Call him a renaissance man.
Doug Mossing, a resident of the province, has seen and done it all, well, almost, anyway.
He spent two decades as a real estate investor with hands-on property management in the mix and played a key role in the development of Maricopa’s first apartment complex.
He wrote a book, “Successful Real Estate Investing in an Ever-Changing Market,” based on first-hand lessons learned in the business as a licensed general contractor, real estate agent, real estate broker, and home inspector.
But Mossing is also very experienced in the activities of life.
He has been a musician for the past 15 years, resuming a professional career from 50 years ago in his native Ohio, and leads three groups.
He also travels the world; he and his wife, Cherie, have visited 63 countries.
“We realize how lucky we’ve been,” Mossing, 69, says modestly.
But good fortune comes to those who earn it.
A new home and career
Mossing rode a motorcycle across the country in 1980, with all his possessions on the back, to look after his parents’ home in Paradise Valley. He has been an Arizonan ever since.
With some accounting experience, he started a small accounting service and worked for various CPA firms. In that role, he met someone involved in real estate and admits that he “started investing in apartments and houses at the worst possible time.”
Between 1983 and 1986 it amassed 45 rental units across six apartment complexes and two townhouses. But he bought during a “seller’s market,” paying high prices with low down payments and substantial mortgages. The removal of the capital gains tax exemption helped accelerate his debt.
Mossing decided to pay off the mortgages rather than file for bankruptcy. The first three years of the recovery period, he writes in his book, were particularly difficult.
“It took me seven years to get out of that hole, but I paid everything I owed,” he said.
With lessons learned from his initial setbacks, Mossing began successfully investing in and managing properties throughout the Valley in the early 2000s. He had up to 17 people working for him at any one time, but was always heavily involved in everything from maintenance until the collection of the rent.
In the process of compiling his book from 2000 to 2001, he noted that “credit card debt had reached unprecedented levels and per capita savings were lower than ever.”
“Because so many unworthy people have been given credit in recent years, I predict that defaults, foreclosures, and bankruptcies will rise to record numbers during the 2000s,” he wrote at the time. “With that, inflation will increase and (predictably) unemployment will increase. With unemployment rising, the number of defaults, foreclosures, and bankruptcies will continue to rise.”
All of that, of course, took place during the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009. According to a 2011 report from the Federal Crisis Inquiry, the period of sharp economic decline was triggered by a housing market crash after total mortgage debt skyrocketed due to federal policy encouraging homeownership and low interest rates. Subprime and adjustable mortgages made it possible for borrowers who might not otherwise have qualified for generous home loans to default when variable interest rates rose and home prices stagnated.
Real estate market trends have been incredibly consistent since the 1930s, according to Mossing. The differences occur in how long a seller’s or buyer’s market will last (for investors) before a reversal occurs.
“It’s a natural progression,” he said. “They say the stock market is motivated by greed and fear; well, the real estate market is too. Right now, we’re going to continue for two, three, four years and then we’ll have another bubble. But not as significant as 2007 or 2008.
“Although the markets will go down significantly, let’s say in about five years, it won’t be as dramatic in communities like Province because of the Baby Boomers. They are a huge population and they are going to maintain the demand for this type of retirement community.”
Maricopa, of course, has been working to diversify its housing portfolio. Mossing worked part-time for 17 years for the Indiana-based Englewood Group, serving as an Arizona broker for their property management division. He estimates that the company had as many as 2,000 apartment units statewide.
Mossing saw a need for more affordable housing alternatives in Maricopa.
“The City had come to the same conclusion. The officials really welcomed us with open arms,” he recalled. “I told Englewood, ‘You guys need to explore Maricopa because there’s a huge shortage of apartments there.'” In fact, there were none.
Mossing explored potential sites for the Oasis at The Wells complex that will open in 2021. (He retired from his job with Englewood in 2019.)
The Mossings moved to Maricopa in 2005 as an escape from the rapidly expanding Phoenix area. Despite the population boom here, the benefits remain, he said.
At that time, his wife was hired as laboratory director at the Casa Grande Medical Center. Mossing knew the area from his seven years in home inspections.
“We surveyed the entire area and felt the best value was here in Maricopa,” Mossing said. “Traffic is nice compared to driving through the Valley. Maricopa is like on its own island and I like that.”
Speaking of islands, the Mossings have visited more than one on their travels. Together for two decades, Doug and Cherie have traveled every year except for the COVID-affected 2020.
Some trips involve three or four countries (Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, for example), while others focus on just one. Sardinia and Sicily, the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, are a possibility for 2022.
“I think I’m almost done with my to-do list,” Mossing said, “but Cherie has a few places she wants to go. We haven’t been to India and Italy is a great place to go. I want to go again, especially to Rome. The history of the world really soaked in there. You can see the evidence, and the Italians really take care of their artifacts.”
Mossing has dived the Great Barrier Reef and dived surrounded by 50 sharks (without a cage) in Fiji. That continues to be one of the most exciting experiences of his.
However, those are not his only adventures.
“We have done African safaris in Tanzania, Botswana and South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. I had to travel in a small propeller plane and we had trouble landing because there was a giraffe on the runway,” he recalled. “We walked up to the cheetahs, and they just sat there and watched us.”
The Mossings like to visit art museums and take home souvenirs to remember their travels. They also enjoy watching TV shows like “The Amazing Race” and seeing the places they have visited in person.
climbing the heights
Closer to home, Mossing is preparing for his 14th trek through the Grand Canyon. He is a hobby that he says he picked up as soon as he crossed into Arizona after coming from the flat landscape of northeast Ohio.
“Once in August, we camped on the north rim. The first night my water froze. When we got to the bottom the next day, the temperature was 110 degrees, a change in temperature from 80 to 85 degrees in eight or nine hours.”
Mossing helps lead a local hiking group and enjoys the solitude of being alone.
“I love it. I love being in nature,” he said. “Our cabin (at Forest Lakes) is in the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world. I hike alone. All the animals you come across: cougars, bears, hundreds and hundreds of moose, maybe a hundred deer. It’s kind of fun to stop and watch them.”
Hiking, he says, has many benefits.
“One of the reasons I hike is because, as a saxophonist, I need cardio work. If not, I will not reach those eight years (he hopes to continue playing).
Mossing began playing the saxophone at school. Friends later he formed a rock band, where he took up the keyboard and later the flute and other instruments. The classic rock focus led to as many as 300 concerts a year in Ohio and Michigan. Disco music and its growing presence in clubs was one of the factors that led to a career change.
But 25 years later, a small saxophone gift from his sister helped rekindle his passion. She was playing in a band at her daughter’s church and “I just felt all the excitement, how wonderful it was to perform.”
After moving to Maricopa, he formed a band with other residents of the Province. They played up to 40 times a year before COVID. Today, his three bands include Jazzona (jazz), 11th Hour (variety dance band), and Classic Winds (classical music, show tunes, and big band songs). They perform at corporate events, holiday programs, restaurants, and more.
Mossing’s first instrument, the saxophone, remains his favorite, leading to a special affinity for Jazzona performances.
“It’s such a liberating act for people who really enjoy it and recognize you for the work,” Mossing said. “Said [singer] elise [Hurst] He would try to play another eight years; that’s my goal. She tries her best to choose songs that have really good sax parts.”
Just consider it one of the many high notes in Mossing’s most interesting career and life.
This story was first published in the April issue of InMaricopa magazine.