Mosaic agent Craig Severance knows North Asheville. Not only does Craig boast deep roots here – his grandparents had a house in Norwood Park (known as The Fred D Severance House), where his father was born and raised – but he calls walkable North Asheville home, drawn to its convenient urban living coupled with serenity and space. Craig and his family have owned properties on the West and East sides of town, but North Asheville always held a strong connection, and in 2014, they bought a fixer upper tucked behind Claxton Elementary. Since then, it’s been a labor of love restoring their 1927 Arts and Crafts two-story, built in the same year his father was born. An intimate relationship to walkable North Asheville allows Craig to guide homebuyers through the area with an insider’s ease.
Talk a little about your background. What drew you to real estate?
My wife Karen and I moved here in winter of 2002 from Wilmington, N.C., where we started the restaurant Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn with another couple. Back before we moved from Atlanta to Wilmington to do that, we were debating either relocating to the mountains or to the coast, and then that business opportunity came up … off to the beach! After some life-event changes, we took a step back and decided to sell our interest in the restaurant and relocate to Asheville. Best decision we ever made. Karen and our two daughters are all Aquarians – we’re often off exploring rivers, waterfalls, lakes, and love to vacation at the beach, but the mountains of WNC are our home.
We saw our move here as a good time to reinvent ourselves. My wife went to nursing school, and I took real estate classes. I had been working in restaurants for decades, had an entrepreneurial drive, and it was a natural transition – I have a business degree from Georgia Tech, and I’d always worked face-to-face with people, multitasking, problem-solving, and providing excellent customer service. Karen is a labor and delivery nurse at Mission Hospital.
Homes close to Asheville amenities
Which neighborhoods encompass the more central section of North Asheville? What are the advantages to living here?
The North Asheville area immediately north of downtown combines the conveniences of a central, walkable location with a diverse selection of cozy and historic yet eclectic neighborhoods. My Dad was born and raised in Norwood Park, just a few minutes’ walk from my house. We enjoy exploring west to Montford, Five Points, UNCA and the Merrimon corridor, to the east along Charlotte Street, Chestnut Hills, Oak Park, Albemarle and the lower portion of Town Mountain, and north to Grove Park, Norwood Park and UNCA. We have two dogs and we’re walking them daily, exploring all these areas, chatting with neighbors, and just really enjoying where we live. It’s pretty much nirvana.
What makes this part of North Asheville special? How do you and your family take advantage of your location?
We really love living where we do, where we have the ability to walk out the door and basically get anything we could need. It’s an easy 20-minute walk to downtown, a short stroll to Trader Joe’s or Harris Teeter, and we also have access to great running and biking greenways, parks and a range of desirable amenities. My wife loves to road bike up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the ridgeline side streets along Town Mountain are amazing.
Craig Severance’s deep connection to North Asheville
How far back do your family ties to Asheville go?
There have been a variety of Severances through the generations in Asheville. My grandfather was the owner/publisher of the Asheville News, pre-dating The Asheville-Citizen Times. My Father was born in Norwood Park in a house just above Luella’s. When he was 4 apparently he won the Grand Prize of a Baby Parade! He would tell me about how back then Beaver Lake was a swimming lake, with docks that extended into the lake to diving boards – times have definitely changed!
My Dad went to Claxton Elementary a few doors down from our house, and it’s really cool to walk the dogs past there at night, and think about that connection spanning generations. I definitely feel drawn to an area that’s so steeped in family history.
What do you love about Asheville? What are your passions, especially as they relate to life in Asheville?
For my family, it was the best combination of things we looked for in a place to live, the climate, culture, arts and entertainment, sports, the size of the city, the open-minded thinking aspect was important as well. At the time, when we moved here, the proximity to bigger metropolitan areas was also nice, three hours or so to family in Atlanta.
The outdoor opportunities for hiking, biking, rivers, waterfalls and camping were pretty integral. Even back when we moved here, Asheville was a mecca, a destination for people wanting to be outside. Both of my daughters play on competitive soccer travel teams; that’s been really fun and a great experience for them.
There’s so much to love about this city and area. Did I mention breweries?
What do you enjoy about being a real estate broker in Asheville?
One thing I really enjoy is being the person my clients deal with throughout the whole process. I like being involved and available to people, communication is key. When I first got into real estate, I worked on a big team that did a lot of production. I cut my teeth, got connected, and learned an awful lot just by being exposed to so many different situations, but on the flip side I’ve found that I prefer not to be leveraged that way. I want to personally work with my clients and stay involved throughout the whole real estate journey, from the point of showing or listing a property to closing.
One of the things I most enjoy about working in real estate is that every single transaction is different, so there’s always learning. You’ve done something for 18 years and all of a sudden you encounter a situation that’s brand new – it certainly keeps you on your toes and you never know what the day might bring. But in the end it’s all about doing your best to make your clients happy while working in their best interest. And maybe telling a Dad joke along the way.
Connect with Craig at Craig@MyMosaicRealty.com or 828-713-3757