Monday, July 30, 2007

Eric Reed of Realm Professionals Goes Into the Studio

Eric Reed in Studio with Steve Levine and Kevin Price on the Houston Home Show, CNN 650AM, July 6th. Listen to the audio streams below.

Radio Interview Part 1
Radio Interview Part 2
Radio Interview Part 3

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Spaghetti & Waffles

Spaghetti and waffles? No, the title above is not an inspiration for an item on a Sunday brunch menu, it is an analogy that my dear friend Kathie Turner uses to compare how the sexes communicate. Kathie, by the way is a spokesperson for Sona MedSpa, who we profiled in our June 2007 issue. There will be more on Kathie and Sona MedSpa later.

Here is what Kathie has to say about this unusual analogy:

Kathie notes that “Men are like waffles. Everything is compartmentalized, every item for discussion has its own place.” When men communicate with a woman to “cut to the chase” or “fast forward to the bottom line”, they are asking a woman to just communicate the specific topic and not wrap it up in all kinds of other items better left for another conversation.

Kathie goes on to say that “Women are like spaghetti. Nothing lives in isolation, there are always other considerations that have influence and connect in someway.”

Like spaghetti, it is all in there, but for women that makes it richer and/or better. In other words, you know that the meat is in there, but, we men have to find it through all of the noodles.

Men think that women have a hard time getting to the “meat” for the noodles. Women say, “Appreciate the “dish!”

So, if one of the “keys” to a healthy relationship is communication, understanding the methodology on how your spouse or “significant other” communicates may be the key to the success of your relationship.

This month’s cover honoree, Gayla Skates of RE/MAX Realty Center has an amazing relationship with her husband Ricky that started out when they were teens. They have been married over 31 years and are proud parents and grandparents. Gayla credits her husband as being her “biggest fan and supporter.” Ricky, who works in construction, helped Gayla to manage the construction of her office’s interior. When I asked Gayla what were some of the keys to the success of her marriage to Ricky, she was quick to validate that their ability to communicate with each other was most important. You will enjoy their story!

In our “Lender Profile” this month we feature Wholesale Mortgage. Ed Kampf and Wholesale Mortgage make sure that their clients get the best mortgage rates. Nothing demonstrates their commitment to their buyers’ welfare better than the fact that Wholesale Mortgage Company has not had one buyer lose a house to foreclosure since 1998, a time span when the foreclosure market has been at record levels.

There are two other editorials that we want to make sure you turn your attention to: “How to Have Permanent “Soft Focus” in Life…” By Noel Halgreen of Sona MedSpa (who we profiled in our June issue) and “Realtors Are “SOLD” on Profiting with ABA Title Companies. Do YOU Have One That You Can “BANK” On?”

My friend Kathie (mentioned earlier in this column) is the spokesperson for Sona MedSpa. Kathie is a former weather anchor for Channels 2, 11 and 39 and is available for speaking engagements for your H.A.R., W.C.R. networking meetings and/or company meetings. You can get more information on Sona MedSpa and her programs on her website at

Bruce Reichstein of Westbound Bank/Westbound Title has become a good friend and (I believe) is taking the ABA Title Company opportunity to another level.

Make sure that you see their ads and editorials!

Before I turn you loose on this month’s issue, please make sure (once again) that you turn to Allied Home Warranty’s insert in the middle of the magazine. Just fill out the application attached to the brochure and give them a call…you’ll be glad you did!

As always, good reading, good sales and stay cool!

Success to you!

Steve Levine

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Meet The Real Estate Executive Sales & Marketing Team!

They are (from left to right) Rick & Karen Vowell (Account Executives), Steve Levine(Publisher), David Bejar (Senior Account Executive), Carlen Santa Cruz (Marketing & PR) and Andy Valadez (CEO Steve Levine Real Estate Media)
** Not available for this shoot, Barbara Davis-Levine/Associate Publisher

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

An Interview with Eric Reed of Realm Professionals on the Houston Home Show, CNN 650AM

Watch the YouTube video clips of the interview with Eric Reed of Realm Professionals. Radio host Kevin Price and Steve Levine go in the studio with Eric as he talkes about the history of Realm, the New Home Buyer, Web 2.0, keeping great agents, the value of a Realtor, and more.

Kevin Price, Radio Host of The Houston Home Show, welcomes Eric Reed and Steve Levine

Kevin Price Welcomes Eric Reed

Eric Reed explains the history of Realm Professionals

Realtors Marketing Plan - helping realtors to market to their client

Realtors and Technology

The Web 2.0 World

The New Home Buyer

The Value of the Realtor

Keeping Great Agents

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Steve Levine Explains the Review process of Making the Cover of REE Magazine, Eric Reed is the Featured Guest

Eric Reed, Realm Professionals joins Steve Levine and Kevin Price of the Houston Home Show radio program 7/6 on CNN 650 AM at 1PM. Steve explains the criteria for being selected for the cover of Real Estate Executive Magazine.

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Steve Levine Media supports TV Commercial with Sona Medspa and Kathie Turner

Thank you to our readers for supporting one of our advertiser clients Sona Medspa as we shot a TV ommercial at Bob's Steak and Chop House and at Raleigh Jenkins, President of ABC Pest, Pool, and Lawn Service, personal home. Tell us what you think of these commercials which started airing in the Houston market 7/10, featuring many of our real estate friends and media personality and speaker Kathie Turner. Be sure to visit Kathie's blog,

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Steve Levine on the Houston Home Show radio program with Kevin Price

Steve Levine talks about July cover story, Patty McCracken's upcoming radio interview. See the YouTube video.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Patty McCracken—RE/MAX Pearland-Space Center

A Self-made Realtor’s Rise from Humble Beginnings to Platinum Status
By Woodie Stephenson

Patty McCracken of RE/MAX Pearland-Space Center knows more than a thing or two about making people happy. The RE/MAX Hall of Fame Inductee and five time recipient of the Platinum Club award, prides herself in pleasing her clients by always doing what’s best for them. With a selfless personal philosophy and a determination to please others before herself, it’s no surprise that most of her clients end up calling her a “friend” instead of just a Realtor®. For Patty, who has taken nothing for granted, life hasn’t always been so sunny; the hard working, self-made overachiever was never given any easy breaks and has accomplished what she has today through hard work and a sincere drive to please those she is fortunate enough to work for. Patty’s success story is an amazing one that catalogs her rise from humble beginnings to extraordinary success and platinum status.

The second of five siblings, Patty was born to a hard working family during the time that her parents lived at the Texas A&M Dormitories. Not afforded many luxuries while growing up, Patty was raised by her parents in a modest area of Houston close to the intersection of Belfort and Telephone Road.

Young and determined to forge a path into the leasing and real estate industry, Patty was hired on at the age of 24 to work for home builder Tom Osmund. In a short period, Patty was able to work her way up from assistant manager of Osmund’s company to running all of his business which included office buildings, 6 apartment projects, and onsite leasing and property management. In a span of just 2 years Patty had learned the property management business so thoroughly that she was in a position to be a residential Realtor. Realizing the potential she possessed, Osmund encouraged Patty to go after a real estate license. After taking classes at Marsha Spencer School of Real Estate and Champions School of Real Estate, Patty remembers being so proud to have the title of “Agent” attached to her name.

“I was raised in the real estate business,” Patty says, “and I always appreciated the opportunity to be here.”

After leaving Osmund to focus exclusively on real estate, Patty was determined to master the apartment locating business and went to work at Apartment Preferred Tenants (APT) under apartment locating guru Rae Pfeffer.

“Rae taught me so much,” Patty recalls, “She was apartment locating.”

Patty would find her most influential mentors in Houston real estate legends Nancy Sartain and Pfeffer. The two agents, who had experienced tremendous success in a still burgeoning Houston market, took Patty under their wing to teach her the finer points of the business; however, the duo would most of all teach Patty an essential trait she would never forget—self confidence.

“I was young and self conscious,” Patty remembers, “Growing up as I did, I had never believed in myself. I had the opportunity to work for people who were icons. Nancy and Rae groomed me and taught me to believe in myself. They showed me what it was like to be a proud lady. They used to tell me, ‘No one can be a better you than you.”

Armed with confidence and ambition, Patty quickly learned the ins and outs of the residential real estate market working under Sartain at Baxter & Swinford Realtors®. It was around this time that Patty was able to sell her first home, an achievement she remembers came when she both listed and sold the home through a collaborative effort.

“I had a married couple as clients and every time I was out showing them houses they would point to this one house that wasn’t on the market and tell me that they loved it,” Patty remembers, “Eventually, when I couldn’t find house they liked on the market, I went to this house and knocked on the door. Even though I knew the lady that owned the house would probably think I was crazy, I told her that I would love to sell it to my clients. The whole thing may have seemed crazy at the time but nevertheless it worked.”

After marrying, Patty and her husband moved to Quail Valley. While working for a new office at Century 21, Patty decided she was ready for her next big challenge: operating and owning her own real estate franchise. With her experience in management and the valuable knowledge she was able to acquire working with her mentors, Patty felt she possessed the skill and knowledge to take the next big step. After interviewing all the available franchises, she decided on ERA, a franchise licensed by parent company Nelson & Associates.

Operating principally in Fort Bend County, Patty’s ERA franchise quickly rose to prominence. Her office was listed in the top-10 ERA franchise for production year after year. Following 7 years of flourishing business, Patty’s coveted ERA franchise was purchased by Gary Greene’s Better Homes & Garden but she still stuck around to manage the office full of passionate agents she dubbed “The Killer Bees.” Patty was given the honor of a Top Manager Award but she still insists to this day that it was her passionate staff that made the franchise so successful.

“I was truly fortunate to have such a competitive staff,” Patty says, “After the office was bought out by Greene there was an awards banquet where I asked my staff what we could do to be #1 the next year. Everybody wanted to be at the top and we achieved our goal the next year and every year we worked together from then on.”

Patty’s next challenge came while working with City Homes Realtors in the Memorial area. While working as an general manager and an agent at City Homes, Patty was able to come to a grand epiphany about her career: she was always trying to do too much being the boss, owner, and trainer, thus spreading herself thin. Realizing that she needed to focus on one task and give it all her passion, Patty decided to focus solely on being an agent, listing and selling property.

Revitalized and with a goal in mind, Patty would find a new home at RE/MAX Pearland- Silverlake under Martha Haddock. Determined to find her greatest success yet, Patty wrote down a goal during her first meetings with Haddock only to surpass her goal and then some. After starting at her new RE/MAX office in July, Patty would become the franchise’s top agent by the end of the year!

“When I came into the office, Martha asked me what I thought I could achieve over the next year,” Patty remembers, “I found out what setting a goal is all about: writing that goal down and then living it every day. My success came from doing the things I had always taught my own agents during training: farming and prospecting, staying on top of open houses, being visible, and most of all focusing on relationships and investing in them.”

Patty believes that her success as a residential Realtor® has always been attributed to her own innate desire to look out for others.

“I’ve Always been the happiest when taking care of the people around me,” Patty admits, “I love my work and when I’m out there showing houses and helping people, it’s a great feeling to be able to make everything happen for my clients.”

Today, focusing on the areas around Pearland, Friendswood, and Clear Lake, Patty has achieved tremendous success. She has been awarded Platinum Status from RE/MAX year after year since 2002 and was recently inducted into the RE/MAX “Hall of Fame.” Although her credentials and accolades could easily do the job for her, Patty is constantly trying to impress her clients with her personality and diligence.

“For me, listing and selling property is a constant job interview,” Patty says, “I work hard to get people to hire me to sell or find their home for them. Once somebody gives me their trust, I work hard to surpass their expectations.”

To offer her clients the best, Patty utilizes technology to list her homes on multiple internet websites and treats every client to full-color brochures to show their home at its utmost potential. The websites Patty employs host high-tech virtual tours of all her homes. Patty goes out of her way to hire professional photographers to make her online tours look as professional as possible. These services impress her clients so much that over 90% of her business comes from personal referrals.

“It’s very important to understand that whether people are moving across the street or across the country, you must spend the time and money to present your inventory properly,” Patty shares.

Patty never minds going above and beyond the call of duty. The diligent agent often finds herself making beds, walking and letting out her clients’ dogs, and doing whatever else it takes to make people happy and have her clients’ homes show at their best.

In addition to going the extra mile to offer her clients the best marketing tactics, Patty also employs a meticulous network of personal assistants to aid her in providing services to her clients. Jessica Johnson, who has worked with Patty for over 4 years, meets inspectors and makes sure Patty’s clients always have a plethora of brochures available for potential buyers. Jessica, who has sold and bought a home through Patty, joined the team after being impressed by Patty’s services as a Realtor. Patty’s personal secretary, Rosa Garcia, works 6 to 7 days a week to ensure that Patty is always on top of her game communicating with sellers and buyers. Another valuable member of the team, Paula Ingamells, serves as a hostess running open houses and greeting potential buyers with Patty’s custom brochures.

“I couldn’t do it all without them,” Patty, who sometimes has as many as 30 listings on the market at one time, says, “My support team helps me to ensure that I keep my commitments to my clients and give them my all.”

Those who have had the pleasure to work with Patty understand that her altruistic nature and desire to befriend whoever she works with have helped to make her the immense success she is today. Patty’s daughter, Mary Evans, a successful Realtor in her own right for RE/MAX Southwest, grew up watching her mother work wonders with clients.

“What makes my mother special is the fact that she is so eager to please her clients,” Mary says, “She will bend over backwards to make people happy. Because of her selfless nature, her clients always end up becoming her friends. She’s not just all about making the slam-dunk deal; she truly cares about building relationships with the people she has the pleasure to work for.”

Although Patty never pushed her daughter to be a realtor, it seemed natural for Mary after growing up watching her mother’s success and lifestyle. Mary, who has now been in real estate for 14 years, received her broker’s license in 2001.

“I had the opportunity to learn a lot about the business growing up,” Mary shares, “My mother and I have completely different styles but I learned the fundamentals of the business from watching her. She taught me that if you want to make it then you can’t give up. I learned that to succeed you have to motivate yourself and get out there and do it. I saw how hard she worked while I was growing up and I knew I could work that hard and make it.”

Amazingly enough, Mary’s 14-year-old son Harrison now wants to follow in his grandmother and mother’s footsteps working in real estate.

“I never wanted to be a realtor but after watching my mom I knew it was something I could succeed at,” Mary says, “Now my son wants to follow us into the business, too. Even though his father is a doctor, he’s attracted to real estate out of all the careers he could chose.”

Betty Warren, Business Development Director at Stewart Title Houston, considers Patty one of her most loyal business partners. Betty admires the fact that Patty works almost exclusively off of referrals.

“Patty truly understands her clients’ wants and needs,” Betty says, “She is a very family oriented person and therefore she treats everybody like her friends and family. We deal with so many Realtors but Patty is special. We have closed some of her same clients up to 4 and 5 times. She has a way of closing deals where her clients feel like they are the ones getting the deal; because of this mutually successful arrangement, she works out of a referral paradigm.”

Patty’s clients know firsthand the passion she puts into making each transaction a huge success. Tim Gaither and his family have used Patty through four real estate transactions and respect the professionalism she brings to the table each time.

“Patty is extremely friendly, helpful and professional,” Gaither says, “She understands the market and puts her all into promoting her listings. She was able to sell our first home in 24 hours. The second home we listed with her sold in less than two weeks. When it comes to closing a deal, she has a mature presence, listens well, and is great at making everybody feel comfortable during the negotiation stage.”

“From day one until the final closing was completed, Patty was there for us,” clients, Dr. Richard and Zana Blakely recall, “offering encouragement, suggestion, and advice that was invaluable.”

Jessica Johnson, a member of Patty’s team, first knew Patty as her family realtor. Patty had the pleasure of selling the Johnsons’ home and then finding them the house they live in now.

“When Patty is working for you, you are very confidant in her capabilities and you really trust her,” Jessica says, “She is extremely knowledgeable in what she does. She is pleasant to work with and she truly understands the trauma and drama that comes with selling and finding a home. From my experience working with Patty, I truly know that she cares about her clients and is always ready to go above and beyond the call of duty. With Patty, anything is not too much to ask.”

When she’s not working nonstop on her number one passion, real estate, Patty enjoys gardening and entertaining her friends and family. A true hostess at heart, Patty gets the greatest pleasure planning family parties with her daughter and grandson.

When she can break away from work, Patty loves to travel in luxury, taking cruises. In the past, Patty has enjoyed traveling across the world to such exotic destinations as Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Germany, Switzerland, and Paris. For her next destination, Patty hopes to take an exotic Alaskan cruise, although she jokes that she’d be happy to take a trip to Conroe with all the work she has on her plate.

Patty loves to share advice with those who are eager to learn from the wealth of experience she has acquired during tenure in real estate. Patty emphasizes the importance of listening to clients and anticipating their needs.

“Selling a house can be a stressful and traumatic experience equal to death or divorce for a family to go through,” Patty shares, “Selling is listening—it’s all about the clients and tending to their needs; it has nothing to do with your personal agenda. When I am helping a buyer to find a home, I am never pushy; I always ask if they feel comfortable in the house and if they don’t I tell them ‘Let’s go. If this isn’t the right house for you, we need to go find the right one.”

“Understand that you’re in business for yourself,” she says, “Your home office and the telephone won’t do your job for you; you have to get out and make it happen in you want to be successful. Education is extremely important; if you’re not educated then you’re in trouble. Learn everything you can before you learn the hard way, from your mistakes.”

Patty McCracken is a true testament to determination and success. The model Realtor has achieved immense accomplishment and accolade by only doing what she loves most, helping others. Whether she’s marketing a multi-million-dollar dream house or a modest two-bedroom home, those who work with Patty can attest to the devotion she brings to each client and transaction. Although the Hall of Fame Realtor seemingly has nothing left to prove, she will continue to prove one transaction at a time what’s always been important to her—that she’s dedicated to making people happy.

“Being me sets me apart from other realtors,” Patty says, “I’m not just RE/MAX; I’m not just another name; I’m a person with a heart. Making my clients happy and keeping my word to them will always be the most important thing to me.”

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The "Twin Sisters" of Success

As many of you loyal readers know, I love being the Publisher of REAL ESTATE EXECUIVE Magazine and the most enjoyable part of my job is the ability to go one-on-one with a real estate “superstar” or “rising star” every month for the cover honor. Thus far, I have had the pleasure of interviewing more than sixty cover honorees. I enjoy getting to know them better and learning more about their business model and success secrets.

Oddly enough, most of our cover honorees say the same things in different ways. They all seem to share with me their passion for excellence, their belief that “knowledge is power” and “the more you know, the further you will go”, and they all possess a strong work ethic. But, more importantly than the above, they all attribute much of their success to what I call “The Twin Sisters of Success”. The two twin sisters are focus and determination.

They have a laser-like focus on their goals, their client’s needs and satisfaction and their business plan and are determined to achieve those goals month after month, year after year.

Such is the case with this month’s cover honoree, Patty McCracken of RE/MAX Pearland-Space Center.

Patty McCracken is a true testament to determination and success. She is a model Realtor has achieved immense accomplishment and accolades by only doing what she loves most, helping others. Whether she’s marketing a multi-million-dollar dream house or a modest two-bedroom home, those who work with Patty can attest to the devotion she brings to each client and transaction as she focuses on their goals and dreams. Although the Hall of Fame Realtor seemingly has nothing left to prove, she continues to prove one transaction at a time what’s always been important to her—that she’s dedicated to making people happy. I know that you are going to enjoy her story.

I have really enjoyed getting to know her, her wonderful friends and her terrific cooking this past month! Who says that my job as publisher doesn’t have perks?

Before I turn you loose on this month’s issue, please make sure you turn to Allied Home Warranty’s insert in the middle of the magazine. Andrew White, Candy Lynn George and staff are just asking that you give them a try on your next transaction. Just fill out the application attached to the brochure and give them a call…you’ll be glad you did!

As always, good reading, good sales and stay cool!

Success to you!

Steve Levine

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