10 Questions with ... Craig Miller
January 7, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Senior VP/Principal, FirsTrust Mortgage Inc. (Kansas City area); host, "On the House" (2002-2004); co-host, "Life As You Own It" on KMBZ/Kansas City and now syndicated.
1. First, let's talk about why you decided to do a radio show in the first place. Did the subject matter come first and radio seem like a good way to address it, or did you always want to do radio? Why radio?
1. I first did radio in 2002-2004. I had a show called "On the House" which was a one hour live show on Saturday mornings in Kansas City on a major station. I was actually approached by a "radio guy" that I was assisting with a mortgage. He said "man, you're passionate and very informative. You need to do something to teach the average homeowner out there like me. You should travel around and do seminars or host a radio show" he suggested. So I took him up on it. But radio was definitely an afterthought to the main focus of my business.
2. There are other real estate shows out there. What makes 'Life As You Own It' different?
"Life As You Own It" is different because Mark and I are actually entertaining. Well, I think we are but seriously, we bring the passion for doing the right things while also having fun. And frankly, the advice and expertise we deliver is just greater than other shows I've heard as humbly as I can say that.
3. Over 5 years from the meltdown, what's the current landscape for buyers and renters? Has the mortgage market eased up, or is it still hard to get a loan without perfect credit and a solid employment record?
Post "meltdown," we are really not in a vastly different market. The desire for homeownership is still high, but maybe a more thoughtful decision than before, when money flowed easy in the form of "Sub-Prime" loans. It's a safer market to an extent for both the lender and the borrower, but due to some of the overreaching government regs, the lender has a much greater burden on its shoulders and that doesn't feel better from a risk perspective. It also costs lenders a lot more money to originate a loan today, which means what? You guessed it, ultimately a greater expense to the consumer. Bottom line, though, it doesn't take perfect credit or a perfect borrower to borrow money to buy a home.
4. The obvious question, asked again because why not: Is it better to rent or buy? What factors go into that decision?
It's better to buy than rent for the vast majority of consumers... and better by a large margin at that. The most important factor in that decision is what the short and long term plans of the homebuyer are and how well prepared financially the buyers are. Being prepared also means having a true financial plan.
5. You're mortgage lenders as well as radio hosts. How difficult is it, if at all, to keep your business interests separate from the advice you give on the show? How do you ease skeptical minds about the separation between your off-air business and the show?
It isn't difficult to maintain a clear separation between what we hope to accomplish with the show vs. What we hope to accomplish in our day to day business operations - even though they are ultimately aligned from a mission statement perspective. Mark and I have always been passionate about educating people. We do that on air and in our offices. I'm certain out listeners hear our collective passion and desire to help and that cuts through any doubts about our motives for doing the show.
6. About what are you most passionate?
Ah, passion! There's that word again. I am personally most passionate about continuing to become the man God created me to be. I want to leave a legacy in the lives and hearts of my children, my business and in my friendships and other relationships.
7. Who are your heroes and influences?
My heroes are those people who put their own personal desires aside in order to change the lives of others. That could mean financially generous givers or a person who puts their love on the line to serve our country or the citizens of their town. My greatest influence in life is Jesus and the Word of God.
8. Of what are you most proud?
I am quite simply, most proud of my beautiful children. Nothing else on Earth compares to them!
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ______________.
10. What was the best advice you ever got? The worst?
Best advice I've ever received? KEEP IT SIMPLE...I've rarely heeded it though. The worst advice? "Go after whatever you want in life and make it happen". Bad advice if you don't evaluate why you really want something before you go after it.