Leading Lenders Series: Mile Marker Mortgage
Spotlighting Central Florida's best lenders for Orlando home buyers.
Buying a house is a special moment in people’s lives. It represents putting down roots and committing to the future and it’s precisely why Christina Santana, broker-owner of Mile Marker Mortgage, opened her office.
After spending years learning the many moving parts of the industry, Santana opened her own brokerage in 2018 with a dominating principle: This should be memorable for her customers.
“It’s about creating a special moment for the consumer and Realtor partners,” she said of a process that can be overwhelming for homebuyers.
“They can walk in the door and it’s family,” she said.
The Bronx, N.Y., native was headed for a career in law, attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, until she made true a childhood vow.
At 19, Santana moved to Florida, finding a soft landing at her aunt’s home in Casselberry. A first job as a receptionist at a Winter Park brokerage in 2003 was the proverbial fork in her life’s road. She veered toward the mortgage industry and never looked back.
Santana took a methodical approach to learning every aspect of running a brokerage. She lived it, for years. A striking facet of Santana’s evolution from receptionist to broker owner is that she pushed herself to achieve each new level.
“I worked for a national home builder for 5 years as a loan processor. Then I worked for a national lender and I did originations. I was with that company for about 7 years, then I had an opportunity to become a managing broker for a startup in 2017,” she says.
That office was a valuable experience but felt the time was right to open my own brokerage.
Mile Marker Mortgage took control of its business philosophy from the start. “Customer service would be warm and welcoming to all. You feel at home from the very beginning. It’s a small boutique & we have the passion and experience.”
MAKING THE LEAP
She made this leap into ownership, she says, as a one-woman band.
“I opened up the business by myself with no upfront funding, no partner, with my own savings. I leased a 10-by-12 office. I did everything from start to finish because I wanted to maintain the positive aspects of lending and creating those great memories for the homeowners.
“I really have been through the mortgage journey, in different positions and I’ve seen the highs and lows of the market. And I rode those waves. I can’t imagine not being able to open up my own brokerage, my own business.
“It’s small, boutique, but we have the passion and the experience. I want to keep it personal. There’s a huge market for people who want to have that one-on-one feel when they’re meeting with me, or my processor or another originator that we have on our team.
“There is something very tangible about that and it makes the customer feel like a priority. They are making one of the biggest purchases in their life and we want to give them the attention they deserve,” she says.
Her brokerage has a motto: Achieving Milestones, Together! One of Santana’s personal milestones comes this very month, as she turns 40.
“I’m embracing it. I feel the happiest I’ve felt in my entire life. So I’m super excited to be crossing into the Big 4-0,” she says.
Still, Santana would rather talk about her life’s work, rather than her life.
“I’m really passionate about this industry and it’s my baby. It really is. For every customer.”
3165 MCCRORY PLACE, SUITE 100
ORLANDO, FL 32803
NMLS # 1788488