Bernstein Realty congratulates their Monthly Top Agents for the first half of 2019! Being a Top Monthly agent means that the agent was either the Top Sales Agent by Dollar Volume, Tops Sales Agent by number of Transactions, Top Listing Agent for Sales, Top Listing Agent for Leases, or the Top Leasing Agent. These agents have worked so hard the first half of 2019, and we are so excited to see what the rest of the year has in store! We asked each of these top agents questions about real estate, scroll down to read their answers!

Maylis Curie

  • What is your favorite thing about Real Estate? Meeting wonderful people who end up becoming friends and introducing them to life in Houston.


  • What does it take to be a Monthly Top Producer? Consistency, following up, always responding to clients VERY quickly, always picking up the phone, and keeping a positive attitude and a smile on your face whatever the situation.

Lis Harper

  • What is your favorite thing about Real Estate? The process of guiding clients through buying, selling, and leasing, is exhilarating and challenging, but beyond the work, I truly enjoy acting as an ambassador to Houston for my clients. I love introducing them to the best Houston has to offer in terms of restaurants, cultural events, and activities. Many of my clients move to Houston from other cities, states, and countries, so providing them with more than just real estate service brings me joy.


  • What is your favorite home you have ever sold? I’ve always enjoyed touring homes with clients, helping them to envision what their life will look like in one place or another, but by far, my most favorite home to sell was a gorgeous home in the Energy Corridor with a backyard oasis that seemed to transport us from a quiet neighborhood in Houston and out to a vacation home in California. Situated at a higher elevation than surrounding homes, the incredible privacy of the backyard enhanced the appeal of a resplendent covered patio big enough to offer a seating area and outdoor dining. The pool, surrounded by gorgeous trees and a lush lawn, invited us to take a dip. I can’t speak for my clients, but for me, dreaming about relaxing and hosting family and friends in this resort-quality outdoor space truly sold this home to me on the spot! 

Mark McNitt

  • What has been a challenge you have had to overcome in Real Estate this year, and how did you overcome it?  The challenges are always there.  When working with our clients, we must know what the markets are doing and how it affects their situations.  Different areas of town, different price points, buyer or seller…needing to verbalize how the markets will affect them and provide information to set realistic expectations as we get started.


  • Any tips for anyone considering a career in Real Estate?  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  On average, when I meet a potential client to the day we close a home its 6 months!  So, dreaming of a quick paycheck is typically not in the cards.  However, once your underway, you will see how the real estate business flows and how to plan for expenses and income that will come in.

Cathy Derrick

  • What is your favorite thing about Real Estate? What I love about real estate is that I get to wake up every morning and do something I love! So, real estate to me is not just a career, it’s a “lifestyle.” It incorporates all the things I enjoy…people, design and houses! And, for that, I am most grateful.


  • What is your favorite home you have ever sold? In thinking about which home was my favorite to sell…well, not to be “cliché” but, truly it has been ALL of them. Each transaction presented itself with its own challenges and rewards. I feel that, in each, I learned something new and it has made me a better agent. That in itself, is one of reasons a career in Real Estate is exciting and you truly do learn something new every day.

Wayne Cohen

  • What is your favorite thing about Real Estate? I enjoy negotiating and getting the best possible deal for my clients. I also like the flexibility and the freedom working in real estate affords. No set office hours means that sometimes,   I’m on the phone at 4am with a client from overseas, and sometimes, I have to drop everything to negotiate multiple offers, but it also means forming real connections with people and building life-long friendships with the most amazing people I meet through my work.


  • Any tips for anyone considering a career in Real Estate? It doesn’t happen overnight. You need to be strategic and patient. At the end, it’s all about your client. Seeing them happy with the work you’ve done and referring you to their friends feels incredibly rewarding. 

Laura Perlman

  • What is your favorite thing about Real Estate? ​I enjoy working with my clients and creating a team with a unified goal.  I encourage learning the process of Buying or Selling and am happy to use my experience to teach.  This allows for smoother transactions and the all-important “win-win”.  I am humbled and honored by clients that refer me to family and friends, and especially those who come back to me with their next real estate transaction.


  • What made you become a Real Estate Agent? ​ Ever since I was a child I have gone to look at open houses.  I would imagine my life in that home and what I would do to make it mine.  That love of “opening the front door” has stayed with me through the years.  It provides me the enthusiasm and desire to appreciate each and every one of my clients and their personal transactions.

Cathy Scherer

  • What made you become a Real Estate Agent? I became a Realtor because I have always worked in a sales position and love meeting new people. I like the flexibility of the job. You get to know so much about your clients because you work so closely with them and buying/selling a house is so personal.


  • Any tips for anyone considering a career in Real Estate? To anyone who is a new Realtor, it is very important to stay on top of the latest market trends and always be available to your clients.

Donna Neely

  • What is your favorite home you have ever sold? The first home I sold was over in Garden Oaks on 31st street.  Bernstein Realty had the listing and I got the lead from a property call.  The cottage was a redo cottage type with a stone exterior.  Lots of vision in this home to redo, adding a second floor, knocking down walls etc.  I will say it was dated.  We closed on my birthday in the office. There was a funky toilet seat that was pink see thru with dead flowers I told them they should keep it as it would add to the vintage feel.  They wrapped it up and brought it to me as a birthday gift.  I have sold many homes over the 25 years; you remember your first always.


  • What made you become a Real Estate Agent? I became a real estate agent after a lengthy career in Multi Family property management.  My sister was an agent with Century One in the Woodlands and wanted me to come work with her.  I finally decided to start the classes and finally got my license.  I tried a locator service first and a very dear friend said I know someone you should talk to I have been there ever since.  I love being with the Bernstein family and hope I have many more years at home.

Janice Ratliff

  • What does it take to be a Monthly Top Producer? Being consistent.  Being persistent.  Being professional. Being a good multi-tasker.   Having the ability to stay focused on the task at hand.  It can be like juggling several balls at one time.


  • What is your favorite home you have ever sold? I don’t generally have “favorites” in life. I’ve sold a lot of homes in 30 years so there have been some great experiences.  I loved helping my parents when they moved to Katy ten years ago. It was such an exciting chapter for them.  They built a home so I was able to help them make selections.  It was such a happy day for all of us. 

Kenneth Kottwitz

  • Any tips for anyone considering a career in Real Estate? The first year of real estate is extremely tough. If you are going at it blind do not expect to make a lot of money if any. Focus on knowledge and making connections and keeping a positive attitude always looking ahead.


  • What made you become a Real Estate Agent? I spent many years designing and building homes, mostly residential. I over working with the client and with real estate it is at the front line of what I do. I felt the transition would not be difficult especially with Amy Bernstein as a mentor. 

Trent Johnson

  • What made you become a Real Estate Agent? In 2003 I purchased my first home and the realtor, who was a family friend, helped my wife and I. He had a teacher’s heart and made the process come to life. He inspired me to help others and this became my life’s calling. 


  • What is your favorite home you have ever sold? The sale in a bathrobe on a cruise ship was very nice but my all-time favorite sale was for some dear friends of mine.  We planned to list their home the day they went on a 7-day island vacation. Prior to their departure they casually mentioned how awesome a phone call with an offer, while drinking pina coladas beach side, would be. This exact thing happened a few days later and a photo of the occasion was even sent back. They wouldn’t say if they were drinking pina coladas the entire trip and this was bound to happen or if this moment was serendipitous. I have my suspicions, but the sale was still my favorite. 

Cathy Craig

  • What is your favorite thing about Real Estate? I love meeting new people and hearing their stories! I get to meet people from all over the world.get them in my car and hear all about their lives, families, travels , what brought them to Houston or why they are moving from their old home to a new one . I get to meet parents, hold babies, calm toddlers and help people find a great house that will be their home.


  • What made you become a Real Estate Agent? It allowed me to use all my experience, negotiation, sales, building/construction and knowledge of most of Houston.  I get to have a new experience everyday, the fast paced, crazy , interesting world of Real Estate makes me feel excited everyday to get up and do my job.

Susan McCauley

  • What is your favorite thing about Real Estate? I love that real estate incorporates creativity, problem solving, negotiating, relationship building and most importantly, protecting my clients.  I take it very seriously and learn something new with every transaction. 


  • What is your favorite home you have ever sold? I don’t have a favorite home.  I like them all.  I see the potential in every home whether it needs a lot of work or it’s new construction.