Howard Doak is a mortgage lender and branch manager of Cityscape Home Morgage.
1. How did you get involved in the mortgage business?
After graduating from the University of Tulsa in 2000 with a political science degree, I was confronted with the question that many new graduates experience: “Now what?”
Like many people, I was a nontraditional student working my way through college without the financial support from family. For so many years I had focused on work and college that I had little time to think about what I would do once my dream of being a college graduate was achieved. Having some experience working with realtors in a different field, I decided to explore my options in this industry. I decided my skills would be best suited in mortgage finance versus home/commercial sales.
I interviewed with a small local mortgage company and landed my first job as a mortgage originator. I was given a desk, some cards and told to go out and sell some mortgages. At the time our industry lacked training, licensing and a great deal of the regulations that we operate under post-mortgage crisis of 2008.
In 2002 after becoming one of Tulsa’s top loan originators, I opened Cityscape Home Mortgage. Cityscape merged with Tulsa’s premier mortgage lender AMC a few years ago to better serve our clients and the community.
2. What is the philosophy of Cityscape Home Mortgage?
I have always believed that each borrower regardless of the price of the home is as important as the next. I have always operated based upon the model that my first-time home buyer is just as important as my executive home buyer. Because this has been my philosophy for my entire career my team has always been able to adapt to each individual buyer’s needs.
This philosophy has enabled us to build lasting relationships with Realtors from all the top real estate firms. Through these relationships we have helped thousands of families realize the dream of home ownership since 2000.
3. As the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates, how is that affecting the mortgage business locally?
The housing market in Tulsa continues to be among the best in the entire country. Despite a lower supply of homes on the market (which traditionally means this is a great time to list your home), our home prices continue to be valued low in comparison to similar markets around the country. This along with our still incredibly low interest rates makes it both a great time to buy and a great time to sell.
4. What is your best advice for a first-time home buyer?
Use an experienced local lender who underwrites the mortgage in Tulsa. In the past it was viable to use a broker, limited correspondent lender or someone who shipped your file to another state with more ease. But today you will find the mortgage experience smoother and more successful by using someone who has an actual office in Tulsa and who’s underwriter is here as well.
Finding your lender online can be risky for many reasons, including the risk of not closing on time. And often lenders out of state are confused by our state’s abstract laws as we are one of only two remaining full abstract states in the U.S. This makes for a safer home purchase, but not every lender will understand this process.
5. When you are showing off Tulsa to out-of-town guests, where are your must-see destinations?
As a lifetime Tulsan, I am very excited about our city's transformation over the past few years, especially the new development downtown and in the arts district. But my first stop would be to visit our past by touring the grand buildings of our art deco history, then Philbrook, Gilcrease and of course my alma mater TU.
My favorite new spots would have to be the Tandy and Children’s Gardens at the Tulsa Botanic Garden. In a few months I am sure I will add the Gathering Place to this list of must-see Tulsa destinations.