Dee Dee Dretke’s familiar smile graces the lawns of dozens of homes in Walker, Montgomery, and Harris Counties—even when she’s not there. A little bit Mona Lisa and always engaging, that confident smile is appearing more frequently these days. Her elegant Keller Williams® Realty “For Sale” signs and personal portrait advertise real estate opportunities and mark new homes for lucky clients. Engaging, lively, and laid back, this Huntsville real estate agent has been in business since 2008, working on residential as well as commercial sales. While taking her business seriously, Dee Dee Dretke, Realtor®, is also having fun with her work.
“What’s important to me is to do a good job; I’m devoted to my clients,” she says. “It’s what they want that counts. I’m not pushy, but I am a hard worker for them. Ultimately, they are spending money on property or trying to sell property. I am a resource for anyone, from very first-time homebuyers to experienced buyers, selling property from farm and ranch to lot-and-block homes. I know this market well, as I have lived in the Conroe and Huntsville areas most of my life.”
As a member of the National Association of Realtors®, the Texas Association of Realtors®, the Houston Association of Realtors®, and the Huntsville Board of Realtors®, Dretke works with Keller Williams® Realty, linking clients with property or homes. While Keller Williams® Realty has its main office in Conroe, Dretke is officed in their Huntsville facility. Located at 49 Highway 75 North, her building is surrounded by many of Huntsville’s familiar neighborhoods, just west of the city square. Each day Dretke rises early to check email and listing updates, then splits her time between the office and her car, driving through Walker and surrounding counties to juggle client appointments, professional meetings, and scheduled house showings—sometimes as many as eight or more a day.
“Most of our house showings are in the evenings or on weekends,” she says. “The longer the days, the more we show. I’ll show houses as long as the sun is shining, so spring and summer are my busiest times. My office hours are 9-5, but I’m always available by email ([email protected]), text, or phone (936-661-7021).”
Dretke also serves on the Keller Williams Agent Leadership Council (ALC), which involves her in leadership decisions for the market center. She was selected in January from more than 200 agents, passing an extensive application and interview process. In fact, only the top 20 percent of agents are considered for the ALC. A former teacher and school administrator, Dretke says she loved real estate for years, long before joining the business.
“I am fascinated by real estate, but had to wait until my children, Ryan and Lara, were grown, and the family stopped moving for my husband Doug’s work,” she says. “I have been in and out of Huntsville since I came to Sam Houston State University in 1979 and married Doug in 1980. When I knew we would be here a while, and this would be our permanent home, I was ready to get my realtor’s license. Now I enjoy and love selling real estate every day!”
Personal in her approach, Dretke is a self-described “Realtor for the 21st century,” armed with technology to expand her reach. She is rarely without her laptop, iPhone and iPad, using computer apps by Houston Area Realtors (HAR) and Centralized Showing Service (CSS). Dretke charts her daily schedule and showings online, using multiple listing services (MLS) to help clients reach a limitless audience.
“The realtor technology tools are great!” she says. “We are plugged into websites that share information: multiple listing sites that blast their listings to Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, and hundreds of websites. If you want exposure for a sell, I can make it happen. I’ve also started sending electronic flyers to other agents—just to keep my listings in everybody’s minds.
“Of course, I use traditional advertising to find clients, as well,” she says. I advertise in Postcards and have ads in Chamber guides and Walker County relocation publications. I also advertise on realtor.com and support local events, always meeting new people. You can find me on Facebook, and my website (deedeedretke.com).
“Most people today have already begun their search by the time they contact me,” Dretke explains. “They tell me which houses they want to see, and I set up a general computerized search with HAR, which creates a personalized website for the buyers, based on their likes and dislikes. I can interact with their site, and we can both view homes they may like in their price range. I can recommend listings, make notes, and see which listings they reject.”
Despite technological advantages, Dretke knows there is no replacement for personal service in the stressful situations of real estate.
“I like to think I’m patient, and that’s extremely helpful. Not every deal goes the way you want it to, but I don’t get bent out of shape or blow up; I have to be prepared for anything—and I’m extremely honest,” she says. “I’ll always tell my clients the truth and give them the best information they need to make a decision. I try to listen carefully. A lot of times people think they know what they want, but come full circle in their wishes. When you get to work it all out, you can help people figure out what is really important to them. Buying a house is one of the biggest investments you make in your life, and it’s got to feel right.
“The most challenging time is helping clients between contract and closing—helping them through inspections, repairs, and lending,” she says. “But it’s fun, too. On the listing side, if you have a property that’s not selling, the challenge is to analyze the situation and figure out what to do to make the sell. When it’s all over, I want clients to stay happy and stay in touch. It means a lot to see them happy in a new home or satisfied with a sale.”
Dretke is optimistic about the Huntsville real estate scene, saying it is “warmer than it was. People moving north to get away from the growth in The Woodlands area is positively affecting local sales. We’re also seeing commercial sales moving, and that helps residential sales move, too. Change is always happening, and it’s an exciting time for our community.
“There’s a lot to know about real estate,” Dretke admits, “and there’s always a lot to learn. I may not know everything, but I’m determined to learn and find out and stay on top of changes. Mainly, I’m happy to be here helping clients and being a resource to residents of Walker County and neighboring areas. I plan to treat people the way I want to be treated and help them find the deals that will make them happy.”
Ready to close the office for the day, she shuts down her computer, closes her travel bag, and flashes the confident Dee Dee Dretke smile once more. It’s time to head to a new destination.