Since founding Carolina Mountain Sales in 2009, Brian Etheridge has seen a dramatic shift in the real estate business. Eight years ago Etheridge and other real estate brokers were dealing with a downward trending market fraught with short sales and foreclosures. While the market was favorable for buyers, sellers were taking significant losses in the wake of the 2008 economic recession.
“That was an interesting time,” Etheridge says of the year he launched his Asheville-based real estate company with wife, Allyson, and business partner, Molly McNichols.
“Now we’re on the flip side, with a seller’s market,” he says.
With the present low inventory of residential properties and escalating prices, clients Etheridge is helping to find homes have to move quickly and be prepared for competition in the form of multiple purchase offers. In this competitive market, buyers sometimes face disappointment when an offer they make on a desired home isn’t accepted, he adds.
“It’s a very emotional time,” Etheridge says.
Many people who come to Asheville with hopes of settling here are living in apartments while engaged in an extended search for an appropriate home to buy, he adds. Buying a home involves more than finding a suitable dwelling, Etheridge says. As a real estate broker, Etheridge says he focuses on finding residential property for people in a region that will be a good fit for their particular lifestyle.
“I’m all about understanding lifestyle,” he says.
A person who enjoys working with people, Etheridge spends the vast majority of his time helping clients find properties while his wife runs the office in Biltmore Village as the manager broker. He also is actively involved with the development of communities in Asheville and greater Western North Carolina.
“I have a passion for sales and marketing for developments and communities,” Etheridge says.
Among current projects with which he is involved is the Vista at Blacksmith Run, a residential development in the Lake Lure vicinity. The challenge in developing communities in this area is the land cost, Etheridge says.
“I’m a big proponent of protecting land—but also in finding property for people,” he says.
After working as a golf pro at resorts in Florida for several years, Etheridge began his career in real estate in 2004 by accepting a position with Centex Destination Properties, a developer of seasonal homes. He also worked for a time at a resort development in the Cashiers-Highlands area. When the market shifted in 2008, Etheridge and his wife decided to move to Asheville and establish a business here.
“I was new to town and decided to do my own thing,” he said. “I surrounded myself with people I wanted to work with.”
The acquisition of his company in 2013 has not changed the brand of Carolina Mountain Sales, Etheridge says. He calls the sale of the company to Wilkinson ERA Real Estate Company “a strategic move on our part.”
“It allowed us to add tools to our tool box,” he says.
The affiliation with ERA, a national real estate company with a wide network, also is a great benefit, Etheridge notes. Since 2009, Etheridge has sold nearly $120 million in real estate. And in 2016, he was the top producing individual agent in Asheville, closing nearly $30 million in transactions, Tracy McCormack, director of marketing for Carolina Mountain Sales, reported.
“To get ahead, you have to have grit and drive,” Etheridge says of his accomplishments.
He also has taken the advice of his father who told him to always do the very best he could, and his uncle who advised Etheridge to emulate successful people. Etheridge and his wife live in Biltmore Forest with their two boys, Reynolds and Hayes, and their golden retriever, Sophie. When he is not working, Etheridge enjoys being with friends, the great outdoors and spending time at the family’s resort home in the Cashiers-Highlands area.