Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, January 22, 2021

Realtor/tour guide Potts loves to show off area’s beauty, attractions

After a 30-year run in retail management and 16-plus in her successful second career as a Realtor, Carol Potts says she and the Chattanooga market has never been busier.

A lifelong proponent of her hometown, Potts says she loves sharing her knowledge of Chattanooga with clients.

And coupled with her love of traveling and camping in the mountains, Potts provides newcomers with not only a sense of the city but all that makes it the second fastest-growing city in Tennessee, according to U.S. Census figures.

The data reported by worldpopulationreview.com reveals that Chattanooga’s Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) population increased by more than 40,000 over the past 10 years, rising from 529,131 in 2010 MSA population to 569,556 in 2020.

Those numbers are no surprise to Potts, a team leader/associate with RE/MAX Renaissance Realtors.

“Right now, there are so many people moving in from out of state, it’s a great opportunity to share the community,” she says.

“I was born and raised in Chattanooga and I think going to school here and everything has helped me (connect) with the people – especially those moving in from out of state, because they’re like ‘where’s Signal Mountain or Lookout Mountain’ or ‘where’s Sand Mountain’ or all these different little mountain burbs?”

Chattanooga has become known as the “Gig City” for its early implementation of high-speed internet, but Potts says those involved in the industry are seeking something a little less fast-paced when it comes to buying a new home.

“It’s kind of interesting when people come in from out of state and they’re not used to all these mountains or hills, to take them up to Ruby Falls or Rock City and all that,” she says. “I really enjoy being able to help like that and show off everything like that because we do have a lot to offer here between the mountains and the lakes if you want to rock climb or canoe or kayak,” she points out.

 “And golf courses? Oh my gosh, there are so many wonderful golf courses here that people can take advantage of. That is one of the things I enjoy the most about living in Chattanooga and being able to show off the town I grew up in.”

She cites several parts of the city – notably East Ridge – as among the hottest areas of growth, but quickly adds that more rural areas are just as popular with potential homebuyers.

“We’ve got several areas that I would say are hot, but I can tell you East Ridge has really boomed compared to what it was five years ago. The average days on the market for a home in East Ridge is three days,” she notes. “That shows how hot East Ridge has become with the new soccer field and the new shops … and other things growing in East Ridge.”

“If they have cars or whatever, if they want garages, you kind of know the rural areas to go to because rural areas are a lot of what is part of Chattanooga – whether you are in Meigs County or Grundy County or Marion County – people like garages and they like their space now more than ever since the COVID hit, too.”

 Potts says that besides affordability, people also are moving to Chattanooga because of its four seasons of weather, and that many newcomers hail from both California and up north.

“It’s a mixture of up north … New York, a few from Chicago … Ohio seems to be sending quite a few down right now,” she says. But California has also been a hot spot.

“People are tired of the cold weather and I think what you see too, a lot of the Baby Boomers, want to live where it’s not so cold but not the hot weather in Florida, they want the medium, I guess you could say.

“They want a little spring, a little fall because we have all four seasons here, which is unusual when you’re up north or out west. They like that mixture.”

Does she advice for first-time buyers or empty nesters?

“If I was an empty nester, now’s the perfect time to sell. There’s not but, like, 1,050 homes on the market right now in the Chattanooga area MLS, and if anybody wanted to sell, if you have a home that was hard to sell before, the last couple of years, now is the time to move that property because people are moving in so fast that there’s just not availability,” she adds.

“There’s just not enough houses to accommodate what people want. Everybody wants a rancher, you know. They’re not building ranchers. They build two- or three-story homes.

“That’s such a huge opportunity. But it is what it is here. We’ve got what we have available and builders are building as fast as they can with what they have, what land they can find.”

Potts says her clientele is a result of hard work over the years and referrals combined with the business expertise she learned as a retail manager.

“After 16 years of real estate, 90% of my business is referrals from past clients, friends, family,” she says. “Being consistent and just being available, because when people are traveling or they want something, they want to go right then. And you need to be available or you need to have some partner that you work with who can be there to assist them where they need to go.

“You learn a lot from doing retail management, from handling people and your people skills. It certainly helps in real estate.”

Asked to explain a little further, she mentions budgets to keep track of goals and sales but emphasizes building relationships with buyers – how positive people skills are a major selling point for customers seeking an agent.

“We have to learn to let them know we’re there to help them. I make no money off of you, but that’s OK because I can give you some advice,” she says.

“I might share something with you, an article or something, that they might share with someone else they buy the house from. If we keep focused that the income is not the most important thing, it’s the relationship that we build with people that means more than anything.”

Potts says that she and her husband Tim like to travel, camp in the mountains and visit car shows. They used to do some traveling by motorcycle but have scaled down in recent years.

“We sold the Harley but we love to camp,” she says with a laugh. “We love the mountains. And car shows, we like the Rod Run between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, we go there a couple of times a year. We go to the (Daytona Beach) Turkey Run – the big car show for the South, I guess you could say.

“So we moved from the Harley, from two wheels to four wheels,” she adds with a laugh. “The motorcycle turns out to be a golf cart now.”