Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, April 29, 2022

‘Extra’ delivers more to her clients than they might expect

Realtor Dawn Maynor serves buyers and sellers as an agent with Real Estate Partners. She says her business, as well her personal life, are about serving others. - Photograph provided

Making assumptions about a person is easy. Like glancing at the cover of a book, a single look is all it takes to postulate who someone is.

First impressions are often wrong, however, and the truth of what lies beyond the cover is usually more complex and surprising than a casual glimpse could ascertain.

At first glance, Realtor Dawn Maynor, 47, is a ray of sunshine in human form, an anthropomorphic bundle of laughter and light.

She knows this. And she owns it.

“People call me ‘extra,’” Maynor manages to say amid a burst of laughter. “I have to have the shoes and the jewelry and the makeup and the hair and my nails done. I’m fine with that. It’s who I am. I have a friend at church who calls me her ‘extra’ friend.”

How this level of energy is possible at 9 a.m. when Maynor was writing an offer at 11 p.m. the day before is a question for science to answer. Perhaps, like the sun, she generates fuel internally through nuclear fission.

Or maybe the things that keep Maynor going as she works late at night and then wakes up early to begin again give her more oomph than most people.

She says she likes that each day as a Realtor is unique, for example. A given Tuesday is never like the Monday that preceded it and so on.

Maynor also professes to enjoy being “out and about.” She’s been stuck in an office and she didn’t like it.

But above all, she claims to love people. “I’m a people person,” she says without sounding trite.

Finding a real estate agent who confesses to disliking people would be like searching a haystack for a needle that’s not there. But when Maynor says she likes people, there’s something “extra” in her voice.

“I chat with strangers while I’m in line at Disney World,” she laughs. “It drives my kids crazy. But we’re all people. They’re probably thinking the same things I am. ‘Why is this line taking so long? Why aren’t my kids acting right?’”

Maynor also likes helping people. Her voice drops just a hint of its perpetual cheeriness as she says this, giving her words added sincerity.

“I feel like real estate is part ministry for me,” says Maynor, a professing Christian. “It’s not about the money. The money is great and I’m thankful for it, but at the end of the day, it’s about the people.”

To illustrate her claim, Maynor offers a story about the time she helped a hardscrabble couple move from an RV into a trailer.

“He had to carry her up the stairs of the RV because she’s disabled. I barely made any money but it was one of the most rewarding transactions I’ve done because I helped them to get what they thought they couldn’t have, which was a home.”

Helping clients in a sizzling seller’s market – when owners are still unloading houses for above the list price – can require a Realtor to be blunt, Maynor says. This might not be her favorite part about being an agent, she adds, but she doesn’t shy away from it.

“I’m not a proponent of overpricing things or making offers that are super overpriced. One seller had overpriced his house while he was working with another agent and didn’t receive any offers. And when I told him what I believed the market was saying, he said it was too low. But he took my advice and received an offer.”

In this case, Maynor tried to set reasonable expectations in the beginning of her association with the seller. She says she does the same thing with her buyers when they express reluctance at moving forward on a purchase due to what they perceive to be a high mortgage rate.

“I tell them it’s hard but interest rates are only going up, so if they don’t buy now, they’re going to end up in a worse place later on and might not get the house they want. I’m just honest with them.”

When a Realtor has been in the business for several years, picturing them as anything but an agent can be difficult. But before Maynor, who’s been licensed for six years, ventured into homes sales, she worked in radio.

She laughs as she turns down memory lane and sees how far back she’ll have to travel to tell the story.

When she arrives at her destination – the mid-1990s – she describes herself studying television broadcast journalism at what was then Lee College (and is now Lee University).

“I wanted to be Katie Couric. That was my dream job. But when I graduated, the starting pay for reporters in Chattanooga was very low. So I wound up in radio instead.”

Maynor initially did news and traffic at US-101 during the David and Dex show, a popular afternoon program. Her listeners won’t remember her by name or voice, though, because she had to change both.

“The news director at US-101 tried using ‘Renee Fletcher,’ which was a combination of my middle name and my maiden name with an ‘F’ instead of a ‘P,’ but she didn’t like that, so I became Lee Reynolds.”

As a Soddy Daisy native, Maynor comes with a bubbly southern accent. Reynolds, however, was from Everywhere, U.S.A., and needed to lack an accent.

“I lost the twang in school so I’d sound more worldly and less like a bumpkin,” Maynor laughs.

When US-101 shuttered its news department, Maynor landed work at J103 as the head of promotions. She then left radio to parent full-time when she became pregnant with her first of three children with her husband.

A decade later, she was working in the insurance business when a conversation with (the now late) Keller Williams agent Donette Moore lured her to real estate.

“She said, ‘You’re going to be great at this.’ That meant a lot to me because she was very successful and I thought if she believed I could do it then maybe I could. I’ve always been thankful for that conversation because it changed my life.”

Maynor served as Moore’s buyer’s agent for two years and then struck out on her own to begin working with sellers. She then moved to the locally owned and operated Real Estate Partners in 2020 because, she says, it reminded her of home.

“I grew up in a small community with good neighbors. I felt like ... [REP] would be a place where I’d be seen and where I could belong,” she explains.

Maynor, who works out of REP’s East Chattanooga office, says her instincts about her new brokerage were spot on.

“The agents here help one another. If I’m having trouble with a listing, I can email it out to everyone and say, ‘I need help with this one.’ It feels like a family. And that fits my personality. I want to be where I have something to offer others and they can teach me about the things I don’t know.”

Under the guidance and support of her broker, Diane Burke, Maynor has more than doubled her sales. To avoid being buried under the avalanche of work, she hired a contract-to-close person and is contemplating forming a real estate team.

“I can’t let my home life suffer. My kids are about to leave, and I need as much time with them possible.”

Maynor says she brings her lively disposition to every conversation. Speaking with her for more than a few moments reveals other details, such as her profession and her commitment to her family.

A longer conversation might be required to unearth the details that are not immediately visible. Among these would be her faith and a storm that has been thundering inside of her as the result of a personal loss.

Maynor says she filters all of her decision through her biblical beliefs. This included her choice to become a Realtor.

“That was a huge step of faith,” she notes. “Without sounding churchy, God led me to do it. I didn’t take that decision lightly.”

Maynor might be averse to sounding zealous, but until recently, she was very active in the church she and her family attends, Redemption Point in Ooltewah. As someone who loves to sing (she says she loves singing more than eating or sleeping), she was especially active in the church’s music ministry.

“I was one of the singers on the stage,” she says.

Maynor stepped down 18 months ago following the quick and unexpected death of her mother from cancer due to what she calls “a crisis of faith.”

“Being involved has been hard,” she says, her smile fading and her eyes losing their glimmer. “You feel fake because you’re hurting and struggling with your faith because God could have changed it but He didn’t.”

Maynor says she redefined what her faith looks like in the wake of her grief. Instead of performing onstage in front of hundreds of people, she now accompanies a small group from church that sings to residents in nursing homes.

“How much more pure can your faith look than singing ‘Amazing Grace’ to the elderly?” she asks rhetorically. “It’s about being genuine and using my gifts for what God has called me to do. That’s a better use of my time.”

For a person who’s always wanted to be seen or heard, this represents a tectonic shift in Maynor that might not always be evident on the surface.

“When you lose someone close to you, you begin to think about what you’re going to leave behind and where you’re putting your time and talents,” she says, a mild sadness lingering on her face and in her voice.

Maynor begins to glow again as she talks about her family, which includes her husband, Matt, and their three children. Matt is the director of operations and maintenance for Catoosa County Schools while Melayna, Maddox and McCall have either left home or are approaching that point.

With this in mind, Maynor applies a premium to time spent with her children, whether it’s a trip to Disney World or a shorter excursion to a local theater to see a Disney or Marvel movie.

“We’re huge Disney people,” she beams.

A resident of Ringgold, Maynor also enjoys riding her bike along the 10-mile loop that circles Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. This gives her a few rare moments to herself.

Although Maynor is certainly a bundle of laughter and light – and is absolutely “extra” – a closer look reveals the tempest inside of her. This is the part of her story a casual glance could never reveal.

The lasting impression Maynor leaves, however, is that her life is not about herself.

“I want my life to be about other people. If it’s about me, it can’t be about the Lord and it certainly can’t be about others. I don’t want that to be my legacy.”