanding of construction, materials, etc., in addition to learning how to manage a community with 100 million dollars plus capital investment. It was a pretty large undertaking for a 22-year-old, to say the least. Jason got through the entirety of his training in three months, and began to sell right after. That year, 2003, he led all sales consultants with 52 units sold. With mentors like Lance Bethel and Sean Strickler by his side, Jason quickly began to make a name at the company. In his second year, he was placed in Pulte’s Top Gun Program, which prepared 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 for 2004, and 67 for 2005.
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 southeast Phoenix. “I came out here on my own–I left everything I knew back home, and it was the hardest thing I’d ever done,” Jason says. 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 by selling 29 homes in the month of July 2006 and posting 8.4 million dollars in volume.
Taking a Plunge
Leaving Pulte was a very difficult decision. However, Jason had envisioned branching out with his own real estate team for a long 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 even better than expected. It wasn’t until August of 2008 that Jason was 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 losses my closest and dearest friends suffered. I had ulcers over it, I couldn’t sleep at night, and it was by far the worst feeling I’d ever had. To make matters worse, it was out of my control,” Jason says.
The punches continued to come. Jason had opened a mortgage brokerage at the end of 2007, and when the collapse hit he had over 26 employees to think about. In addition, he’d also opened a marketing company called Creative Market Solutions with his business partner James Wexler, which employed a team of engineers out of the Ukraine and Philippines. “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’d 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,” Jason says. “It was a ton of work, but without Creative Marketing Solutions, we never would’ve made it throuhh 2008. It was the smartest business move I ever made.”
2009 was a hit-or-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 2009, 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 provided a true understanding of how mortgage-backed securities work. It was a great decision to take the role, and I couldn’t put a price on how much I learned.”
At the end of 2010 when the residential real estate market improved dramatically, Jason returned to his true passion: real estate. Armed and ready for new challenges, he brought more knowledge with him than ever before. “I’d started three companies, employed over seventy people, made millions and lost the same–all in the worst economy in generations. I felt like I’d lived a lifetime and I was only twenty-nine years old,” Jason recalls.
In 2016, Jason Mitchell was named Arizona’s Most Influential Millenial. Following national recognition in GQ Magazine and television appearances on HGTV, BRAVO and ABC, Jason broke real estate sales records by becoming the number one real estate agent in the state of Arizona. Jason and his team also serve as the official real estate team to top national organizations like Quicken Loans, Redfin, Estately and HomeLight. In addition, they were nominated for one of the top real estate platforms for technology in the industry. Jason currently represents some of the valley’s most exclusive properties, and his team completed more than 500 sales in 2016. The Jason Mitchell Group is ranked as one of the most profitable and successful real estate teams in the United States.