Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, November 18, 2022

Berkheimer finds help with new journey

Women’s Council, Matheny provide valuable help

Constanza “CC” Berkheimer is a Realtor with Crye-Leike in Chattanooga. She concentrates on helping first-time buyers avoid the pitfalls she and her husband experienced when they purchased their first home. - Photograph provided

Realtor Constanza “CC” Berkheimer says being a new agent is like being dropped into the middle of an ocean without a lifejacket.

“Real estate school throws a lot of information at you very quickly, and you have to retain it somehow and then pass the exam,” Berkheimer says, the memory of completing the coursework and passing the test a mere nine months ago still fresh in her mind. “Then you’re thrown into the water and told, ‘Congratulations! You own a business.’”

Fortunately, she continues, she spotted a number of lifeboats navigating the unfamiliar waters in which she found herself.

One such vessel was the Chattanooga chapter of the Women’s Council of Realtors, an association of real estate professionals that works to advance women as industry and community leaders.

As not only a new Realtor but also a freshly minted Chattanoogan, Berkheimer was searching for ways to become involved her community. When a fellow agent at the downtown Crye-Leike office, Jamie Curtis, told her about the WCR, she became an eager recruit.

“Being part of a group of incredible women is inspiring, as well as helpful for me as a woman who’s never owned a business,” Berkheimer notes. “They have a lot of knowledge to offer and have been through everything I’m going through and more. I want to absorb all of their amazingness.”

Berkheimer uses the word “amazing” again to describe the other agents at Crye-Leike – the second lifeboat she found slicing through the churn.

“Everyone here is amazing, especially toward new agents,” she says. “It’s one of the reasons I chose this brokerage.”

Berkheimer singles out Curtis and Realtor Barbara Matheny as being especially helpful as she’s learned the ins and outs of completing a transaction.

“I had a client who wanted to buy one of Jamie’s properties, so I sent Jamie the offer. She very nicely said, ‘Here’s a list of things to check before you submit an offer.’ Jamie and Barbara are always giving me pointers. Some people don’t like that but I do.”

After enjoying a brief career as a chocolatier, Berkheimer became a Realtor in the hopes of taking charge of her own lifeboat.

Berkheimer and her husband, Jeremiah, had never owned a house when they moved to Chattanooga during the pandemic to be closer to his family.

Like other buyers who moved during the shutdown, they purchased a home they’d found online. Instead of calling the process “amazing,” she pockets the word and says buying the house was “horrendous,” “stressful” and “chaotic.”

“It was a nightmare, especially for two first-time homebuyers,” she adds.

Rather than being repelled by real estate as a result, Berkheimer was drawn to the notion of helping other first-time homebuyers avoid “the mess” she and her husband had endured.

“Buying a home is a lot to handle because it’s a big purchase. I became a Realtor to educate clients and help the process go smoother, especially for people who have never done it before,” she says, her voice soft like that of a patient elementary school teacher. “I want to be the calm presence that keeps them from pulling out their hair.”

One of the ways Berkheimer initially sets her clients at ease is answer their questions about her name. She goes by “CC,” which were her initials before she married, because “Constanza” is “an intense name,” she laughs. She also like sharing that she’s half Mexican and fully proud of her heritage.

After growing up in Colorado, Berkheimer had an itch that only moving alone to Portland, Oregon at the age of 18 could scratch. Nine years later, she packed her car and drove to Raleigh, North Carolina, where she dipped into chocolate after quitting a job as a bartender.

Berkheimer was ready to try something new when she became a Realtor, she says.

In her spare time, she and her husband create cat pins for sale online. She describes each of them as creative on their own and “very creative” when working together.

Berkheimer muses that the joy of collaboration could be one of the reasons she likes being a Realtor. Between her new industry and community connections at the WCR and her colleagues at Crye-Leike, she says she no longer feels as though she’s swimming in unfamiliar waters. Instead, she’s found a family that’s lifted her up and set her on a course for success.

“When you’re new, it’s important to have the support of seasoned agents and organizations that are willing to keep you afloat.”