FEELING AT HOME
By Corey Hoilman
Like the original settlers of Little Switzerland, Jann Godwin’s journey to the mountains afforded her the same opportunity to start life anew and pursue a new career opportunity.
Jann is the owner of Timberline Properties in Spruce Pine. Incorporated in 1999, the company sells property across Mitchell County, and specializes in the Little Switzerland area. To support that focus, Jann said a new summer office in Little Switzerland is set to open on April.
For Jann, the best part of selling real estate is helping others find their dreams here as she did. “The rewards are when you find the right home for the buyer and they’re happy, and you’ve worked hard to help them find their dream home.”
After marrying husband Davis in 1982, the Charlotte natives ‘started their own business the next year, Davis Godwin Associates Inc., a mechanical contracting firm. Davis is a descendant of one of the original families to make Little Switzerland their summer home, and the couple has owned a home there for 19 years.
In the early 90s, when the Godwins were looking for potential properties to purchase, they worked with several real estate agents. While riding around with one realtor, they noticed that Jann was quickly showing a keen appreciation for the process. “This other realtor looked at me and said, ‘Jann, why don’t you get your real estate license?’”
The seed was planted, and that was all it took. Jann went back to Central Piedmont Community College in 1996 and picked up all of her required licenses. Those licenses hung on the wall until moving to Mitchell County full-time, partly on the advice of others who told her not to start her practice and build a client base in Charlotte unless she was there to stay, and Jann knew otherwise,
“Our plan was always to move up here full-time,” she said. “We had planned to do it, but family circumstances kept those plans on hold.”
After some downsizing at Davis Godwin in the late-90s, Jann said her husband surprised her when he put their plans into action. “That January, Davis pulled up one day and said, ‘I’ve packed your bags. Your clothes are in the truck, and you are moving,’” “And where am I moving to?” I asked. He said, “You’re moving to the mountains.” He stayed in Charlotte and visited me on the weekends. It was like a honeymoon.”
In the move to Mitchell County, Jann saw her window of opportunity to do what she had long dreamed of. “I said if I have to live in the mountains, then I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to start my real estate business.”
Getting started in a new business, Jann said she was overwhelmed at first, but her husband gave her the moral support to press ahead with her dream. “You have to work at it. I felt like I’d shot myself in both feet. I’ve never worked harder in my life,” she said. “Even when we started Davis Godwin, it was a team effort. Davis is my best friend. He’s always supported me. I had women say to me, ‘You work for your husband.’ I said, ‘Oh, no, we are a team.’”
The couple’s life took another turn in 2006 when their son David, 46, had a stroke, and spent time in intensive care in a Charlotte hospital. He survived, but the stroke left him physically disabled. He now lives in Little Switzerland near his parents.
Jann said it was another example of how the family’s move to the mountains has been a blessing. “Had I not been here and been in the real estate business, and been able to buy a house within a mile of where I live where he can live independently… God’s hand was in it all,” she said.
“A lot of it is thanks to this community. There are some very loving people, particularly members at First Baptist Church, and I do not feel those opportunities would have been there if I had been in Charlotte. People have been very accepting of David.
Always driven, Jann doesn’t seem to be slowing down. “The motivations of other people are different than mine. I’m an agent 24/7,” she said. “I’m not retired from some big corporation. My motivations are for my husband and I, and now my son is part of the equation, whatever I can do to help him.”
Printed in the Mitchell News-Journal, February 16th, 2011