Real Estate

This Mother’s Day, author Martha Melendez reflects on her mother.

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Martha Melendez wrote a book in January, just like her mother always knew she would.

Martha Melendez

You may know Melendez from his 2024 book, Aspiring Agent: From Overworked Rookie to Real Estate Rockstar. Or you can recognize it by its appearance. of HGTV My Lottery Dream Home, or from a stage appearance in Woman Up! Or Engel & Völkers’ EVX conference — she’s been an agent at Engel & Völkers Melbourne for almost six years.

But after meeting Melendez for the first time Woman up! In 2022where she tells her story of surviving domestic abuse, two things become clear: She is a strong, authentic, successful woman, and she credits it all to her mother.

A mother’s love

“My mom has always been my foundation, my rock, my everything,” Melendez told Inman.

Martha Melendez and her mother Maria Clementina Perdomo

“She was so ahead of her time. She wore jeans before anyone else. She cut her hair because all women had hair then. [long hair] … She was independent, to a fault. “She always felt she could do things, and she didn’t need a man to tell her what to do, and she never wanted to get married,” she said. And she didn’t.

When Melendez was a child growing up in Colombia, teachers organized all of his lessons, so students took copious notes. Melendez’s mother, Maria Clementina Perdomo, took Melendez’s notebooks from school and bound them into hardback, leather-bound books for each year at school, which she still has today.

“Because she had a vision: she wanted me to be a writer. But she never told me,” Melendez said.

Melendez said that while living in Colombia in the 80s, Perdomo saw the drug cartels take over, so Perdomo sold everything and moved himself and Melendez to the United States, though none of them Could not speak English.

Perdomo had already retired in Colombia, but in the States, she took a $3-an-hour factory job. Melendez would work side-by-side with him in the summer after he turned 14.

Feeling the need to acclimate to her new home, Melendez said she signed her mother up for English classes on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Spanish Center in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

They would walk two miles after work and school to get to classes, and Melendez would sit in classes and tell teachers that he wasn’t sure his mother would be able to find her way back. He absorbed everything because he recognized that his mother would need to learn English in this new life.

Then Melendez found out he was teaching English to adults at the high school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and signed up for that, too. His mother did not take English, but Melendez did. He learned to write checks, manage doctor’s appointments and lease an apartment.

“It was such a journey with my mom and I, and I think that’s why I always talk about it because it was always my mom and me,” Melendez said.

Hard times

Martha Melendez and mother, Maria Clementina Perdomo

Melendez married at the age of 18. She often relied on coffee cans.

“Thank God, I made it out alive. A lot of people don’t,” Melendez told Inman. “I had to go so far to open my eyes. I think I’d still be there with my Folgers can.

A therapist once told her that when you can tell a story without crying, you’ve recovered from it. She first told the story on Woman UP! stage, Folger can in hand.

“It took me years to recover from that. I didn’t want to be a victim. And I didn’t want to be a survivor because that meant you had trauma that you survived, and I thrived. I didn’t want to be the girl who got killed and so I said, How do I change this narrative?” Melendez told Inman.

“I’m glad I went through it because it made me a stronger person. And I can recognize it, and I can help others,” she said.

Fulfilling mother’s dreams

In 1998, Melendez reconnected with her 1992 prom date Lucien Melendez. He wooed her hard, bought her a car and a house and moved to Florida before marrying in 2000 and having two more children.

Melendez received his real estate license in 2005 while teaching English as a second language. Lucian Melendez is now an assistant principal at a high school in Vira, Florida.

Perdomo was with his daughter for this happy chapter of new beginnings. But unfortunately, she passed away on 28 October 2020. Melendez says it wasn’t until he lost his mother that he truly recognized all the sacrifices she had made.

Martha Melendez and daughter, Alexandra Villa

In January 2024, Melendez made his mother’s dream come true when he published his first book, Aspiring Agent: From Overworked Rookie to Real Estate Rockstar. This is the book she wishes she had when she first started out in real estate.

It’s the perfect way for Melendez’s 29-year-old daughter, Alexandra Villa, who began her real estate career in November 2023.

During their long drives, Melendez would read his book to Villa, and they would discuss it together, Villa even quoting advice from the book to her mother. Now, Willa works in her mother’s office, which is part of the Engel & Völkers family.

Melendez said it seemed like she was repeating the cycle. “I worked with my mom, and now [Alexandra] Works with me. I hope now that she is an adult, we can deepen our relationship. I’m proud of the mother that she is, and I hope that one day, she can do the same with her daughter, and we can have a third generation of real estate agents.”

Email Dani Vanderboegh.

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