A Baltimore, Maryland native, Mo Howard is the managing principal and CEO at Ultegra Financial Partners. Ultegra was founded in 2012 and is a leading provider of Commercial Lending, Small Business Lending, Business Consulting and Cost Reduction services.
Ultegra is headquartered in Denver, Colorado and service clients throughout the United States via a sophisticated web-based client-centered platform. Ultegra Financial specializes in providing merchant banking and lending solutions for small to middle-market companies. The Ultegra Financial leadership team and carefully selected business partners bring to the market, unrivaled experience from the financial and business service industries. Ultegra Financial serves as a direct lender, co-lender, and lead financial arranger.
Ultegra prides itself in an ability to foster and maintain valuable business relationship with other reputable funders, this broadens their scope to secure the best financing for clients. Ultegra also offers advisory, financial restructuring and other business services to help ensure the success of clientele. More importantly, as the name suggests, Ultegra is a company that moves through the financial world with ultimate integrity.
Mo Howard has worked in the financial industry for the past 12 years and he received his undergraduate degree and Master of Business Administration (MBA) Cum Laude in Finance and Financial Management Services from West Virginia University
In what city/state was your first house located and approximately what year did you buy it?
My first house was located in Morgantown, West Virginia. I bought it in 2005, between undergraduate and graduate school at West Virginia University. The house was right outside the college campus…close enough to walk there. It was a single-family home with three bedrooms and two baths.
What was your living situation prior to buying your first house? Where/with whom/etc?
I was renting an apartment with a few of my teammates from the West Virginia football team
What motivated you to purchase your first house?
Business has always been a passion of mine…which is probably evident from my education! I was an entrepreneur at heart and had an understanding that the real estate market at that time was hot. I wanted to get into real estate as an entrepreneur and spent a lot of time researching opportunities to maximize profit with a real estate investment. I kept an eye on the market and waited for the perfect property
How did you go about getting the money together to buy it?
Funny enough, I bought and sold cars to earn the money to buy and sell a house! After I identified the property I wanted, I put an earnest deposit down. But I didn’t have enough for the whole down payment and closing costs. I got an extension on my closing and went to work earning my down payment. A friend of mine owned a car lot, and helped me buy cars at auctions. I did geographic location searches to determine what kinds of vehicles sold at higher prices in areas outside of where I was. For instance, in Maryland I could buy a 4-wheel drive vehicle at a lower price than what it would sell for in West Virginia. I made premiums on the cars I sold and within 60 days had made the $16,000 I needed for my down payment
When you purchased, were you thinking of it as an investment or as a place to start a family? Please elaborate.
It was 110% an investment opportunity for me. Even from a young age, I’ve lived with the end in mind. Before I even bought the home, I knew what my end goal was…a buy/sell agreement with a first time homebuyer that would likely be a graduate student or faculty at West Virginia University. I wanted a return on my investment and got it. Every aspect of my owning the house was financially based…I analyzed the construction budget, repair value and entire financial analysis before I even purchased it.
What are 3 things you liked most about the house?
Besides the payday? I liked that it gave me an opportunity to learn and had a lot of challenges to overcome. With this home, I rebuilt the floors, built a new deck, improved the front porch, repaired electrical and plumbing issues and painted it inside and out…and that’s not even the whole list!
Was there anything you didn’t like about it?
Honestly, the same things I liked were the things I didn’t like. I didn’t like the surprise issues that came up during the renovation. I found that there were more electrical issues than I originally thought when I replaced the fuse box. More wiring was not working than I originally anticipated. The repairs cut into my returns
Did you make any improvements or major renovations to the house?
Yes, and that was one of the major factors in my decision to buy it. I determined that the costs of the improvements would not outweigh the potential for a return on my investment. One of the biggest improvements was that I built a new deck off the back of the house. I also improved the front porch, painted it inside and out, refinished and sealed the hardwood floors, updated the baseboards, replaced tile flooring, repaired the electrical issues, repaired plumbing, installed carpet, replaced the water heater, improved the landscaping, and replaced all of its lights and fixtures. The only thing in perfect condition was the roof!
Please share 1-2 of your fondest/funniest memories from living there.
My favorite memory of this house was building the deck. I hired a carpenter to oversee the project and a friend of mine had his whole fraternity come over to handle the labor! It was fun and not expensive.
Do you still live there or did you sell it or renting it?
I never lived in the house. It was less than 6 months between purchasing it and selling it. But I have never done more manual labor than during those six months I spent renovating it!
What advice would you give other first time home buyers?
My advice is all financial (because that’s what I do)…go into the transaction with your end goal in mind. For most people, this is not your forever home. If you eventually want to sell or rent it, make sure it’s in a desirable area so you can maximize your income potential. And make sure the home is built well, so it can take a little wear and tear if you do decide to rent it. Begin with the end in mind. Don’t look at it for just today…make sure you keep in mind that it is an investment and an asset.