The Face of Beach Lending


Kari Story


6200 Coastal Highway, Suite 301, Ocean City, MD 21842  443-614-6286

“I think the reason why people love us so much, and why we’re constantly voted number one, is because we’re family. I think when people come to First Home Mortgage, they feel that.” — Kari Story, Branch Sales Manager

Kari Story had a head for numbers at 22 years old, but her heart belonged to the beach. She needed a plan to turn her math-and-statistics degree from Salisbury University into a life in Ocean City. Fifteen years later, her career as a mortgage lender has added up perfectly.

“I’m very blessed to be running the number-one mortgage shop in Ocean City,” Story said of serving as branch sales manager of First Home Mortgage in Ocean City, which topped Coastal Style Magazine’s list of best mortgage teams in 2018 and made her Coastal Style Magazine’s top mortgage lender for a fifth straight year. She added that she feels fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time for this booming industry.

Story attended an open house in 2004, when a local mortgage lender asked the newly licensed real estate agent, “’You’ve got a math-and-statistics degree. Why on earth are you sitting at open houses? Why aren’t you financing these places?’ I replied that I knew nothing about it,” Story said.

That soon would change. That mortgage lender offered Story a job, giving her an opportunity to learn about mortgage lending from the inside.

That opportunity has led to 15 years of success and a bright future for Story, who dominates the Shore’s bustling real-estate market with a personal approach, strong work ethic and deep connections with the mortgage industry that allow her to get the job done right.

Story especially has capitalized on the Shore’s constantly growing condominium market. “We’re literally the land of condominiums,” she said. “So where I’ve found success is in really knowing the ins and outs of getting a condo approval done. That’s our niche.”

From left: Sarah Dougherty, Kari Story, Amanda Garcia, Kristine Labert and Melissa Mattie.

Story once wondered if she could succeed as a mortgage lender. But a hard-working style born in fast-paced Montgomery County has helped Story build her well-respected brand in the Ocean City area, and she has now begun to do the same across the border, in Delaware.

“I don’t think when you’re 22 you’re really imagining where you’re going to be 15 years later,” Story said. “I think you’re looking at the here and now, like how much business can I do this year? That was really the focus. A few years into it, that’s when you start to envision that you want the majority of the market share. Your competitive drive kicks in and mediocrity is no longer good enough. You want to be number one.”

Even while enjoying Ocean City’s relaxing lifestyle, she refuses to take shortcuts in the pursuit of success. Story takes calls from clients seven days a week, often late into the evening. That approach “helps you rise to the top,” she said. Now, Story has an office team of five, her second family as she calls them, working alongside her and sharing one goal in mind — to continue providing top-of-the-line service to clients wanting to claim their piece of beach life on the Shore.

“We are small but mighty,” Story added. “First Home Mortgage wants to conquer all.”