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Featured Professionals

Real Estate Professionals

Name: Ken Withers

Loan Officer


Dedicated to helping first-time homebuyers realize their dream of homeownership. Though Ken is familiar with nearly all aspects of lending, he specializes in first-time homeowner loans. He guides his clients through the entire mortgage process—from loan origination through closing—with a high level of service and care.

Throughout his career, which has spanned more than 10 years, he has conducted business throughout the Chicagoland area. Ken has the breadth of knowledge to find the best borrowing solution for qualified individuals.



Real Estate Professionals

Name: Ellen Smith

Property Sales


Originally from New York, Ellen moved to Chicago to earn a graduate degree in business communications at Emerson College. This knowledge, coupled with her undergraduate degree in psychology and teaching, has provided her with valuable skills that she uses daily in real estate negotiations, educating homebuyers and sellers, and effectively marketing the team’s listings. Ellen has been working in Chicago real estate for over 8 years and is an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) and a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES).


Real Estate Professionals

Name: Joe Corbin

Residential / Commercial Investor


Joe Corbin has worked in the real estate industry in Chicago, IL, since 2009 when he founded his first real estate business serving Wicker Park and surrounding neighborhoods. From day one, Trent has sought to provide the highest possible standards of service and a thorough, analytic approach to every transaction.

Graduating from Duke University in 2005 and obtaining his MBA from Wake Forest University in 2015, Trent previously spent several years working for Wachovia Securities and Brookwood Associates as an investment banker. 


When it comes to house sales, buyers and sellers are on opposing sides. The first generally want to take the property while the second wants top dollar. But they all aim for the same thing. Want a sale? 

Both parties can greatly benefit from employing a real estate agent, but their motivations may differ. 

Money talks... 

Consider this if you want to sell your house "FSBO" (for sale by owner). Of course, you want to obtain the best price for their house, which may entail skipping extra commissions. A 2017 research found that FSBOs sold for roughly 30% less than agent-listed homes. 

And if your buyer is represented by an agent, you'll likely have to pay a commission. The buyer's agent's commission is usually included in the agreement, but you still save on your own commission. 

And why not hire a buyer's agent? After all, the commission is paid by the seller. There's always the chance the seller may refuse, but you can generally go on to other homes if this looks to be the case, depending on whether you're shopping in a buyers' or sellers' market. 

...And Detail 

Whether you're buying or selling a home, you should know exactly what you're getting into before signing any paperwork. To say nothing of federal, state, and municipal paperwork obligations. 

This documentation is fortunately well-known to your agent. If you still want to save money, consider this: Corrections to these papers can cost you as much as or more than the commission you were seeking to avoid. 

Here's one: A buyer may make an offer on a house, but it may be conditional. The buyer cannot acquire the property without first obtaining finance, yet the purchase agreement has no such contingency or escape clause in case financing fails. If a mortgage isn't obtained, the buyer is legally compelled to complete the deal. 

If you're still certain about not employing an agent to handle everything, consider hiring a broker to just examine your contracts before signing. 

Privacy, Confidentiality, and Trust 

Whether you're buying or selling, your agent has your back. Agents have a fiduciary duty to their clients. They have to put their clients' needs first. 

This responsibility imposes a high level of secrecy. Do you, as a buyer, really want to hand up your personal financial information to an FSBO seller who isn't required to keep it private? The same applies to giving any and all information to the seller's agent, who is only obligated to the seller. Your own agent would know if the other agent's request for information is appropriate. 

If you're a buyer and the seller's representative deceived, misled, or revealed sensitive information, you have remedies. A professional group like the National Association of Realtors can be notified. Assuming the seller has an agent. If it's FSBO, your alternatives are limited. 

What Agents Look For 

Buyers generally know exactly what they want in a house, from the number of bedrooms to an attached garage and other features. You'll probably feel more at ease looking at houses with that list in mind. 

But your agent will be on the lookout for concerns like furnace difficulties, leaks, roof problems, mold and bug infestations. An agent will know how to handle these issues based on their telltale signals. Again, this knowledge and expertise may save you hundreds. 

A seller may know precisely how much they want for their property, but is that price fair? You won't know for sure until you can find similar sales that show you're in the proper range. Agents can complete CMAs in their sleep. 

An agent can provide up-to-date information on a neighborhood's demographics, crime rates, schools, and other relevant considerations. That's a lot of research to accomplish alone, especially if you're not sure where to start. 

Agents Are Great Negotiators 

An attorney, mediator, union rep...or real estate salesperson may not be a negotiating shark. Remember your agent's fiduciary duty to you. Your agent's goal is to obtain you the best price for your house or the greatest bargain on the property you wish to buy. 

Agents are well-versed in negotiating. What works and what doesn't. Most have their own tried-and-true methods. Also, they have no emotional investment in the result, which might distort their judgment. 

You, on the other hand, maybe prepared to pay $10,000 extra for your dream home, unaware that you have certain negotiating chips. That extra money is saved by an advisor who protects you from making rash financial decisions. 

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