Meet LizPanama's Premier Real Estate Professional
Born in Australia, educated at university and highly traveled with a strong background in hospitality, Liz Larroquette is a premier real estate professional in Panama, specializing in both residential sales and high-end investment properties.
It was over a decade ago, that the CEO of Empresas Bern, one of the most prestigious builders in Panama, convinced Larroquette to leave her position at an exclusive resort in South America and move to Coronado, Panama. “He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” she laughed. “He asked me to manage one of his properties in Panama and when I hesitated, he gave me a place to live. It was one of the best decisions of my life.”
A lot has changed since the CEO saw a good thing and Larroquette made the move. “Initially it was managing a complex on the beach and then I started advising expats about retirement properties and then I found myself selling the properties I would find for mostly retiring North Americans.”
But, like most things in Panama, the real estate market has rapidly changed.
Larroquette admits, it’s taken a lot of flexibility to stay on top of the market. “Panama is a fabulous place to retire, because you don’t need to give up first-world amenities for a bargain basement price. Panama is still very affordable, and it’s growing into a major commercial center.”
“I still love finding that perfect property for individuals, but Panama has moved so rapidly that I’m now working with multi-national companies looking for homes for their executives and with large scale investors seeking an entire floor of new construction. I have gone from mostly North Americans to investors and individuals from Germany, Great Britain, China, Russia—really people from all over the globe. Panama offers so much for so many! It’s a dizzying time.”
“Everyday there seems to be something different,” she continued. “The new Johns Hopkins Hospital in Costa del Este is being built next to the new Town Center with the planned JW Marriott hotel and then a tower is going up to provide condo type hotel rooms catering to the individuals coming in for medical tourism. Panama City is the de facto business center of Central America and Costa del Este is the international business center of Panama City. I certainly didn’t see any of that when I moved to the beach in Coronado. At that time, there literally was no Costa del Este.”
Larroquette smiles when she explains the difference between the individual purchaser and the global investor. “It’s not that different,” she began. “I’m perfectly comfortable talking about how much electricity and the internet might run a family for a year and just as comfortable discussing return on investment on a multi-million dollar property. Numbers are numbers and they either work for the situation or they don’t. I love a good challenge; making the numbers work.”
Professional life for Larroquette is certainly fast paced, but she finds time to unwind by training and competing in duathlons and on a rare occasion, triathlons. “I’m tall,” she began, “so that is a real advantage. I am not a great swimmer so I find the sweet spot for me is a duathlon where you just bike and run. There really aren’t many places I’d rather be than out running or biking. It keeps me sane,” she said with a laugh.
“I have seen Panama grow and change so much in the past decade,” Larroquette continued in summary. “I really can’t imagine where Panama will be in the next ten years. It is beyond exciting. I consider myself so lucky that I stepped out of my comfort zone that day and decided to move to Panama. I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired to taking the challenge of finding the perfect property at the perfect price for all kinds of clients.”
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