10 Questions with ... Mark McDougald
January 14, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
CEO of FirsTrust Mortgage in Kansas City. He is a real estate investor, entrepeneur, and strong proponent of financial education. Mark is the Chair of The CMLA (Community Mortgage Lenders of America) â€“ the voice of the Community Mortgage Lender, and Advisory Board Member for Lenderâ€™s One â€“ a National Alliance of Mortgage Bankers.
He is a member of FIRST â€“ a non-profit organization focused on giving back to the community and inspiring others to do the same, and currently serves as a Wish Granter for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
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?
I've always had a passion for teaching and helping others achieve their potential - as a Loan Officer and then owner of a Mortgage Company I witnessed first hand so many instances of people making the largest investment in their life (purchasing a home) without first having a basic financial plan. A local radio station approached us about doing a show. Craig Miller - my cohost and business partner - had previously hosted a show and was confident it would be a great opportunity for us to share our message with a larger audience. I like to think I am the brains, looks, and talent for the show and Craig is the Craig.
2. There are other real estate shows out there. What makes 'Life As You Own It' different?
We are not a real estate show - we are a "roof over your head" show. Our listeners are first time home owners, renters, real estate investors, aspiring homeowners and people from all walks of life who want to be educated and entertained about (the roof over their head) and all the opportunities and challenges with simple, straightforward actionable advice. Whether it be picking the right remodel project, buying your first home, getting your best deal on homeowners insurance, your mortgage, committing to a budget, or finding the best Realtor we want our listeners to be empowered with the latest information so they can "own it" - life, that is. Not everyone should own real estate.
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?
Because of the balanced recovery of the U.S. economy, we've seen a continued rebound in housing nationally - currently there is a supply issue (shortage) in many markets that is adding to the value increase in those markets. It is my prediction that through 2014 and 2015 the percentage of homeowners underwater on their mortgage will continue to decrease and many of those homes will come onto the market; with increasing demand and this increase in supply, the second half of 2014, 2015, and 2016 will see a lot of purchase activity and a steady increase in home values nationally, motivating a lot of renters and first time homebuyers to make the leap.
There are still numerous affordable opportunities for qualified homebuyers with good credit to purchase with a modest (and sometimes zero) down payment. Many more people "qualify" for loans every day that they cannot afford. Repeat after me: 1. Financial Plan (even a basic one) 2. Consider investing in real estate.
4. The obvious question, asked again because why not: Is it better to rent or buy? What factors go into that decision?
On a relative basis renting is low risk and buying is high risk. Buying can be a GREAT long term investment as long as you do your homework - we STRONGLY recommend working with a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist AND a Financial Advisor to assist with this process.
A couple questions you need to ask yourself: What are your housing needs (not to be confused with wants) and what will that cost rent vs. own (remember to use apples vs apples). How long will you be in the house - minimum? Factor all costs (acquisition, maintenance, commissions to sell, taxes, mortgage expense, etc - again the calculator will help) over the period of time and what your total cost rent vs. own ends up being. Our general recommendation is a minimum 5 years before the math will begin to make sense to own vs. rent.
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?
Our advice is the same to an individual whether they use our mortgage company services or not. Our approach to our listeners is no different than our approach to those potential clients that have never heard the show - the listeners however have an expectation because they hear Craig and I every week talk about the value of working with the very best professionals. On the show we teach them the questions to ask so they can get the right deal at the right cost - whether they call our mortgage firm or not.
6. About what are you most passionate?
- Putting smiles on peoples faces. (top of that list is my family - second on the list are all the people I'm blessed to share an experience with no matter how brief)
- Educating and empowering people to take action.
- Not making excuses.
7. Who are your heroes and influences?
My heroes are the compassionate, dedicated, teachers, parents, and people from all walks of life that positively impact the lives of others. Many go without fame, notoriety, or sometimes little notice at all other than from the people whose lives they've impacted. My parents - both teachers (my father a coach) - taught me so much about how to treat others with compassion and respect, how to always work to better myself, and to take responsibility for my actions.
8. Of what are you most proud?
When a friend, client, or listener tells me the advice I gave them was impactful. They took action and it changed their life. I proceed to walk on air for the day and upon landing begin to think of ways I can do a better job so that I might receive such a compliment again in the near future.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ______.
...telling my wife Felisha and my children how much I love them and if not traveling getting a big hug.
10. What was the best advice you ever got? The worst?
Best: Take a Dramamine before the fishing trip with your team.
Worst: It was the advice I didn't get about the fishing trip: to make sure the entire team - including Craig - took a Dramamine.