Carolyn Black has been practicing real estate in WNC for 22 years and counting - a fairly impressive statistic for a gal who planned to only temporarily call these mountains home. Going through a transitional stage in her life, she figured she’d stay about a year until she was ready to make her next move.
As it turned out, her next move was to literally help other people make their next move to the region. Embracing the immense and steady draw of visitors to the greater Asheville area, Carolyn also owns and runs a vacation rental company for those who aren’t in the market to buy. Originally a west coast girl hailing from San Diego, Carolyn traded the beach for the peaks. After her initial visit - turned permanent stay - Carolyn often helped out a real estate developer friend of hers, which helped her become familiar with the area.
She acquired her N.C. real estate license in 2000, leaning on the well-honed hospitality skills she developed in retail while back in California. She was also fascinated by what folks go through during a real estate transaction, both by helping her mother sell her home in Oregon, and witnessing the experiences of other close family members who bought and sold properties in Alaska and Montana. She felt that the North Carolina way of practicing real estate was different - a process with checks and balances - and she hasn’t stopped since.
1. What do you love most about working in real estate - do you have a favorite part of the process?
“Closing is always a favorite part of the process, everyone is so excited and happy”
Carolyn loves being able to assist folks through such a big event in their lives, and as an agent, she has the ability to really, truly help them through this undertaking. She cites the regulations in N.C. - such as the due diligence process - that help leverage the transactional process for both parties. When she helped her mom sell her home in Oregon, there was no protection for the investment of time and resources for sellers - buyers had no “meat in the game”, she says, and could back out at any time with no consequences. She appreciates the rules of engagement that buyers and sellers must adhere to in the state - those that mean that, as an agent, she maintains a commitment to doing her absolute best for her client; building a real relationship and seeing it through to the most favorable outcome.
2. Do you work with both buyers and sellers, or do you have a preferred niche that works best for you?
Carolyn says she does not have a strong preference, though of course looking at houses is fun - so there is that when working with buyers. Her vacation rental business means she also has a real stake in the vacation industry here, and demand has been high. This strong trend translates to many clients looking for investment properties as a means to participate in this strong shift toward the rental market. The affordability of buying has become harder for first-time homebuyers in this region. With more people opting to rent, the market is reflecting the subsequent uptick in sales of investment properties.
3. Technology has created far more resources than ever before for both buyers and sellers who think they can ‘do it on their own’ - what do you say to folks who think they don’t need a real estate agent anymore?
“Good luck! You really need someone on your side - someone who knows what to do when stuff starts falling apart - otherwise you don’t find out that things have not all gone smoothly until after the closing.“
4. Real estate is considered a fairly competitive industry in the greater AVL area, with numerous agencies and a steady stream of new agents - what differentiates you and TBT agents from the rest of the WNC real estate crowd? What is your favorite thing about working with the TBT team?
“We really have a diverse pool of agents who can answer so many questions. Everybody brings a certain unique quality and resource to this team”
Carolyn also loves the variety of listing types represented within the office, which further educates the whole team. So many different issues can come up depending on the context of the listing - luxury, commercial, land and development - they all have specific concerns and if you have a question, someone will know the answer. She also mentions what incredible assets Billy Taylor and Ally Howell are for the entire team, from lead generation to vetting facts - “Ally is little miss Google to us!”
5. Takeaways from what you’ve learned in your industry: What is the most important piece of advice you would give to prospective homebuyers? And to home sellers?
Emphasizing the process-driven rules guiding the real estate industry in North Carolina, Carolyn encourages both parties to be extremely thorough during the due diligence period, for sellers to really make sure their home is ready, and for buyers to not scrimp on inspections!
6. The WNC real estate market is certainly booming - any predictions on where it will go next, or new trends you are seeing?
Carolyn is relieved that the market seems to be normalizing a bit more, and says things were “getting to the point of ridiculousness, with people putting down 15K or 30K in earnest money and still not getting their offers really considered.”
She is witnessing tremendous growth in the Black Mountain and Hendersonville areas and sees Waynesville as another up-and-coming hot spot.
7. Can you share the funniest or most memorable moment - anecdote or experience - you’ve had during the course of a real estate deal (positive or negative)?
Carolyn recollects the interesting negotiations that ensued after a tree went through the roof and into the bedroom of one of her listings, which another agent was showing it at the time. The house went under contract soon after, and fortunately, insurance was able to cover damage, however, it was seriously nerve-wracking at the time!
8. Do you have a favorite hobby, pursuit or interest that might surprise your clients - or that has worked to your advantage in connecting with clients?
Tapping into her San Diego beach roots, Carolyn teaches swimming lessons to little kids, which she really enjoys. On a completely different note, one that quite suits her surname, she shares a guilty pleasure:
“I am obsessed with True Crime - I love Netflix, especially stories about serial killers.”
She didn't share if this pastime helps her connect with clients, but it did seem evident that this is her preferred entertainment outlet to disconnect. So if you’d like to get lost in some true crime drama and need some vetted recommendations, Carolyn’s your go-to critic!
When she's not on the phone with a client or running around town for property management, Carolyn loves to unwind with animals. Her beloved dogs keep her going and she loves every minute of it.