Friday, February 29, 2008

Steve Levine Media and Houston Business Show Converge at "El Tiempo" Live Remote Shot in HD Video

Did you miss it? Well, no fear. On 2/27 the Houston Business Show went live with networking, radio streams, and video. Carson Coots and Matt Hager with Poetic Systems, an innovative web development company, came out to catch a few interviews. Catch a few of "our people" who attended like Steve Levine, Connie Parsons of Lasting Ipressions Home Management, and Ann Wilson, Shoreline Mortgage Solutions.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ustream.TV Live! REE Converges at the Houston Business Show

Steve Levine was invited to the "Houston Business Show" Live Remote at "1308 El Tiempo" on Montrose. At the event, business partner Andy Valadez, President of Marketing Dynamics and Executive Vice President of Steve Levine Real Estate Media was broadcasting live on the internet via Ustream.TV. Steve Levine stopped in for his first live internet video. "I only wanted a small compact car and my partner Andy Valadez put me in a Ferrari on the internet!" says Mr. Levine

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Vicki Looney of Keller Williams Memorial

The Pleasure of Her Company
By Kate Sullivan-Conlan

When Realtor Vicki Looney trains new agents for Keller Williams Memorial, she advises them: “Know what you’re selling. If you can’t figure out how to market, it’s because you don’t know what you’re selling. You’re selling yourself.” Marketing is Vicki’s forte, and marketing her homes begins not only with solid real estate expertise and business acumen but also with being herself -- a woman who loves people.

Barbara Myers, one of Vicki’s clients who became her friend, explains Vicki’s approach: “I remember thinking, during the arduous process of fixing up and selling a house, that God didn’t send an agent, He sent an angel. Vicki is the most fun person I have ever known. They don’t come with more humor or more honesty or more ethical rigor!”

Marketing Key:

“It matters as much to me as it does to my clients.”

Vicki consistently closes forty-five to forty-eight homes a year because she makes the relationship with her buyers and sellers her priority. She says, “Marketing should be about you and your client – your bond.”

When Vicki finally got to the closing of the very first house she ever sold, after a difficult back-and-forth process with the seller and the seller's agent, her client broke down and cried. Vicki thought that the “sweet, funny, charming young woman” was just stressed, but the woman told her, “I’m crying because I’m the first woman in my family who has ever been able to buy a home on her own.” Stunned, Vicki realized right then-and-there, “It’s not about the money. It's about making the client happy and about the feeling of accomplishment when their deal is done. You do the right thing, take care of your client, and the money will come.”

Vicki’s marketing stays true to her commitment to that bond. She writes twenty personal notes every day to her friends, her clients, her clients’ friends, their children, and their spouses. These personal contacts and referrals drive her marketing, for she dislikes the sterility of mass mailings and email. When people call her, Vicki personally answers the phone; she wants her clients to get her when they call. At closings, Vicki presents her clients with glasses that she has personally hand-painted with her signature "Looneybird" design. Says Vicki, “I ignore all the 'correct' sales management rules. I hug my clients and call them ‘honey.’ That’s the way I feel about them.” She educates her buyers and sellers, especially the young and inexperienced buyers, and makes them feel confident: “It matters as much to me as it does to my clients.”

Another client who became Vicki’s friend, Susan Wenck, loves to talk about Vicki’s spirit. “Vicki is experienced not only in life, but also especially in reading people. She looks for the ‘ties that bind’ - those life experiences that we all share - in her attempt to truly connect with her clients.”

Vicki’s Business Ethic:

“Doing things right, in the right way.”

When it comes to her business, Vicki says, “There is a correct way to do things. It takes more effort, but I’m willing to do it. It’s about treating everyone fairly.”
Susan Wenck has collaborated with Vicki on two sales and attests to Vicki’s way of working with all sides involved in the sale: “Vicki’s comments about the changes, updates, and necessary repairs to the homes she lists have always been for the sole purpose of finding a common ground of acceptance for both buyer and seller.” She adds that Vicki stays focused on both “what sellers need to do and what buyers want for their hard-earned money.”

Vicki’s business community comprises her team, including her part-time assistant Alane Beard, team leader Stephanie McClimon, and an extensive network of resources and vendors. For all her listings, she uses the services of a professional stager, a professional make-ready team, and a professional photographer. With all this added expertise, Vicki can often do what others cannot. Barbara Myers states unequivocally, “If no one else can sell your house, Vicki can! If no one else is able to find the right home and the right deal for you, Vicki can!”

Monica Bennett, another client, says that she and her husband had been searching for a new home for almost two years when they met Vicki. They had used six realtors and had looked at over one hundred homes. “The problem seemed to be that we knew what we were looking for, but the realtors felt that they could sell us on something different.” They met Vicki by accident after calling the number on a realtor’s sign. They ended up not choosing that house, but when they told Vicki what they were looking for – as they had told so many others – Vicki said she knew just the house and took them there the next day. Monica’s husband walked in the front door, took a brief look around, and said, “We’ll take it.” They closed on the house, and “The rest is history. Vicki did in one day what six other realtors failed to do in two years.”

When Lauae and Matthew Wolfe met Vicki, they were newly married, “young, and inexperienced.” They were renting a one thousand square foot house and had a limited budget, but they wanted to start a family. Vicki did extensive research on the houses she thought they could afford; she educated them on the negotiation process; and she kept them constantly informed. While driving to a listing one day, they passed a large house for sale, and Lauae remarked wistfully that she wished they could buy “that one.” Vicki pulled the car over, called the agent, and in five minutes had them inside the house.

With over four thousand square feet, the house was one that the Wolfes “knew right away that there was no way we afford it,” but Vicki insisted on researching the listing history. Lauae says, “It felt so good to have someone that really cared, that wasn’t interested in just the high-dollar client. She knows her stuff. She took time with us and did not take advantage of our inexperience. In the end, we purchased this amazing home within our budget. It was a dream, and as I sit here at home with our new baby, I am really proud of what a wonderful home we have for him.”

When Vicki was first setting up her business, she often turned to her mentor, Pat Noel, to help her through her frustrations. He would tell her, “There’s a buyer and a seller for every piece of property. Just be honest and always do what you think is the right thing for your clients.” His advice continues to inspire Vicki in her business. Her mantra is: “If you do what’s in your heart, it’ll always be the right thing.”

A Lifetime of Sales:

“The key to all sales is listening.”

Even though her mother had been in sales for years, when Vicki was a young woman, she felt she was too shy to follow in her mother’s footsteps. When a friend told her, “The key to all sales is just talking to clients,” Vicki knew she could do that! She soon discovered, however, that the real key to all sales is not talking -- it’s listening. And she is a very good listener.

For several years Vicki owned her own business selling insurance and financial services. Then she worked for ten years in the security services industry, selling commercial guard services. After years of corporate life, she felt burned out, so she answered an ad at The Center for the Retarded (now called simply The Center). When the director met her, she asked Vicki to also handle marketing as well as teach ceramics and art. In Vicki's early life, she had studied painting and had opened her own arts and crafts shop where she taught art classes of all kinds, so this job took her back to her first love. At The Center, after working with her new students on their ceramics projects, Vicki added a marketing experience for them. She helped them learn how to dress up, took them around town, and introduced them to the building managers who had been Vicki’s former clients in her security services sales business. They were so impressed with the individuals' enthusiasm and art work that they arranged to display her students’ masterpieces in their lobbies. This whole experience was life changing for some of her disabled students. Vicki continues to support The Center today.

About the time that Vicki lost her teaching job because of a funding cut, she was diagnosed with cancer. At first she was utterly stricken by the diagnosis, and her first doctor, who responded to her inquiry about vitamins and spiritual work with “You can do whatever you want, go to Mexico and get goat milk injections for all I care,” caused her to look for a different doctor. She found Dr. Peter de Ipolyi at the Stehlin Clinic, who told her, “Look at all the people in this room who love you. You’re going to be just fine; don’t cry. We're going to do whatever's necessary to make you well!” From then on, Vicki just did what she had to do. She did not worry about dying, for, as she says, “I’d lived my life to the fullest. I’d had fun. I had great friends, a great family. If I died, it was just meant to be.” Her one reservation was that her death would have been so hard on her husband and son. “Michael and I are still like newlyweds. Who would have been Michael’s best friend if I died? And who would have had marathon talks with my thirty-six-year-old son Andy?”

For a woman who had been so active and innovative all her life, not working was just plain boring. A friend suggested that she try real estate sales, so she studied, got her license, and five years ago went to work at Keller Williams Memorial, her home away from home. Vicki thrives there because "Real Estate sales is one of the blessings of my life. I have a lot of fun. And I still get to do my art through my gifts to my clients and friends!"

The Families in Her Life:

“One needs a very special family to be in real estate.”

Keller Williams is like family to Vicki, and their corporate meetings are giant family reunions. “Keller Williams is a company that truly lives its culture,” says Vicki. “When other organizations use the term ‘culture,’ it makes me gag. I've never liked that term. But when I came to Keller Williams, I learned what a true company ‘culture’ meant." The centerpiece of that culture is KW Cares, a foundation that assists Keller Williams agents and their families during financially devastating times. “We support agents with prayer and all kinds of assistance during difficult times.” For example, not too long ago, an agent was hit by a car when he was putting out his signs. He struggled for several days in the hospital before dying and leaving a wife and three children. KW Cares was there for them. “It’s this caring heart of Keller Williams that makes me so happy here,” says Vicki. “It’s why I mentor and teach new agents, and why I have been happy to recruit eight new agents to Keller Williams.” Vicki also serves on the Agent Leadership Council at Keller Williams. As one of the top ten agents in the Memorial office, Vicki was invited to sit on the council where she is the committee chair for Career Development and Training. Stephanie McClimon says, “Vicki is a member of the prestigious Agent Leadership Council. She is always willing to offer advice and guidance to her fellow agents, contributing greatly to the success of others. She personifies the real meaning of ‘teamwork.’”

With all her achievements, Vicki is proudest of and most passionate about her own family – her husband Michael, her son Andy Simpson, and her parents. “My parents are my role models and my mentors. They are extraordinary personalities.” Her mother, Ethylene Marsh, now seventy-seven, for many years ran an insurance sales organization that employed seventy to eighty agents. She still works part-time. “She’s demanding, but she is also the kind of person who can get a whole room laughing.” In fact, says Vicki, “My parents taught me that I could do whatever I wanted to do. They also taught me to treat others well, the way I want to be treated. And we laughed a lot.” In her family as in her whole life, Vicki believes, “If you can’t figure out how to laugh, you can’t get through the difficult times.”

Vicki met her husband of eighteen years through his ex-wife, with whom Vicki worked selling insurance. One day she went to her associate's house to baby-sit for her, and saw Michael, a tax attorney, down the hall talking with his two boys. They dated for a few months but drifted apart because of the competing demands of their own small children. Ten years later, fate intervened when Vicki ran into him again at a Rockets game. Six months later they were married. Michael is her most ardent cheerleader, her best friend, and the love of her life. He’s a history buff who thoroughly researches their travel destinations so that they can see it all. Besides Paris, their favorite spots are Austin (they're Longhorn fans) and northern California. “We love the back roads and the winery tours -- especially when the farmer comes up, personally pours the wine for us, and invites us back to see the vineyard.” Vicki is proud of their marriage: “Unfortunately, a lot of people are just married. We have fun. Our life together is great, and we’re happy.”

Vicki is exceptionally proud of her son Andy, who recently became a Keller Williams agent in Austin. “You go from badgering your kids when they’re little,” she muses, “to being their friend and enjoying, admiring, and respecting them when they’re grown. When I got off the phone from talking to Andy the other day, I thought to myself, ‘My son is such a nice young man!’"

In an environment of mass mailings, recorded messages, and phone menus that require ten minutes to navigate, Vicki Looney focuses on the personal. To her, this business is VERY personal. Her success as a Realtor can be measured not only in her phenomenal sales record but also by the love and admiration of her clients. How many Realtors have clients that say, as Barbara Myers says, “Vicki’s quite simply someone I admire, enjoy, and hope will be a permanent part of my life!”

As Vicki says, “If you do what’s in your heart, it’ll always be the right thing.”

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“Earning” the Testimonials and/or Referrals

Steve Levine with Andy Valadez, President of Marketing Dynamics and Ruben Gonzalez, 3 Time Olympian

What I have learned in my 6 years of publishing this fine magazine is that every realtor claims to be superior in customer service over their competitors, at least as evidenced by the number of referrals they receive from previous clients.

They must deliver the quality and quantity of service “worthy” of a testimonial and/or those referrals. How does one exceed a customer’s expectations when each customer uses a different “yardstick” by which to measure that excellence in customer service?

We all have experienced service in a restaurant or hotel that was worthy of a compliment or complaint. When Barbara and I recently traveled to Dallas to attend a convention over the Valentines Day weekend we had a terrible experience with with the quality of a very expensive steak in one of Dallas’s premier hotels.

I have always felt that the more you spend for a product or service, the better the service should be. Not so at this restaurant!

The $32 T-bone was tough and tasteless. The asparagus had so much garlic and salt, you couldn’t taste the actual vegetable! After sending the plate back to the kitchen 3 times, Barbara gave up on her steak and we left with a “bad taste in our mouth” (in more ways than one) for that restaurant.

What was most disappointing about our dining experience was that there was a better steak restaurant in the same hotel, that they could have (and should have) gotten the third steak from. But, no one wanted to go to that length to “save” the customer, till Barbara communicated her experience to the General Manager of the hotel who arranged for her to get a better steak at the better steakhouse (in the same hotel mind you) and gave it to her complimentary.

We all have very high expectations for how we want to be treated when we are the consumer. But, how many of us really deliver that same level of service to OUR consumer?

Both this month’s cover story, Vicki Looney of Keller Williams Realty-Memorial and our “Company Profile”, Gary Pollard of The Gary Pollard Agency Group focus on raising the bar of excellence in customer service client after client, month after month. For Vicki and Gary the attitude that “Unless the consumer is 100% satisfied, you have missed the mark”, is the why their businesses continue to grow while others around them are not.

You will enjoy both of their stories!
Gary Pollard and his company were first profiled in the March 2005 issue of Real Estate Executive and are back by popular demand.

Also returning to us are the great folks at Allied Home Warranty who have provided you with an application inserted in the magazine and only ask that you give them a try.

The other insert is a reprint from Michael and Mark Marlow of Re/Fund Realty Services and Mortgage Funding. They were profiled in the October 2007 issue.
Great guys with a terrific company that are also worthy of your referrals!

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

Steve Levine

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Monday, February 25, 2008

2/22/08 Edition of "Houston Real Estate TODAY!" on CNN 650 AM

Gregg Langford, Steve Levine, Corey DeBaradino, and Edward Griffin

We go into the studio with Gregg Langford of Keller Williams Realty Clear Lake, NASA and Edward Griffin of Griffin Partners and Corey DeBaradino, Vice President of, . This week we focus on the Clear Lake area. As always, we are always interested in learning more about builders building in the Houston market and other professionals in Real Estate. "Houston Real Estate TODAY!" airs every Friday on CNN 650 AM from 11AM to 12PM CST in the Houston marekting and on-line audio stream. We archive every show in video and audio shortly thereafter.

To listen to the archive audio stream (click): <radio active>

If you are interested in being a guest on the show, please contact Andy Valadez at 713.560.3348 or e-mail:

Please sign-up for our newsletter and visit our Flickr photo blog. We welcome your comments and feedback.

Show Sponsors:
Lasting Impressions Home Management
Marketing Dynamics
Homes and Land Magazine
Nuestra Casa

Our show producer Steven Kay Media

Show Intro with Gregg Langford of Keller Williams Realty Clear Lake

Part 2: Intereview with Edward Griffin,President with Griffin Partners

Part 3: Back with Edward Griffin

Part 4: Interview with Cody DeBaradino, VP of urbanFINANCIAL

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Media Partner: Announcing a New Media Partnership with "Homes and Land" Reaching 75,000 Buyers Monthly

Steve Levine Real Estate Media is proud to announce its strategic media partnerhsip with "Homes and Land" with its circulation in excess of 75,000 monthly (without pass-through rate). "Houston Real Estate TODAY!" is a hit radio show featuring the movers and shakers in Houston real estate. "Getting the attention and inclusion of 'Homes and Land' is a great opportunity for our show" says Steve Levine. "Homes and Land" is promoted on the radio show as an official sponsor and the magazine supports the show with a 1/2-page color advertisement, reaching buyers and sellers and service providers to the industry. You can reach "Homes and Land" by visiting:

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Media Partner: Announcing a New Media Partnership with "Nuestra Casa" Reaching 25,000 Bi-lingual Buyers

Steve Levine Real Estate Media announces its new media partnership "Nuestra Casa", supporting "Houston Real Estate TODAY!" with a full-page color ad in its publication, reaching over 25,000 bi-lingual readers a month (without pass-through rate). Marco Rodriguez, CEO of Nuestra Casa will be hosting builder guests as part of this parnership. To reach "Nuestra Casa" about advertising call: 1.888.332.8366 or e-mail:

To learn more, visit:

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

2/15/08 Edition of Houston Real Estate TODAY! on CNN 650 AM

Part 1: Monlogue and Introduction of Dean and Brandi Melton, RE/MAX The Woodlands and Spring, February 2008 Real Estate Executive Magazine Cover Story Honorees

Part 2: Continuation with Dean and Brandi Melton

Part 3: An Inteview with Andy Valadez of Marketing Dynamics talking about the blog

Show Conclusion: Best Tips

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

2/8/08 Edition of Houston Real Estate TODAY! on CNN 650 AM

Left to Right: Rene Salvatierra, urbanFINANCIAL Steve Levine, Dale Ross, RE/MAX Fry Rd., and Colleen Uriarte, Parkmont Homes

We go into the studio again with Rene Salvatierra, President of, Dale Ross of RE/MAX Fry Road, and Colleen Uriarte of Parkmont Homes. This week we focus on the Katy area and the topic of short-sales and foreclosures. As always, we are always interested in learning more about builders building in the Houston market. "Houston Real Estate TODAY!" airs every Friday on CNN 650 AM from 11AM to 12PM CST in the Houston marektin and on-line audio stream. We archive every show in video and audio shortly thereafter.

To listen to the archive audio stream (click): <radio active>

If you are interested in being a guest on the show, please contact Andy Valadez at 713.560.3348 or e-mail:

Please sign-up for our newsletter and visit our Flickr photo blog. We welcome your comments and feedback

Show Sponsors:
Lasting Impressions Home Management
Marketing Dynamics
Homes and Land Magazine
Nuestra Casa

Our show producer Steven Kay Media

Part I: Inteview with past cover story honoree, Dale Ross of RE/MAX Fry Road

Part 2: Colleen Uriarte with Parkmont Homes (a division of Choice Homes)

Our Media Partners and Sponsor Recognition

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Dean & Brandi Melton, The Melton Team RE/MAX-The Woodlands & Spring

“Spouses Selling Houses”
By Woodie Stephenson

Tucked away in the cozy family-friendly community of the Woodlands, The Meltons—Dean and Brandi—have quietly assembled a real estate super team that has cracked the top ranks in the Greater Houston Area and Texas for the past 12 years. While many other teams operate on a high profile, Dean and Brandi have allowed their reputation as community-minded and family-oriented Woodlands residents to sell their services to those who live in and wish to join their community. Throughout their 15-year marriage, Dean and Brandi have been blessed as their family and business have grown. Always fair and compassionate to those who they work for and work with, The Meltons are two passionate spouses selling houses.

Born in the Texas-Panhandle town of Dumas, Brandi grew up in a quite town with her parents and older brother before moving to the burgeoning community of The Woodlands where she has lived for the last 27 years. After attending college at The University of Houston and Texas Tech, Brandi went straight after her real estate license, attending classes at the Spencer School of Real Estate and attaining her credentials in May of 1991. Settling into the real estate community in The Woodlands, which Brandi both knew and loved, the aspiring agent worked under Ted and Debbie Bates.

Dean, meanwhile, a native Houstonian all his life, was raised along with his two older sisters by a hard-working entrepreneur father and loving homemaker mother. Growing up, Dean learned valuable management and people skills from his father who owned various gas stations, car washes, and storage facilities among other things. Eager to learn from his father, Dean took on managing his father’s businesses as soon as he had the opportunity. Dean’s father always taught him to be kind and fair to those who work for you and to always instill a sense of trust in them.

“My dad was very trusting,” Dean says, “He bought his first gas station at the age of 17, and went on to own 12 more. He built his own team of employees and he taught me not to micromanage the people who work for you, but to be fair, respectful, and to always trust them.”

After graduating from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Dean was browsing the help-wanted section of a newspaper when he came across an ad that read: Want to make a $100,000 selling real estate? Intrigued by the proposition, Dean met with current RE/MAX of Texas CEO Richard Filip, about joining a RE/MAX franchise in the 1960 area. Within 2 years of starting with RE/MAX, Dean quickly prospered with real estate earning his Broker’s license and becoming part owner of the RE/MAX 1960 Group at the age of 24. Although young and successful, there was still something missing in Dean’s life: a wife to share in his success and happiness.

In February, 1992 , at a RE/MAX state convention in Galveston, Dean and Brandi were introduced to each other by several enthusiastic friends and colleagues, many of whom to this day continue to argue over whom rightfully deserves the credit for hooking up the couple. Dean says, “When I met Brandi, I said that I would marry her one day.” After less than a year of courtship, Brandi and Dean were married in December of 1992.

After being convinced by Brandi that the Woodlands would be the ideal place to raise a family and work together, Dean sold his share in the 1960 office and joined Brandi at Ted & Debbie Bates’ RE/MAX office in The Woodlands. Although working together in The Woodlands was like a dream come true for the newly married Meltons, Dean found that leaving his old office wasn’t the easiest path at first.

“The Woodlands was an up and coming place to go to build a real estate business,” Dean recalls, “but it was tough in the beginning. Brandi really helped me with all the connections she had developed, and I’ve never looked back.”

Building their connections in the real estate business, and in the community has been a passion for Dean and Brandi, who are very actively involved in their church and community along with their three daughters, the killer B’s: Brittney, Brooke, and Breanne. Dean and Brandi’s daughters, who each have their own rental properties, share their parents’ fervor for real estate, which is very much a family business for The Meltons.

“God has truly blessed us,” Dean says, “Our faith and family have always been our highest priorities. The Woodlands is a great place to live, work and play, and a lot of great things have happened to us over the years. Whenever we can welcome somebody to our community by selling them a house, we go out of our way to treat them like family.”

“It’s unbelievable,” Brandi adds, “We have gained so many longtime loyal friends through the business.”

Incorporating their daughters into their business model is a telling aspect of how passionate The Meltons are about their family and community. Dean and Brandi’s three daughters are featured in their promotional photos and advertising supplements that clients receive, not to mention, the girls have a quite a knack for real estate themselves.

“It’s really in the genes,” Brandi says, “Our girls can pick a house apart and tell us what it needs to be updated to appeal to today’s family. They are really keener than a lot of licensed agents. They love to help us and see us succeed. They are always actively involved in the business, helping us prepare our mail-outs among other things.”

Dean and Brandi’s strong bond and sincere approach over the 15 years they have worked and raised their family together have propelled their real estate team to the top of the ranks as one of the most-successful and influential in Houston, Texas and the United States. The Melton Team has been ranked among the top 10 in the Houston Business Journal for the past 12 years, the top 10 in Texas for RE/MAX and recently cracked the Top 100 for RE/MAX in the United States (there are over 115,000 RE/MAX agents worldwide). The RE/MAX Hall of Fame agents have also achieved Platinum, Chairman and Diamond status on their way to being inaugurated into the hallowed Circle of Legends.

Despite their list of superlative achievements, The Meltons are an extremely humble couple who prefers to let their personalities and principles sell themselves to potential clients.

“All of the awards are a great honor,” Brandi admits, “but building a lifelong friendship with our clients is the best honor we can be given. Knowing that our clients have 100% faith and trust in us is the true reward we work for. Many of our clients have bought and sold multiple homes with us.”

“Brandi and I really compliment one another in work and life,” Dean says, “Her strengths are my weakness and vice-versa. We totally respect one another and put each other up on a pedestal. Real estate is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash. A lot of people burn themselves out, but we keep each other going.”

Dean’s most powerful tool is his comprehensive knowledge of The Woodlands’ history, development, and layout, which have earned him the Prism Award for his outstanding service to builders not only once, but twice in the last 7 years. The Prism Award is given to only one of Houston’s 23,000 Realtors and is voted on by the Greater Houston Builder’s Association. He has also been awarded honors as “Realtor of the Year” for four years which is given by The Woodlands Development Company. Dean has also been awarded the status of “Realtor of Distinction” for his continuous role in selling new homes and his community involvement in The Woodlands.

“Dean is very knowledgeable when it comes to knowing The Woodlands,” Brandi says, “He knows almost everything there is to know about the community, builders, and floor plans of homes. He can drive down any street and tell you who built a particular house, when it was built, and what it sold for.”

In order to continue their success in the real estate business, Dean and Brandi have stressed the importance of their presence in their profession, doing whatever they can to reach out and help other agents. Whereas many markets foster a competitive and sometimes even cut-throat atmosphere among agents, the Woodlands is a place where the agents who survive are those who are honest, helpful, and sincere.

“What’s wonderful about The Woodlands is all the agents know each other and work together,” Dean says, “Agents really focus on having good relationships and working together. Whenever we run into other agents, there are hugs all around. Having such great friends working with us in this business really makes real estate a lot of fun. I really need my fellow agents helping me because we can’t sell over 150 houses a year by ourselves.”

Brandi says, “The Woodlands has grown to be a big place, but it is very tight. It has a small-town atmosphere even though it’s part of a big city. The best compliment we can get in this business is to go to a closing and have another agent say that they love working with our team because we return their calls and emails, and our listings always show so well.”

Dean and Brandi’s real estate peers and clients have a true respect for their professionalism and integrity.

Rocky DePapa, renowned real estate guru and part-owner of RE/MAX-The Woodlands & Spring, has watched as Dean and Brandi have risen through the ranks to the top of their profession.

“Dean and Brandi are outstanding agents who exemplify true real estate professionals,” Rocky says, “They work hard, they are organized, and they treat their clients in a way that generates a lot of repeat business. Although the volume of their business has increased, they are organized enough to consistently provide quality and maintain their standards. They are the benchmark for quality in their real estate community.”

Longtime clients Bob and Nancy Taylor found The Meltons to be extremely supportive and helpful in working with them and their family in over the years.

“It’s hard to believe that our family has used your team for 13 real estate transactions. We totally trust your expertise when it comes to real estate and your integrity is of the highest regard. We can always trust you to lead us in the right direction because of your incredible experience and knowledge of The Woodlands. We look forward to using your services again and we will continue to refer all our family and friends your way. ”

Clients Randy and Lisa Reeves, who were dreading the sale of their home, were surprised at how easy The Melton Team made the whole process from the sale of their home to the purchase of a new one.

“Honestly, we were dreading the sale of our home and searching for a new one,” Randy Reeves says, “but Dean walked me through the process and answered all my questions up front. He gave me a to do list of strategic steps to selling our home, and after my wife and I followed his instructions, our home was sold in 5 days! Within a few days, Dean and Brandi found the perfect home for us. They guided us through the mortgage-lending process and timed our closings to meet our schedule and needs. Our entire experience with Dean and Brandi’s team was not only painless, it was downright enjoyable!”

Kelly Malatesta of Chase Manhattan Mortgage values the working relationship she has established with Dean and Brandi in which they routinely refer clients to one another.

“Dean and Brandi are extremely helpful and responsive, not to mention they are great Christian people,” Kelly says, “They really know the market and every time we work together they are very involved and responsive in our client interactions. They always have the client’s best interest at heart. Just about every client they refer to me has used their services several times.”

Dean has worked with RE/MAX of Texas CEO Richard J. Filip since joining his first RE/MAX office. Richard believes Dean and Brandi are a true benchmark for real estate professionalism due to their strong commitment to client service and charity work.

“Transitioning from another business, Dean came to a RE/MAX career event right out of licensing school, joined us immediately, and has enjoyed outstanding success,” Filip says, “He and Brandi exemplify the RE/MAX spirit of professionalism, community involvement, and excellence in all that they do. While at the top of their industry, they're continually searching for ways to increase their level of service to clients. Their charity work has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Children's healthcare locally, and we couldn't be prouder of their accomplishments both in and outside of real estate.”

Dean and Brandi’s RE/MAX team consists of four members working alongside the agents to ensure their clients receive the utmost service and response time. The extremely family-oriented Meltons consider their team to be a family, although they understand that for their team members, just like themselves, family comes first.

“We treat our team members as equals,” Brandi shares, “We are all fair to each other and we stress honesty. Most importantly, we let them put their family first. If they need to be somewhere for their children or spouse, they know we will always be understanding.”

Diana Vance, the longest member of the Melton team since 2001, she has over 15 years of experience in real estate and brings the creative force to the team through her expertise in marketing, graphic design, proposals, listing and selling documents, and title processing. The Meltons like to say that there is nothing out of the realm of possibility for Diana.

“Diana is phenomenal,” Brandi says, “she has been with us so long that she can read Dean’s mind.”

Tory Hearn, a real estate partner in The Melton Team, is a full-time licensed Realtor who has lived in The Woodlands for over 25 years. Tory, whose mother has worked in real estate selling new homes, practically grew up in the business. Much like Dean and Brandi, Tory stresses the importance of developing relationships with his clients and generating referrals and repeat business. Although Tory generates much of his own business, he also works closely with Dean assisting clients and teeing it up on the golf course.

“Tory was my right hand man the first few years we worked together,” Dean says, “but he has grown into a strong agent and creates so much of his own business. We work hard and play hard together, making our team successful and playing golf whenever we can.”

Michele Goldman, a licensed assistant to Dean and Brandi, relocated to The Woodlands along with her family after working for over a decade in the North Texas real estate market. A specialist at handling all the important details that make each transaction a success, Michele communicates thoroughly with clients to keep them updated on the status of their deals.

Sandy Petermann, who helps in assisting buyers and sellers, met Dean and Brandi when they sold her a home. After working as a part-time assistant for the team, she realized her love for the business and became a licensed agent.

When not assisting their clients, Dean and Brandi are actively involved in their church, Fellowship of the Woodlands, where they attend service with their daughters and teach Sunday school classes. The Meltons have been members of the church since 1993 when they assisted in leasing the pastor a home. At the time the church started with only 9 members in his congregation; since then, they have watched their fellowship grow to over 14,000 on a weekly basis! It is one of the fastest growing churches in America and they are glad to be a part of it.

The Meltons also dedicate their time to the RE/MAX Children’s Miracle Network where they help raise money and partake in the annual golf tournament which over the past 4years has raised close to $200,000 for children in need.

For those who wish to achieve their level of success, Dean and Brandi advise agents to be honest, friendly and persistent if they want to achieve their goals in real estate.

“If real estate is really what you want then don’t give up,” Dean advises, “It takes persistence to succeed. The first three years are the hardest and if you can make it that long, you can succeed.”

They also recommend that agents make friends with their industry peers and have a sincere love for the job.

“Part of our success is that we have made so many friends and we really respect and like the owners of our office and the people we work with. We learned a long time ago from our mentors that if you really enjoy what you do, you’ll never feel like you work hard.”

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Resort Living with Parkmont Homes (A division of Choice Homes)

Parkmont Homes selects neighborhoods in which to build that reflect the lifestyle and distinction that you are looking for now: A retreat, but in the middle of everything. An architectural show-stopper, but responsibly designed with only the highest quality products, state-of-the-art energy efficiency and one of the best warranties in the industry.

Steve Levine Interviews Tim Martin, Area Manager for Parkmont Homes

An interview with Travis Phelps

We are relentless in the pursuit of customer satisfaction. This shows in the craftsmanship of our homes and the professionalism of our team.

Colleen Uriarte of Parkmont Homes on "Houston Real Estate TODAY!"

Parkmont Homes are the next step in the evolution and expansion of Choice Homes, a company that has successfully grown from one community in 1987 to over 100 today. This represents over 38,000 very satisfied and loyal home owners. Parkmont Homes are priced from the $200s to $350s with one- and two-story home designs approximately ranging from 2528 to 3449 square feet. Plans include up to 5 bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths and up to three-car tandem garages. Some of the most popular features included are distinctive front elevations, 8’ leaded glass mahogany front doors, furniture-finish 42” maple cabinetry, Granite countertops, outdoor fireplace and gas grille options and many more.

Parkmont Homes’ exceptional new model is now open for touring in Westheimer Lakes, a gated 592-acre, master-planned community located in West Houston. Convenient to the “energy corridor” and close to I-10, Highway 59, Highway 90A, Highway 99 and the new West Park Tollway; this enclave is perfect for the family that demands the best of high tech and high touch.

Residents of Westheimer Lakes are served by state-of-art home technology. This includes high-speed, broadband internet access, home computer networking and complete home security systems with free alarm monitoring for one year.
As for the “high touch”… there are fabulous amenities. World class shopping is found at the largest shopping mall in the region, Katy Mills Mall. Homeowners are minutes away from the Galleria via the West Park Tollway. Plus, dining and entertainment is just a short drive away. Children attend the high-regarded Lamar Consolidated ISD.

It’s About You. You’ll know when you’re ready to move up to a Parkmont Home.
It starts gradually. Then one day, it hits you. Just like those mismatched plates and furniture you bought when your oldest was a baby, your family has outgrown your current home and you’ve earned the right to a better lifestyle. This means a neighborhood that’s both convenient to the other activities in your life and secure. It means that you want energy efficiency because you care about the environment and hate to pay those outrageous utility bills. Mostly, you want a beautiful, new home with outstanding amenities because life is too short.

Does this sound like you? Then maybe you’re ready for a Parkmont Home.
It’s About Time. Time with your family, your friends, yourself. Parkmont Homes is here to help you make the most of your time. Starting Now!
Yes, it’s about time. Your time.

If you would like to have a Parkmont representative call and set up a tour, just log on to and register today or to contact the Sales Consultant directly call (832)-595-2339. To visit Parkmont Homes, priced from the $200s, in Westheimer Lakes, take I-10 west, exit the Grand Parkway south. Travel to FM 1093 and turn right to Canyon Fields Parkway.

Westheimer Lakes is approximately 1/2 mile from the Grand Parkway, approximately six miles south of I-10, and 11 miles north of US59.


Special thanks to Connie Parsons of Lasting Impressions Home Management for shooting the video and helping to stage the scene.

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Publishers Commentary: “Spouses Selling Houses”

Real Estate seems to be a more a “family business” as least as evidenced by the number of couples who have graced the front cover of our magazine. REE has profiled 21 couples in the 71 magazines that we have produced since we started in April 2002.

They were Ronnie & Cathy Mathews/Re/Max Legends, Al & Elizabeth Mandola/Coldwell Banker Mandola, Don & Sherry Burns/ Re/Max Fine Properties, Melinda & Jim Noel/ Greenwood King, Mario & Maggie Rios/Re/Max Fine Properties, KC & Alice Lam/Re/Max Elite, Ward & Marilyn Arendt/Marilyn Arendt Properties, Gregg & Amy Langford/Keller Williams Realty Clear Lake, Silvia & Manuel Martinez/Martinez Realty, Richard & Tracy Wall / Richard Wall Realtors, Neil & Anita Reed/Realm Realtors, Michael & Melissa Weaster/C-21 Excel, Richard & Peggy Elkowitz/Re/Max Westside, Ruben & Nancy Villarreal/Re/Max Integrity, Kenneth & Anni Li/C-21 Southwest, Diane & Bruce Kink/Keller Williams Woodlands, David & Lauren Flory/Re/Max Professional Group, Marion & Bruce Franke/Keller Williams Realty (Conroe), Tim & Lori Sojka/Keller Williams Houston West, Lauris & Lisa Tam/ Charter Equity, Inc. and this month’s cover honorees, Dean & Brandi Melton/RE/MAX The Woodlands & Spring.

Obviously, these couples love building their businesses and lives together. Still many more have spouses and other family members are “behind the scenes” who either support them in their business or are the motivation behind everything they do.
Happy Valentines Day to all of the all of the “Real Estate Sweethearts” in our community!

Dean & Brandi Melton have been true sweethearts since they met through friends in 1992. They have three beautiful daughters (one in college) and a wonderful team. I have truly enjoyed working with them on this issue. You will enjoy their story.

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

Steve Levine

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

2/1/08 - Birthday Edition of Houston Real Estate TODAY! CNN 650 AM

Show Guests: Christine Rayburn, Rene Salvatierra, Rita Santamaria, Jeff Cummings, and Steve Levine (the birthday boy) and Barbara Davis-Levine

What a show and what a panel. Steve Levine cuts loose and has fun with his "Birthday Edition" of "Houston Real Estate TODAY!". Our guests included Rita Santa Maria, President of Champions School of Real Estate who talked about a career in real estate, Christine Rayburn of Rayburn & Associates Realty (an instructor at Champions School of Real Estate), Jeff Cummings of Waterfront Marketing Group, and our sponsor and host Rene Salvatierra, President of urbanFINANCIAL

This hit radio show is sponsored in part by urbanFINANCIAL and Homes and Land Magazine

Anyone interested in being a guest, sponsor guest, or advertiser may contact our media relations agency at 713.560.3348 or by e-mail at

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter at the link above and see our Flickr photo blog to see our past guests in the studio on CNN650 AM

To listen to this episode click: <radio active>

To view the show click the images below.

This show is produced and marketed by Steven Kay Media and Marketing Dynamics

Video shot by Connie Parsons of Lasting Impressions Home Management

Part 1: Show Intro and Interview with Rita Santamario, President, Champion School of Real Estate

Part 2: An interview with Christine Rayburn of Rayburn & Associates Realty

Part 3: An Interview with Jeff Cummings of Waterfront Marketing Group

Final Comments and Tips from our Guests

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