Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
June 30, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

Rising star realtor or UTK student? Lydia Capps seamlessly blends two lives

Her first residential real estate sale came from an investor out of California, who closed on the property in just four days.

The Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI) selects several University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) students each year to amplify the messaging of the center. The goal of the ambassador program is to make students on campus aware of the resources, connections, and opportunities available in entrepreneurship on campus.

Lydia Capps was one of the undergraduate students selected for the program. She’s a soon-to-be senior at UTK and is already pursuing a business of her own.

Lydia Capps
Lydia Capps

Capps was born in Kentucky with the dream of becoming a doctor. She spent her freshman year of college at Anderson University in South Carolina on a pre-med track. In line with the natural progression of many college students, her interests began to shift, which made her re-evaluate a career in medicine.

“I became a super-nerd about credit and investing,” she said. “And I decided I wanted to learn everything I could about business.”

Capps explained how she would cold call and email various businesses in different industries and ask to shadow people in different professions. It was through her process of discovery that she got connected with real estate.

“I showed up to an Eventbrite about real estate investing and ended up being the only one. So, I spent the hour learning one-on-one from industry professionals,” she said.

The experience prompted her to attend a real estate conference, which solidified her desire to break into the industry. She immediately began the process of getting her license and joined Wallace Real Estate in 2023.

We just want to point out that at the time Capps was a sophomore in college. But she certainly didn’t let age hold her back.

While there are about 6,000 licensed real estate agents in Knoxville, Capps wasn’t worried about standing out from the crowd. She shared how her entrepreneurial spirit helped her thrive in marketing efforts, which in turn generated referrals.

“I would say it’s not hard to differentiate yourself,” she said. “I just decided which properties I wanted to sell, which are condos and luxury homes, and I hustled to market myself and my beautiful homes.”

Capps closed her first deal in September of 2023. Her first sale came from a real estate investor out of California, who closed on the property in four days. In her first full year as an agent, she said she sold about $4 million worth of properties.

So, how does her real estate business relate to the Anderson Center?

Her interest in ACEI programming stemmed from her desire to be well-connected in the business community. However, Capps said the Anderson Center has brought her more opportunities than she could ever imagine.

“For example, I had the opportunity to speak to high school students about opportunities in entrepreneurship, and what it’s like to build something from the ground up,” she said.

After all, being a realtor is comparable to being an entrepreneur, it’s all about brand awareness, finding new clients, making deals, and convincing people to trust you with your services.

While Capps is enjoying her role with Wallace, she shares long-term goals of opening her own commercial real estate firm. Once again, this aligns with the entrepreneurial spirit she embodies.

Capps said Knoxville has been the perfect place to get her start in real estate. Through the support of the University, Anderson Center, and mentors along the way, she has created a supportive community.

“There’s no one person I can credit it to. I am thankful to all my mentors, and the receptiveness of the entrepreneur community in Tennessee,” she said.

She recently left Wallace and joined Alliance Sotheby’s International Realty group. Connect with her here.

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