Our Story: The Stoplight and the Hotel

Speech written by Juan Pablo Bustamante, youngest son of company co-founder Luis Bustamante del Valle, and read by Luis’s firstborn Carlos Bustamante at the XXXIII Fedelonjas Real Estate Summit on August 17, 2017.

The story of Inmobiliaria Bustamante began with a stoplight and a hotel. I heard this from my father, Luis Bustamante del Valle, whom the Colombia Association of Realtors (Fedelonjas, the Federación Colombiana de Lonjas de Propiedad Raíz) honors today with the Hernando Luque Ospina Lifetime Achievement Award. My father was driving his Chevrolet pickup truck, a 1971 model, on Bolívar Avenue in Barranquilla. He had just left a business meeting and was heading back to his home in Cartagena. But a red light made him stop at an intersection near a street cook who was selling her goods on the sidewalk. The smell of arepa filled with egg reminded my father he had skipped lunch. He rummaged through his wallet as he debated whether to ask the cook to make him a fresh one. However, a chubby man pulled up next to my father at the light and solved his conundrum by telling him to save his money...

Bustamante Family

Cecilia Restrepo de Bustamante

General Manager, Co-founder, and Partner

From Barranquilla. Mother of two sons and grandmother of four grandchildren. A faithful believer of Barranquilla Carnival’s motto “Those who live it are those who enjoy it.” While attending the Institute of Local Government Studies (Instituto de Estudios de Administración Local) in Madrid, Spain, she majored in financial management. A fan of classic vallenato music. Apart from cofounding and leading our company, she is also a founding member of the Cartagena and Bolívar Association of Realtors. Her career spans more than four decades, and she is one of the most respected and successful real estate agents in Cartagena de Indias.

Rosina Restrepo

Sales Executive

From Barranquilla. Mother of two sons and a Yorkie. In her heart, she still has a place for a Pekingese and a schnauzer that she once took care of and that now live in doggy heaven. She is the sister of our general manager, and she joined our company in 1986. Her main duty is handling luxury real estate deals.

Leonardo Puello

Real Estate Salesperson

From Cartagena. Husband and father of two daughters. He received his Professional Salesman degree at National Service of Learning (SENA). Additionally, he is a proud chef who learned his culinary skills from his grandmother. He joined our company in 2000, and his job is to always be on the lookout for sales and rentals.

Luz Marina Huertas

Real Estate Salesperson

From Barrancabermeja. Mother of two children. She loves sweet black beef made in Cartagena. She joined our company as a cashier in 1991, but when she realized business promotion was a better fit, she asked the general manager for a job switch. The general manager not only granted the request, but also trained her. Her mission is to find clients for our sale and rental properties.

Javier Robayo

Real Estate Salesperson

From Santa Rosa de Viterbo, Boyacá. Father of a son. Since he comes from one of the coldest regions of Colombia, it took him some time to get used to Cartagena’s warm weather. He hated how salty mote de queso is, but now he is a fan. He joined our company in 1997, and his job is to always be on the lookout for clients who are interested in buying or renting properties.

David Payares

Real Estate Seeker

From Cartagena. Husband and father of two daughters. Unlike most people from Colombia’s Caribbean region, he is not a partier. He has worked with us since 2012 and is so lucky that, after just two months on the job, he won the raffle for a big-screen television at the company Christmas dinner. His mission is to discover and obtain new properties for sale and for rent.

Mery Luz Martínez

Sales Assistant

From Cartagena. Mother of three children. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from the International Corporation of Integral Education Elyon Yireh. In her spare time, she teaches craft classes to single mothers from her neighborhood. She joined our company in 2019 as the general manager’s assistant and an aid to the sales team.