Friday, December 28, 2007

12/28/07 Houston Real Estate TODAY! Radio Show CNN 650 AM

Left to Right: Connie Parsons, Paul Petropolis, Steve Levine, and Lauris Tam

Houston Real Estate TODAY! is now on the air. You are welcome to watch or listen to the show at this link. Our guests were Lauris Tam, Charter Equity, Inc., Paul Petropolis, Vice President of Sales, Gateway Homes and Connie Parsons, President, Lasting Impressions Home Management.

Listen here: <radio active>

See the show on Google Video below:


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12/21/07 Houston Real Estate TODAY! on CNN 650 AM

The Radio Crew (left to right): Ken and Michelle Pitlik (Exit Realty), Rene Salvatierra (urbanFINANCIAL), Steve Levine, Cory DeBerardino, and Larry Corona (Exit Realty)

Houston Real Estate TODAY! is now on the air. You are welcome to watch or listen to the show at this link. Our guests were Ken Pitlik, Exit Realty Bay Area, Larry Corona, Exit Bay Area, and Rene Salvatierra, President of urbanFINANCIAL
Listen here: <radio active> You Tube Video coming soon!

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Courtney Johnson Rose, George E. Johnson Development

Working Hard to be Houston’s Hardest-Working Realtor
By Woodie Stephenson

Following in her father’s footsteps, Courtney Johnson Rose is ambitious, versatile, and talented. The 29-year-old agent, broker, and developer has only been practicing real estate full-time since 2002, but her face can already be seen on the cover of a recent special edition of Realtor Magazine, touted as one of the publication’s rising national stars in their “30 Under 30” feature.

Employing an array of experience and education alongside support from her family’s development firm, Courtney is able to specialize in several areas of real estate while cementing her reputation as Houston’s hardest-working young star. Whether she’s marketing a single residential property or helping to develop a new-home subdivision, Courtney brings an unmatched intensity that showcases her passion for people and real estate.

Daughter to a developer father, Courtney likes to joke that she “was born and raised in a real estate office.” Her father, George E. Johnson was a licensed brokers operating his own franchise before Courtney, the baby sister of three older brothers, was even born.

A Houstonian all her life, Courtney was raised in a loving Christian environment where she learned the virtues of faith and hard work growing up. A diligent and involved student, Courtney enjoyed sports at a young age, running track and field and serving as the co-captain of the Elkins High School basketball team.

After graduating high school, Courtney attended University of Texas at Austin where she obtained her Bachelors Degree in Business and Economics. Fresh out of college, she took a job working for Fortune-500-Company Accenture, a spin-off of Arthur Anderson. Although she was on the fast track in the corporate world, Courtney still saw it fit to acquire her own real estate license so she could utilize the family business to buy rental property and help friends with real estate decisions. Courtney began making real estate deals and found that she enjoyed helping her clients and negotiating her own success; however, she initially kept her day job. Over the course of the next two years, Courtney’s real estate career took off and she soon discovered that her part-time real estate income matched what she made working at the Fortune-500 company, leading her to consequently decide to pursue a full-time career with her father’s development firm.

“Real estate must really be in our genes,” Courtney says of her family, “My brothers and I all work together with my parents, and although they never pushed any of us to work for them, we all chose to be involved.”

Determined to continue her passion for education, Courtney received her Brokers License in 2002 and returned to college, this time accompanied by her mom, to earn a Masters degree in Community Development at Prairie View A&M University.

Along the path to success in life and real estate, Courtney has always looked to her father for love, mentorship, and support.

“My father has taught me the most important principles in life,” Courtney shares, “At a young age he embedded a strong work ethic in me and my brothers. He taught me that to whom much is given, much is expected. He raised me to be a good steward to the Lord and to tithe my money.”

Courtney’s father, George E. Johnson Jr., is extremely proud of his daughter’s achievements and business practices.

“Courtney is very bright, honest, determined and fears God,” Johnson says, “As a result, she is dedicated to her clients and their best interest. Courtney believes in communicating with her clients before, during and after a sale. She uses her knowledge and real estate experience to advise the client on what she believes are their best options. I am honored to be her friend, mentor, and dad.”

Courtney, who is on pace to have her most successful year to date, prides herself in a client base strictly built on referrals. The eager-to-please agent routinely hosts client appreciation dinners, as well as making time to place phone calls, meet former clients for coffee, and write newsletters to keep in touch.

“The fortune is in the follow-up,” says Courtney, who has implemented a formula that yields an average of 2 referrals per week.

Although Courtney’s formula for client referrals translates into wealth and success, the humble agent prides herself most in her ability to bring people together and surpass her client’s expectations.

“I like to consider myself one of the hardest working Realtors in Houston,” she says, “I fight to get the best possible deal for my clients, and I truly love winning their respect and referrals.”

When listing residential property, Courtney works diligently to promote her listing and instill a sense of confidence in her clients. Using the available resources within her strong family-business network, Courtney engages her mom Thomasine’s design expertise to help enrich her properties to appeal to the needs of potential buyers. Courtney also takes advantage of internet tools to design virtual tours of her properties and increase her exposure by listing on several websites such as,, and Loopnet.

On average, half of Courtney’s deals are residential transactions spanning all areas of Greater Houston, but she also deals heavily in the commercial and development markets. Development, Courtney’s favorite area of the business, excites her most because it ties into her background in master planning. Besides being the listing broker for several residential builders including Equity Building Group, the up-and-coming developer is following in her father’s footsteps as she currently negotiates the land acquisition for a proposed new-home community.

“To me it is just fascinating to be able to see a plot of land turn into a project,” she says, “I have always been captivated with land use, and integrating projects into communities.”

Although Courtney’s father, George, has served as her main advisor and mentor, Courtney has looked to her mother for encouragement and inspiration throughout her career. Her mom, Thomasine, served as her source of encouragement to further her education, even going as far as to attend graduate school alongside Courtney where the mother-and-daughter classmates both earned their Masters in Community Development.

Thomasine believes Courtney has a special knack for leadership.

“I have a very special relationship with Courtney, whom I refer to as ‘Baby Girl’,” Thomasine says, “She is not only my daughter, but someone I consider as one of my best friends in every sense of the word. Courtney exhibits strong leadership skills with the guidance, direction, and professional knowledge she provides to her clients to ensure the best possible service.”

Courtney also sites older brother George Johnson III as a source of inspiration and mentorship. The two siblings have been partnered on many deals where they learn from working alongside one another. “My brother George has been an excellent mentor to me in project management and development, which have been his areas of expertise,” Courtney says.

Those who are fortunate enough to have worked with Courtney understand the attention and detail she brings to each task at hand. Her professionalism and kindhearted demeanor often earn Courtney praise from partners and referrals from clients.

Client and friend Kaye Wright, who was Courtney’s very first client, applauds Courtney’s reliability and professionalism.

“My most recent home is a new construction and Courtney handled everything from beginning to end working with the builder, construction managers, and inspectors,” Kaye says, “She was 100% reliable, resourceful, and completely in control. She was extremely hard-working, caring, and always gave me her own honest opinions based on her experience.”

Dr. Nicole Coleman, one of Courtney’s most-recent clients, couldn’t believe how easy Courtney made her very first home purchase. Less than one month after settling into her new home, Dr. Coleman has already referred Courtney to a friend.

“I was reluctant going into my first home purchase,” Dr. Coleman shares, “but after meeting Courtney for coffee she found my new home for me in just two weeks and made me feel completely confidant. She brings a level of expertise to the table, and communicates in a way that’s never condescending. She is a very busy woman, but she always made the time to fill me in on the details and address my needs.”

Daryl Malloy, President of the Houston Real Estate Association, respects Courtney’s strong business and leadership abilities. Under Malloy’s leadership, Courtney has served as a board member, 2nd Vice President, and education chair for HREA.

“Courtney is a true multi-tasker,” Malloy says, “she is very focused and goal oriented. Courtney is a consensus builder; in that whatever capacity she holds, she first seeks to understand and then to contribute and be understood. I have served on numerous committees with Courtney and watched her operate with all female organizations and multi-ethnic groups. In both cases she rose to the top as a chair or co-chair. In leading, Courtney is very unselfish and has the big picture of the group she is leading in mind.”

William Traylor, Lead Investor of Equity Building Group LLC, believes Courtney is “not your average Realtor.” Courtney has worked alongside Traylor as a sales, marketing, and development partner of small multi-family income properties.

“Courtney is not your average Realtor; she brings a high level of business acumen and analytical ability to the business,” Traylor says, “She blends an innate understanding of real estate, along with a corporate consulting level understanding of finance, business development, community development and marketing. She has been instrumental in our strategy and analysis for new projects and development feasibility studies that have provided critical insight towards allocation of investment dollars.”

When Courtney is not building her future one transaction or acquisition at a time, she is a dedicated wife to her husband Teeba Rose, whom she met through a family member at a housewarming party in 2002. Courtney and Teeba, partners in life and business, enjoy sharing in one another’s work and success. Courtney assists her husband in his own enterprise, Pre-Paid Legal Services Inc., where the husband-and-wife team provide legal and identity theft protection for families. The two top-earners are proud recipients of the $100,000 ring award in Teeba’s business, which has flourished alongside Courtney’s real estate enterprise. Determined to aid his wife in her day-to-day affairs as well, Teeba serves as an invaluable asset to Courtney’s business.

Teeba praises his wife’s dedication to helping her clients as well as her real estate peers.

“I am the proud husband of Courtney Rose,” Teeba says, “She is a great real estate Broker for several reasons. She always has the client’s best interest at heart. She listens intently to what the client wants and needs before makings suggestions. Courtney is one of the most driven and knowledgeable real estate professionals in the market today. She dedicates her spare time to teaching real estate classes and has helped a countless number of people achieve their goals. I try to model my passion and drive after her.”

Although they work hard and play little, Teeba and Courtney consider working on Sundays non-negotiable, and they reserve the day for their devout commitment to God and family. Teeba and Courtney share many hobbies together including going to the movies, dining in romantic restaurants, and traveling. The self-described film-buffs enjoy taking in action and comedy films at the movie theatre. In their travels, Teeba and Courtney have visited Hawaii, The Bahamas, Cancun, Miami, and most recently Chicago, where Teeba surprised his ecstatic wife with tickets to The Oprah Winfrey Show. Although the happy, young couple have no children as of yet, Courtney eagerly anticipates expanding her family with Teeba in the years to come. “Children for us are a definite,” she says, “and are in the one-to-three year plan.”

Despite holding Bachelors and Masters Degrees, Courtney has continued to expand her education with various accreditations. She is a licensed GRI, and a CCIM candidate. Her hard work and diligence have paid off with several special honors beginning with a New Comer of the Year award from the National Association of Real Estate Broker’s Houston chapter, HREA (The Houston Real Estate Association). Courtney has gone on to be recognized by Realtor Magazine in their “30 Under 30” feature, as HREA’s Realtist of the Year, and one of Rolling Out Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Women in Houston. Of her awards, Courtney takes the greatest honor in her Realtist of the Year honor, a proud title bestowed on her by HREA, the local chapter of NAREB, the oldest and largest minority trade association in America. The title Realtist goes back to a time when minorities were forbidden the title of Realtor due to discrimination.

Lending herself to charity and volunteer work, Courtney is an active member and volunteer for her sorority Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Courtney is also involved with the Community Development Association of Houston, The Houston Association of Realtors - Young Realtors Advisory Board, and she serves on the Prairie View A&M Graduate School Alumni Chapter Board. She is also the founder of the Agnes B. Johnson Scholarship, a memorial scholarship Courtney gives annually in memory of her maternal mother, Agnes Johnson, who unfortunately passed away in 1993.

The future looks promising for Courtney and her family’s real estate dynasty at George E. Johnson Development. Working alongside her father, mother, three brothers, and husband, Courtney is able to receive excellent support and mentorship as she prides herself in working under an umbrella of services in residential, commercial, and development.

For anyone new in the business who wishes to achieve her level of success, Courtney advises them to seek God’s guidance, earn the GRI accreditation, focus their initial marketing on their sphere of influence, and work hard to build a referral network, i.e., the fortune is in the follow-up. Lastly, education is the key.

“Education brings you confidence,” Courtney advises, “and confidence is what will separate you from the rest of the pack.”

Residential and Commercial Realtor, Broker, Developer, Director of the Board, Trainer—for Courtney Johnson Rose, the title of “hardest-working Realtor in Houston” doesn’t sound so far off.

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"Houston Real Estate TODAY!" Now Streaming LIVE On-line!

Tune each Friday at 1PM from the comfort of your computer. "Houston Real Estate TODAY!" now streams on-line. Bookmark the link and tell a friend. Listen this Friday, here: <radio active>

"Houston Real Estate TODAY!" brought to you in part by urbanFINANCIAL.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

12/14/07 - Houston Real Estate TODAY! Radio Show

Left to right: Stephanie Robinson, Publisher of Builder Architect Magazine, Tom Lorenzo of urbanFINANCIAL, Steve Levine, our Host, David Flory, and Greg Carr of MHI

Houston Real Estate TODAY! is now on the air. You are welcome to watch or listen to the show at this link. Our guests were David Flory, Greg Carr, Sales Director for McGuyer Homebuilders, Inc./MHI , and Tom Lorenzo, Vice President of urbanFINANCIAL. Listen here: <Radio Active>

Stephanie Robinson of Builder Architect Magazine, also joined us in the studio.

Sign-up for our newsletter on this page and see our Flickr photo blog. Want to be a guest, sponsor or advertiser? Contact Andy Valadez today at 713.560.3348 or e-mail:

Special thanks to Connie Parsons of Lasting Impressions for recording the video for this edition.

Special thanks to our sponsors urbanFINANCIAL and Delaney's Roofing and Restoration

This show was produced by Steven Kay Media

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

12/07/07 - Houston Real Estate TODAY! Radio Show

Rene Salvatierra, Steve Levine and Tim Sojka

Houston Real Estate TODAY! is now on the air. You are welcome to watch or listen to the show at this link. Our guests were Tim Sojka and Rene Salvatierra, President of urbanFINANCIAL. Listen here: <Radio Active>

Sign-up for our newsletter on this page and see our Flickr photo blog. Want to be a guest, sponsor or advertiser? Contact Andy Valadez today at 713.560.3348 or e-mail:

Special thanks to Connie Parsons of Lasting Impressions for recording the video for this edition.

Special thanks to our sponsors urbanFINANCIAL and Delaney's Roofing and Restoration

This show was produced by Steven Kay Media

Show Introduction With Steve Levine

Part 2: More Details on the Sub-prime fix with Rene Salvatierra

Part 3: How can People Get a Loan/Introduction of Tim Sojka

Part 4: Tim Sojka on Marketing and Differntiation/Marketing and Sales

Part 5: Tim Sojka - Is this the best time to buy? Working with Invetors.

Part 6: Where is a good place to buy and interviewing a Realtor

Part 7: Buying Foreclosures/Staging a Home

Part 8: Show Wrap-up with Great Real Estate Tips

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Lauris and Lisa Tam—Charter Equity, Inc.

Community-Minded Realtors Leading Houston’s Prospering Asian-Americans
By Woodie Stephenson

Asian real estate icons Lauris and Lisa Tam of Charter Equity have developed an incomparable partnership in business and life. The husband and wife partners have established themselves as not only a real-estate powerhouse with the potential to sell entire subdivisions, but as a fixture of Houston’s prospering Asian-American community. Lauris, a veritable jack of all trades, with experience in architecture, design, photography, and customer service has exhibited strong leadership as President of the Asian-American Real Estate Association. Meanwhile, Lisa has served as Lauris’ backbone, working alongside him as the secretary of his association and as a successful Realtor at Charter Equity.

Lauris, a Houston resident of 42 years, first arrived in Texas in 1965 via Hong Kong eager to study at the University of Houston. Convinced by his father that a career in civil engineering was the path to take, Lauris began taking classes but hit a major road bump when he flunked a course in calculus mathematics; however, the young student was undeterred and decided to pursue a new path in his education.

“My father wanted my two brothers and I to study engineering,” Lauris shares, “He thought if we were all engineers we would be guaranteed good jobs. I always loved to draw and design—it just seemed so natural to me—so I studied architecture and graduated #2 in my class rankings.”

Lisa, also a native of Hong Kong, arrived in Houston at the age of 17 to live with her parents and grandparents and attend Lamar High School.

Meanwhile, Lauris worked hard studying and waiting tables in his uncle’s restaurant, Hunan II, formerly known as Hoi Sai Gai Restaurant, on Post Oak Blvd. It was through Lauris’ coworker at the restaurant, Lisa’s brother, that he met his future wife. The two Hong-Kong immigrants began a courtship that quickly led to love and marriage.

“She came here to marry me,” Lauris jokes, although there was no such arranged marriage. Lisa remembers recognizing qualities of greatness in a young Lauris that made her believe also that it was their destiny to meet.
“When I first met Lauris, he was very smart, bright, and gentle. He would travel back to Houston from Texas A& M University every Friday afternoon to wait for me in the Lamar HS parking lot, and he would take me out to see the city. I said to myself, ‘this is my future husband. He can take care of our family and he will be an excellent mentor to me in everything.’”

Eager to learn more and excel in his field of study, Lauris earned his Master of Urban Planning degree from Texas A & M University. He returned to Houston to find rampant development changing the face of the city as the Greenway Plaza, West Loop, Galleria, and Downtown areas were booming with growth. Lauris joined the Keiser Architecture Firm as an architect and quickly found himself at the helm of many projects.

In 1980 Lauris established his own architecture firm, Office Interiors, Inc. Lauris’ design company thrived working for high-profile clients such as Gerald Hines, Century Development, and the Horne Company. Office Interiors, Inc. was named in the Top-200 Interior Design Firms in the nation for five consecutive years. At the company’s pinnacle, Lauris employed over 25 architects and engineers with branch offices in Corpus Christi, Austin, and Houston. As the ‘90s arrived, Lauris found his business less pleasant as many of his best clients retired, leaving him to ponder the same option. In 1993 Lauris closed his office and retired from architecture.

As Lauris had been flourishing in the architecture business, Lisa had meanwhile been experiencing her own success in real estate. Serving the burgeoning Asian community in Houston, Lisa earned the respect of her peers and clients through her heartfelt service and rock-solid ethics. Lisa felt that her personality was a natural fit for real estate.

“I enjoy talking to people and being involved in the community,” Lisa says, “I offer my clients the best real estate services, knowledge, integrity, and patience they cannot find anywhere else. I take care of my clients’ business just like my own, and they know it.” When Lisa learned of Lauris’ early retirement, she gave her husband a challenge.

“Lisa told me that I was much too young to retire and sit on my butt,” Lauris says, “ She kicked me out and challenged me to work in real estate. She really didn’t think I could make it, but she underestimated one thing: I had been dealing with clients for such a long time that it had become a second nature for me to please the people I do business with. I love to deal with people and I have always worked extremely hard to sell myself.”

Lauris found himself back in school studying at the Champions School of Real Estate. After learning the business, Lauris, along with his business partner Pius Leung, founded his own real estate company, Charter Equity, Incorporated for Lisa and him to list and sell homes. While the husband and wife team worked to impress Asian clients with their experience and personality, Lauris began working as a consultant for Ideal Builders which was eventually bought out by KB Home. By sharing his expertise in architecture and design, Lauris was able to offer home builders a better understanding of what features and design the typical Asian customer sought in a home.

With Lauris’ new position as a consultant, he and Lisa were able to help sell and market homes that their customers were much more apt to be impressed by. It wasn’t long before Tom Walker of Gateway Homes had his eye on Lauris’ skill and expertise and sought to recruit the Asian real estate sage to work for his growing company.

Tom Walker and Lauris have found great success in their partnership; Lauris has become the #1 national salesmen for Gateway Homes while selling close to 95-percent of his homes to Asian-American clients. Lauris prides himself in anticipating his buyers’ needs.

“The Asian buyer is very particular,” Lauris shares, “They buy houses from us because we are recognized and trusted throughout the community and much of our business is generated through referrals. I always listen to what my clients want, and most importantly, when we make a promise to our clients, we always keep our promise and deliver.”

Lauris and Lisa take pride in the diversity of their skills in serving clients. The two Realtors are able to serve not only Chinese buyers but many Asian clients of varying nationalities.

“It’s very important to speak a client’s language if you want to earn their respect,” say Lauris and Lisa, “We have many Vietnamese clients and we have taken the time to thoroughly learn their language. Being able to speak the different dialects makes a world of difference.”

By combining his expertise in architecture and design with his sensitivity to his clients’ needs, Lauris has been able to help design better communities for Houston’s growing Asian presence.

“Our clients really look for good feng shui in a house,” Lauris says, “They are particular about the design and flow of a house’s space, the architecture design, and even the direction the house is facing. More than 85-percent of our buyers love a house that is facing either north or south because it is more energy efficient.”

“I love it when a client challenges me on design features,” Lauris says, “I spend a lot of time sketching and designing the homes that we sell. After talking with me, our clients are convinced they will get a better home because we know what they want and I’m an architect so I know how to deliver the home they will love.”

Lauris and Lisa’s friends and associates praise their leadership and generosity to the community. Friend and business partner Shawn Guo attributes the Tam’s success to their strong marriage and their “warm” personalities.

“Lauris has a great quality of leadership,” says Guo of RE/MAX United, “He is a man with a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and strong character. Most people judge a man’s success based on his earnings and business achievements, but what has made Lauris so successful is his ability to reach out to the community and be a strong leader.”

Guo believes that much of Lauris’ success can be attributed to the driving force in his life, Lisa.

“Behind every successful man you will find a strong and successful woman,” Guo shares, “Lisa is Lauris’ other successful half. Wherever you may find Lauris, Lisa is there supporting him. Together, they have raised a great family and made themselves a strong fixture of the community.”

“Lauris and Lisa are the most giving and generous people I have ever known,” says Trish Bui of First American Title, “Lauris is completely unselfish and he wants genuinely wants to do good for the Asian community. He is a very intelligent and strategic businessman who has always planned the best for our community. Lisa is the strong woman behind him; she has helped and guided him. Without Lisa, his projects would not be as successful. Lisa is a wonderful, kind, and intelligent woman.”

Pius Leung of Realm Business Solutions says, “Lauris and Lisa are extremely dedicated to their profession and to the Asian-American community. Once they commit themselves to a task, they are 110-percent dedicated to accomplishing their goal. They have great honesty and integrity and are highly respected in the community.”

“Lauris and Lisa’s ability to network so well has made them successful,” Kenneth Li of Century 21 Southwest says, “They have a strong bond with the professionals in their industry and everybody wants to work with Lauris and Lisa. As an architect, Lauris knows the details that make a great home and is able to design a satisfying product. He is able to deliver the homes that his clients will love because he knows how to listen to their wants and needs and deliver the results to the homebuilders he works with.”

“Lauris is really connected with the Asian community,” business partner Tom Walker of Gateway Homes says, “He takes the time to listen to their needs and as a result of this we are able to work closely together to provide the homes his clients are looking for. He listens and he genuinely tries to help people. Gateway Homes and Lauris Tam are a great fit because it’s very important that a good company be behind an amazing salesperson. Together we strive to honor our commitments and present our clients with the best possible product.”

Lauris’ efforts to please his clients have generated the eager architect and salesman a slew of top industry awards. In 2002, Lauris was the National Sales and Marketing Council’s Silver Award Winner, the Texas Association of Home Builders’ Star Award Winner, and the Greater Houston Builders Association’s First Salesperson of The Year for the second year consecutive. The following year, Lauris became the only candidate nominated by the Houston Board of Realtors for the prestigious HOPE Award.

Although their efforts have brought the Tams many awards and recognition, the couple takes the most pride in their solid marriage of 35 years and their wonderful family. Lauris and Lisa are the proud parents of 3 college graduates Lyndon, Lawrence, and Liana. Lauris and Lisa are also the proud grandparents of two grandsons and a granddaughter.

The Tams pride themselves in their rich community involvement. In addition to founding and holding the position of Chairman for the Hong Kong Association of Houston for over 15 years, Lauris has served as the President of the Asian American Real Estate Association (AAREA) from 2005 to present. Quite the jack of all trades, some of Lauris’ most interesting activities have included serving on the Houston Mayor’s Asian Advisory Board and working as a Field producer for an Emmy Award-winning special on Hong Kong for local broadcasting station KHOU-TV.

Lisa’s extracurricular activities include serving as Secretary on the Chinese-American Association attending important networking and charity activities. Lauris is proud of the great effort Lisa puts into their family and business achievements.

“Every successful man has a great wife behind him,” Lauris shares, “Lisa always listens to me and corrects me when I am wrong. She is there for me night and day to make sure I never make the same mistake twice. She has instincts like no other woman I have ever known; she takes care of my family, shares her wisdom with those around her, and she is very active in out community. I don’t have the time to mingle very often so she does most of the social networking and helps find our strategic business partners. She is my partner in business and life.”

When the Tams are not busy serving Houston’s Asian community, they enjoy combining their two most avid passions: family and traveling. Every year the extended family of 10 takes a vacation to an exotic international destination. Lauris’ favorite port of call is by far Hawaii, where the family plans to return for another trip next year. A passionate photographer, Lauris buys at least one new camera every year and loves to take colorful family portraits. Although they are mostly busy at work, the Tams admit they can be the life of the party.

“I am a party animal,” Lauris admits, “Every year we celebrate the Chinese New Year by throwing a banquet for over 800 people with the AAREA and Hong Kong Association. Everyone wants to come to our party because Lisa and I sing and dance and show people the most incredible time. We love to share our culture with guests; this past year we invited Hispanic, Vietnamese, and Korean Realtors.”

Lauris and Lisa advise their own staff and new agents to invest in their education first and to practice honesty and patience in their business dealings.

“You must be patient,” Lauris shares, “You cannot make money in a day. In order to succeed, you must have knowledge in real estate. Most importantly, you must be honest to both partners in a real estate transaction, your buyer and seller. If you are patient, educated, and work hard then you will achieve success.”

The Tams have prided themselves in raising their own children and grandchildren according to their values and ethics. Each of Lauris and Lisa’s three children has attended either the University of Texas or Texas A & M.

“Being foreign students, Lisa and I stress education,” Lauris says, “We want to make sure our children and grandchildren get college degrees. We have even set up a college fund so that my grandchildren have every opportunity available to them.”

Strong fixtures of the community, Lauris and Lisa pride themselves in their ability to meet their clients’ needs and surpass expectations. With his background in architecture and design, Lauris is able to listen attentively to the special requests of his majority of Asian buyers. The Tams feel they are here to stay and they couldn’t have picked a better place to run a business and raise a family.

“I’ve been in Houston 42 years,” Lauris says, “and my clients know I’m not going anywhere. When they buy a home from me or Lisa they trust our opinion because my family will always be here in the neighborhood and in the community.”

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Life and Your Contributions to It

For those of you subscribers who regularly follow this column (a mandatory requirement of being an “official” fan of the magazine) you know that my very favorite part of job description as Publisher is the opportunity to interview the cover story realtors. Each one must be nominated by one of the members of my Publisher’s Advisory Board (based on criteria that I give them) and receive a unanimous vote by all 23 members of the board…no small task!

One of those criteria is that the cover honoree must give back generously to the community and/or the industry. They generously give their time and resources to help others. Realtors® are a very important part of the community and know that it is very important to use their “blessings” to bless others. Because they do, their lives are more enriched.

Will your legacy be based on your accomplishments in your business or your contributions to your fellow man?

This month’s cover honoree, Lauris Tam of Charter Equity is a most amazing man.
He has accomplished a great deal in his life in whatever he has set his mind. He is an accomplished designer, a top selling real estate agent for Gateway Homes, the President and one of the founders of the Asian American Real Estate Association, a founding board member and President of the Asian Real Estate Association of America and is the founder and President of the Hong Kong Association. Somehow, he finds the time to volunteer for these and many other business organizations. It almost seems that he gets energized out of giving to others. I have witnessed that he is so much more than a Realtor® he is very influential leader in Houston’s Asian community. You will enjoy his story.

While we are on the subject of “Life and Your Contributions to It,” I would like to share a poem that Lauris could very well have written. The poem is by Kitty Victor.


The adventure of life is to learn.
The purpose of life is to grow.
The nature of life is to change.
The challenge of life is to care.
The opportunity of life is to serve.
The secret of life is to dare.
The spice of life is to befriend.
The beauty of life is to give.
The joy of life is to love.
Life begins when you do…enjoy the journey.

Seasons greetings & best wishes for the coming new year!

As always, good reading, good sales!
Success to you!

Steve Levine

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

The 11/30/07 Episode of Houston Real Estate TODAY! on the Air

If you are in real estate, you have probably seen or heard of our special guests for this edition of "Houston Real Estate TODAY!" with Steve Levine, Publisher of Real Estate Executive Magazine. The show was informative, humorous, and newsworthy given the "hot" Houston real estate market and the experience of our guests.

Our Panel of Experts:
Rob Cook, 2007 Chairman of Houston Association of Realtors (HAR)/Robert D. Cook Properties
Shad Bogany, 2002 HAR Chairman/ERA Shad Bogany Properties
Jeanne Conger, VP Sales, Marketing, and KB Home Center/KB Home

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Hear the complete audio stream here: <Radio Active>

Show Intro with Steve Levine

An introduction of our panel and a discussion with Rob Cook

A continuation with Rob Cook

Rob Cook Explains the Dynamics of the New Home Buyer

An introduction to Shad Bogany of ERA Bogany Properties

Shad Bogany, 2002 Chairman of HAR/ERA Bogany Properties

Shad Bogany Continued

Jeanne Conger, VP of Sales and Marketing KB Home

Mrs. Conger Continued, KB Home

Jeanne Conger Explains the Martha Stewart Relationship

Closing Segment and Top Tips From Our Guests

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