OUTCOAST had the pleasure of sitting down with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services’ Christye Ozog of the Florida Properties Group to discuss her military background, support of her LGBTQ community, and career transition into real estate.
Where did you grow up?
Share with us a favorite childhood memory.
Very thankful to have grown up in a time where cell phones and internet were not present. I enjoyed staying out playing in the neighborhood until the street lights came on.
Tell us about your educational background.
I was always very into school and studying. I graduated with 4.0 in both High School and college. Studying and learning are very relaxing to me and something I enjoy.
In high school, my favorite class was AP Government, where I was given the chance to publicly debate my stance in favor of legalizing Gay marriage (this was before I came out, so it was terrifying and exciting all at the same time). I have attended Lexington Community College, the University of Kentucky, and the Art Institute of Tampa.
I am currently enrolled for the Fall semester of USF to utilize the college benefits I earned while serving in the military.
Tell us about your military experience.
Before real estate, I spent 10 years on active duty in the Coast Guard. I spent my first five years in the military doing search and rescue and maritime law enforcement at the busiest small boat station on the East Coast (Station Cape May, NJ).
From this, I earned a Coast Guard Achievement Medal for over 22 lives saved. At this unit, I was a Boarding Officer (Federal Law Enforcement Officer) and a Coxswain (small boat driver).
I then switched over to Marine Science and deployed for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Louisiana during which I monitored and regulated the cleanup efforts of the oil spill making sure the contractors BP had hired adhered to Federal Regulations.
Most recently, I moved back to Kentucky to help take care of my father before he passed away. The Coast Guard allowed me to do recruiting near my home town so I could continue to serve and help my family.
Why did you get into real estate?
Originally I wanted to get my real estate license to help my wife start her business of buying and remodeling homes. We are starting a business together now to purchase investment properties to resell and/or keep to rent out. My intent was to do real estate part time and primarily for our own business purposes, but I have grown to really enjoy it.
I recognize how difficult it is for LGBT community members to find Realtors who understand and empathize with the specific needs and legal challenges of purchasing or selling a home together as an LGBT person or couple.
I have previously purchased 2 homes with my wife and we were never satisfied with the service we received. I knew there was a hole in the market and I could fill it.
Why did you choose to work with Berkshire Hathaway?
Berkshire Hathaway has values very similar to the values I was taught in the military. Their company principles are Excellence, Passion, Integrity, and Teamwork. The military taught Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty. I feel like I can apply both sets of values towards dealing in Real Estate. Berkshire Hathaway also supports Veterans more than any other company I researched. They have a program in place to completely pay for the education and licensing fees for any veteran or spouse of a veteran.
What are the top three things people should think about before purchasing a house?
- Find a Realtor that will fight for you, will HONESTLY take your very best interests into consideration no matter what.
- Know what your limits are. Speak with a loan officer that can give you a realistic budget to work within.
- Think about where you want to be 5, 10, 15 years down the road and make a purchase that helps you towards those goals.
What policies does Berkshire Hathaway have in place to support LGBTQ employees?
Besides being an Equal Opportunity Employer, our office has welcomed my wife and me with open arms. We’ve been treated as if we were no different from any others in the office. It feels like a safe and supportive place to be. Berkshire Hathaway is also a corporate partner of NAGLREP (National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals).
How does Berkshire Hathaway Florida Properties Group get involved with the local LGBT community?
Berkshire Hathaway fully funded and supported my endeavors to participate in this year’s St Pete Pride Festival. We hosted a booth and raffled off a free day trip on a boat. Our St Pete Beach office also hosted a Pre-Pride Party to give the community a chance to sit down for free Real Estate consultations, receive information from area lenders, and meet with other service vendors.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
As cheesy as it may sound, getting married. I found someone to share my life with that I truly adore. My wife is my best friend, partner in crime, other half, and soul mate. I wanted to be with someone who I knew would always have my back and would make me laugh every day. Luckily, I found someone who was that and so much more in Amber.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
The most influential person in my life is definitely my mother. She is the strongest, most resilient person I have ever met. No matter what life throws at her, she takes it on with full force and comes out on top some how. When my father was sick (for over 2 years) she took on his care full time and made sure she made him comfortable and upheld her vows of for better or worse. I strive to take life on in this manner and it has made me appreciative to have such a strong woman to look up to.
Share with us the best advice you ever got from someone?
The best advice I received was from my father while I was in boot camp. He wrote me a letter every week that I was away and always told me to be true to myself. While he is no longer here, this has taken on new meanings for me throughout the different chapters of my life, but has always brought me back to the basics…truth and honesty in all things will get you very far in life. It’s the key to happiness and success in everything from relationships to my career.
And for fun….what’s your favorite movie and why?
Too Wong Foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar. I was obsessed with this movie as a kid, I had no idea why but I always knew I related to it in some way.
Who’s your celebrity Crush?
No one, honestly. Head over heels for my wife still
To learn more about Christye Ozog, click here.