mosaic logo

Christie Kafka

Lake James Boasts Breathtaking Beauty and Plentiful Outdoor Adventure

Lake James NC Real EstateTucked at the base of Linville Gorge in the Blue Ridge Mountains is Lake James, a large reservoir offering myriad outdoor adventures against a breathtaking setting. The lake, with more than 150 miles of shoreline, is situated between Marion and Morganton, easily accessible via I-40, and only 45 minutes from Asheville. The lakefront communities dotting the area offer a peaceful retreat nestled in natural beauty.

Lake James, which straddles the border between Burke and McDowell counties, is named for tobacco tycoon and Duke University benefactor James Buchanan Duke. The lake, with surface elevation of 1,200 feet, lies behind a series of four earthen dams and was created by Duke Power from 1916 to 1923 as a hydro-electric project (still generating power today).

Lake James: plentiful water activities, hiking and camping

Lake James State Park is located on the lake’s southern shore. In 2004, the 605-acre park was expanded by 3,000 acres, making it the largest waterfront state park in N.C. The surrounding terrain is covered with hardwoods, pines and hemlocks; it is home to a range of wildflowers, as well as mountain laurel, rhododendron and flame azalea along the hilly terrain.

Lake James NC Real EstatePaddy’s Creek and Catawba River are the park’s main areas to enjoy. Paddy’s Creek features a large, sandy beach and swimming area, along with a pavilion, restrooms and concession stand. Hiking and camping spots – including boat-in camping – are plentiful in both areas. Paddy’s Creek offers 15 miles of mountain biking trails for beginners as well as intermediate riders. Two miles east of Lake James State Park entrance sit two boat ramps, Hidden Cove and Canal Bridge, offering access for motorboats, sailboats and small watercraft.

A range of available homes in Lake James

Most housing development around Lake James is clustered along its southern and eastern shores, offering a range of styles including sprawling estates, rustic ranches, and green-build properties, many with long-range mountain and lake views.

Restaurants and breweries in and around Lake James offer a variety of options when you don’t feel like cooking at home. Among local favorites are Catawba Brewing, Lake James Grille, Slices Bistro, Fonta Flora Brewery and Root & Vine.

For information about real estate in Lake James, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

Explore Lake James area real estate near Nebo

Broker Carol Marin Makes Her Mark as Asheville's Midcentury Modern Expert

Carol Marin Asheville Real Estate AgentAt first glance, Asheville may seem an unlikely backdrop for midcentury modern architecture, the style that embraces clean, simple lines and honest use of materials. But Mosaic broker Carol Marin, who has delighted in the organic aesthetic for years, has a knack for uncovering such homes, and she’s found many in Asheville. A former vocal coach, Marin now gives voice to Asheville’s midcentury modern movement, with a blog detailing the architectural design in the area – and a keen sense for sussing out midcentury modern finds for her clients all around Asheville

Give a little background on your life, both personal and professional. What brought you back to Asheville? What drew you into real estate?

I’m an Asheville native; my family roots go back many generations in this area. I grew up in West Asheville and have lived in Fairview, North Asheville, Weaverville and Candler. Asheville was a wonderful place to grow up. Back then, downtown Asheville had department stores, the S&W Cafeteria and Woolworth’s and Kress weren’t galleries, but five-and-dime stores. The Asheville Mall opened in the 1970s and eventually led to the shuttering of downtown in the 1980s. Revitalization began in the 1990s, and now it’s hard to imagine that Asheville wasn’t always the vibrant city it is today.

Carol Marin Midcentury Modern AshevilleGrowing up, music was always the only thing I was ever really interested in, so I went to Converse College in Spartanburg to pursue a degree in vocal performance and afterward on to Northwestern University in the Chicago area to complete my graduate work. I loved Chicago, and ended up staying there for 22 years. Chicago, with its world-class music and art scene, was a great place to pursue a performing career, and I transitioned into a successful career as a vocal coach.

I met my husband, Jaime, while working in a restaurant in Chicago. Over the years he worked as a sous chef at some of the best restaurants in the city, La Tour and Seasons to name a couple. As you might imagine, he’s an amazing cook – I’m so spoiled!

When I moved back to Asheville in 2005, I wanted a new challenge, so I decided to pursue real estate. It was something I had been considering for a while, and relocating gave me the impetus to make it happen. 

Carol Marin discusses the midcentury modern real estate market in Asheville

How did midcentury modern homes become your passion? 

Living in Chicago, I was exposed to a lot of great modern architecture. [Famed architect] Frank Lloyd Wright had his practice in the Oak Park neighborhood of Chicago. After touring his studio, I was captivated. I sought out his other designs in the Chicago area and even traveled to Spring Green to see Taliesin [Wright’s home, studio, school and estate]. Wright influenced and trained many of the midcentury modern architects. I love the idea of designing a home to be in harmony with its surroundings, and that was Wright’s philosophy.

Midcentury Modern Asheville Real EstateHow has the Asheville market fueled your midcentury modern interests? 

Somewhere early in my real estate career, I started to look around and see that there were homes that I had taken for granted growing up: ranch-style and modern homes with clean lines, large windows, brick, wood and stone elements, and most importantly a connection with nature. There’s something about these homes that speaks to me: They are simple, but have a warmth that you don’t find in newer homes. I started my Mid Century Modern Asheville blog a few years ago as a platform to share my interest with others and highlight this amazing period in architecture. It is also a creative outlet and something I get excited about. I have been surprised how many midcentury modern fans there are out there, and through my blog I’m connecting with them. Many have become friends and clients.

Where are midcentury modern pockets found in Asheville? 

Lakeview Park and Grove Park in North Asheville have some notable midcentury modern homes, Biltmore Forest of course, but really you can find them all over. Woodland Hills between Asheville and Weaverville, Oak Forest and Ballantree in South Asheville, Beverly Hills and Botany Woods in East Asheville and Malvern Hills in West Asheville are just a few that come to mind. 

Marin is in tune with Asheville’s classical music scene

Carol Marin Asheville Mosaic RealtyWhat are your other passions, especially as they relate to Asheville? 

I want to do what I can to keep the art of classical music thriving in Asheville. I’m a supporter of the Asheville Music School; its scholarship fund provides financial help to those who would otherwise be unable to afford music lessons. I also support and am involved with the Asheville Symphony.

I have a need to be active, so on any given morning you’ll find me out walking or taking fitness classes at the YMCA. Living in an area with world-class hiking, I try to get out on a trail on a pretty regular basis. Being in the woods gives me a chance to unplug and re-center myself.

What gives you an edge as a midcentury modern enthusiast in the Asheville real estate market? 

I understand the modern aesthetic and know that it can be a challenge to find. I do the groundwork for buyers by staying on top of the midcentury modern market.

Besides my midcentury modern expertise, I seemed to have developed a niche working with older active adults who are relocating to our beautiful area. I have a successful track record of helping many of them through the journey of finding the area and home that best fit their lifestyle.

Learn more about Carol Marin here

Connect with Carol at or 828-545-2712

Exemplary Service Places Mosaic Agents Among Top 100 Asheville Realtors

Asheville’s Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty proves time and again to be a team of top producers, with the latest recognition coming from Movement Mortgage’s annual Top 100 Realtors. While only 5% of agents in Buncombe County earned the distinction of Top 100 Realtors in 2020, 33% of Mosaic Realty’s agents were recently recognized with this honor.

Born and built in the heart of Asheville, Mosaic is a small firm with exemplary service, and we get big results. Mosaic’s intimate size and deep local roots offer the ideal mix of knowledge and personalized service that consistently places us among the top firms for sales per agent in the area. The firm’s team of 32 full-time agents is singularly equipped to meet clients’ needs, desires and criteria as they enter on their real estate journey.

Mosaic agents honored as 2020 Top 100 Asheville Realtors

Asheville Top 100 Real Estate Agents MosaicCongratulations to the following Mosaic Realty agents for earning the distinction of Top 100 Realtors from Movement Mortgage: 

Mike Figura

Alyssa Augustine

Eric Albee

Vanessa Byrd

Elizabeth Putnam

Megan Shook

Laura Moye

Bill Anderson

Trip Howell

Stacey Enos

Caley Bowman

A dedication to clients

Mosaic’s goal is to understand our clients and their needs; doing this means our agents can provide spot-on guidance to make informed decisions when buying or selling a home. Of course, besides handling the important real estate basics, Mosaic agents go above and beyond to make sure the homes and neighborhoods they match buyers with best meet their lifestyle needs and desires. 

Mosaic agents are trained communicators, and their first job is to listen to clients’ needs. They’re also skilled at keeping you informed during every step of the Asheville real estate buying or selling process. They’re adept at navigating real estate transactions with techniques that emphasize authentic communication and strong understanding of the process in a way that leaves all parties satisfied. They have gained a reputation in the Asheville market for facilitating positive results for their clients.

For information about how our knowledgeable agents can help you with real estate in Asheville, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

Connect with an Agent Today!


Solarize Asheville-Buncombe Initiative Eases Access to Solar Energy for All Homeowners

Solar Power Asheville BuncombeIf you’re a homeowner in Asheville, it’s becoming a little easier to equip your residence with solar energy, thanks to a brand-new community-based initiative. A coalition of local organizations is launching Solarize Asheville-Buncombe, a group-purchasing solar campaign that makes solar energy and battery storage more affordable to both homeowners and businesses. 

The City of Asheville and Buncombe County have adopted a community-wide goal to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2042. The Solarize coalition – consisting of partners such as Green Built Alliance, Sierra Club WENOCA, Green Opportunities and Hood Huggers International – aims to assist in that goal by reducing barriers and cutting prohibitive costs to solar energy, thus helping both homeowners and businesses to more easily go solar and reduce the carbon footprint of our community. 

The Solarize initiative comes at a time when the Asheville green movement continues to gain traction among area residents and businesses, including early-adopter Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty. Mosaic’s commitment to green development and environmental stewardship is a pillar of the company’s philosophy. By calculating the company’s net carbon output and offsetting it by paying into local green energy projects, Mosaic proactively takes steps to address climate change and has become North Carolina’s first carbon-neutral real estate firm.

Solar benefits for all in Asheville-Buncombe

Going solar decreases energy and economic costs for homeowners, which particularly benefits low- and moderate-income community members. The Solarize initiative aims to create deeper cost reductions for solar energy for these community members via fundraising and financing; Solarize will also assess city data to prioritize community outreach. 

Solarize Asheville-BuncombeAnyone who owns property in Buncombe County can take part in Solarize Asheville-Buncombe. Its campaign model – based on a tiered “bulk”-purchasing platform – has found success in more than 300 communities across the country. The more people contract for their solar installations through the campaign, the more everyone saves. 

Unique contribution to equitable workforce

Solarize Asheville-Buncombe is the only program of its kind in the country that goes beyond solar accessibility to focus on equitable workforce development in the green energy industry and affordability initiatives. The group has established a partnership with Green Opportunities, an Asheville-based nonprofit committed to empowering marginalized communities toward sustainable employment. This partnership will help to open up jobs in Buncombe County’s green-energy sector.

Details on tiered pricing, equipment and energy tax credits are still being formulated. If you’re interested in learning more, or to sign up for a free solar evaluation of your property, visit

First image caption and credit: Green Built Alliance member SolFarm installs a 7.29 kW hybrid system on the Portwood residence, a modern solar-passive home in Weaverville. MARGARET HESTER PHOTO



Real Estate Agent Megan Shook Puts Passions to Work, and Advocacy, in Asheville

Megan Shook Asheville RealtorMosaic broker and North Asheville resident Megan Shook has many passions, which propel her both professionally and personally. While she works throughout the greater Asheville area, she’s particularly passionate about how the Beaverdam area of North Asheville offers the optimal balance of “city” and “country.” And as an ardent philanthropist, Shook spearheads AED advocacy and awareness, distributing life-saving defibrillators around Asheville, along with other philanthropic work in the area. Here, Shook talks about how she blends her passions and her career into one – and how Asheville provides the perfect setting for doing so.

Give a little background on your life, both personal and professional. What drew you into real estate? 

I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and moved here in December 2006. Climate was a big draw, as was the fact that we have family in Asheville and in Knoxville, Tenn. So it was a nice area to be in for proximity to family and also to not force my husband, who’s from Ohio, to live in the Texas heat forever!

I had an opportunity to work with my uncle here in commercial real estate selling restaurant businesses and properties. I jumped at the opportunity as we really wanted to move to Asheville. I got my real estate license immediately when I moved here, just after completing my graduate degree in public relations in Texas, and truly enjoyed working with him for several years. When my second child was born and I was ready to start working again, I chose to go into residential real estate and have not looked back. I love the pace of residential and the camaraderie at Mosaic. 

Megan Shook Top 100 Asheville RealtorSmall-city living, philanthropy, and music: Megan Shook delights in Asheville

What do you love about Asheville? What are some of your passions, especially as they relate to life in Asheville?

We absolutely love raising our kids here. It’s been a welcoming community, and we’ve gotten to know a lot of families here through our kids’ sports and school. As someone who grew up in 1.5 seasons, you cannot beat the weather here. We love that we’re 2 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. We live in a private wooded setting minutes to fun, bigger-city opportunities. Asheville is a very nice compromise for my husband and me. Where he would live in a tiny town and I would live in a big city, it provides the best of both worlds. 

One of my passions is music, and I’ve seen some amazing live concerts here over the years and look forward to many more. The music scene, the outdoors, the climate, the people, that’s why we’re drawn to Asheville and will continue to raise our kids here. 

Elaborate a bit on your AED advocacy: How was it born, and how have you advanced the cause in Asheville?

Megan Shook AED Donations AshevilleI joined Mosaic both for its marketing, and for its philanthropy. I could not be more proud of the work that we do annually as a company. Philanthropy has always been a big passion of mine with my family’s foundation, and one of the avenues I’ve taken is donating defibrillators around the Asheville area and in Texas in honor of my dad, who I lost to cardiac arrest in 2003 at 55 years old. I try to get at least one defibrillator into the Asheville community each year; past locations include the YWCA, the Chamber building, Haywood Street Church for their respite program for the homeless, the JBL soccer fields, Homeward Bound facilities, and a local gym because my dad died at a gym. That is something that I do every year in honor of him, and to spread awareness about their importance. 

Real Estate Agent Megan Shook knows North Asheville

What makes you a North Asheville-Beaverdam-area real estate expert? 

I’ve lived in Beaverdam since 2011 with my family. I also lived on the north side of downtown from 2007 to 2011, so I’ve always lived on this side of town. The majority of my business over the years has been on the north side and the east side of town, though I tend to work all over within 45 minutes of Asheville. My kids go to school in North Asheville, my community is North Asheville, and we absolutely love the convenience of where we live in Beaverdam, yet feeling like we’re out in the country.

The north side of town offers extreme convenience, where everything you would need in your everyday life is north of I-240. We have an abundance of grocery stores and awesome local restaurants. We have many parks and golf courses, and it feels very outdoorsy yet you are very close to downtown and to whatever you would need along Merrimon Avenue and Charlotte Street.

Megan Shook Asheville Real EstateI can definitely talk to clients about anything from schools in the area to retirement communities in the area. Our roots are in North Asheville – we’ve been here for almost 15 years, and we intend to be here for many more.

How do you stand out as a broker in the Asheville real estate market?

I’m very lucky that the vast majority of my business is repeat clients or referrals from past clients, something I’m very proud of. I have been a top 100 agent in this area for the last five years. My clients will hopefully tell you that I am a great communicator and am available for them throughout the day, every day.

I have a lot of experience in remodeling, so I have many great contacts that I’ve gathered over the years with different contractors in our area. As a family, we have remodeled many kitchens and homes and bathrooms. I’ve also worked to find the best inspectors, surveyors and attorneys to help the buying and selling process be as stress-free as possible. I think of myself as the assistant to my clients, just trying to help the process run as smoothly as possible.

Connect with Megan here! or 828-450-6797

Canton, N.C., Boasts Small-Town Feel Coupled With Close Proximity to Asheville

Canton NC Homes for SaleLocated in the Smoky Mountains about 20 minutes west of Asheville sits the picturesque town of Canton, N.C. This Haywood County town offers dining, shopping and sightseeing along its historic Main Street, as well as iconic local hikes and other outdoor adventures. An idyllic, small-town feel coupled with close proximity to the amenities of Asheville is the hallmark of Canton.

Historic mill town: Canton, NC

The Pigeon River flows through the middle of the town, fueling much of its history and growth. Canton’s river location enabled the early development of a paper mill, which used the river’s water power. It processed some of the timber harvested from the surrounding woods. Today, the paper mill is owned by Evergreen Packaging, and the Blue Ridge Southern Railroad serves it. The mill employs 1,200 workers and boasts 600 union jobs. With a $90 million payroll, the mill is a major economic driver in the region. 

U.S. routes 19 and 23 pass through the center of town as Park Street and Main Street; the highways lead east 17 miles to Asheville and west 7 miles to Lake Junaluska. I-40 passes through the north part of Canton, leading east to Asheville and northwest through the Pigeon River Gorge into Tennessee. The population of Canton was 4,227 at the 2010 census. 

Properties for sale in the Canton area range from grand, historic homes to new, to modern developments, to mixed-use buildings along Main Street. Schools that serve the town include Pisgah High School, Canton Middle School, Bethel Middle School, North Canton Elementary, Bethel Elementary, Meadowbrook Elementary and Bethel Christian Academy.

Canton NC Real EstateCanton: a nature lover’s paradise

The Pigeon River offers a wide range of fun outdoor adventures, including fishing, kayaking, canoeing and tubing. Canton is also home to some of the most popular hikes in Western N.C., including Shining Rock and Graveyard Fields. Lake Logan and its 260-acre Smoky Mountain sanctuary are a short drive from Canton. The town’s mile-and-a-half Pigeon River Scenic Walking Trail offers a beautiful, bench-lined path, boat access for canoes and fishing, and plentiful nature.

The Canton Area Historical Museum is located on Park Street in the former Canton Branch Library. The nonprofit educational institution contains artifacts and photographs that depict the history of the towns of Canton, Bethel and Cruso. It houses agricultural and domestic artifacts from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as a large collection of photographs and memorabilia of the town and its paper mill industry.

Canton’s Labor Day festival, the longest running Labor Day festival in the South, began in 1906 as a celebration of the grit and determination that led to the construction of a paper mill that would persevere through a great depression, two world wars, and two buyouts. Today’s festival features musical performances, a crafts expo, food vendors, a parade and a vintage car show.

For more information about real estate in Canton, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

Search: Canton Real Estate

Search: Greater Asheville Area Real Estate



Pedaling Properties: Mosaic's Justin Mitchell Brings Biking Savvy and Visual Acumen to Asheville Real Estate Deals

Justin Mitchell Mountain Biking Asheville RealtorA second-generation real estate agent with 22 years of experience, Mosaic broker Justin Mitchell knows how to make the most of life in Western North Carolina as an avid cyclist and outdoor enthusiast. Drawing from his adventure-seeking savvy, along with his skill as a seasoned videographer, Mitchell can be trusted to give both buyers and sellers a thorough picture – quite literally – of the perfect Asheville home.

What brought you to Asheville, and what drew you into real estate?

I grew up with a highly successful mother and father in the real-estate business in Nashville. While on summer breaks in college, I worked on a framing crew and learned about construction first-hand. I moved to Asheville in 2007, for the most part drawn to the quality of life that this city has to offer – the mountains and great music scene. I wanted a cool smaller town, but it also needed to have a vibrant live-music scene. Mountain biking and river sports were also at the top of my list.

Justin Mitchell blends biking into Asheville life

Elaborate on your biking life, its inception and how your biking interests have evolved over the years.

I was raised around bikes, and spent a lot of my youth competitively racing BMX. I had backyard BMX tracks, half pipes, and it definitely was a huge part of my life. When I went off to college in Knoxville, I got a mountain bike, and that’s when I started the sport. I was coming up to Pisgah [National Forest] in the early ’90s to hit the popular mountain biking trails here, so I have a long history of riding the “classics.”

Justin Mitchell Asheville RealtorWhat makes Asheville such a great city for the biking enthusiast?  

The thing that appeals most to me as a mountain biker is the diversity you find here, everything from beginner-friendly trails at Bent Creek [Experiential Forest] to really advanced bike parks and challenging trails in Pisgah and the surrounding communities. Bike parks like The Riveter [in Fletcher], Bailey Mountain downhill bike park [in Marshall], and Ride Kanuga [in Hendersonville] will pretty much allow you to go as big as you want to go – in fact, Kanuga was built by a pro World Cup downhill champion. The parks certainly give me my BMX-background fix for big jumps and more progressive riding.

Although Asheville is limited by its layout and historic nature of the roads to be conducive to riding bikes around town for transportation, there have been a lot of gains on that front in the 12 years I’ve lived here.

Elaborate on how you’ve found ways to weave your love of biking, your love of Asheville, and your career in real estate into one.

Being a part of the Asheville mountain bike culture since the ’90s, there’s a thread that makes it easy to connect with other people who are into the sport. I’m able to impart my knowledge of the mountain biking community in Western North Carolina, the various resources, the different trail systems, everything. When biking is such a huge part of a person’s lifestyle, and they want their new home in Asheville to help facilitate that lifestyle, it helps to work with someone who can see the area through that same lens.

Justin Mitchell on green homes in Asheville

Justin Mitchell Asheville Real Estate VideoTalk a little about the Green Home Bike Tour, and how it combines two of your passions.

I’ve been involved in new construction since the beginning of my real estate career. Green homes and the desire to learn more about them was another thing that brought me to Asheville. When I moved here and realized there were so many green homes within a short distance of each other, I had an idea to organize a green home bike tour that centered on educating others about the benefits of green homes, and I used the opportunity to put together a ride that toured North Asheville, West Asheville, and the town center. It was definitely a good way to blend two of my top interests, and it was a great experience.

Your videography savvy stands out in the industry. How do you weave such skills and knowledge into your work as an agent?

My love for travel and documenting my outdoor experiences via GoPro [action cameras] and photography is a passion that’s turned into a very beneficial skill set to help my clients market their homes. It’s also helped buyers in situations where they can’t be physically present to tour homes. My videography skills definitely take it up a notch: This isn’t simply using an iPhone to snap shots of a home – I use highly specialized gear to capture aerial images and create visually rich virtual home tours.

My technological knowledge and gear have enabled me to broker several “long-distance” real estate deals in Asheville in the past year where I didn’t even meet the buyers in person; their first tour of their new homes didn’t occur until the walkthrough, or after closing. My goal as an agent is to use technology to make purchasing properties from afar as easy and informative as possible. 

Learn More: About Justin Mitchell

Connect with Justin: or 828-713-9400


The Height of Natural Beauty and Outdoor Fun in Mars Hill, NC

Mars Hill, NC Homes for SaleNestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, the town of Mars Hill (pop. 2,000) in Madison County wows with its beauty and ease of living. Residents and visitors alike enjoy quick access to all manner of mountain sports and family activities. In addition, Mars Hill is only about 15 miles north of Asheville via I-26, which means residents can make an easy trip into the city for all its cosmopolitan offerings.

Nature abounds around Mars Hill

Skiing, hiking, cycling, horseback riding and whitewater rafting are just a taste of the outdoor activities available in and around Mars Hill. The town is near the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, and many national and state parks. The popular Bailey Mountain Bike Park is mere minutes away.

Mars Hill is also home to Mars Hill University, a private, co-ed, liberal-arts college. Founded in 1856, it is the oldest college or university in Western N.C. Thanks to the university’s presence, Mars Hill residents enjoy a great variety of cultural, intellectual and entertainment offerings for a town its size. The university's enrollment typically runs from 1,300 to 1,600 students (which is not included in the census population numbers).

A variety of Mars Hill properties

Mars Hill NC Real EstateMars Hill is replete with a range of homes and property for sale. Everything from established ranches to quintessential log cabins to new green builds is available; you can also choose from many lots situated on multiple acres to build your dream home.

Mars Hill supports diverse businesses, professional offices and services. The town is home to a medical center, retirement center, public library, and recreation facilities. Mars Hill school options include Mars Hill Elementary School, as well as a consolidated middle school in Brush Creek, and a high school in Marshall. There are two preschool centers in Mars Hill.

Mars Hill cultural offerings and events occur year-round and include:

·     Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre performances at Mars Hill University’s Owen Theatre (June-August)

·     July 4thCelebration at Mars Hill Park, with daytime activities and fireworks after dark

·     The Hot Doggett 100 Cycling Tour annual bike ride (July)

·     The Shriners’ Fundraiser at Mars Hill Park (September)

For information about real estate in Mars Hill, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

Search: Mars Hill Property for Sale

Search: Greater Asheville Area Real Estate

Meet Real Estate Agent Alyssa Augustine: Asheville's Luxury-Home Specialist

Alyssa Augustine Asheville Luxury Real EstateMosaic broker Alyssa Augustine landed in Asheville’s luxury home sector five years ago, growing a reputation as a highly skilled adviser to her clients, and it’s no surprise. With a 20-year background in corporate marketing, communications and IT for a Fortune 500 company, coupled with a deep understanding of high-quality home construction (her husband is an Asheville-area contractor), Augustine offers what few brokers can: savvy, strategic guidance in a highly specialized housing niche.  

What drew you to the luxury-home sector? 

I grew up in an affluent area of the country, Connecticut, and spent 20 years in corporate America working with c-suite executives, so these are people that I know well and feel very comfortable supporting. I understand what these clients are looking for in a strategic adviser and this translates well to the luxury home market.

Alyssa Augustine on her Asheville luxury home market knowhow

What about your background contributes to your strengths as an agent in the Asheville luxury-home market?

I believe that high-net-worth buyers often expect more of a “concierge” service – they have limited time and want to work with a professional who is not only a well-qualified strategic adviser, but who has strong communication skills, solid business skills, and can also handle all the little details for them. Typically an affluent buyer is busy and needs information communicated to them quickly and in a succinct manner. They also expect a strong strategic adviser to help them understand if they’re making a good, solid financial investment. So while I have personally bought, sold and owned a number of homes, both as primary residences and investments, I honed my financial and communication skills prior to getting into real estate, which sets me apart from a lot of the other agents in our area, specifically when working with more affluent buyers.

Alyssa Augustine Luxury Real Estate AshevilleIt’s also critical to understand that luxury isn’t just about price: Often it has a lot to do with the features the property offers, the quality of the finishes, the amenities the home and community offer, and the location. That also ties in to my personal experiences because I’m married to a contractor who spent most of his career renovating high-end historic homes in New England, so I have a deep understanding of construction and high-quality finishes and materials. This is something that adds a lot of value when dealing with more luxury properties. 

What kind of growth have you seen in the Asheville luxury home market in the last few years? 

I’ve been with Mosaic nine years and during that period I’ve spent more and more time in the luxury market as we continue to see more affluent  buyers enter our market and move to Western North Carolina. In Buncombe County specifically, anything $600,000 and up is considered a luxury property. That price point had generally accounted for around 5-7% of the homes sold, but in 2020, it increased to 10% of the market, as we’ve continued to see prices in our area increase over time.

The million-dollar-and-up range has been, in the past years, 1.5 to 2% of the market, but this last year it increased to 2.5%. That’s a pretty significant increase in such a short period of time.

A growing demand for luxury homes across Buncombe County

Speak to the new high-end neighborhoods that have been borne out of the growing demand in the Asheville market. Any unexpected or nontraditional areas that have come into play within the luxury sector?

Asheville and Buncombe County have always had a handful of high-end subdivisions and neighborhoods, but I would say the biggest growth within the sector in the past year is not necessarily in those traditional luxury communities; it has been among properties outside of the city proper where buyers can secure bigger plots of land. As the pandemic has had more people spending time at home, we’re seeing more luxury clients having a desire not only for larger homes, but homes with more space around them for both privacy and to allow them to spend more time outside.

Alyssa Augustine Asheville Luxury HomesTalk a little about how luxury can intersect with other traits specific to an Asheville home. In other words, what sets the Asheville luxury market apart?

Affluent buyers are often looking for a home with some kind of “wow” factor.  Oftentimes that’s a property that makes you feel like you’re on vacation, that’s a getaway to nature, and the Asheville area is renowned for that. So while you may be able to find a high-end luxury penthouse in New York, it doesn’t offer the same relaxing, on-vacation feel that our area has, which I think is one of the things that’s driving so many buyers to Asheville and Western North Carolina over the past 10 years. If people don’t have a commute, and as they have the option to live wherever they want more and more these days, they want places where they can seamlessly blend work, fun and relaxation, and the Buncombe County area offers that.

What do you love about Asheville?

Before moving to Asheville, I lived in the Northeast – the Tri-state, New York City rat-race area – so when I had the opportunity to not have to work in an office anymore, we came to Asheville and it really appealed to me. Not only is it a beautiful location with its mountains, hiking trails, and waterfalls to make you feel like you’re on vacation everyday, it also has fantastic restaurants, music venues, and an incredible art scene. To me, it’s the perfect combination of natural beauty and big-city style amenities, but in a place that feels more like a small town.

Learn more about/ connect with Alyssa here


Planting Native Trees Grows Asheville's Urban Canopy

Landscaping Curb AppealFor most Asheville homeowners, curb appeal begins with beautiful landscaping. But just as important as beautification is the preservation of the natural Western North Carolina ecosystem that surrounds us. With the use of native tree species in yards and gardens, Asheville homeowners can integrate the two goals, to great success.

Native species of trees and plants occur naturally, without human introduction or intervention. Over time, they have built up physical and biological characteristics specific to regional elements – things like climate, soil type, moisture, and other local plants, animals and insects. They are hardy and environmentally friendly, and help to restore regional landscapes that may be compromised in rapidly developing areas. In short, they are perfectly adapted to their home.

Asheville’s urban canopy

The trees that blanket Asheville are a characteristic that defines the city’s natural beauty. Asheville’s trees along city streets, in parks and natural areas, in backyards, and in landscaped open spaces are collectively known as the city’s “urban forest.” 

Planting native trees in your yard contributes to Asheville’s urban canopy, beautifying neighborhoods and cityscapes, and offering privacy screens as they provide shade and absorb harmful gases and other pollutants. The urban canopy is a natural habitat for birds and wildlife, protects soils from erosion, cool streets and homes in the summer, and protects us from winds in the winter.

Native Plants Landscaping Curb AppealThe City of Asheville has an Urban Forestry Commission made up of nine citizen volunteers appointed by Asheville City Council. The goal of the commission is to protect and preserve Asheville’s tree canopy. The commission co-sponsors with Asheville Green Works for the Treasured Trees program of Buncombe County, which recognizes unusual specimen trees on both public and private property. The panel also assists Asheville’s commercial and residential properties with tree and shrub selection.

Native know-how in your yard

When landscaping with native trees to contribute to Asheville’s urban canopy, there are many resources to teach which will work with your property ( just one of them). You can also simply study the land around you to get an idea of what grows near your home naturally and beautifully. 

In the Asheville area, it’s easy to maximize your native-planting success by matching the right trees with the right site conditions. To do this, assess the type of light and amount of moisture your planting site receives throughout the day, as well as throughout each growing season. The direction your garden faces, the amount of horizontal and vertical working space you have, and your altitude also figure prominently in native landscaping success. Having your soil pH tested is helpful, and will indicate whether the soil needs to be amended.

If you’re looking for the perfect Asheville-area house to go with that perfect native-tree-populated yard, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

Search: Greater Asheville Area Real Estate