Tracie Mayo and her spouse Eileen Donovan moved to St. Petersburg in 2015 from South Carolina. They reside in South St Pete with their two dogs and three cats. Together they own Savvy Mortgage Lending (a dba of Mayo Mortgage Group LLC – NMLS #1663584). They are mortgage brokers and Tracie is a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist.
Tracie is also the former chapter president of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP).
With a commitment to help St. Petersburg continue to move forward, she is actively involved several statewide and national organizations to support LGBTQ people both within and outside of real estate. She has been an active member of the LGBT community in various board positions and association memberships for over 30 years and looks forward to continuing in the Tampa Bay area.
OUTCOAST sat down with Mayo to learn more about her upbringing and business, advice for LGBTQ couples interested in securing a mortgage, and to find out how a college drop out managed to create a successful career.
Where did you grow up?
Rock Hill, South Carolina. When I lived these as a child, it was a very small town. Now, it is the fifth-largest city in the state.
Do you have a favorite childhood memory?
I’m not sure I would say I have ONE favorite childhood memory. But I had a GREAT childhood. I lived in the country, had horses, and ran around with bare feet almost every day.
What brought you to St Pete, Florida.
My wife and I had a five-year plan to move to Florida and googled gay-friendly cities in Florida. We came up with St. Pete. We fell in love with it immediately. It felt like “home” … so we decided to move here.
What is your favorite thing about living in this region?
I love the sunshine, the diversity, and the water. My favorite is the water.
Tell us about your educational background.
I am a college drop-out/go-back/drop-out kind of girl. I graduated from high school and was lucky enough to be hired by the United States Postal Service at age 20. It provided a nice living and a nice salary with no college degree.
Did you go right into the mortgage industry, or is this a second career?
The mortgage industry is my second career. I left the United States Postal Service after 21 years and my wife (then girlfriend) suggested that I apply for a job with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, where she worked in the mortgage industry, because they were hiring. I got the job and fell in love with the mortgage industry.
Tell us a little about what you do.
As a mortgage broker, we help fit the client into the best option for them when securing a mortgage loan. Not every client fits into the same box. Brokers allow borrowers to shop around and secure the best price since they are getting wholesale prices. In addition, brokers have options that banks don’t have available.
What do you love most about your job?
I love helping clients buy homes. First-time homebuyers are awesome to work with because they are usually super excited about buying that first home.
What is the most challenging thing about your profession?
The most challenging thing is helping a client get their credit scores increased so that they can qualify, but it is also one of the most rewarding things.
What types of businesses do you partner with aside from realtors?
Financial Planners, Divorce/Family Law Attorneys, Title Agencies, Insurance Agents.
What is a the perfect referral for you?
Anyone who is looking to buy their first home, a second home, or an investment property.
What challenges does the LGBT community face when it comes to securing loans or obtaining a mortgage?
The biggest challenge facing the LGBT community is feeling comfortable discussing their finances with a complete stranger, who may not understand their relationship. I think it’s important to work with someone in the community who will not make you feel uncomfortable for being who we are.
Are there recommendations you have for same-sex couples who aren’t married?
I always recommend a same-sex couple discuss their options with an LGBT attorney or financial planner who may want to advise them on how to title property or accounts.
You recently joined the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber board. Given the volunteer time required to get involved, what made you take that step?
I love the community we live in and want to be as active in it as possible.
What are you most looking forward to as part of that organization?
I look forward to helping our current membership to be a little more active and to show them the benefits of being part of the Chamber.
Why did you partner with OUTCOAST?
I love OUTCOAST and I think you’ve done a great job of getting in front of our community.
Well thanks! Now for some fun questions. What do you do in your free time?
We spend as much time outside as possible. We try to go to the beach at least once per week. I read a good bit, as well.
What is your favorite movie and why?
What Dreams May Come with Robin Williams. I love the idea of life after death and the wonderfully creative way it was perceived in that movie is exactly what I would hope to find.
To learn more about Mayo Mortgage Group, click here.
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