Shannon W. King: Leading with Heart

Making a difference for both clients and her industry has been a passion of Shannon W. King’s since she began her real estate career in 2000. Her ambition to build businesses to help her clients achieve their goals is only rivaled by her commitment to bettering her industry through her volunteer leadership positions. Chosen by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) to serve in their highest appointed position as 2022 NAR Vice President of Association Affairs, Shannon is an advocate for the 1.6 million REALTORS across the country.

Shannon has leveraged her experiences at the national level while leaning heavily on the support of her family and team to achieve tremendous success. Her path, however, has been far from straight. It spans multiple states, three of her own brokerages, and one huge lesson about overextending – all of which culminated in the creation of her newest boutique brokerage, Island Living Homes in Kailua, HI. 

At her core, Shannon is an educator with a passion for helping others. Her story begins in Texas, where, after graduating from The University of Texas at Austin, she briefly became an elementary school teacher.  Having just read the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and relying on the help of her contractor father, she purchased her first property, “a complete fixer-upper,” and experienced the power of sweat equity for the first time.

With dreams to become a lawyer, Shannon was convinced that she could flip houses to help pay for law school and supplement her classroom budget as a teacher. “At the time, teachers made about $25,000, so I needed the extra income – I was spending almost every penny I made on my classroom,” she said. “I thought if I could make money in real estate, then I could supplement the students’ snacks, clothes, and extra supplies they needed.”

Immediately Shannon began making money from flips and building equity in rental properties – her friends noticed and asked how they could do the same. Wanting to help others build wealth through real estate, and create passive income for her classroom, she decided to get her real estate license in 2000.

Just a few months into the business, Shannon realized she could have a greater impact on the school system if she was a full-time agent and used her income to fund bigger donations. As she continued to personally buy properties to flip, she also kept some for rental purposes and opened her first real estate company – Tribella Realty – when she was just 25 years old. Shannon built her company in multiple cities with a charitable and educational component interwoven into the model, something she continues to do today. Due to her early success, in 2005 she was recognized as a National Association of REALTORS® 30 under 30, thus sparking her volunteer leadership path. Her first endeavor was helping NAR start the now nationwide Young Professionals Network (YPN.)

It was in Austin that Shannon met her husband, Scott King, an officer in the U.S. Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps, getting his MBA with a focus in real estate finance. On one of their first dates, Shannon asked if he wanted to be a partner on a flip she had just found. They purchased the home together, doubled the size of the home in a complete remodel, and by the time the flip was complete, Shannon knew he was the one. 

“Besides speaking my favorite language of real estate, he loved to travel, maybe even more than I did. Marrying him gave us the opportunity to move around the world – and move, we did.”

In 2007, the Navy relocated Shannon and Scott to San Diego, where Shannon co-founded her second brokerage, School House Realty, a boutique firm that gives 10% of their proceeds to a school of their clients’ choice. At the height of her successes, however, everything changed when the real estate market crashed in 2008. 

“100% of my passive income was tied to real estate. The trouble was I had a high cost of overhead in my business at the time – multiple offices, copier/phone/computer leases, and staff salaries to pay. I learned then that less is more. Just because you have offices in multiple cities with producing agents doesn’t mean you’re successful. When the market shifted overnight, the agents stopped producing, and the income stopped rolling in, but the bills continued to pile up – it drained the bank accounts quickly. Owning multiple offices was not as awesome as I once thought it was.”  

As Shannon began rebuilding, she focused on running a lean, smart business – one with very little overhead – and investing in multiple streams of income. She also stepped up her volunteerism with NAR during this time, serving on the Strategic Planning Committee, the Executive Committee, and the Board of Directors. She even wrote a book called Real Estate Road Warrior, which was based on how to run a lean and profitable virtual business. 

During this time, the Navy relocated Shannon and Scott to DC for a couple of years, followed by three years living in Italy where she really was able to practice her virtual office skills. While there, they fell in love with the diverse cultures, food and travel opportunities throughout Europe with their young daughter, Piper.

When the Navy moved the Kings to Oahu in 2016, Shannon stepped into a volunteer position with the Hawaii Association of Realtors and joined Coldwell Banker, where she worked to build her business locally for about a year before opening her third brokerage, Island Living Homes (ILH). Applying everything she had learned to that point, she created ILH to be a small, boutique brokerage.

“Less is more,” she said. “We are not worried about where our next client is coming from. Rather, we aim to provide an unmatched impeccable service to repeat and referral business. We created a team environment in order to provide the highest level of service for our clients. Our specialty is hosting client events, from annual beach photos, Lei Day Haku making parties to beach clean-ups. We celebrate new relationships made, quality time with family and friends, trips taken, and investment properties purchased! We believe this is the true measure of a successful work lifestyle.”

When Shannon is not working or volunteering, she loves movie nights with Scott and Piper, reading on the beach, hiking, and having her house full of neighborhood kids as she helps them cook homemade pasta, pesto sauce, and other authentic Italian dishes. As adventure seekers, they don’t miss an opportunity to explore. Their 10-year-old daughter, Piper, has already been to 25 countries and counting – and they stay busy with their rental properties in multiple states.  When her husband, Scott, retired as a Navy Captain in 2019, Shannon successfully recruited him to join her team in 2021 as a licensed agent.   

Shannon emphasized how much she relies on her family and team, and how, without them, she wouldn’t be where she is today, or do the things she does – like close $27 million in personal production and winning the 2022 Aloha Aina Award.

“If it were not for the team supporting our clients, stepping up to run the day-to-day business and covering for me while I travel frequently for my elected position as the 2023 NAR Regional Vice President Hawaii, Guam, California and the NAR.  I would not be able to do what I do for our industry and have happy clients. The support of my family and the ILH Ohana is the key to my success - I love them more than I can ever put into words,” Shannon said.

Shannon is still as dedicated as ever to giving back to local schools. Now that she and Scott have a thriving real estate business together, she is able to give way more than she ever did – and in multiple ways. 

“Today, the definition of success is the number of lives we impact - from our charity work, the real estate wealth knowledge we impart – helping our clients and team members become wealthy in a balanced and sustainable way. It’s raising a happy, loving, giving and successful daughter.” 

From the genuine passion and energy that Shannon exudes, it’s obvious that she will continue to make a positive impact on others and the real estate industry for years to come.