Third generation Opelika woman makes waves in the real estate business
By Anna-Claire Terry
One of Opelika’s own is steadily racking up successes in the world of real estate. Ashley Smith Durham was featured in the August issue of Top Agent Magazine in recognition of her volume of sales.
This is not Durham’s first time in the spotlight. In 2010, The National Association of Realtors recognized her in Realtor Magazine as part of the “30 under 30,” an annual list of the top 30 realtors under 30 years old. She is also the top listing and sales agent for her company, Prestige Properties.
Durham is a life-long resident of Opelika and a 2004 graduate of Auburn University with a degree in communications and business. After college, she went on to work in the communications field for a brief time. She worked for the Opelika Chamber of Commerce and is the former communications coordinator for East Alabama Medical Center. After some encouragement from her husband, James, she obtained her real estate license from an outreach program at Auburn University, and she has worked for Prestige Properties for the past 10 years. “I’m a third generation from Opelika, and I have basically gone into a business where I can sell the town I grew up in,” she said.
Durham added that she takes a great deal of pride in being an independent contractor for a local owned business because the tax dollars go back into the community. “I believe in local and I believe in community. I believe it is our job to give back to the community in any profession we’re in,” she said.
Durham enjoys real estate because she has the opportunity to help people build connections with a house and transform it into a home.
She credits her success to her strategy of being completely up front and honest with her clients. “It is my job to lay out all the facts and help them through the process,” she said.
According to Durham, another key to success is communication. “I think it’s important to call people back, answer questions and always try to go above and beyond,” she said. However, she said it is not about success for her. “My goal is not to be a top agent. My goal is to take care of people and do a good job for my clients,” she said. “It isn’t about sales. It’s about connecting people to where they want to go in life.”
Future career goals for the real estate guru include helping her professional team continue to prosper and allowing her career to keep shaping her into a better person. She also looks forward to working with such a dynamic group of people.
When giving tours of the area to new clients, Durham is often asked “Why do you live here?” and “What do you like about Opelika?” She said she always gives them the same answer: “There is sense of community here that cannot be found anywhere else in this nation. There is a sense of ownership, comradery, hospitality and friendship in this community. That’s what makes it so inviting,” she said.
For the same reason, Durham said she, her husband and their three children will continue to enjoy living in such a thriving city.