Christine Fuentes has a history of charting her own course through life. Originally from New Jersey, she has never been afraid to take a risk and has lived all over the country and in Mexico, where she spent six years perfecting her Spanish and teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). She made her way back to the States and to Houston, where she continued to teach ESL for adults at Houston Community College and the University of Houston. While working for a local newspaper and looking for a career change, a friend, who then became her KW realtor, convinced her to give real estate a try. She has been with KW Southwest (KWSW) for the last 19 years.
Christine was recently named a Certified International Property Specialist, after completing an intensive program which requires the study of economics and cultures for various parts of the world. She says, “the point is to expand our knowledge of working with other countries and cultures. Every country has its own rules, or lack thereof. Some countries are not regulated at all, or there are particular banking issues to consider. I work a lot with Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Until now, Mexico has had a sister association with the National Association of Realtors, but they have never required licensing of their realtors. Now, licensing has begun in certain states, and they are finally going to start requiring it nationwide. In places like the Dominican Republic, anyone can say they are an estate agent.”
As a result of her interest in other cultures as well as in international real estate, Christine has earned a coveted position on HAR’s (Houston Association of Realtors) 25-member International Advisory Group, which in her words, “is a great honor.” She states that, “as an international property specialist…if I’m working with someone who wants to buy or sell in another country, my mission is to guide them…help them find a trustworthy person that I work with directly. And in the process, I am acting as a liaison, so that I can help explain what is happening.” It is also an opportunity to be an ambassador of sorts for Houston, attending to trade missions that come to town and working with the Mayor and his economic council to improve and expand Houston’s presence as a sight not only for tourism, but for new business opportunities, which will stimulate the economy. “I’m hoping to contribute to the expansion of understanding and working with other cultures, because I love that. And to somehow help my colleagues and fellow professionals to work in a professional manner and to know how to handle working with other countries. It’s not just about language, and that’s what many people don’t understand.”
During her tenure at KWSW, Christine has made time to volunteer and contribute in her community and has also been active with their Agent Leadership Council, International Agent Leadership Council, as well as being a teacher and mentor for new agents. She says that’s the reason she’s been with KWSW for 19 years; “…it comes down to the culture here. It’s people that want to help each other. I love the fact that I can call somebody within the organization if I need help and ask them for information. And my door is always open. We share.”