Getting to Know Laura Alamery
This week I was given the opportunity to interview a charming St. Louis independent investor, Bernard Douteau (a very good friend and longtime business associate of Laura’s). The experience reminded me how our life stories touch so many people – and if we’re lucky, in good ways. Editor: Cherrell Tarantino
It was 1999 when I first met Laura. I was delighted to learn that Italian was her native tongue, a language I had acquired having lived in Italy quite some time. Born in France, I had also immigrated to the United States – a few years before Laura. It was a breath of fresh air to be able to communicate with another person this way.
Great Connections Equal Good Business
With our European backgrounds in common, I was able relate to situations that would arise in Laura’s life (here in America and back home in Vicenza). I understood the cultural differences and the challenges that would present themselves at times. We definitely had real estate in common, so it was natural that we gravitated toward working together (eventually forming our own real estate investing company).
Laura wasn’t your average young American; she was intriguing and magnetic, and a solid partner with good knowledge. Her curious nature encouraged thorough investigations into all the elements of our deals – she kept her eyes and ears open! I took care of the financial end of things and oversaw the construction process. We bought buildings, fixed them up and put them back together – selling them at a profit. Times were good.
The ‘Big as Life’ Real Estate Recession
When the real estate ‘crash’ happened in 2007-2009, St. Louis (like most of the country) suffered an incredible setback. Luckily I was able to take on the properties suspended in the process, and slowly clawed my way back. So did Laura, but not everyone was so fortunate. There were powerful names in the industry who never came back; they simply had no reserves set aside.
On the selling side of real estate investing, appraisals were a problem and the banks were afraid to take on loans. Buyers could not get access to funding anymore. Banks refused to refinance homeowners whose property values had nosedived. It was a Catch-22. Weathering the storm wasn’t easy. Even if you had the funds, things were still a mess with so many clouds on titles; to the point that nobody could touch them – they were legal dead ends.
For the 18 years we’ve known each other, as friends and business associates, Laura has always been a person I’ve highly respected. We’ve travel different paths at times, but continue to stay in touch. I’m glad to have had her in my life.
Cordially, Bernard Douteau
Laura Alamery shares HER OWN STORY about getting into
real estate investing – and how she later realized that
mentoring others was her ultimate calling.