From singing background for Dolly Parton to becoming a top lender in her field, Brenna Maples has a long—and unique—history of success. The professional singer and songwriter fell in love with the lending process while obtaining a loan to build her own home, and ultimately joined the finance industry in 2016. Shortly thereafter, a massive wildfire broke out in the Great Smoke Mountains of Tennessee, destroying nearly 18,000 acres and 2,500 buildings. Heartbroken, Brenna immediately joined the volunteer efforts, and upon seeing the devastation, resolved to do everything she could to keep the area’s tourist destinations up and running. She has since helped over 3,000 people and closed more than $500 million in volume, and, in April 2021, founded The Mortgage Shop, a mortgage broker focusing specifically on this niche for clients in her home state and across Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. In recognition of her achievements as an industry leader, The Scotsman’s Guide listed Brenna among the Top Loan Originators in the U.S. as well as the Top Women Loan Originators in the U.S. But for Brenna, what drives her is not the accolades or her personal success, but the people she serves. “Helping people fulfill their dreams and build wealth for themselves and their families—this is what drives me,” she shares.
Based in Sevierville, TN, The Mortgage Shop focuses on vacation rentals, short-term rentals, and long-term rentals, serving people with the perfect combination of Southern hospitality, knowledge, and a passion for mortgage lending—which undoubtedly explains the long-term relationships they form with their clients and their impressive referral rate. With the goal of helping people who have very little capital invested to benefit from higher-end properties, the company offers lower down-payment options for higher loan amounts in the jumbo range. The growing team of loan originators and loan processors also educates clients about cash flow and returns, counseling them on short-term rentals, the money they can produce, and how to manage the properties. “We want to offer people something the East Coast really hasn’t had yet, and that is the loan types as well as education on cash flow on these types of properties, and where they will see a return,” says Brenna. “We’re not just a mortgage company; we’re teaching people to build wealth.”
With a dual background in both finance and real estate, Brenna focuses on larger home purchases as well as self-employed or complicated-income borrowers, many of whom have S-Corp businesses, partnerships, and oil royalties that require a knowledgeable lender with experience in calculating those types of incomes. “Real estate is the quickest way for investors to get a return on their money,” Brenna explains. “This is especially true for higher-end properties and large tourist attractions in areas such as the Smoky Mountains, the Florida Panhandle, regions around Gulf Shores, Alabama, and the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia, which range from $550,000 to $3 million.”
With the current shortage of properties, clients receive additional benefits through the relationships The Mortgage Shop has grown with real estate agents across the East Coast. “When agents see the pre-approval letter with our name on it, they tell the sellers that the buyer is good, and it’s more likely that our clients will get their offers accepted among the dozens coming in for a property,” Brenna explains.
As she leads a thriving firm, Brenna takes the time to work with clients who are interested in increasing their cash flow through rental properties, directing them to self-manage their properties instead of splitting up to 40% of their profits with rental companies. “I make weekly phone calls to answer clients’ specific questions, provide a Facebook forum where they can post their questions and engage with us, and we have a whole group that teaches them how to automate things, like how to work with Airbnb and VRBO,” says Brenna. “People sometimes fear managing properties themselves, but once they learn the process, it’s easy, and it’s really cool to see their growth from new rental owners to thriving.”
Brenna has completed extensive training in wealth management financial advisement and holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology.
Founder and CEO
The Mortgage Shop