When Rachel Saylor, the Sales Team Manager for AmeriFirst Home Mortgage, was asked to show her support as an LGBTQ ally by partnering with OUTCOAST, she jumped at the opportunity. Saylor has already made herself known as a supporter through her work with several LGBTQ couples and individuals, collaboration with LGBTQ realtors, and as a friend to many more. But she wanted to do more.
Saylor realizes how challenging the home buying process can be. She also realizes how difficult it can be to share financial information with strangers. Add to that an LGBTQ identity that may or may not be understood or supported by a mortgage professional and the process might seem beyond overwhelming. Through her advocacy work, Saylor hopes to reassure potential home buyers that ally business owners are also a safe place.
OUTOCAST sat down with Saylor to learn more about her upbringing, what brought her to this region, and why supporting LGBTQ people is so important to her. We also asked her to explain the difference between a mortgage broker and direct lender.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Swansea, SC—about 30 miles outside of Columbia. They now have two stoplights and a sidewalk, so it’s a pretty big deal now! I lived in several areas of SC before my move to Florida.
Do you have a favorite childhood memory?
Every Friday night my brothers, sister, parents, and I went to my Uncle Thurmond’s house to grill out, play in the yard, and enjoy time together. We called it the ‘Supper Club’ and many of my favorite times were made here.
What brought you to St Pete, Florida?
I wanted to expand my career from real estate to mortgages and had a fantastic opportunity here in Florida. Since moving here a little over three years ago I have worked my way up from a loan officer assistant to now a managing my own branch and team in Madeira Beach
What is your favorite thing about living in this region?
Beach, hands down. I live about 5 minutes away from Madeira Beach and for me there’s no better feeling than throwing a towel in a bag and being on the sand in less than 10 minutes.
Tell us about your educational background.
I originally went to a four year university directly out of high school and after a couple of years decided to take some time off to work and travel. I went back to a technical school and graduated with honors after 1.5 years. I use all aspects of my training in what I do. It was definitely the best fit for my career.
Did you go right into the mortgage industry, or is this a second career?
I served and bartended during my 20s. After going back to school, I started as an admin in a real estate office for a wonderful husband and wife team. This is where I found my passion for the housing industry. I was in real estate for three years before transitioning to mortgages and have loved every second.
Why did you get into the mortgage business?
With the risk of sounding cheesy, I love to help people. It is such a pleasure to help people achieve their goal of becoming homeowners with a smooth and efficient process that takes the surprise and stress out of the purchase.
Tell us a little about what you do.
I work with buyers to fully approve them for their desired price range before they ever start looking for a home. We review and approve all needed documents before they find a home. I then meet with each individual to go over costs, monthly payments, and to make sure they are comfortable with the process before they start to shop. This makes for a great experience once they find their home, as they don’t have to worry about any possible concerns on the mortgage side.
Are you a Mortgage Broker or a Direct Lender? What is the difference?
We are a direct lender, meaning that everything we do is here local, and the only people who process our client files are with my company and on my team. We close loans in as little as eight days and have the ability to keep and service our files. This means that we can make business decisions on files that may not fit traditional federal guidelines. We work with many ‘rescue’ deals that other lenders say are impossible. Because our process is unique, we can give real answers on approval within 24-48 hours.
Mortgage brokers outsource the processing of loan with different companies, meaning that the actual approval is made by a separate company (the underwriter). The underwriter doesn’t see the file until a week or two before closing, leading to potential delays or changes in processing.
What do you love most about your job? What is the most challenging thing about your profession?
I love that every day is new and each client file is different. It is my goal to build relationships with my clients and realtor partners and to earn their trust and confidence. The job is constantly challenging and I’m always learning and growing in my trade. My favorite part of my job is working with my team members, Nancy and Kaitlin Myrick, to provide each buyer the same level of customer service on each file.
What types of businesses do you partner with aside from realtors?
We partner with several types of companies: title companies, insurance agencies, commercial lenders, and heloc providers.
What is a the perfect referral for you?
The perfect referral comes from a trusted realtor source. This is how I’ve built my business over the years.
You’ve mentioned that you are not a part of the LGBTQ community, but have voiced support as an ally. Why is it so important for you to support LGBTQ individuals and couples going through the home buying process?
It’s important to me to show support, kindness, and respect to all buyers in the homebuying process. I’m truly honored to support the LBGTQ community.
Have you been involved with any LGBTQ organizations in the region?
OUTCOAST is the first and I’m excited to expand my knowledge to support other organizations in the area.
Why did you partner with OUTCOAST?
I was referred by one of my realtor partners, Heather Stotts with The Hustle and Heart Group, also a member of the OUTCOAST family. She knew that I was eager to show support and promote a fantastic homebuying experience and thought it would be a good fit. It turns out that she was right, as usual! 😊
What do you do in your free time?
I’m an avid reader, love spending time with friends, and relaxing on the beach. I’m also a bit of a clothes and shoes shopaholic—don’t judge me!
What book are you currently reading?
I am reading The Hush by John Hart. This is the 4thor 5thJohn Hart book I’ve read and I’m totally hooked. He has a way of brining you into a spooky and in depth world unlike any author I’ve ever read.
And for fun, who is your celebrity crush?
What about a favorite movie?
A Star is Born, I know it’s brand new but I’m a sucker for a love story with good music.
And finally, what’s currently playing on your radio?
I mostly listen to podcasts, The Brian Buffini Show is my current addiction. He explores the mindset, motivation and methodologies behind success.
To learn more about Rachel, or to contact her about AmeriFirst Home Mortgage services, click here.