Today, as part of our Future of Real Estate series, we’re featuring Mike Figura, Broker/Owner of Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty, a community-oriented boutique firm in Asheville, North Carolina that values sustainable and unique homes, and the outdoor lifestyle for which the area is known and loved. 

Mike Figura discovered real estate while he was working in the urban planning and real estate development space. He began his real estate sales career at Keller Williams before leaving and opening Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty in 2009. “I didn’t know how much work I was setting up for myself, opening up a real estate company,” he says. “I always thought I was going to do something with either the environment or with urban planning or green building. So when I ended up doing a real estate company, I wanted to bring in my life goals into that framework,” Figura reflects.  

From day one, Figura knew he wanted the foundation of his company to be built on his passion for people, sustainability, and the environment. “The focus has always been on sustainability [and] community values,” Figura says, adding “We operate on a triple bottom line principle which is: people, planet, and profit.” 

Looking back on how he built his Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty team, Figura reveals that “it took a while.” Figura worked 80 hour weeks in the beginning and says there’s value in having done the work himself, though he’s able to do much more now with a team. “I do think that there’s value in doing that work myself to get it all set up,” he states, adding “I understood it before passing it on to someone else.” 

“I think it’s important for people to know it. [Opening your own company] takes a lot of work and it’s important to maintain a work-life balance through it all.” –Mike Figura

Like with most companies, the pandemic has shifted the Mosaic team’s work-life balance and relationship with technology. Yet the Mosaic team had already been heavily digital before the pandemic and had the tools in place that they needed to effectively operate. “We also deal a lot with out of town buyers on a regular basis. Dealing with clients has not changed significantly,” says Figura. He continues on to explain that they’re “taking full advantage of video” and he doesn’t see his company “going back on that.” 

For Figura, having good partners like Union Street Media and hiring good agents are key. He also credits his success to having a large enough marketing budget to “compete with the national brands” while “being a community oriented company that does a lot within the community in terms of volunteering, sponsorships, and donations.” 

When asked what it’s been like being a community-orientated company during a pandemic, Figura says that they haven’t changed much. “We may have shifted some of our priorities in who we’re sponsoring – focusing more on food security and children and domestic abuse – things that are being affected more right now,” Figura states. But overall, like with their technology and digital presence, the Mosaic team was ahead of the curve in terms of their community support.

One example of something new they’ve done is over the summer, Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty partnered with several companies in the area for an event called Stock the Shelves for Summer. “We did a $5,000 matching campaign and publicized it and raised money for food and our public schools. I think we raised about $60,000,” Figura recalls. It was a way to help without relying on a huge in person event.

Figura also strongly believes in the Stop Hate for Profit movement and has made marketing decisions to shift investment out of certain platforms because of it. “It’s part of our values. To vote with my dollar as well as my ballot,” he states. Figura is proud of Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty for being so involved in the community even though they’re a small, boutique agency. “I wish so many others would get on the bandwagon and join [us],” says Figura.

When asked what he’d tell others considering starting their own business, Figura says that “they should start a company if they feel like there’s not one in town that fits their needs.” Figura also gives advice to agents starting in the industry now. “I think it takes a long time to get established as an agent,” he says, encouraging others to “stick with it and not give up too easily.” “Have enough of a nest egg [so] you cannot make much money for a couple of years and still be okay,” Figura says, and then you can do it. 

To learn more about Mike Figura and Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty visit: 

Check out other interviews with real estate leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators on the Union Street Media YouTube channel.