Coldwell Banker King president and owner Terri King was spotlighted in the 2020 "Women in Business" issue of the popular Mountain Xpress weekly news magazine. In fact, she was featured on the cover.
The article, headlined "The Gender Divide," focuses on women involved in business and, in particular, the local real estate industry. Terri's comments emphasize the need for women to seek out and take advantage of opportunities to own and manage businesses:
Not long after Terri King set up her real estate brokerage in Asheville in 2011, a salesman stopped by the office while King was talking with an employee at the front desk.
“He said, ‘I’d like to talk to Mr. King,’ and I just turned to him and stuck out my hand and said, ‘I’m Mr. King,’” she recalled recently.
These days, however, female real estate agents seem to be the norm rather than exceptions.
Nationwide, women account for 65% of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors says, up from 57% in 2010. A look at the online rosters of agents at the largest firms in Buncombe County suggests that women make up a majority of brokers here also, although many top-level jobs are still held by men.
Local women in the business say the job requires good listening skills, the ability to motivate yourself, knowledge of the community and the housing market and, yes, hard work. Those interviewed for this story said their gender hasn’t been a barrier to them in the field.
In addition to earnings, they cited rewards such as being your own boss, having schedule flexibility and the satisfaction of guiding clients through what’s often the largest financial transaction they will ever make.
King, a Buncombe County native, began her working life as an agricultural extension agent. Seven years later, she was working with tobacco farmers in Madison County when changes in the federal tobacco program portended big changes in her job. She switched to real estate sales in 2003 and later started her own small firm.
The 2008 housing crash wiped out her business, and King, who by that time had a master’s degree in entrepreneurship, began producing and selling furniture made of reclaimed wood from old barns. Each piece came with a written description of the wood’s provenance and a photo of the barn. In 2011, King bought the local Coldwell Banker franchise — the previous owner had gone out of business — and started a brokerage practically from scratch. She transferred the furniture company to her business partner in order to focus on real estate.
“This was when everybody thought real estate was over; they thought real estate was never going to come back,” King recalls. “When I told family and friends and other businesspeople … everybody was like, ‘Oh, Terri, don’t do this.’”
Today, Coldwell Banker King has five offices and about 90 brokers. After the crash, says King, there were fewer firms and brokers in the market, creating more of an opportunity for her company as real estate did indeed come back.
“There’s no substitute for luck and timing,” she observes. “I just believed I lived in an area where people wanted to live, and boy, has that proved true.”
For Terri, this type of exposure is fundamental to her goal of helping more women succeed. "It's always an honor to be able to promote women in business and encourage them, especially younger women, to seek out opportunities," she says. "Whether it's in real estate or another endeavor, women need to look for ways to flourish and succeed."