Individual career paths are rarely straightforward but few are as wandering as Liz Larroquette’s. Born in Australia, educated at university and highly traveled, she now finds herself one of the premier real estate professionals in Panama.
“Part of what I love about Panama is that it’s a small country,” said Larroquette. “I know that sounds strange, but I can be in a completely different environment any day of the week. I love being on the beach one day, in the rainforest the next and then in Panama City where I get my city fix, only to be able to take off and enjoy the tranquility of the mountains the next day.
Loving the land and the people however, was not enough to launch Liz’ ascent into the very competitive Panamanian real estate market. Actually she never meant to work in real estate. “At university I studied tourism and management,” said Larroquette. “I was managing a very high-end resort, which at the time was frequented by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the most prestigious builders in Panama. He was always pleasant and I made sure his family was taken care of, but I never did anything more than what I would have done for any of our other guests.”
However, the CEO knew a good thing when he saw it and started persuading Liz to consider working at his company, Empresas Bern. “When he threw in a home I was in,” she said laughing. “I guess I’ve never looked back.”
Once she joined Bern, it only took a short time for Liz to add real estate sales to her already heavy workload of managing one of the company’s exclusive beach properties. “Because I was fluent in both English and Spanish, I could communicate with all sides and focus on what the client needed or at least needed to think about,” she continued. “I quickly discovered that helping expats with their dream of owning real estate in Panama was my passion.”
Now Liz is an award-winning professional who handles sales for all of the beach properties for Bern. “I am very relationship driven,” she begins, “from my years in tourism, I understand the importance of customer service.” Her clients would also answer that Liz is simply fun to work with!
“She made everything so much easier and we laughed—a lot,” said a recent client who purchased a one-bedroom condominium. “We were prepared to spend much more, but she made us realize we didn’t want more. She also made suggestions during our considerations. Reconfigure the kitchen layout, consider black out curtains in the bedroom. Things we didn’t even know to ask about. Once the sale was closed she continued to help us. Our Spanish is pathetic, so we leaned on her for lots of different things.”
“I have about seven people managing my life,” laughed Liz. “It makes it possible for me to be effective as a businesswoman and real estate professional,” she said. “It also helps that you can get a great massage for $25 here in Panama.”
When not figuring out what property is right for which client, Liz competes on a national level in triathlons. “I can eat healthy because we buy fresh vegetables from the local farmers and fish from the boats that go out each night. I also buy organic food from the local stores. I can train, because I can have a loving, efficient nanny for about $450 a month and my house is cleaned for $20 including tip. Who wouldn’t want to live here?” she questioned.
Liz is happy with her career route, winding though it may have been, and she is anxious to place people in their perfect lifestyle. “Let me provide you with the tools to make the right real estate decision,” she said. “I’m going to be right here after you make your purchase and I’ll do everything I can to help you make the right decision with a few laughs along the way.”
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