After spending over two decades dominating the banking sector, Andrea Henriques switched gears to start a whole new career in real estate. By her own admission, the transition was long overdue since she initially had her sights on nursing. “My original career path was nursing, after doing my internship at a clinic, but because of financial constraints, I was unable to fund that dream,” she told Flair.
Funding stood in the way of her goal, so she figured if she could seek a job opportunity in the interim, she could use the earnings to pay her way through nursing school. That idea, however, didn’t materialise as planned. She started in banking and never left, until now.
Henriques began her banking journey as a teller, before rising to the manager of sales and services position. Dedicating a total of 26 years to the field, she had this to say about the profession, “What I love the most about banking is the joy of seeing my customers happy when I gave them the news that their loans are approved, for whatever purpose they apply for.”
NEW CAREER PATH
She was in the process of forging a new career path of getting accredited as a sales and service coach when the global pandemic struck and took over the world. While waiting for the country to reopen, Henriques’ mentor advised her to take the real estate salesman course to pass the time. That key unlocked the door of fresh possibilities. She passed the exam and is now a realtor associate at Golden Gates Realty.
She shared that the learning process has been going great so far. And having the privilege of a goal-oriented team leader and a supportive administrative team has made the transition smoother and much more enjoyable. But she hasn’t neglected her banking expertise. The similarities that she has experienced, so far, between the two areas have a lot to do with customer relations and work ethic.
“My mantra has always been to put myself in my customer’s shoes. I listened to my customers and tried my best at all times to ensure their needs are fully satisfied. This recipe always helps me to grow my client base and maintain a high customer-retention rate.”
Additionally, she prides herself on providing customers with confidentiality, trust, integrity, commitment and high ethical standards. These attributes, she believes, are the bedrock principles of the financial industries and are also required in the role of real estate associates.
“Similar to the bank, the real estate industry requires a high level of due diligence in terms of a level of checks and balances, adherence to ethical standards and systems, as well as policies and guidelines that are in place to ensure compliance,” she said.
But there are differences. A major adjustment in being an independent contractor is that you don’t have the luxury of sitting at a desk. You have to consistently be on the hunt on the road and the hours are flexible.
Dabbling in the respective sections: residential, commercial, industrial and land, she revealed no preferences. She is, however, more familiar with residential, vacant lots and commercial real estate since embarking on this journey.
So far, the real estate novice is revelling in the opportunity of meeting new faces and discovering new places in beautiful Jamaica. Searching for land, a house, or rental property comes with the territory, and she is up for that challenge, enjoying the moments where she realises her client’s dreams.
“I am currently learning and perfecting my new discipline while striving towards a steady increase in income. Then I will decide my next trajectory in the real estate industry.” She continued, “The business is not even close to where I would like it to be, but I am putting in the groundwork, committed to my daily plan, and I am confident I will meet and surpass my goal.
Henriques offered a few tips to consider when working towards homeownership:
- Get a prequel or pre-approval done to have an idea of the price range of the house you can afford to buy. Also, ensure that you have a good credit rating.
- Research the neighbourhood you’re interested in or the ones available for the best fit. If you’re not sure, seek the assistance of a real estate agent.
- Save for your down payment and your closing costs.
- Attend open houses and think long term.
- Find a house for sale in your price range.