Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 23, 2023

Brewer finally gets the message

All signed pointed to real estate as she hit crossroads

Tamekia Brewer is a co-owner of Nouveau Realty Group, a new Chattanooga brokerage where she focuses on helping the minority community achieve homeownership. - Photograph provided

Tamekia Brewer says she was lying in bed, newly widowed, when she asked God for direction.

“It’s just me and Jacob now,” she said, referring to her adolescent son. A woman of deep Christian faith, her prayer was more of a query than an expression of concern, as she believed God would continue to provide for them. She was simply asking where she should place her feet as she stepped forward.

Brewer was not without a means of support. Her job in the patient experience division at Erlanger Health System was steady and sure, and responding to the issues of care that crossed her desk gave her a sense of purpose.

However, her husband’s unexpected death in 2021 had heralded a shifting of winds, and as she listened for a response from above in the days that followed, the words “real estate” came to her as she awoke one morning.

Brewer shrugged them off. “I said, ‘No, that’s not for me. I don’t have the patience,’” she recalls.

If patience was not one of Brewer’s gifts, knowledge was. Her father had owned several rental properties as she and her brother were growing up in Chattanooga, so real estate was in her blood. What’s more, her mother worked for a local bank, which Brewer says gave her even more insight into the value of homeownership.

“God definitely blessed me with amazing parents,” she says.

He apparently did not, however, endow Brewer with the gift of obedience, so He sent a pair of her friends on a mission to reiterate His words.

“A couple of weeks later, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and asked her what she was doing. She’d become a Realtor. Then I ran into someone else I knew. ‘Hey, Tamekia, how are you?’ ‘I’m good. What are you doing?’ ‘I’m a Realtor.’ I said, ‘OK, God, now You’re really talking to me.’”

Despite acknowledging what she says was divine intervention, Brewer didn’t relent until after speaking with her brother and a close friend. When the friend told her, “Girl, just do it,” she did.

Her first few days of classes seemed to confirm not her destiny but her initial objection. Attempting to learn about real estate was like trying to learn a foreign language when the teacher refused to speak English, she says, and the amount of information she had to absorb overwhelmed her.

In her toughest moments, Brewer looked beyond the hedge of doubt that surrounded her to the orchard of confidence that lie beyond. Her grandmother, a resilient matriarch who had guided her family with love and wisdom, had planted those trees in Brewer’s heart at a young age and they had grown tall and strong.

“She always told me, ‘You’re smart and capable. You can accomplish whatever you want to do.’”

Brewer passed the test the first time, received her license in June 2021 and then started to work.

In the two years since then, real estate has provided Brewer, who’s now 46, with fresh purpose. Empowered by the model of financial prudence and well-being her parents had provided, she’s developed a passion for helping the African American community “bridge the wealth gap,” she says.

“I believe everyone should buy a home or an investment property, but the minority community is struggling because it doesn’t know where to start. So, I’m focusing on educating and helping first-time homebuyers.

“If someone doesn’t know how to become a homeowner, I’ll teach them how. Then they can begin to build generational wealth for their family.”

To illustrate how homeownership can lead to a better future, Brewer tells the story of how one of her minority clients purchased her childhood home.

“My parents had converted the house into a rental property but my dad was tired of dealing with it. One of the families that made an offer on it was living in a bad area and wanted out. We had other offers but their Realtor said, ‘This house is for them.’”

Brewer says her parents “went the extra mile” to sell the home to the couple, who had three children. At the closing table, the woman cried and said she could never thank them enough.

“Passing on my childhood home to a family that deserved a safe place to live changed me. I have Caucasian clients, too, but I resolved to further the inner city and help the minority community. People are scared, but they can own a home if someone teaches them how.”

Brewer’s experiences as a Realtor appear to have changed her in another way: When opportunity (i.e. God, she says) knocks, she answers. For instance, when fellow Realtors Jai Williams and Sabrina Hagood asked her to become a partner in Nouveau Realty Group, the new Chattanooga brokerage they were launching, she jumped on board.

“I stepped out in faith,” she says. “If you’d told me two years ago I’d be a co-owner of a real estate firm, I would have laughed and said, ‘You’re kidding me.’ But when Jai and Sabrina asked me to do this, I believed I could, so I did.”

Brewer brings a heavy bat to the plate. By mid-June, she’d already tallied $885,000 in homes sales for the month and was poised to easily cross the million-dollar mark by the 30th with the closings on her calendar. But she doesn’t boast. Instead, she directs her gratitude upward.

“I don’t know where we’ll be in a few years, so I’m trusting God for everything. If I acknowledge Him in all my ways, He’ll direct my path. Without Him, none of this would be possible, so I keep Him first.”