Mark Hanrahan

Mark Hanrahan Discusses Real Estate, Accounting, and Important Skills

Mark Hanrahan is the founder and owner of Markmel Co. and a certified public accountant as well as a real estate expert stationed in Urbandale, Iowa. He started his career by obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from the University of Northern Iowa. Additionally, he also holds an MBA degree from Drake University. He currently works as a managing partner at Markmel Co., LLC.

Although his area of focus is real estate, Mark Hanrahan has a history of accounting work. While in college, he was a staff accountant for Alexander & Marold CPAs. This is where he first became familiar with auditing principles and tax laws. Then, he joined Principal Real Estate Investors (PREI) and spent two decades working in various roles.

Besides overseeing transactions worth more than $10 billion during his career, Mark Hanrahan also does a lot of outdoor activities. In fact, he often cycles, goes fishing and skiing and even does farming on a part-time basis.

If you had to choose one skill that successful businessmen should have, what would it be?

I do not think I can select only one as I always advocate for a combination of adaptability and mental toughness. In my opinion, those two are necessary to overcome the adversity that exists in this industry. When you look at the real estate market, millions of people lose money every year. The only way to come out victorious is by having thick skin and not letting your failures overshadow your goals.

Can you give us some examples of situations where adaptability and mental toughness are best utilized?

Besides the obvious application when facing business-related failures, these two skills are great to have when it comes to real-life problems. Think about all the cases where people fall victims to illness, depression, or addiction. Generally speaking, there needs to be an internal motivating factor that helps put them back on the right course. Well, I noticed that those who have a lot of mental fortitude and adapt easily overcome these problems faster and more successfully.

What are some good ways that busy professionals can relax and escape their schedules?

It all depends on one’s preference. I like helping others and doing charity work because it has nothing in common with real estate. It allows me to step out of my comfort zone and do things that my ordinary job does not require. Also, I get to meet new people on a daily basis and build long-term relationships. Others, however, may like engaging in sports or spending time with friends and family. Although I enjoy both of these alternatives, charity work is what truly takes me away from my real-estate-based mentality.

Are you involved with any charity organizations in particular that you would like to mention?

I do a lot of my projects for the United Way. For those unfamiliar, they are a non-profit organization with over 1,200 offices around the country. So, there is probably an office in every major city from coast to coast.

Are there any trends in real estate that excite you?

Recently, I got involved with some development projects in the Midwest. I am also seeing many more of these campaigns take place and it is slowly turning into a trend. Given that I operate in real estate, seeing new regions blossom gives me the incentive to invest. After all, the property values usually go up the most when additional structures are developed.

Do you see yourself as a potential investor for the developments in the Midwest?

It could happen. Although I do not have any current financial interest in these projects, I may invest at some point. In the past, I would generally look for hints that indicate something will be a successful venture. With the expansion happening in the Midwest, I am slowly seeing a lot of those hints again. Thus, as with any other investor, I am open to considering opportunities that could yield a good return on investment.

Given your current work in real estate, do you ever miss accounting-based projects?

Yes and no. I sometimes miss overseeing financial transactions as that used to be a major part of my life. After all, I started my professional career in the client-serving industry of accounting. Regardless, however, the benefits of working in real estate help me not focus on what I miss in accounting. The hours are certainly a lot better, and juggling work and life events are easier. Not to mention all the advantages of having multiple sources of passive income.

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