Chris Mason is recognized as California’s Best Independent Mortgage Broker. He prides himself on offering unparalleled support and treating every client like an individual and not a number. Mason is a loan officer at America’s Home Loans, who has built a solid local reputation by helping first-time homebuyers, refinancers, and real estate investors obtain optimal and fast mortgage financing to help them accomplish their goals.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

  • Biological parents were foster parents, so I had foster siblings but wasn’t a foster kid.
  • Grew up of very modest means, lived in the trailer park when I graduated high school. Military to get away from that.
  • 8 years in Marines, Fallujah 2004.
  • UC Berkeley
  • The mortgage industry, direct lender for 5 years, broker for 2.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

Wish that I’d used the VA loan and started buying real estate while I was younger. 

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

That it’s a sales game. It’s not. It’s a relationship, advising, helping, teaching, game.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

Fallujah. Life is fleeting, and don’t sweat the small stuff, are two big personality changes that resulted from that.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

Learning from elders in the biz, separating out stuff that worked for them but wouldn’t work today, while cherry-picking the stuff that did work and does still work.

What is your morning routine?

Typical of anyone with 2 small kids, it revolves entirely around them.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Work/life balance. 

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

  • Time blocking.
  • If something doesn’t work, stop doing it.
  • Change often and pivot quickly, knowing you will make mistakes change to correct them just as quickly. I think a lot of people fall into the trap of paralysis by analysis. In the Marines we had a saying, “in a firefight, the 90% solution right now is better than the 100% solution moments later.” Things are changing (and you might be taking casualties too) while you are formulating that textbook perfect plan, meaning it’s obsolete before you’re done formulating it. So just pick whatever seems ballpark 90% good, and execute on that right now.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – My favorite book. One thing I like is that it’s fiction wherein the protagonist (all of OSC’s protagonists, actually) are family-centered, rather than perpetual adolescents who care not a bit for what’s going on with their families. 

To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink – pitches don’t work anymore, manipulating people doesn’t work either, be honest and transparent and people will both like you, and work with you.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Strive to treat everyone like gold. You may think that customer isn’t qualified for what they want, and that may be true, but what of their sister or cousin? It costs nothing to attempt to leave a good impression with everyone you interact with.