Building Bridges That Last 1,000 Years


To escape the concrete and stress of living and working in New York City, Wendy Harris lived on a sailboat on the Hudson River by the Statute of Liberty.

“It was a beautiful time,” she adds.

She has resided in many beautiful places, including Ecuador, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom, where she holds dual citizenship with the United States.  Her adventurous soul has taken her to live on three continents, in five countries and seven states.

But Harris returned to live, work and stay in Fayetteville, N.C. because of family. This is where she began her real estate career and journey to leading NC  REALTORS® as the 2022 President.

Building Teams

Harris is the second-generation REALTOR® owner of Team Harris Real Estate in Fayetteville and has been actively involved in real estate since 2001.

“Real estate stuck. I understand myself very well, and this was it—fulfilling and challenging. There isn’t a day that is alike,” she states. “The industry has been able to  keep my attention, and I feel good about what I do and what I contribute to.”

She feels her father, who had retired from the U.S. Army before getting into real estate, was a forward-thinking man. In the 1980s, he formed Team Harris before  teams existed in the industry.

“He had been one of the top agents for a large franchise and saw the side of just working as an individual. He didn’t want his company to work that way,” Harris adds.

When she returned to North Carolina, she was introduced to her dad’s team culture.

“I traveled the world and saw what the other real estate models were. I got it. That culture was very important for me to maintain,” she says. “It feeds into being  engaged in the community and allows me to do a lot of volunteer leadership.”

Harris believes a team concept allows everyone to have a bigger impact on others and on each other.

“My team truly is my family. Most of them have been with me for years. It is an incredible culture with a strong work ethic,” she admits.

She has kept the office small with five licensed agents and three unlicensed employees. “We work together within horizontal management structure, and we are at  an equal level. Everyone fills in the gaps; each person becomes the leader when needed.”

Building Relationships

Working in real estate in a military town can be quite different than other markets. Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg, a major U.S. Army installation.

“You have to constantly reinvent yourself because half of your market turns over every five years. You always have to stay relevant,” she says.

Harris tries different ways to get the new folks in town to know and trust her. She began hosting a live radio show 15 years ago to tell people about real estate and  her community.

“I always like to market where no one else markets. When people used to say radio doesn’t work, that’s when I started paying attention,” she adds.

Building Communities

Harris has been seen through the years helping in many volunteer capacities. After Hurricane Matthew and devastating flooding hit the Lumberton, N.C. area in  2016, she worked with NC REALTORS® to mobilize dozens of volunteers to assess damaged homes and survey residents regarding their needs. Through  relationships, she was able to gain access to places that others couldn’t or wouldn’t go.

“Thousands of people lost everything except the clothes on their back, and NC REALTORS® were there to say, ‘We see you, and NC REALTORS® care,’” she says.

Perhaps no one lived up to this mantra more than Harris. And rightfully so, she was appointed to the Governors Disaster Recovery Coalition in 2017.

Harris also sees hope with her strong commitment to Habitat for Humanity, leading the organization twice in the years she has been involved.

“The gift and reward for accepting the responsibility of homeownership is the ability, hope and possibility to not only break the cycle of generational poverty but build financial independence.”

Building Bridges

During Covid, Harris traveled about every 90 days to see her mother in England. On one of these trips, she watched the news featuring a community protesting a  proposed waste dump. A woman spoke feverishly that this was “Our responsibility to protect those who will be living in this village in 1,000 years.”

“I started laughing. We don’t even think 100 years in the future in the states,” Harris adds.

Coincidentally, NC REALTORS® turned 100 last year, setting up a pivotal moment for the association and its members. It will take all of the association’s resources,  relationships, affiliates and brain power to plan for the future.

“I thought, why not add another zero? A thousand years from now — let’s really look to the future. Under all of this is land. So, what should it look like in 1,000 years?”

She admits people create really good five to 50-year plans. But not many places look beyond that.

“We are sometimes short-sided beyond our own or children’s lives. I want to look at the industry and communities and go to a place we don’t normally challenge ourselves to go,” Harris remarks.

She hopes to focus on three areas: Availability, Affordability and Sustainability.

“There will continue to be an influx of people to this state,” she says. “How do we ensure housing options are affordable for all segments of our society? How do we  integrate sustainable practices into decision-making? How do we educate and advocate for best practices in our association?”

Harris also wants to build and enhance the strength of the REALTOR® organization at a time of inflation, legal challenges, a global pandemic and intense competition, both within the business and from outside players seeking to capture consumer attention.

“We face challenges, that’s for sure,” she says, “but REALTORS® are resilient, and we are ready.”

Be Epic. Be an NC REALTOR®.