This post is part of Qualia’s Future of Work Series, where we spotlight leaders who are inspiring new talent to join the real estate industry.
In the late 1990s, Mo Choumil was working happily at a buzzing restaurant as a bartender. Fast forward to less than 10 years later, and Choumil was running his own title business.
This story may sound far-fetched—after all, title & escrow is a complicated industry and certainly not an easy business to get into. However, the industry also has a certain magnetic pull that lures in and takes hold of people with the right set of skills and traits. We sat down with Choumil to understand just what made the title industry so compelling for him, why he launched his own title business (ATG Title) after just 6 years in the industry, and how he continues to bring new talent into the field.
QUALIA: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into the title industry?
CHOUMIL: I was recruited by one of the patrons at the restaurant I used to work at. I was bartending at that time and he was a frequent visitor and became a friend. He recruited me to work for his abstract company and I finally caved after about 6 months of persistence on his part. I had no idea what the industry even was, and still didn’t understand it until I actually started working. After that, I started my own abstract company which I ran for about 3 years until I launched my own title company in 2001.
QUALIA: What inspired you to take the leap and start your own company?
CHOUMIL: I’m naturally an entrepreneur and I’ve never wanted to spend my career working for someone else. It’s how I’m wired. It’s not an easy industry to get into though. It’s a very difficult business and a lot of people who get into it don’t understand how complicated it is. For me, there was a bit of luck in the timing of it all, but also persistence and resilience.
I love people, which is why I was working as a bartender. That natural inclination for people translated well into the title industry because it’s all about building relationships and talking to people. For me, I think the success of my business is about being genuine and caring about people to help them grow their own businesses.
QUALIA: Considering you hadn’t heard about title & escrow before you were recruited, what’s your pitch now to bring new talent into your business?
CHOUMIL: I call the title industry the black hole. Once it sucks you in, you can never get out. There’s never a dull moment and there’s so much to learn for those who are passionate about real estate. If you have a thrill for solving problems and working with different people to resolve issues, this is a great industry. Title & escrow is also a sustainable business to get into for a long career. It’s a great industry because people will always be buying and selling homes. There are ups and downs, but it’s always a strong industry.
QUALIA: When you bring in new people who have no previous background in real estate or title & escrow, what’s your strategy to train them?
CHOUMIL: We have our own internal training program so we can put them in front of a library of training videos to help them learn before they start work. We also incorporate the Qualia University training videos. Our industry is pretty minuscule in size, so we don’t have a lot of resources. It takes a lot of time to build materials, but building the foundation for new recruits is important. If you don’t have a good foundation or a positive culture, your employees won’t stick around.