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Hidden Gems: Meet Kharmika Alston of Live Love Durham

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kharmika Alston.

Hi Kharmika, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My entire educational and life experience had prepared me for an international career. I learned Spanish at a young age and majored in International Relations at UNC-Chapel Hill. A year after graduating from college I applied for an International Affairs Graduate Fellowship that was aimed at increasing diversity in the United States Foreign Service which is the executive branch agency that deploys diplomats to over 130 countries to represent United States foreign policy objectives.

Through the Fellowship, I was able to attend the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University where I studied Global Economic Policy. Upon graduation, I served abroad in Mexico and the Netherlands representing the US government. While these experiences were enriching in many ways I quickly learned government service wasn’t for me. I did not find myself energized by maintaining the status quo and being a cog in the government’s hamster wheel of complicated yet opaque foreign policy objectives. I spent many of my days yearning for making a stronger impact through entrepreneurship and having true autonomy over my ideas and work values.

My assignment in Amsterdam ended in August 2017 and I made the decision that my career should end as well. My flight back to Durham landed on a Friday night. By Monday, I was attending my first real estate class! I felt that if I could live and thrive in a Mexican drug cartel war zone, interview hundreds of visa applicants a week, and learn 3 foreign languages, why not help folks from my community buy, sell, and invest in real estate!?

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road. Rejection is an everyday occurrence. People doubted me and questioned why I would “just want to be a real estate agent.” They could not understand why I walked away from a prestigious career as a United States Diplomat.

The coaching curriculum and development of new agents encourage us to reach out to family and friends with the presumption that they will be our first clients. That was not the case for me. Many of my friends and acquaintances were skeptical of my real estate journey. It wasn’t until years later that I would get phone calls from them asking for my expertise.

I built a network of my own from the ground up by attending networking events, adding value to strangers that became friends, and clients, and social media! Anytime you venture to do something entrepreneurial and self-driven you have to work relentlessly on creating and maintaining a strong mindset.

That has been and continues to be my biggest challenge.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Live Love Durham? is a website and blog that transcends the transactional nature of real estate by providing curated insights on real estate and community by providing helpful tips on residential and commercial real estate. I also highlight my favorite local businesses there.

My Instagram page also houses a lot of helpful content recorded mostly during the quarantine of 2020 aimed at adding value to the community while staying engaged. I practice real estate under the brokerage of Keller Williams Elite Realty in Durham. I not only help aspiring homeowners, investors, and sellers buy and sell residential real estate, but I help business owners and investors buy and sell commercial real estate. I have helped a handful of small businesses expand their business by finding and securing a commercial space for them.

I am currently in the process of obtaining my CCIM. A CCIM is a Certified Commercial Investment Member. For more than 50 years, the CCIM designation remains the gold standard for commercial real estate professionals, including appraisers, asset managers, brokers, developers, investors, lenders, and other allied professionals.

CCIMs complete a rigorous program of advanced coursework and training in financial and market analysis and demonstrate extensive experience in the commercial real estate industry. Less than 10% 0f commercial real estate professionals have this designation.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I still struggle to find mentors that are doing exactly what I strive to do.

That being said, there is no shortage of local business owners and entrepreneurs whose highest value is being true to themselves, bettering their communities, and impacting the lives of others that inspire me daily. The thing that has worked the best for me was hiring a business coach.

Grace Jones of Game Plans has really helped me implement my vision in business and has helped me achieve amazing milestones along the way. This year, I ranked in the top 10% of real estate agents in my firm by employing the daily activities she encourages.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Kharmika and posted on Live Love Durham in our Instagram.

Suggest a Story: VoyageRaleigh is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Jerri Rice

    January 24, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    I’m very proud of my niece.
    A very strong, determined,smart young Lady.
    Congratulations 👏.
    Continue to grow

  2. Valerie Wallace

    January 30, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    I’m so proud of your amazing accomplishments, such a beautiful smart intelligent young lady, keep up the good work Kharmika, an awesome Blessing🙌🏽

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