"It was definitely unexpected and I am greatly humbled," Ayers said. He said that serving as president of the board for the past year has been an eye-opening experience and a great opportunity to learn how the state and national associations work hard for the betterment of the industry.

"Things like interest deductions that they've been trying to do away with for years. We have lobbyists who have been fighting against that yearly," Ayers said. "Finding out how those things work on the state and national level has been interesting."

Other award winners at the annual Christmas event include Mimi Richards with Toles, Temple & Wright as the Humanitarian of the Year.

"I'm a behind-the-scenes kind of a person," Richards said. "A lot of what I have done through the years is quality-of-life stuff."

Richards recalled that she worked with her husband Hal close to 30 years ago to purchase a building downtown and played a big role in the renaissance of the downtown district. She also worked with Dr. Matt Mumber to get Cancer Navigators started, among a wealth of involvement across the community.

Earl Robinson, of Toles, Temple & Wright, was named as the local Board of Realtors Hall of Fame inductee and June Worthington, of Hardy Realty, received the President's Award from Ayers.

Soraya Collins of Hardy Realty was installed as the new president of the Board of Realtors. Bill Temple, of Toles, Temple & Wright Realty, was chosen president-elect and Bill Pelfrey of Ayers Realty was chosen to serve as treasurer of the organization.

Ayers said the Rome real estate market has been slowly transitioning into more of a seller's market.

"We are suffering now from low inventory levels, which is driving prices back up on resale homes. That has also started new construction back," Ayers said. "Buyers are stacked up on top of each other, there's not enough houses to buy so it's created a seller's market, so sellers can get what they want and houses sell quicker. It's definitely different from where we have been and definitely improving.”