Carlos Villalon Mortgage Consultant, First Centennial Mortgage

Where did you grow up?
Chicago and then a few places in the suburbs.

What was your most interesting job before going into lending?
Not sure if I would call it interesting, but when I was 16 I worked as a telemarketer. We would call grocery store managers all over the country to sell them magazine subscriptions. Talk about a hard sell!

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed?
Working out seems to do the trick most of the time.

If you could meet any well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why?
Tony Robbins. The first year of my career, I listened to his tapes (yes, tapes) in my car while I drove around trying to prospect. Don’t think I would have made it without him “building me up.”

Where is Chicago’s best-kept secret?
I don’t think it’s much of a secret, but a concert at Northerly Island. Awesome place.

What do you love most about the industry?
Helping a person close on a loan who was previously told no. Absolutely nothing better than having the confidence to tell them this is 100% going to happen.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Remembering to stop and smell the roses. With all the excitement, I sometimes forget to pause and take it all in.

What are you binge-watching/reading/listening to lately?
Watching “Alone.”

What’s your favorite meal in Chicago?
So many to choose from, but if I have to pick it would be the carne asada tacos from El Asadero.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago?
Sears (I mean Willis) Tower.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you on the job?
I was talking with a client for about 30 minutes before we both realized that we played on the same little league 20 years prior. It was an incredible coincidence.

What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?
I love learning about other cultures. We are all so different and very interesting.

What’s your favorite vacation spot and why?
Steamboat Springs mid-January through April. I learned to snowboard six years ago while teaching my three-year-old son. I absolutely love it.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the lending industry?
Join a top-producing team.

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