Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 24, 2022

From hospitality to selling homes

Career change a natural for Keller’s Pierce

Angela Pierce is a residential Realtor with Keller Williams Greater Downtown Realty. She says her love of real estate stems from watching her father turn a ramshackle barn into the home in which she grew up. - Photo by Pleasant Vonnoh

Growing up, Angela Pierce heard many of the things exasperated parents say to correct the behavior of their children. She learned money does not grow on trees, for example, and that her mother had an extra pair of eyes in the back of her head.

But her parents never asked her if she was born in a barn because, well, she was.

Pierce grew up in a Sparta barn her father purchased in 1977 and then gradually began to remake into a home for his family.

“My dad taught me you can teach yourself how to do anything as long as you know how to read,” Pierce recalls. “He checked out all kinds of books from the local library and taught himself how to renovate the barn with his own two hands.”

“Gradually” is the key word, Pierce adds, as his father labored alone.

“My dad was a one-man band, so it was an ongoing project for years and years and years. When he died in 2000, my mom hired a bunch of people to finish the work. We joke that the house still wouldn’t be finished if dad was still alive.”

Although Pierce’s father never completed all the work he set out to do, he gave her a childhood of memories about how a home can be an expression of love.

“I remember coming in from playing with friends and seeing dad on a ladder painting my bedroom ceiling pink,” Pierce says with a smile. “He reached down and tapped my nose with the paintbrush. Every inch of that house is about family to me.”

When Pierce, now 37, found herself at a professional crossroads in 2015, she realized her memories of being raised in a barn her father transformed into a home gave her a sense of direction. Instead of spending her career in hospitality, as she originally intended to do, she became a Realtor.

“I worked at a hotel while I was in college,” explains Pierce, who took classes at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. “A friend said I could do my homework when there was no one to check in. While that was not correct, I discovered I was a natural hostess. I loved meeting people who were on vacation. They were always in a good mood.”

Pierce changed her major from communication to hospitality and tourism and began to envision a future in the service industry. But after she and her husband had their first child, she realized there was a difference between being good at a job and loving it.

“I was working weekends and holidays – all those times when I wanted to be with my family instead of watch other people spend time with theirs.”

Real estate provided not just an escape hatch from hospitality but a door to work Pierce found deeply gratifying.

“Buying a home is a huge transaction,” she says. “It’s where a family will spend holidays, blow out birthday candles and find sanctuary at the end of a hard day. To be entrusted with that purchase and help someone find what I grew up with is an honor.”

Pierce credits Realtor Bekah Cochran of Keller Williams Greater Downtown Realty for recruiting her and then planting her feet in fertile soil. Cochran served as the agent when Pierce and her husband purchased their home on Missionary Ridge when they relocated from Knoxville to Chattanooga in 2008 and remained a friend of the family in the years that followed.

Pierce became a Realtor in 2015 and then remained with Keller Williams when she “spread her wings and flew from the nest” a few years later. She says the emphasis Cochran places on client education continues to influence her business today.

“My greatest value lies in my ability to teach a client how to buy a home,” Pierce notes. “Things in this market move fast and you have to make big decisions quickly with very little information. The more you know about the process, the better prepared you’ll be to make those decisions.”

Pierce still carries the memories of how her father’s ambition and love for his family reshaped a rundown country barn into a home, so she understands the importance of making a good decision.

She says she and her husband also made the right choice when their purchased their home, even if she misses the sprawling view of the farm outside the window of her childhood bedroom.

“People are always asking us if we have a view,” she laughs. “When the leaves fall off the tree and you look out one side of my son’s bedroom window, you can kind of see the lights in Rossville.”

Pierce and husband David, a pre-closer at Cumberland Title, now have three sons that range in age from 6 to 15. She says her boys “keep [her] ... on her toes” but also act like a “built-in fan club” that keeps her motivated.

“They’re always cheering me on. I couldn’t ask for better.”

While the bones of the home in which Pierce is raising her children differ from those of the barn in which she grew up, the heart is the same. It’s a place where she and her family spend holidays, blow out birthday candles and find sanctuary at the end of a long day.

“We love to pile onto the couch and binge TV,” she says. “I’d like to say we do a lot of stuff outdoors, but that wouldn’t be true.”

Best of all, living in a house allows Pierce to tell her kids something her parents were never able to say to her when she brought them to the end of their wits: “You weren’t raised in a barn!”