Mosaic’s Bill Anderson spent years honing his culinary skills as a globe-trotting chef, but real estate was always cooking in the back of his mind. Moving to Asheville and making the career switch to real estate six years ago has proven a fulfilling adventure, affording him the opportunity to share with clients everything he loves about this eclectic area, especially in his home neighborhood of East Asheville. For Anderson, helping his Asheville clients is far from rote real estate -- it is a truly collaborative effort.
Tell us a little about your background, both personal and professional. What brought you to the Asheville area, and what drew you into real estate?
My previous career as a chef was very mobile and gave me the opportunity to travel extensively and live in many places around the U.S. and abroad. I spent seven years in West Java, Indonesia, originally to open the first destination health spa in Southeast Asia. This led to creating a specialty produce farm terraced into the side of an active volcano serving high-end properties in the region. I eventually made my way to Palm Beach and after 12 years in Florida, I needed to escape. Asheville was the first place I checked out but passed in favor of Austin, then Charlotte and Charlottesville. I came back to Asheville to be an executive chef at a private club in Arden, and now I’m very thankful that it was the last stop of a long career in the hospitality industry. Real estate, architecture and design were always interests, so I took the plunge and made a big career change and have never looked back.
Mosaic Agent Bill Anderson on Asheville’s many attributes
What do you love about Asheville, and what sets it apart from the other places where you’ve lived?
Asheville has so much going for it in a relatively small area and a population around 100,000. No matter what you are into, you can probably find it and like-minded people. Art, food, beer, music, outdoors, hiking, biking all with a slightly bohemian relaxed vibe. I love the four seasons and the visual changes they bring. Driving around the area is always different to me depending on season, sun and time of day. There is just enough snow to be fun but is generally gone in days. It is such an easy city to get around, basically less than 20 minutes to get anywhere. In contrast, Charlottesville has half the population but much worse traffic in my experience.
A unique aspect of this small city and generally where I start with clients is the different personalities of various areas. East, West, North and South are all completely different from each other. It is important for me to get a read on my clients to focus on the areas that are the best fit. Clients often think they want to be in a certain area based on things they have read or what friends have told them. After a tour and their responses to neighborhoods and homes, I can quickly refine the search to find the best options within their favorite areas.
I like all of Asheville but East Asheville is my favorite and where I call home. I find it verdant and lush in many ways -- valleys surrounded by foothills, with creeks, streams and rivers running through it. There are large areas of green space mixed among the residential neighborhoods, some with parks, others with horses, cows or golfers.
Many areas on the East side are older established neighborhoods with wider streets, larger, often level-ish lots and big trees. There are many areas where a home can be surrounded by the forest and completely private but be a short drive to downtown, restaurants or major retail.
Bill Anderson on East Asheville’s abundant amenities and commercial conveniences
The housing stock ranges from 1920s to brand new green construction. My neighborhood of Beverly Hills is built around the 129-acre, Donald Ross designed “Muni” golf course, opened in 1927. This creates a large green space often with mountain views and is a gathering place for dog walkers, neighbors and kids. There is a church that rings its bells on the hour and reminds me of my childhood in Italy.
Haw Creek and Happy Valley are other favorites where you can find a wide variety of styles and the occasional jewel with Mid Mod Cool Factor. If you want “million dollar” views, there is Falcon Ridge, Sondley, Sovereign Oaks, Fox Den and others. If you are looking for a short-term rental property, Botany Woods is a great place to start as it is outside of city limits and it borders the Swannanoa River. All of these areas are 10-20 minutes to downtown with a very easy drive. Asheville Mall is on the East side and has all the retail, Whole Foods, Lowes etc. that you could need. It is convenient, easy in and out. The recently opened East Asheville Library is Buncombe County’s first LEED Certified building and part of the 2025 Strategic Plan.
East Asheville has abundant recreational opportunities and facilities. There are three semi-public recreation parks with pools and sports facilities. They are so popular there is usually a waiting list. The John B. Lewis Soccer complex has four artificial turf soccer fields that are popular with soccer players, and Ultimate Frisbee tournaments. There is a large dog park around the corner; after the kids and dogs are tired you can grab a beer or two at Highland Brewing, which is only a few minutes away.
WNC Nature Center is an outdoor zoological park that will appeal to all ages but is geared toward the young and curious. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through East Asheville, offering numerous roadside trailheads and a relaxed way to drive to South Asheville. It is very possible to find a home that backs up to the BRP and all that the protected forest contains.
East Asheville allure: More space, along with single-level living
As Asheville as a whole continues to grow, what are clients drawn to in particular about East Asheville?
East can give you more space than other parts of town for the price. There are many properties that have been owned for decades and ripe for a refresh; this in turn impacts the neighborhoods as a whole. There are many versions of one-level homes in the area. Many clients prefer that style, and they are ideally set up to become a long-term or potentially multi generational property.
How do you stand out as an agent in the Asheville area?
I don’t “sell” houses. My ultimate goal is to have ecstatic clients and collaboratively find them a better home than they thought possible -- whether a first-time buyer looking at a starter home or a very experienced buyer looking for an architectural masterpiece. With all clients, I want to build a rapport and relationship of trust. I take my experience from past renovations and transactions to point out all of the defects I see in a property or area. I love it when a buyer can see things that I have pointed out on previous properties.
I start by listening and observing reactions to homes and areas. I can then guide them to a particular area. Often I can see their responses and detour to another area or property that ends up being perfect for them.
After six years in Asheville real estate, I have developed a group of related professions: attorneys, inspectors, lenders and the like that I know will create the same experience for the client throughout the transaction. I am also very fortunate to work with a great group of like-minded agents at Mosaic who are exceptional resources of knowledge and experience.