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7 Top Real Estate Agents in Illinois (2023 Rankings)

The Illinois housing market is finally cooling off. Mortgage rates have shot up. They are expected to remain elevated through 2024.

If you’re a home seller, you’re nervous to sell now with dropping prices. You also don’t want to sell your low-interest mortgage home and buy another home at the current interest rates.

Should you sell now before home prices plummet? Or wait for rates to fall? Unless you want to learn how to sell a house by owner in Illinois, you’re looking for a REALTOR to help.

If you’re a home buyer, you don’t know whether you can even afford a home. Prices are still high. And interest rates have added hundreds of dollars to your mortgage payments. Is now the best time to buy a house in Illinois? Or wait?

A great REALTOR can help you navigate these choppy waters and make the right decision. And once you decide, they can be the pro you rely on to help you buy or sell.

Some REALTORS will save you thousands with technology. Others will help you sell your luxury property for top dollar, and still, others can show you how to stop foreclosure in Illinois.

With our rankings of the 7 best REALTORS in Illinois, you can find the right one for a smooth and hassle-free real estate transaction.

🏅 Rankings: Top 7 REALTORS in Illinois

  1. Vanessa Carlson: Most Cost Effective
  2. Mary Wallace: Best In-Person Support
  3. Rich Bassford: Best for Foreclosures
  4. Dawn McKenna: Best for Luxury Properties
  5. Katherine Malkin: Deals in Super Luxury Properties
  6. Carrie McCormick: Best for Maximum Exposure
  7. Lisa McKinney: Most Experienced

Reviews: 7 Top Real Estate Agents in Illinois

1. Vanessa Carlson

Best Overall Company Logo

Vanessa Carlson is a REALTOR based in Illinois. She has been in the real estate industry for the past 17 years. Vanessa is currently partnered with Houzeo to provide flat fee services for home selling and buying.

  • Bronze Package – FREE: This package offers Houzeo listing only for 6 months with maximum photos. You pay a $49 refundable fee for a yard sign and receive your refund after sending a selfie with it.
  • Silver Package – $349+: This includes everything that home sellers typically look for.
  • Gold Package – $399+: It is Houzeo’s signature MLS package and includes all the technology Houzeo is known for Houzeo Showings, Houzeo Offers, and DigiTransact.
  • Platinum – $999+: It includes the assistance of a licensed broker to help you with negotiations, disclosures, and closing.

👉 Our Take: We recommend Vanessa for the stellar customer experience she provides with fully-automated services via Houzeo. She has extensive knowledge of the community and is considered a local expert.

Vanessa Carlson specializes as a buyer’s agent and a listing agent. She also provides closing services for buyers and sellers.

  • Excellent Customer Service: Vanessa provides outstanding customer service. She is well-known for providing prompt assistance to her clients.
  • Local Expert: Vanessa is a local expert. She can guide home buyers and sellers to get the best possible deal.
  • Access Top Properties: Buyers can gain access to the best properties for sale through Vanessa. She informs you about details such as neighbourhood appeal, nearby schools, and so on.
  • Transaction Sides: Vanessa has made 168 sales in the last 12 months.

Achievements

  • Chicago Association of Realtors Top Producer for the years 2017, and 2018.
  • Chicago Association of Realtors Top INDIVIDUAL Producer (Bronze) in 2019.
  • Chicago Association of Realtors Top INDIVIDUAL Producer (Gold) in 2020.
  • Chicago Association of Realtors Top INDIVIDUAL Producer (Platinum) in 2021.

In our research, we found no red flags with Realtor Vanessa Carlson. She has a great reputation within the REALTORS community.

Vanessa Carlson has a 5 out of 5-star rating from 97 total reviews on Houzeo.

Vanessa Carlson is a Realtor in Illinois. She is the owner of the flat fee company ‘iRealty’ and has an overall experience of 17 years in the local real estate market.

Vanessa has partnered with Houzeo to provide flat fee services.

2. Mary Wallace

Best for In-person Support Company Logo

Mary Wallace is a licensed REALTOR in Illinois with 20 years of experience in the industry. She is affiliated with Coldwell Banker Realty to provide real estate services in 26 cities across Illinois.

With Mary Wallace, you can expect to pay the full commission of 5% – 6%.

👉 Our Take: We recommend Mary Wallace for her process expertise and knowledge of the local real estate market.

Mary Wallace offers real estate services via Coldwell Banker Real Estate, an American full-service real estate brokerage. She specializes in foreclosure, short sales, and property management. She is licensed in Illinois and Wisconsin.

  • Local Expert: Mary’s knowledge of the local market enables her clients to have a better insight and strategy to list their property.
  • Top Negotiator: Mary provides excellent negotiation assistance. Sellers have got top dollar for their properties.
  • Technology: You get 100% online services like In-app notifications and Google-like search features. You also get chat functionality to quickly connect with a live support team.

Achievements

  • Rookie of the Year for the Southwest Region of Coldwell Banker, 2004.
  • #1 realtor in Oak Lawn, IL since 2008.
  • Chicago Agent Magazine’s Agent Choice Award, MVP for the Suburbs, 2018.
  • #1 Coldwell Banker Realtor in Illinois for 2020 closed sales.
  • Excellent local knowledge and negotiation skills according to several testimonials.

In our research, we found no red flags with Mary Wallace. She has a great reputation within the REALTORS community.

Mary Wallace has a 5 out of 5-star rating from 104 total reviews on Zillow.

Mary Wallace is a Realtor in Illinois affiliated with Coldwell Banker. She is well-known among her customers for her professionalism and the in-person support she offers to clients.

She has an experience of 20 years in the real estate industry. Mary has closed over $50 million in sales.

3. Rich Bassford

Best for Foreclosures Company Logo

Rich Bassford is a Realtor based in Illinois. He leads The Bassford Team at RE/MAX Concepts. He has closed over 2,200 sales in his career.

With Rich Bassford,  you can expect to pay the full commission of 5% – 6%.

👉 Our Take: We recommend Rich Bassford for his extensive knowledge of the local market and process expertise. He is the #1 RE/MAX Agent in the Quad-City area.

Rich Bassford started his own RE/MAX Elite franchise known as The Bassford Team. He is a Certified Residential Specialist and is licensed both in  Illinois and Iowa.

  • Listing and Marketing Support: Rich Bassford incorporates various marketing methods such as featuring your listing across several MLS websites, and printing brochures and flyers. This provides maximum exposure to your home.
  • House Hunting: Rich finds you the top homes for sale on the MLS. He also has access to off-market properties.

Achievements

  • 2019-2020 Quad Cities Top Selling Agent.
  • Winner of Broker/Owner of the Year 2016 from the RE/MAX Central Region.
  • RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award 2016.
  • #1 Producing Residential Agent in the Quad cities.
  • RE/MAX Platinum Club Award 2008, 2012-2016.

In our research, we found no red flags with Rich Bassford. He has a stellar reputation within the REALTORS community and is known for his knowledge of the industry.

Rich Bassford has a 5 out of 5-star rating from 138 total reviews on Zillow.

Rich Bassford is a licensed Realtor in Illinois. He is the founder of RE/MAX Elite Home, a franchise of RE/MAX. Rich and his team have closed over 3,500 transactions, making him a top producer in the area.

Testimonials mention Rich to be extremely knowledgeable and prompt at responding to his client’s needs. He specializes in foreclosed properties, relocation, and new constructions.

4. Dawn Mckenna

Best For Luxury Properties Company Logo

Dawn Mckenna is a licensed luxury realtor based in Illinois. She has 20 years of experience in the real estate industry working with Coldwell Banker. Dawn is the founder of The Dawn Mckenna Group, a leading real estate team in Illinois.

You can expect to pay the full commission of 5% – 6% if you choose to list or buy with Dawn.

👉 Our Take: Dawn is known for her local market knowledge. However, we recommend you go through online reviews before choosing Dawn. There are a few complaints from past clients regarding the services she offers.

Dawn Mckenna works with Coldwell Banker to provide the best real estate services for home sellers as well as buyers. Her team specializes in luxury properties.

  • Pricing Assistance: Dawn analyses local market data, trends, and current home prices in your neighborhood. This gives you an accurate estimate for pricing your home correctly.
  • Marketing Support: Dawn has the necessary resources to expose your listing to a global audience through the best high-traffic websites, print media, direct mail, etc.

Achievements

  • #1 Luxury real estate Realtor in Midwest.
  • #1 Real Estate Team in Hinsdale for over a decade.
  • Coldwell Banker’s top 1% agent.

Although Dawn is an established Realtor in Illinois, we did find some red flags in her services during our research.

  • Poor Customer Service: A few past customers have complained about Dawn’s lack of responsiveness. There have been reports of clients losing money as a result of overpriced listings.

Dawn Mckenna has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating from 72 total reviews on Zillow.

Dawn McKenna is a Realtor based in Illinois. She is the founder of the Dawn McKenna Group and provides real estate services in affiliation with Coldwell Banker.

Dawn and her team are luxury property specialists. Dawn is also known for her local market expertise but you should look into her online reviews as there are a few complaints about her services being below-par.

5. Katherine Malkin

Best for Super Luxury Properties Company Logo

Katherine Malkin is a reputed Realtor in Chicago. She has an experience of 30 years in the real estate industry and is known for her process expertise. She provides real estate services via Compass Realty.

Katherine Malkin is not a discount real estate broker. So you can expect to pay the full commission of 5% – 6% if you choose to sell or buy with Katherine.

👉 Our Take: We recommend Katherine for her expertise and knowledge of the local market. She is best for high-profile luxury properties.

Katherine Malkin is a broker associate with Compass Realty, a licensed real estate firm. It incorporates cutting-edge technology to provide the best real estate services for both home sellers and buyers.

  • Concierge Program: Compass Concierge is a program that offers other value additions to your property like home staging, painting, and renovations. You don’t have to pay for the additional upgrades until your home is sold.
  • Market Exposure: They have an in-house marketing and advertising team that uses cutting-edge technology to market your property through the most effective channels like the internet, flyers, brochures, yard signs, etc.

Achievements

  • Nation’s Top 1% agents.
  • Industry leader of Chicago’s luxury real estate.
  • Top Producer in 2021.

In our research, we found no red flags with Katherine Malkin. She has a great reputation within the REALTORS community.

We found no credible reviews for Katherine Malkin during our research.

Katherine Malkin is a licensed Realtor in Illinois. She offers real estate services in affiliation with Compass Realty.

Katherine has an experience of over 30 years in the real estate industry. She has extensive knowledge of the local community. She is considered an expert in high-profile super luxury property management.

6. Carrie McCormick

Best for Luxury Properties Company Logo

Carrie McCormick is an Illinois based REALTOR. She is currently affiliated with ‘@properties’ to provide top-notch real estate services. Carrie boasts of 23 years of experience in the real estate market.

Carrie McCormick is not a discount real estate broker. So you can expect to pay the full commission of 5% – 6% if you choose to sell or buy with Carrie.

👉 Our Take: We recommend Carrie for luxury properties as she is a certified luxury marketing specialist. She is often referred to as a leader in Chicago real estate.

Carrie McCormick works with @properties, a leading real estate firm incorporating cutting-edge technology and extensive marketing.

  • pl@tform: It is @properties’ proprietary technology suite designed to make real estate transactions smooth. It allows users to manage every aspect of real estate transactions from one place, making the process more efficient.
  • Market Exposure: Their team will extensively market your home using top quality programs and resources to help your listing stand out. They also have a rapidly expanding global network of agents to provide maximum exposure your listing.

Achievements

  • #1 Luxury broker in Chicago.
  • Top 100 brokers in Crain’s.
  • Top 1% in Chicago’s Association of Realtors.
  • Member of the National Association of Realtors, Luxury Portfolio, and Home Builders Association.

In our research, we found no red flags with Carrie McCormick. She has a great reputation within the REALTORS community.

Carrie McCormick has a 5 out of 5-star rating from 144 total reviews on Zillow.

Carrie McCormick is a licensed Realtor in Illinois working in affiliation with @properties. She has a 23-year experience in the real estate industry and is an expert in the local market.

Carrie specializes in managing luxury properties and is a certified luxury marketing specialist. She is a part of the elite top 1% of Chicago Realtors.

7. Lisa McKinney

Most Experienced Company Logo

Lisa McKinney is a Realtor in Illinois with over 30 years of experience. She offers real estate services in affiliation with Century 21, one of the world’s largest real estate brokerage firms.

Lisa McKinney is not a discount real estate broker. So you can expect to pay the full commission of 5% – 6% if you choose to sell or buy with Lisa.

👉 Our Take: We recommend Lisa McKinney for her local knowledge and the cutting-edge technology she incorporates in her services. She also specializes in commercial property management.

Lisa McKinney has an experience of over 30 years in the real estate industry. This makes her extremely knowledgeable and a seasoned professional. She is partnered with Century 21 to provide top-grade real estate services.

  • Affordability Calculator: You can calculate your finances for buying a house with options to calculate your mortgage, refinancing, amortization, etc. You can also calculate the difference between renting and buying a property using their calculator.
  • Expert Agents: Their agents come equipped with experience, local market knowledge and state-of-the-art marketing resources. This will help your listing gain maximum exposure and the best offers.
  • Refined Home Search: You can search for homes based on parameters like neighbourhoods, home features and schools in the locality to find the perfect home.

Achievements

  • Winner of the Century 21 Centurion Award in 2018, 2019, 2022.
  • Century 21 All-Pro Real Estate.
  • Winner of the Century 21 Double Centurion Award in 2020, 2021.
  • Century 21 Quality Service Producer in 2019.

In our research, we found no red flags with Lisa McKinney. She has a great reputation within the REALTORS community and is known for her extensive market knowledge.

Lisa McKinney has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating from 214 total reviews on Realtor.com

Lisa McKinney is a licensed Realtor in Illinois. She is a commercial property expert and provides real estate services via Century 21.

Lisa is known for the local market expertise she has garnered in her 30+ year career in the industry. She provides top-notch real estate services by incorporating cutting-edge technology.

What are Real Estate Agents?

Realtor Agents are real estate professionals adhering to the code of ethics laid down by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), America’s largest real estate association.

REALTORS can be commercial brokers, real estate agents, appraisers, property managers, and counselors working in the real estate sector.

» NAR Code of Ethics: A REALTOR’s pledge to business integrity and fair dealing.

What is the Average Real Estate Agents Commission in Illinois?

The average Realtor commission is typically between 5% – 6%. However, this fee is negotiable and varies state-wide.

With increasing competition and better alternatives, Realtor agents are willing to lower their commissions and provide concessions to the home seller.

» How to Negotiate Real Estate Commissions: Pro tips on how to negotiate agent commissions and save thousands!

Who Pays Real Estate Agent’s Fees in Illinois?

The seller typically pays the REALTOR fees. Although the seller is responsible for paying these fees, they can always negotiate with the buyer on this.

In simple terms, it can be said that REALTOR fees are a part of the sale price of a home.

Do Closing Costs include Real Estate Agent’s Fees?

Yes! Realtor fees are a major part of closing costs. Closing costs, also known as “settlement costs,” are the final expenses to complete the real estate transaction.

1. Home Selling

A sizeable chunk of the seller’s closing costs, comprising 5%–6% of the sales price, is made up of REALTOR commissions. It is important to note that the seller pays a commission to both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent.

The commissions can vary according to the type of service you want to opt for selling your home.

  • Flat Fee MLS: Sell your home with an average fee of $399 and save thousands in commissions. Get the best possible exposure for your home by listing it on the MLS.
  • Discount Real Estate Brokers: The average fee these low-commission brokers charge is $5,000 or 1.5% of the sale price. They provide services at reduced rates thereby making them a top choice for sellers.

Seller Closing Costs in Illinois: Find out what closing costs you pay as a seller in Illinois.

2. Home Buying

Buyer closing costs do not usually include the REALTOR fees. However, this fee is already included in the price the buyer pays for their home.

Buyer Closing Costs in Illinois: Find what closing costs you pay as a buyer in Illinois.

Realtors vs. Agents vs. Brokers

  • Real Estate Agents: Agents are licensed professionals who represent buyers or sellers in real estate transactions. They must work with a broker or a brokerage.
  • Real Estate Broker: Brokers are agents with experience and a license, allowed after completing additional coursework. They can either start their own brokerage or work independently as agents.
  • REALTOR®: REALTORs are agents or brokers that are members of NAR and follow NAR’s code of ethics. Their modes of operation and responsibilities include that of agents and/or brokers.

How to Find Top Real Estate Agents in Illinois?

Home sellers and buyers can find a top real estate agent with proper research. If you wish to sell or buy a single-family home or a condo, it is essential to find a REALTOR who specializes in that type of sale.

Here’s how you can find a Realtor for your home selling/buying needs:

  1. Find Licensed Realtors: Look for agents who are members of the NAR. Select Realtors with lower commission rates and check whether they provide virtual or full services.
  2. Interview Realtors: Interview short-listed Realtors and convey your requirements. Find out their specialization, and whether they offer cutting-edge technology and online services.
  3. Review and Finalize: Check reviews on trusted websites like Google, Yelp, Trustpilot, etc. Finalize the one that best understands your real estate goals.

Can You List Your Home on the MLS Without a Real Estate Agent?

No. Only licensed real estate agents have access to the MLS. There is no way to list on the MLS without an agent.

You can just opt for a Flat Fee MLS listing service. With a Flat-Fee MLS listing, you pay a small fee instead of a full listing agent commission. A Flat Fee MLS listing is the fastest way to get listed on the MLS and hit the market.

With high-tech services like Houzeo real estate, you can get listed faster than a traditional full-service Realtor. And save thousands!

» How to Get Access to MLS: Here’s how to list on MLS without a REALTOR!

Alternatives to Real Estate Agents in Illinois

Realtors are the best option for first-time home sellers. But if saving money is your goal, there are several other options.

  1. Hire a Discount Real Estate Broker: Discount real estate brokers in Illinois offer all the services of a traditional broker for a discounted commission. Typically, discount brokers will charge anywhere between 0.5% to 2% commission to list and sell your home.
  2. Flat Fee MLS Listing Service: With Illinois Flat-Fee MLS companies, you can not only save thousands of dollars in commissions but also take advantage of their technology for selling your house without a Realtor.
  3. Sell to an iBuyer: Many iBuyers, like Opendoor and Offerpad, purchase hundreds of homes nationwide. iBuyers can be a great option if you’re wondering how to sell your house fast in Illinois.
  4. Sell to Cash Home Buyers: Individual cash home buyers and companies that buy houses for cash in Illinois make all-cash offers, usually within 24 to 48 hours. Cash buyers let you skip the hassle of listing on the MLS, inspection, appraisal, etc.
  5. Sell For Sale By Owner: For Sale By Owner websites will help you list and sell a house by owner and save thousands in listing agent commission. Many FSBO websites will also get you listed on the MLS and help you with FSBO paperwork.

List with Houzeo

Get your home listed today and Houzeo will walk you through the entire process to show your property at its best. Fast listing. No hidden fees.

Final Word

Having a good REALTOR® when selling or buying a house can make the process a cakewalk. Their guidance can help you get the best price for your property or find your dream home.

However, the average REALTOR commission of 6% reduces your profits substantially. Additionally, seller closing costs are quite high.

Although there is no escaping the closing costs, opting for Flat Fee Realtor can help you save 3% listing agent commission.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find a good real estate agent in Illinois?

You can find a good REALTOR in Illinois based on your requirements. For instance, if you wish to sell a luxury property then you can opt for a REALTOR® accordingly. To help you in the process we have compiled the above list for you.

Who are the top licensed in Illinois?

Vanessa Carlson, Mary Wallace and Rich Bassford are the top real estate agents in Illinois.

What percentage do most real estate agent charge in Illinois?

Most real estate agents in Illinois charge 5% - 6% of the sale price.

Who pays Realtor fees in Illinois?

Sellers are responsible for paying the REALTOR fee in Illinois.

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