Agent Snapshot: Jim Pontious, Mortgage Banker, PHH Home Loans, Chicago


Jim Pontious is a mortgage banker with PHH Home Loans in Chicago

What was your first job in the realty industry? I started out as a closing coordinator for a wholesale lender in 1996. I was the guy who scheduled loan closings and sent them to the closer to prepare docs. Not very glamorous, but it was a great start.

Where did you grow up? The south Chicago suburbs. I have been living and working in the city since 1996.

What is your favorite free-time activity?  Attending concerts. I have seen literally hundreds of bands. I love small venues. Some of my favorites are the Empty Bottle, Lincoln Hall and Metro.

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I love to get out in the yard and tend to my garden, and catch a show.

Growing up, what did you want to be? Tough question. I really had no idea, but right out of college I started at a bank and just fell into it. I absolutely love what I do.

If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? I would adore having lunch with Jackie Gleason. His love of great jazz music and comedic flair would be an interesting conversation.

Where is your favorite place to hang out? Again, another hard one. There are so many places in Chicago. Honestly, my backyard in the city is a fantastic place to hang out and have a cocktail.

What do you love most about the industry? I love the pace and meeting new people daily.

How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? My experience. I have been a processor, closer, underwriter, loss mitigation specialist and even receptionist in this industry, so I know all facets of the process from inception to closing.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? I do not find anything difficult at this point in my career. I love what I do, and no matter how difficult the transaction, there is always a closing. If you keep a positive attitude, nothing is really difficult.

Where do you go to network and meet new clients? Anywhere and everywhere.

What has been your greatest accomplishment? Staying in this business for 18 years and learning something new every day.

What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? “Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City” by Mary Pattillo. I love Chicago history, and this book describes a detailed history of a grand old neighborhood and what happened to it. I wish everyone would read the book and learn from our previous mistakes to make the city a better place to live.

What is your favorite restaurant? I am a bar and grill kind of guy. There are so many to choose from!

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago? I love modern architecture, so my favorite is the Mies van der Rohe residential buildings at 860-880 Lake Shore Dr. I would totally live there.

What kind of car do you drive? I drive a vintage car. I have been driving a 1992 VW Cabriolet Convertible for 10 years and love it to pieces.

What is your favorite city after Chicago? Madison, Wis. I just love it there, the pace is perfect. Supper clubs, two lakes, cheese and beer — what more could you ask for?

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? Just be honest. You will always win.

What’s your favorite Real Estate iPhone/ Blackberry app? Trulia.

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