What do Dave Matthews, Rick Springfield, and Blues Traveler have in common? Once upon a time, NOVA Real Producer Paul Thistle, of Take 2 Real Estate, and his former band, Emerald City, opened up for these mainstream bands. Back then, Paul was the lead singer and said that jamming in these packed venues was quite a rush. “I had an unbelievable time, playing in front of thousands of people, living out my mini rock-and-roll fantasy,” he recalls.

The group was formed with some of his friends from college. When they graduated, they signed on with a management company. They would also be the headliner, playing off their eight-song original album, Eye of the Needle, and mix in some popular cover songs by Nirvana, Guns and Roses, U2, and Pearl Jam. They toured eight states for a year, but, ultimately, they decided to call it quits because the band didn’t take off as quickly as they had hoped.

That’s when Paul decided to switch gears and started in the mortgage industry. His first job was with World Mortgage. He raved about their training program and how they invested time and money in their officers. He eventually moved to a nationwide mortgage company, and soon enough would start his own retail mortgage brokerage in 2000, called Loan Planet. For 12 years, he owned and ran this company.

But in 2008, when the mortgage meltdown happened, he decided to use that time wisely and dive into real estate, getting licensed. Lending had made him passionate about saving clients money. “I wanted to do the same in real estate,” he says. From day one, he branded himself as a full-service, discount REALTOR® and founded his business: Take 2 Real Estate. The name comes from a rebate he offers to all purchasers, where he encourages them to donate a portion of that rebate to a local food pantry and he will match their efforts. Giving back is pivotal for him. “It’s just one small way we can all give back and support our local communities in need,” Paul says.

Wicked Awesome Beginning
Paul credits his parents for leading him to the path of real estate. “My parents, God bless them, were every REALTOR’S® nightmare,” he joked, adding, “They loved to go out and look at homes and new construction, almost as if it were their weekend hobby.” Paul and his brother Pete would tag along. Paul fell in love with all the variations of homes and different stages and imagined all the possibilities. Incidentally, Pete owns a real estate brokerage firm in San Diego, where he lives and works to this day.

Paul grew up in New Hampshire, in a small Cape Cod-style home in New Hampshire with one bathroom for four people. Competitive by nature and a lover of sales, he says that anytime his class would sell anything, he’d have to outwork the competition so he could win the grand prize. “I enjoyed the experience of meeting new people and talking passionately about whatever I was selling at the time.”

When he was 16 years old, the family moved to Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. He attended Penn State University and got his degree in psychology. “I had a wicked awesome accent that I spent years trying to shake,” he admitted.

Real estate centers him and he takes tremendous pride in what he does. Last year, he sold 90 houses, for $46 million, as a solo agent. With hundreds of five-star reviews under his belt, he makes sure to ask his clientele to review him to help attract others who he can help save money. This helps make his business model sustainable. “Many of my clients find me purely based on my reduced rates and fees,” he says. But that doesn’t mean they get any less service. In fact, he is dedicated, and hands-on, and strives for superior service.

The Thistle Bunch
Paul’s immediate family is large. They love spending time at Lake Anna boating, tubing, building campfires, and making memories. He and wife Sarah each bring three kids from a previous marriage, making them the unofficial “Thistle Bunch.” The oldest two, Devin and Cameron, attend Berklee College of Music, in Boston, and are pursuing a career in music performance and production (check them out at thethistlebros.com!). Their younger brother Beckett is also an aspiring musician and loves to play baseball. Abby is a freshman at Battlefield High School and is an avid baker. Ellie is the social butterfly, and she and her sister like to entertain the family with the latest pop music. Matthew is the family artist, with a passion for drawing.

In his spare time, Paul enjoys exercising, running trails, playing tennis, and cycling all over Northern Virginia. He loves photography and has done nearly all of it for the homes he lists. You may catch him waking up in the middle of the night to go shoot some heavy fog scenes in the D.C. area of the monuments. Or don’t be surprised if you find him performing live at an open-mic night at a brewery or coffee shop near you.

In 2017, Paul did an Emerald City reunion show with the former drummer and his two older sons joined in. “Playing some of our old covers on stage with my sons was definitely a magical moment, to say the least,” he enthused, while noting he is still writing and recording music. The creative in him is always keeping in tune.