Meet The Who’s Who all-stars of 2021

by Lindsey Wells

If you’ve seen our Who’s Who in Residential Real Estate issue, you know it’s our thickest print issue of the year. That means the brokers, lenders, developers and affiliates featured here had to be pretty popular to rise to the ranks of the top 10. Check out the features below to learn which profiles had the most traction in Houston in 2021.

No. 10: Art Aguilar

A loan officer for over two decades, Art Aguilar has a knack for helping people navigate tough financial decisions. As a branch manager and vice president of mortgage lending at Guaranteed Rate, Aguilar serves clients in the Houston metropolitan area, assisting them with FHA, VA, USDA and conventional lending solutions.

No. 9: Thalina Garcia

As a Houston native, Thalina Garcia prides herself on knowing the city’s ins and outs. As a top-producing Realtor with Nan and Company Properties and Christie’s International Real Estate, Garcia has worked with clients from Houston to the suburbs of Baytown and Fulshear and up to The Woodlands.

No. 8: Gary Ismail

Gary Ismail always strives to be nothing short of exceptional. As broker-owner of Gary Ismail Fine Properties, he’s a seasoned professional with 20 years of industry experience. Ismail works with national and international clients, including luxury homebuyers and sellers as well as investors and builders, within the Inner Loop, Galleria area and surrounding Houston metro.

No. 7: Kevin Holmes

Forming lifelong bonds with his clients, Kevin Holmes delivers top-notch service with a personal touch. As vice president of lending and a branch manager at Guaranteed Rate, he leverages 20 years of mortgage lending experience to build relationships and recommend the most appropriate loans for his clients’ financial goals.

No. 6: Rachel Luna

Known as the “Title Queen” of Texas, Rachel Luna brings her vibrant personality and unparalleled pizzazz to the title business. Serving clients in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and El Paso, Luna, a principal at Patriot Title Company, is an expert in real estate escrow and closing services and has over 20 years of real estate industry experience.

No. 5: Priscilla Benkowski

Priscilla Benkowski builds genuine connections with her customers and helps them prepare for homeownership. Joining Guaranteed Rate as a producing branch manager after 22 years in the banking and mortgage industry, she leads a team of loan officers while herself originating and serving clients in need of home financing.

No. 4: Therese Landa

As a young girl, Therese Landa always liked looking at homes and took great pleasure in lending a hand whenever someone needed assistance. Landa, broker/owner with Houstonian Properties, parlayed those two interests into a career when she began working in real estate 26 years ago. A native Houstonian, she enjoys showing first-time to move-up and luxury buyers and sellers what makes Greater Houston and the surrounding areas.

No. 3: Mewael Ghebremichael

Something surprising happened at NRL Mortgage the morning their associates were sent home to work remotely because of the pandemic. “Everyone was back online that same afternoon,” says Mewael Ghebremichael, chief production officer and a partner of the company. “It was a testament to the work ethic of our associates, our scalable technology and, most importantly, the foundation that we laid for over 14 years.”

No. 2: Natasha Simon

Closing more than 700 homes over the course of her eight-year real estate career, Natasha Simon is fully committed to getting her clients across the finish line — and she has a track record to prove it. As team lead of The Money Team at RE/MAX Generation, Simon serves buyers and sellers in Houston and the surrounding areas with a referral-based business. 

No. 1: Michelle Hinton

Michelle Hinton has consistently been a top producer throughout her more than decadelong career in real estate. By navigating each transaction with integrity, finesse and impeccable attention to detail, Hinton is adept at ensuring a seamless transaction. She works alongside her husband, Rick, and employs a small team of industry experts at Compass Real Estate to ensure a top-notch client experience.

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