Today on the Heath Barnes Show, we’re kicking off the podcast with an episode I recently recorded with my good friend David Spray. David’s show, Podcasting Stories, talks to people with successful podcasts and those who are thinking about starting a show.
I thought I did such a great job telling my story and the background to wanting to start this podcast that it was the perfect episode to rebroadcast here as the inaugural episode. This was a really great conversation, and we talked a lot about what you can expect from the show going forward.
Listen to the podcast here
Why This Podcast With David Spray
My name is Heath Barnes, and welcome to the first episode of the show. This episode was originally for another show called Podcasting Stories by my good friend David Spray. I thought I did such a great job telling my story in the background of the show I decided to rebroadcast that as the inaugural episode of my show. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed doing it.
Welcome to another episode of Podcasting Stories. My name is David Spray, and my guest is Heath Barnes. Heath is a professional coach in the mortgage industry who also operates a residential mortgage firm for Cardinal Financial. He’s spearheaded by a motivated, enthusiastic and fun group of twenty mortgage professionals who helped dreams come true in Houston, Texas. He’s been in the mortgage industry for several years. He’s coached mortgage professionals for the last several years and helped loan officers 10X their businesses through the strategies he learned as a coach with the core training. Welcome to the show.
Thank you, David. I appreciate the opportunity to be on one of your famous shows.
I don’t know about famous, but I appreciate you being on anyway. Let’s get started. How did you get into the mortgage business?
I got into the mortgage business. I can’t believe it’s been several years now. I was in the automobile business, and I was in the finance area of the automobile business. I was engaged to a girl that I met on Match.com. She told me if I didn’t get out of the car business, she wasn’t going to marry me. That was several years ago.
I got out of the car business and got into the mortgage business. The only reason I got into the mortgage business is because I had another friend that was in the car business that told me about the mortgage business, and it seemed like a good fit. I moved from an income of $10,000 a month to $2,000 a month. That’s what people do when they’re in love and about to get married. I wanted to get married, but she had other plans.
A few months later, she said, “Heath, I appreciate all that you’ve done, but I’m no longer in love with you.” A lot of great things came about as a result of that ending that relationship. We might talk more about that later on. I got out of the car business and into the mortgage business. That was in 2001 or 2002. Unanswered prayers sometimes are the best thing that can happen to you in life because it led to my career now and my wife, Cynthia. I’m super blessed to have had that difficult situation happen. That’s how I got into the mortgage business.Questions are the key to life. Most people walk around looking for the answer, but if you want to have a relationship with someone, you have to ask them questions. Click To Tweet
I didn’t realize those details of your story. Who are your customers?
My customers, when it comes to doing mortgages as anyone that needs residential lending or any realtor that needs a good lender that can get their client to closing on time. The mortgage industry seems to have changed a lot here. Most people and their frame of mind want to get a mortgage and paid off as quickly as possible. In the new framework that we’re in, most people don’t understand how you can use a mortgage to your advantage. I like to say, “How do you take a liability and turn it into an asset by getting a mortgage, especially with these historically low-interest rates that we have?”
Anybody that wants some direction and finances, I’ll take an on-hand approach. I look at someone’s financial profile and help them figure out the best way to structure their mortgage. That’s what I do part-time and full-time. I’m coaching loan officers and my team on how to execute in the mortgage industry. It’s a great industry, and it’s one that’s not been scooped up by technology yet, meaning it’s still around.
On the surface, to me, it seems like the mortgage brokerage industry is like a pure commodity that all people care about is the rate and closing costs. I suspect there’s more to it than that. On the mortgage side, what are some of the things you and your team do to differentiate your services, or maybe give us a case study of something that some people might consider unique that it’s the type of deal you guys get done all the time? Do you have an example that you could give?
When I look at someone’s situation, whether it’s buying a new home or refinancing, I’m looking at the situation. I’m saying to myself, “How can we position this mortgage to most benefit the client?” I’ll give you a couple of ways on how we do that. Number one, a client that’s at a 3.5% interest rate on a $300,000 loan, and the value is right at $1 million. He’s 61 years old and got displaced from the oil and gas industry. He went from making $130,000 a year to $60,000 a year. His payment was $1,600 a month. We refinanced a loan that he has seven years into. We gave him the same interest rate, no closing costs, and dropped his payment by almost $300 a month.
We showed him how he’s already invested $600,000 in his real estate. Tip for him to pay off that mortgage faster is cost-prohibitive. The value of money in the future is probably going to go down. They’re raising inflation. That would be one example for someone where it’s a little unconventional. Most people would think, “I need a 15 or 10-year mortgage with a super low-interest rate, and I want to pay it off as fast as possible.”
What we want to look at is, “What would we do with that extra money?” In this guy’s case, he needed the extra money to live on. Somebody else might take that extra money. They’re saving on their mortgage and putting it in a 401(k). A 401(k) is tax deductible. You have compound interest working for you rather than a mortgage is simple interests. Your investments are compound. The more money that you can put into a vehicle that’s going to multiply over time, that’s going to make a lot more sense.
If we had interest rates that were 6% to 8%, this conversation would be completely different. With the interest rates we have now, you want as much leverage as possible. You can go into the market whatever your investment style is and find something that’s going to execute at least a 3% or 4% return. That are the couple of ways we help people.
When they come to me, most people say, “We want to put 20% down.” I like to ask in-depth questions with clients and say, “Why do you want to put 20% down?” A lot of people will dump all of their money into the mortgage when they shouldn’t. Depending on their situation, whether they’re self-employed or they have they’re a W-2 employee, dumping all of your money into a mortgage, doesn’t always make the most sense. We try to take an on-hand approach, ask a lot of questions and not tell them what they should do, but give them 2 or 3 different options.
I can speak to this personally because you and your team have helped us with several refinances through the years. You’re thinking with the historically low rates initially I disagreed with. I was in the mindset of paying off the loan as quickly as possible. When you are able to show me and have me think about the benefit of a 2.5% 30-year loan, the question is, how likely is it that in five years, I’ll regret having a 2.5% mortgage? It seemed pretty unlikely to me. That was the direction that we went. Thanks to you and your counsel. Thank you for your advice and the great job your team did for us.
People should be aware of things that, especially if you’re in the mortgage industry, and even if you’re not, is looking at the money supply in our market. The government has pumped a lot of US dollars into them the market, and they’re continuing to pump a lot of US dollars. A low-interest rate is still 3%.
Most people don’t realize that the value of money will be going down. The inflation is going up. Some of the things you hear on the news about our inflation are less than 2%. That’s because they’re comparing it to the consumer price index and not to the money supply. Once you add in the money supply, our real rate of inflation is probably close to 12% to 15%.Leadership is influencing other people, but you have to influence yourself first before influencing someone else. Click To Tweet
If inflation is that high and you could borrow money at 3%, why would you not? Second-hand, why would you try to pay it off faster? For those of you who have a mortgage and have a low-interest rate, I would move that money into some other investment that will, over time, make you money. As interest rates go up, which they will, you could park it into bonds or fixed assets that will make you a nice return over time. Eventually, when you retire, you can take that money and pay it off.
I’d like to turn the subject to podcasting. After all, the name of this podcast is Podcasting Stories. Let’s tell some podcasting stories. Like me, I believe you’ve been an avid listener of podcasts for a long time. What year did you probably first listen to your first podcast?
Several years ago, close to the beginning of a podcast.
How long ago was it then? After how much listening to podcasts did the thoughts strike you that you would like your own podcast?
Maybe a couple of episodes in. You have these ideas, but the technology piece is a little frightening. For me, I’ve got a lot of young kids that work for me that handle all the technology. Being able to put up a podcast would have been fun.
This hypothetical podcast that you thought about several years ago, what would you’ve wanted to have accomplished on that podcast? What gave you the calling to want to do that?
Going back to that first fiancée, if you will, the idea of being able to ask good questions. I say the first fiancée because when we broke up, I was thinking about what are some things I could take away from that relationship. The one most valuable part of that entire relationship happened on our first date. We were at a bar. After about three hours of talking, she looked at me, had a big smile on her face, and she said something to me that I was not expecting. She said to me, “I know everything there is about you, but you haven’t asked me one question. I’m not sure you know anything about me.”
I can’t even believe that she went out with me after that, but she did. She taught me the value of questions, and I didn’t even realize up to that point in my life that questions are the key to life. Most people are walking around looking for the answer. What she taught me is if you want to have a relationship with someone, you got to ask them a question. If you want knowledge, you got to ask yourself a question. Where am I going to find that knowledge? If you want to have a great podcast, you want to hear a good story from someone. You want to ask them a great set of questions that will lead them down a path that you can connect with the audience. Great questions tell great stories.
That’s what got me into it. Up until that point in my life, until she’d said that to me. The student will arrive when the teacher appears. I always struggled with feeling like people didn’t like me or I had trouble with relationships. It was at that moment that I realized what that trouble was and that I had not grown up with parents that taught me the value of asking questions. It’s because they had a difficult childhood. They were never taught that skill. Not to hold anything against them, they’ve been great parents, but the value of asking questions both for your kids.
There are two things for anyone that has kids that you can teach your kids that you’ll never learn in school. They don’t teach these two skills in school. Number one is leadership skills. That’s the skill of leading yourself, but also other people. Leadership is influencing other people, but first, you got to influence yourself before you can influence someone else. The second one that no one’s ever taught us in life, and probably why people are frustrated all the time, is because they’ve never been taught the lesson or the skill of solving a problem.
How often do you encounter problems, Dave? The skill of solving a problem comes with asking the right question. Usually, you ask, “Why am I always late?” It’s not a good question to ask yourself. You might say, “What can I do to make sure that I’m five minutes early every time? What can I do to make sure that I’m financially secure later on in life? Not, “Why am I always broke?” That’s the wrong question.
It’s because your subconscious will look for answers to that question.The skill of solving a problem comes with asking the right question. Click To Tweet
Those are the two skills that I think any parents should teach their kids leadership and problem-solving. Problems occur because we want things a certain way. Who’s to say that what’s happening right now is not exactly what’s supposed to be happening? The problems that you’re having in life are building you up for a better life in the future. A friend of mine once said, “Pretend like it’s not happening to you, but it’s happening for you.” A little shift right there will change your perspective of what’s happening.
To summarize, what gave you the motivation or the desire to have a podcast is you thought there were some life lessons you could share. From what you’ve learned about asking questions, you thought you could take that talent and apply it to some interesting guests, with the result being that there would be some interesting stories that you wanted to share with people who might benefit.
I was speaking with a guy that’s helping me with my business name, Jack Daly. What I passionately want to do is talk to interesting people around the world and get their stories. He said, “What you’ve done in the mortgage business, you should interview other loan officers and help other loan officers hone their skills. The skills that you learned in the mortgage business, you can pass on to other people that can be passed on in any industry because it’s the basis of learning how to operate a great business.”
That’s the direction we’re going to go. We’ll be interviewing some key professionals in the mortgage industry to give people life skills and learn how to take their business to the level that they want it to be. We’ll be interviewing people who haven’t been in the business, but 3 to 5 years, or a couple of years, or one year, and people who have been in twenty years. You’ll see a range of income from $100,000 to $5 million a year. If you want a great career, the mortgage business is a great avenue.
You’ve sold me that it makes sense to have a podcast. You had the idea several years ago of having a podcast that makes sense to me. What the heck took you long to get this thing launched, Heath? I’m going to be a little tough on here. What took you so long?
Number one is fear. Who’s going to listen to you” No one is going to listen to you. For the longest time, I had a tough time speaking on any recorded line or, for that matter, in public. Even probably several years ago, if I had to introduce myself, my heart would be racing. I went to Toastmasters. For those of you that don’t feel like you speak well in public, Toastmasters is a great place to go. Every town in America has one.
I quit three times because of the pandemic. I haven’t been to Toastmasters, but I’m soon going back because this is a great place for young people to learn how to speak in public. They have one part called Table Topics, where you’re asked a question, and you got to speak for one minute about that question. I’ve never realized that asking a question and being able to speak for one minute is difficult. The fear of speaking in public, whether I was going to have an audience or not, and technology as well. It’s knowing how to do it and taking the time to stop and put it together.
I’m hearing you in the feedback. I’ve received from a lot of people is they consider a podcast, and this is my story, not to digress too much. I started listening to a podcast about like you several years ago. I wanted to do one. Every time I would look at it, I never got past trying to figure out what equipment I needed. Let alone how I would do the recording, the editing, and how you get it published to the platforms. Finally, a couple of years ago, somebody who had a podcast was kind enough to let me piggyback on their podcast and let me replicate what they were doing.
Over the course of a couple of years, that evolved into a different system than what they used. I started getting requests a few months ago from folks saying, “I’d love your help with what you’ve done.” I’ve wound up podcasts for years, but I can’t pull it off. As a result of that, I’ve launched a new company called Your Podcast Team. Our service is called Your Podcast Done For You. In a way, the answer might be that you would have had your podcast sooner if I hadn’t dragged my feet and offered to do this for you sooner. Is that about right?
It’s your fault, Dave, but I appreciate you thinking of me, calling me, and saying, “Do you want to have a podcast?” You figured out that one of the keys to being successful in anything in life is you find someone else that’s way ahead of you and say, “Can you show me the ropes?” When I got into the mortgage business, I struggled for the first several years because I wanted to do it on my own. For those of you that are reading, there’s no original idea or thought. They’ve all been thought up and done. You can do a variation. Find somebody else that’s doing it better than you and follow their footsteps.
What are some of the ways that you see the podcast as being beneficial, both to you into your team?
The podcast is a great way to reach a lot of different people. I coach loan officers around the country now, and there are new ideas, no matter how long someone’s been in the business. I get new ideas from people making a lot less money, doing a lot less loans, but small shifts in their business, and find out what are the things that make them successful in their business and life. All of us have different gifts that we’ve been given and personality differences that allow us to be successful in business, whatever you define as success. Some people say it’s how much money you make.The problems you're having in life are building you up for a better life in the future. Click To Tweet
I have a friend. His name is David Spray. One of the things that I always remember about you, Dave, is you went to your accountant one time and said, “How do I get some more free time in my life?” Your accountant said, “What? You need some ROL, return on life.” Balancing that ROL with ROI or ROB, return on business. The ideas that people will hear on the podcast, they can listen to them over and over again. Depending on where you are in your business, it will help you find some new ideas and strategies on where you could go in your business. Even though it’s in the mortgage industry, a lot of the things that we’ll talk about. You can apply it to your own business, no matter what it is.
You’ve talked about one difficult time in your life, which was your fiance who told you she no longer loved you, and the lessons you learned. Is that been the only difficult time you’ve had in your life? Was the rest of it all smooth sailing, or have there been some other difficult times you’ve had?
It’s all easy from there. She left me in that. She told me the questions, and I figured it out. I had an employee of mine come into my office. She’s been with me for several months. She’s almost in tears and said, “Heath, I feel like I’m doing terrible, and I’m making all these mistakes.” I am helping her look at the fact that she came from a company where she’d been in the business for several years and got good at it, and now she’s doing a new industry. She was in tears. I’m letting her know, “Part of life was having these things that come up having these problems. It comes up in business, and it’s okay.”
Back to what you had asked me. A difficult time for me, at least early in my crew, when I think about it, is in 2008, I had a consultant that came in, and I had 12 or 13 people working for me at the time. He interviewed all the people in my office. He spent an entire day doing this. He put it together, which I still have now. If you come to my office, I’ll pull it out, and I’ll show it to you. He put together this PowerPoint presentation that he went over with me.
At the end of that time period, he said, “This can be hard for you to hear, but you should fire everyone. No one likes working with you. The people that are working with you are working with you because they haven’t found a new job yet. Are you paying them more than they could get anywhere else? None of that is a recipe.” I remember thinking, “Wow.” I wanted to cry, but I didn’t tell anybody. You’re shameful that you don’t want to tell anybody. I hadn’t surrounded myself with other successful mortgage people because I wanted to prove on my own that I could do it.
I had a guy named Jeff Wagner, who’s here in the Houston area. He is a loan officer. We’re still friends, but he came to me. I was walking through the office one day. He was handling my marketing and said, “Jennifer Hernandez, who’s a loan officer here in Houston, is being coached by a guy named Rick Ruby at the core training.”
I was on the phone. I immediately signed up to go to their next event. That was a few months after I was supposed to fire everyone. I didn’t fire everyone, but everyone eventually left. The print things that I learned in the core training. It was that day that I realized in my life, “Don’t try to figure it out on your own. Find other people who are better than you and learn from them. Don’t be so prideful.” That was a super difficult day in my life.
You had mentioned the gentleman, Rick.
The organization that he built is called The Core Training. I was with The Core Training and coach form for several. It’s a militant-style organization, but some of us need that type of guidance in our life. He has built this organization, and he has some of the best loan officers in the country. I joined it in 2019. Several years later, through that coaching, they asked me to be a coach. I started coaching other loan officers, and I will never forget being crazily scared of coaching other people.
It’s the same thing in business. Most of us get into business, and we’re scared we’re not going to make it. Sometimes, you got to keep getting up every day and busting through that fear and uncomfortableness because, on the other side of all uncomfortableness is the key to life. Everything that’s a little that makes us a little nervous in life. When we end up doing it, we usually say to ourselves, “It wasn’t that difficult.”
We find that whether it’s a race that you’re in, you’re starting a new business, or you’re starting a new exercise program, you become nervous and uncomfortable. I’ve got something that helps me be uncomfortable every day. That’s what you want to have. Something that makes you uncomfortable every day, so you can continue to grow.
I know there’s one thing that makes you uncomfortable every day, at least it’d make me uncomfortable every day, and it involves some cold water.There's no original idea or thought. They've all been thought up and done, and you can do variations. Find somebody else doing it better than you and follow in their footsteps. Click To Tweet
I’ve got a cold plunge at my house, and I’ve been following the cold water therapy. I’ve got a 19 cubic foot chest freezer that I’ve converted into a cold plunge. If you Google that on YouTube, you can figure out how to make it. I used to keep it about 45 to 50 degrees. I was in it this morning for about three minutes, and it never gets easy. There are some amazing health benefits to it. Through this pandemic, I feel it’s helped me stay healthy and sound. You should try it, Dave. We’ll set you up one.
I know you’ve been kind enough to suggest that many times. Maybe I need to go try yours first to try the vibe. Perhaps besides Rick, any other influential people in your career that are worth mentioning?
Some people probably have heard of Tony Robbins, but I’m a big fan of him. Sometimes he can be a controversial figure, but he has been around for a long time. I noticed a huge shift in the way I see myself and other people. Through his programs that I started several, he allows you to understand yourself better. I don’t know about you, Dave. For me, I’ve always been scared of people, making people upset, what people are thinking about me and what people want.
He helped me understand better about myself in life and how to see problems and things that happen. He’s been a big influence on me. My mother and father have been a big influence on me, even though they didn’t teach me the value of questions. They did teach me the value of compassion for other people. That would be the other person that’s had the biggest influence on me. How about you?
My answer would be Viktor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning, and perhaps Dan Sullivan, the Founder of Strategic Coach. My parents and my wonderful wife, Christine. She’s been a wonderful influence on me. Speaking of which, you have a great story about Cynthia that you told me, and I’ve shared it with lots of people in an anonymous fashion. Are you prepared to share with 8 billion people the story I talk about? What you told her about your difficult man to probably be married to and if she ever wants.
I love Cynthia to death. We’ve been married for several years. She came into my life at a tragic time. I’d lost my first fiance Roxanne. Cynthia and I dated for a few months. Roxanne came in back into my life while Cynthia and I were dating. The most amazing thing she said was, “I don’t think it’s a good time for us to be dating right now.” She cut it off. I never forgot that we became friends. Several months later, I needed a date. I called her, and we’ve been together ever since. She is super patient and understanding. She knows the crazy in me. We all have this little crazy streak in us.
People ask me all the time, “Do you have any kids?” I said, “I don’t have any kids, but my wife has one, and that’s me.” Fortunately, we got married later in life. I’ll share two other stories. Other than another thing, I’ll say to people. It makes them a little uncomfortable when I say this, and everyone will feel uncomfortable. She and I have a great relationship. Our relationship is good. We have sex almost every day. Almost on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and we get closed off Friday.
It’s great if it’s a real formal event. We start talking about lives. Everybody’s got this straight face, and they look at me. It’s funny because you can tell the smarter people in the room. They get it after Tuesday. The last thing I’ll say about Cynthia, and it’s true, is if she ever left me, like if she packed her bags and left, I would do the same. I packed my bags, and I would go with her because there was no way I wanted to live this life alone.
The way you told that to me was a little bit different. You said something like, “I’ve told Cynthia, I know that I’m probably not the easiest guy to live with. I’m not the easiest guy to be married to. I want you to know that if you’ve ever had enough, you can’t take it anymore, and you need to leave me. I want you to know you have my full and complete support, but you need to know if you leave, I’m going with you.” It’s a liberating thing. She has the freedom to leave anytime she wants. Heath, this has been a lot of fun. If people want to learn more about you or reach out to you, I believe that your website, HeathBarnes.com is probably the best place. Is that correct?
That’d be the best place. I encourage people. If I can help you in any way and you have a question or you want to engage about something, I’m more than happy to help. That’s why we’re here.
That website is primarily for the podcast. There will be two links. One, if they want to be a guest on the show, and secondly, there’ll be another link where if they want to reach out to you for something else, they can do so. Was there anything that we didn’t discuss now that you think we should have?
I think we knocked it all out. I appreciate the opportunity to be a guest, and I like all your questions. Can I use some of them?
I borrowed them from somebody else. You can borrow them for me. No problem. Heath, thank you again for making time to be on the show and for entrusting us to do your podcast for you. Finally, thank you so much for your friendship. I value it more than you know.
Same here, Dave. I appreciate you. I wish we could spend some more time together. Maybe I’ll move in with you in Colorado.
Have a great day, Heath.
All right, you too.