Shayla Riley

United Real Estate

Content Claudia - Claudia Stephanie Banks

Shayla Riley: A Visionary Real Estate Agent Empowering Columbia, SC


Shayla Riley, a dynamic and masterful real estate agent, is making major strides in the industry with her innovative approach and unwavering commitment to her community. As the President of New Construction Sales and Development at Raising Columbia SC in Columbia SC, the New Construction and Development division is powered by United Real Estate, Shayla has become a driving force in urban residential development and affordable housing initiatives. In this article, we delve into Shayla's remarkable journey and expand upon how she has become an invaluable force in new construction residential development, urban residential development, and sustainable/affordable housing initiatives to build an intentional and all-inclusive future for residential development in Columbia.

Discovering Destiny: The Path to Real Estate:

Shayla's career in real estate was an unexpected twist of destiny. A blind interview at a Custom Home Builder during her college years became the turning point in her career. Starting as a receptionist, she quickly rose through the ranks and was praised by coworkers and clients alike for her innate talent for connecting with people and selling new construction homes based on their needs. Encouraged by her supportive President of Sales in 2003, she obtained her real estate license and embarked on a journey that would shape her fate.

A Diverse Career Journey:

Throughout her career, Shayla has worked with esteemed builders and developers such as The St. Joe Company, Beazer Homes, David Weekly Homes, Essex Homes, Ryan Homes, Eastwood Homes, Hurricane Builders, and more. Shayla’s experience in new construction and property management allowed her to hone her expertise in various facets of the industry. Today, as the President of New Construction Sales and Development at United Real Estate, Shayla finds inspiration and growth in an environment that fosters collaboration among industry champions. Her innovative new construction sales strategies, out of the box marketing ideas, and her general contracting knowledge separates her from her peers.

Overcoming Obstacles: Mentors, Faith, and Determination:

Being in the industry for 20 years, Shayla refuses to fail at anything she sets her mind to and is resilient through all cyclical market challenges. She attributes her success to her faith in God, fortitude, and unwavering loyalty to the construction industry and the pursuit of endless education on current new construction trends. And with the utmost respect are her developer/builder partnerships, referral base, and respect amongst her peers, Shayla's mother, Juanita H. Wilson, a dedicated educator for almost 50 years, instilled the values of compassion and philanthropy, which continue to guide her path. These mentors believed in her potential, invested in her development, and encouraged her to aim high. Shayla always states she did not achieve success alone, but it was a series of people investing in her career, so she is dedicated to paying it forward!

Passion for Urban Development and Affordable Housing:

Shayla's impressive career speaks volumes about her commitment and expertise. Since April 2018, she has sold over $40 million in volume and facilitated 153 home transactions. Her remarkable achievements have positioned her as a top producer in the real estate industry. Shayla's steadfast in her commitment to urban residential development and the creation of affordable housing options in Columbia's city center. Recognizing the need for permanent market-rate housing and the importance of economic opportunity zones, she aims to change the narrative surrounding women in construction. Raising Columbia SC connects her deep-rooted connection to her hometown driving her obligation to leave an invaluable legacy of sustainable, affordable housing.

Building and Impacting Lives:

For Riley, the most rewarding aspect of her business is the art of building. Whether it is constructing homes, extensively researching how buildings are built with sustainability at both market rate and low-income housing for purchase or rent to withstand any market climate or fostering meaningful relationships, she finds joy in every aspect of the process. Her unique skill set and the commodity of soaring as a woman in construction sets her apart in the industry, allowing her to create a positive impact on the lives of those she serves. She has worked at site level, general real estate, and on the executive level which makes her a triple real estate threat. She has the knowledge of a general contractor. She has become the area’s main source of knowledge and education in the building industry that is not only essential but necessary to propel the region to success and prevent industry inventory shortages.

A Legacy of Empowerment:

Looking toward the future, real estate plays a pivotal role in Shayla's aspirations. While she envisions residential developments that will bear the 4 generations of the Hill family name and build a legacy for our families and her hometown, her dreams extend beyond personal achievements. Shayla aspires to leave a legacy where her actions can be attributed to uplifting the economic and social landscape of her community. She is unrelenting in her pursuit to enhance Columbia’s city center and surrounding areas progressing into a vibrant, collaborative, city through intentional housing initiatives and developments that are inclusive for all!

Commitment to Community and Philanthropy:

Beyond her real estate endeavors, Shayla actively supports numerous charities and organizations, including the Contemporaries of the Columbia Museum of Art, MIRCI, the Affordable Housing Task Force, and more. Her involvement in these initiatives highlights her dedication to community and belief in the transformative power of art, affordable housing, and mental health recovery services. Riley believes wholeheartedly that the combination of these sociological factors will be vital to progressive housing options for people of all ages. When asked what the definition of Raising Columbia SC means she is quoted to say “Columbia SC raised me. I intend to reciprocate through vertical development to relieve housing shortages for our natives and those new to the area!”

The Personal Side:

Shayla enjoys spending time with her 15-year-old daughter, who shares her passion for travel and theater. Outside of her business, Shayla indulges in her love for art, concerts, and exploring the vibrant restaurant scene in downtown Columbia. She also supports Columbia’s many amazing festivals and events that benefit multiple charities and non-profits. She is known as one of Columbia’s biggest cheerleaders and often serves as a resource for all looking to plant roots and find out what there is to love about our area.


Shayla Riley, a true visionary in the real estate industry, is leaving an indelible mark on Columbia, SC. Her impressive career speaks volumes about her expertise. Since April 2018, she has sold over $40 million in volume and facilitated 153 home transactions. Her remarkable achievements have positioned her as a top producer in the real estate industry. Her belief in the power of community is building a legacy that honors her roots, the history of our great city, and inspires generations of Columbians to come. Raising Columbia SC is a gleaming example of how integrity combined with altruism can make a true impact. Shayla’s journey exemplifies the essence of success, where providing an indispensable service goes hand in hand with making a lasting impact. Raising Columbia SC is a gleaming example of what passion combined with integrity is innate to Shayla Riley’s character.

Favorite Quote:

"You cannot ask of a community for which you cannot provide."