Mario Henry is the founder of US Housing Exchange, the Houston-based real estate company behind USHX, the groundbreaking mobile application set to revolutionize the industry. This innovative technology matches motivated residential home sellers and buyers, connecting them in real time. He is also the author of How to Hire Your House, a former NFL football player, and a financial services professional with over 16 years of experience. Mario leads a team of the best credit and legal experts in the business to help even the most credit-challenged individuals achieve the dream of home ownership. The USHX app can be found on Apple and Android stores.
You’re bringing to the industry not only an exciting, innovative real estate app, but a new approach to financing. How is the USHX app and your company and changing the industry?
I started US Housing Exchange about a year ago. We have offices in Houston, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, but we plan to expand to all 50 states within 24 months. It will be like the stock exchange of real estate. The industry has evolved to online, but there is no real-time communication within a real estate transaction.
I created USHX, which can be found in the app store, to provide a place for motivated sellers who are facing foreclosure, divorce, property repairs, or any other reason they need to sell their homes as fast as possible. On the other side we have motivated buyers who are credit challenged. Sellers and buyers create a profile, and when there is a match, it connects them like a dating app. When USHX sees this connection, we buy the property at the wholesale price, rehab it, and the buyer commits to buy at after-repair value.
As for financing, we have compassion and empathy for our clients, and we have the best credit and legal experts work on the buyer’s credit to help them qualify for a traditional FHA or comparable loan that is not subprime, and they only needed to put down 3.5%-5%, unlike the 20-30% required with other owner-finance or rent-to-own programs.
You played professional football. How does your experience as an athlete influence your approach as a business leader?
I’m from New Jersey, and it was a big dream of mine as a child to play in the National Football League. My career was only a backup and I only got in during pre-season, and then I played overseas in Europe and some other leagues, but those years taught me about accountability, teamwork, and what it takes to be one of the best in the world at your job. When I got into financial services in the 2000s, I always wanted to do things that were different from what everyone else was doing. I wanted to be the one who found a better way.
Is this the same thinking that led to the idea of USHX—to offer a better way to help people who want to own a home?
It was, actually. The idea came about two and a half years ago. I was in an Uber in Chicago and I thought how simple it was to get a ride—why isn’t this in the real estate industry? I thought about the way motivated sellers are taken advantage of, about the 70 million renters, 70% of whom don’t want to rent, but cannot qualify for a mortgage. I created the USHX app and US Housing Exchange to solve these problems and open up the dream of home ownership to everyone.
The USHX app also serves as a job tool for contractors. How does this work?
Contractors register on the app and they do the renovations for the clients. This allows them to control the costs with the contractors. During the renovation process, my investors can watch the renovation via security and monitor the progress. This also allows our investors to make more money.
Tell us about your book, How to Hire Your House, and how you’re helping people attain financial security.
To me, the mission is like the understanding how the leverage of money works. With my book, How to Hire Your House, I offer a way for people who own a house to combine a mortgage reducing software, life insurance, and little known government programs for homeowners to not only get all their mortgage payments back, but your house will pay you for the rest of your life. Right now, there is no way to perpetuate their income. More people are going on social security and there’s not enough money to fund that, and we will eventually have a retirement crisis. You can find out more about that program at www.housevisors.com.
As I sat down with my clients, I realized that more income was needed for people to set themselves up properly for their future. We created a partnership program to teach people how to flip properties and create a more sustainable income. There are a lot of people who teach flipping properties but charge a bunch of money. My way is “learn while you earn.” I do it with them and teach them while they go; we do deals together, and our coaching is free.
You have a bigger mission in mind to help communities and the real estate industry. Tell us about this.
The main thing we want to deliver is the philosophy. We want to educate and connect people. We will buy 100 houses personally over the next four months and convert all of them within the following six months. We are in the process of creating our own hedge fund with the main objective of inner-city housing and redevelopment that will not gentrify neighborhoods. We will look to bring affordable middle-class housing instead of multi-million-dollar brownstones. Everything that I learned having the determination of going against tremendous odds to make an NFL team I am bringing that energy in fulfilling the mission.
Founder of US Housing Exchange and Author of How to Hire Your House