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When Chicagoans look outside the area for a home, this is the top spot

The town known for Pete Buttigieg, Amy Coney Barrett and Notre Dame football is house hunters' most-searched location outside the metro area.

Michael and Stephanie Starks recently sold their home in Galewood in Chicago (top) and bought one twice its size in Granger, a suburb of South Bend, Indiana. 

When Chicagoans look for homes outside the metro area, the place they look most is South Bend, the Indiana town known for Pete Buttigieg, Amy Coney Barrett and Notre Dame football.

In October and November, some 12 percent of Chicagoans using Redfin to house hunt looked outside the region, and the most common place they searched was South Bend, 95 miles east, according to a report released Dec. 21 by Redfin, the online real estate marketplace.

Redfin users in New York searched for homes in Boston most, and in San Francisco they shopped for a new address in Sacramento, Redfin reported. 

Milwaukeeans? They shopped in Chicago. 

Michael and Stephanie Stark are in the midst of their move from Chicago's Galewood neighborhood to Granger, a suburb of South Bend. In November the couple, who have one child and another due in early 2021, traded a 2,700-square-foot bungalow on a standard 25-by-125-foot Chicago lot for a 5,500-square-foot house on three-quarters of an acre. 

"Right now I'm looking out at ducks on a pond," Michael Stark, an executive in a Chicago-based restaurant data firm called Emerging, said in a phone interview today. His job can be done from anywhere, and her work as a designer is mostly on hold with young children taking her time, so when the pandemic hit, Michael Stark said, "it nudged us to do something we might have done a few years from now." 

Searching for homes in a big crescent around the southeast corner of Lake Michigan, the Starks settled on the South Bend area, which he knew from his undergrad days at Notre Dame. When life returns to normal after the pandemic, Michael Stark figures he'll drive over to Chicago once or twice a week. "My work was already remote before this started," he said. 

The couple asked that their former and current homes' prices not be published, but Michael Stark said that they paid more for the new place than they got for the old one. "We got a lot more house with much better taxes," Michael Stark said. They're paying 18 percent more in property taxes for a little over 100 percent more house. 

"When people come here, they're amazed at how much they can purchase," said Stephanie Weldy, president of the South Bend Area Realtors Association and a Berkshire Hathaway and a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices agent. When they come from Chicago, she said, "they're surprised you can find all this so close to Chicago."

'All this,' in Weldy's description, is good schools, big yards, arts, restaurants, and sports, both associated with the university and independent of it. 

In South Bend, for about Chicago's median home sale price, $269,900, a buyer could pick up this three-bedroom Tudor several blocks' walk from the downtown core or this five-bedroom house near the northwest city limits.

Redfin's data gathering attempted to weed out the daydreamers and focus on people seriously considering moving. The report includes only people who have viewed at least 10 houses in the out-of-town location, and for whom at least 80 percent of their views are in that same area. Data from Redfin competitors Zillow shows a similar level of Chicagoans looking at South Bend, Matt Kreamer in Zillow's data public relations office confirmed. 

John De Souza, president of Cressy & Everett Real Estate, one of the biggest residential firms in the region, said page views on his firm's website by Chicagoans are up 42 percent in the second half of the year, compared to the same time in 2019. They're getting higher levels of search from people around Detroit and Indianapolis as well, De Souza said, but "Chicago is the biggest." 

De Souza said his office has handled at least four buyers who've moved from the Chicago area in the past few months, although all of them declined his request to talk to Crain's for this article. 

Not only is South Bend a genuine city, as opposed to a small town, it's been undergoing an urban renaissance, according to De Souza, Weldy and Faith Fleming, a Cressy & Everett agent. "There's a new, interesting life in downtown," Fleming said. As Wired, the New York Times and other publications detailed during Buttigieg's presidential run, during his tenure as mayor there was a dedicated effort to remake the old industrial sections, home to a Studebaker plant among other things. 

Now there are new apartment buildings and, at least before the pandemic, "some very nice restaurants," Fleming said. 

South Bend is about a two-hour drive from Chicago. A project to upgrade the South Shore rail line with double tracks, which will reduce the need for trains to stop as others pass, is expected to cut the train ride to 90 minutes. 


Video courtesy of Monica Murhpy, WNDU-16

The year 2020 has looked very different for all of us, and it is especially profound during the holiday season when people are not gathering as much as usual. Cressy & Everett Real Estate usually hosts annual holiday gatherings for their REALTORS and staff throughout the footprint of our 12 office locations in southwestern Michigan and northern Indiana. With the current events and commitment to respect the safety guidelines, the leadership team had to think outside of the box. They wanted to create the feeling and experience of bringing everyone together, but somehow do it safely. So something special was crafted and strategically executed. 

This year, Cressy & Everett ordered about 200 take-home family meals from South Bend's LaSalle Grill restaurant, the recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award for 25 straight years, and known for expertly crafted fresh, local, sustainable food. The meals were distributed to agents and staff over the course of 3 days at different locations convenient for pick up, and the meals fed agents and staff and their families in their homes but also provided a good measure of local support.

"2020 has been a difficult year for so many people, personally as well as in business. So, when we have a chance to give back to others, and when we have a chance to bring our agents and staff together, and have them share a moment like they are sharing this weekend with these meals, that's really special to us." said President John De Souza.

Each family meal box contained a house salad, entrees choices, multiple sides and a dessert. Company branded swag was also provided in a bag including some drinking tumblers, some food serving tongs, and a card from the partners thanking each person for his or her contribution to the company.

An opportunity like this not only feeds employees and their families, it helped support a local business as well. Cressy & Everett prides itself on having a presence and demonstrating what it means to be a good corporate citizen, with proactive volunteer, public service and real help in the communities where we live, work and raise our families. With "Giving Back" as one of our most important core values, it was great to see some employees choosing to pay-it-forward with their meal in sharing or giving away, or in their donation of their meal box to families in need or groups of front-line workers such as local hospital healthcare workers.


We're always so proud when one of our Cressy & Everett Family is recognized and highlighted in our community. This time, it's Lori Eubank Bennett in the spotlight on WSJM News Talk 94.9's Real Talk about Real Estate. As Manager of our St. Joseph & Harbor Country offices as well as a working Agent, Lori is never short on market insight, great advice, and fun stories. Give it a listen!


Lori Bennett, the associate broker with Cressy & Everett in Stevensville, St. Joseph and Harbor Country joins Joe Danieland Jon Wallace in the studio for great insight on the real estate industry. We discuss her team including Patricia "Patty" BowmanDave SpringsteenMichael McCauslandBill AchterbergShawn & Miles Ashley and the "newbies". Lori shares two great homes: 3122 Sundance Path in Stevensvilleand 2803 Veronica Drive in St. Joseph (probably sells this weekend). To call or text Lori it's 269-369-2252 and her email is Joe's email is and Jon's is


Saint Joseph Holiday Family Events

There's no place like home for the holidays and the Saint Joseph is preparing a holiday schedule stacked full of holiday events. Whether you're shopping for great gifts, taking in spectacular scenery or spending quality time with the kids, Saint Joseph is the place to be for the holidays. Our real estate agents are already hard at work getting ready for the holidays, and we've got all the details on holiday events throughout the Saint Joseph, MI area.

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Senior Homeownership
After working and saving for decades, homeowners who are ready to retire are faced with one big decision. Should I stay or should I go? Whether you're ready to retire now or are simply planning for the future, it's a great idea to consider where you'd like to spend your retirement. Would you prefer to stay in the place where you have lived for many years, or move somewhere else to maximize your enjoyment of retirement? Our real estate agents are here to help you decide on the best place to spend your retirement.  

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Niles, Michigan Fernwood Garden
Nestled in the scenic St. Joseph River Valley, Niles, Michigan is a beautiful place in any season. But it really comes to life in fall, and nowhere are the colors of the season more vividly on display at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve.

A private, non-profit institution that focuses on preserving and displaying the best of Michigan's native flora, Fernwood Botanical Garden is ripe for exploration. Our real estate agents in Niles can help you learn more about all the great outdoor things to do in Niles when you move to our community.

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Baroda Michigan Dablon Vineyards
The beautiful sights, sounds, and flavors of Baroda, MI are on full display at one of our area's most popular wineries. Dablon Winery and Vineyards opened in Baroda in 2009, and has quickly become a staple of the local winery scene. The property is gorgeous, the wine is delicious, and the atmosphere is fantastic. Every detail of the wine-making process, from planting grapes to pouring a glass, is handled with care by the friendly, knowledgeable staff on-site. Our Cressy & Everett real estate agents love getting out to experience the community, and we're excited to introduce you to this one-of-a-kind Baroda winery.

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An Inspiration for the Benton Harbor Community

Benton Harbor Arts District
Benton Harbor is a gem of Southwestern Michigan for so many reasons, but did you know a vibrant arts community is one of them? The Benton Harbor Arts District is s year-round destination for a mix of art, music, dance, theater, dining and family-friendly events.

Located in downtown Benton Harbor, Michigan on and around the intersection of Water Street and Territorial Road, the Arts District's shops, restaurants and art galleries serve as "the place" to connect with family, friends, and neighbors in the community.

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Buying a Home Seller's Market
A seller's market is great news if you're listing a home, but it can be significantly more frustrating when you're on the other side of the transaction. The good news is that while there are added challenges to shopping in a seller's market, you can absolutely still find a home you will love for a price that fits within your budget. No matter what type of market you're shopping in, your planning, preparation, and discipline are ultimately what will lead you to the right fit. To succeed when buying a house in a seller's market, it helps to add a healthy dose of adaptability to the equation.

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Don't Go it Alone - Use a Pro

Use a Realtor to Sell Your Home

If you're about to put your home on the market and hoping for a quick and lucrative sale, you may be tempted to tackle the project yourself. Eliminating the skills and expenses of a real estate agent can save you a somewhat pricey sales commission, which puts extra money in your pocket. If that sounds too good to be true, it's because it is.

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Best Things to Do in Sturgis, MI

Sturgis Michigan Family Fun
Sturgis, Michigan is the perfect small town atmosphere. With sidewalk-lined streets, community parks, and recreational opportunities, it's a great place to live. In the summer, many of those recreational opportunities come to the forefront of life in Sturgis. Here are some excellent ways to spend a lazy summer afternoon for those who buy homes in Sturgis.

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Get to Know Angie Bryan, Elkhart Office

Angie Bryan grew up in Kosciusko County, and has lived most of her adult life in Elkhart County.  She has been an independent contractor for the past 20 years, having owned and operated a home-based medical transcription business. Angie's favorite things to do include traveling and spending time with friends and family.

"I pledge to serve my clients with excellence, professionalism, diligence, and honesty; to continually seek to better represent my clients and customers by building my knowledge and competence, and to serve my community well by providing support and guidance to help buyers and sellers achieve their goals" stated Angie.

Find out more about Angie and her services, or simply start your home search by visiting her website.


Angie Bryan
945 E. Beardsley Avenue
Elkhart, IN 46514
Call or Text 574-202-4078


About Nappanee and the Amish Acres Historic Farm

Amish Acres Historic Farm
Nappanee, Indiana has a rich, fascinating history and you'll find no better example of that history than Amish Acres Historic Farm. As you tour Amish Acres, you will be swept away to a different era, when day-to-day life in the community was centered on the farm, and around the family dinner table. It's like walking through a living museum, and a day at Amish Acres involves plenty more than seeing the sights. You'll also find great food, unique shopping opportunities, educational activities, and even a theater that is sure to delight every member of the audience.

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Get to Know Syndy Bolser, Edwardsburg Office

Bolser studied at Indiana University and belongs to a huge family!  She has 5 children of her own, and with 11 siblings, her parents have a total of 36 grandkids!  She enjoys the hub-bub and chaos that comes with such a large group. According to Syndy, nothing beats the sound of all the happy chatter and laughter!

"I strive every day to provide the public with the most current, personal, knowledgeable, professional, and efficient real estate services available" states Syndy. "I offer the experience and knowledge it takes to negotiate and facilitate your real estate sales. I talk to new buyers and sellers every day. Call me for any of your real estate needs!"

Find out more about Syndy and her services, or simply start your home search by visiting her website.


Syndy Bolser
26251 US 12 Hwy
Edwardsburg, MI 49112
Call or Text 616-540-3978


SOUTH BEND, IN – March 1, 2017 – Cressy & Everett Real Estate has been awarded the Website Quality Certification (WQC) from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, a global community of more than 550 high quality independent real estate firms in over 60 countries. The certification was presented in recognition of excellence in website design, content and functionality.

Cressy & Everett's website,, received high marks in a variety of critical areas relating to website performance, including usability, design, content, interactivity, customer service and mobile responsiveness. The evaluation was conducted by Virtual Results, LLC, a real estate internet and social marketing firm selected by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® to review the websites of participating members.  

The specific measurements for the WQC are updated each year to reflect the most current online marketing strategies, as well as evolving consumer preferences. Companies must be re-certified every two years to maintain the certification.

"The 150 companies that earned the WQC this year have created websites that engage consumers with thoughtful design, rich local content and up-to-date information on homes in the local market and around the world. We are pleased to recognize them for giving consumers a superior online experience and supporting that with exceptional customer support," said Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® President/CEO Pam O'Connor. 

"Our website is important to our brand, but more importantly to our customers who count on the accuracy and easy of use to find their dream home." said Sherri Reiner, Director or Marketing for Cressy & Everett Real Estate.  "We have our finger on the pulse on a daily basis, and constantly look for ways to bring value to home buyers, such as 3d Walkthroughs, YouTube Videos community and school stats and of course...great photos.  We have a special feature called My Home Finder which emails the consumer, instantly, when a new listing hits the website.  In today's fast selling market, this speed to buyers inbox is crucial.  We take pride in showing every home listed by any company on our site and make sure it's updated from the MLS every 15 minutes. There are several moving parts to the site to keep homes updated that quickly, but we know what buyers want, and our sellers appreciate the speed to market."

As a member of LeadingRE, Cressy & Everett Real Estate provides a quality real estate experience, global marketing reach and access to top real estate professionals in any market.







The holidays are the perfect time to test your home.  Need more guest rooms...more guest bathrooms?  How about a game room or barn for the guys...or basement space for the kids?  With thousands of homes on the market, and interest rates still the lowest in years, isn't it time to find your dream home.  It's pretty easy.  Download our or sign up for My Homefinder and we'll send you emails ONLY when homes hit the market that meet your dream list.

This is the year to find your perfect home. 



1st Time Home Buyers Seminar

What is a Home Buyer Seminar?

Our 1st Time Home Buyer Seminar covers some of the issues that concern us most when making one of the biggest decisions of our lives.

  • Where do I start?
  • How do I make a good decision?
  • What can I afford?
  • How do I make sure I don't pay too much?

Who Should Attend?

If you would like answers to any of these questions, others you might have, then come to our 1st Time Home Buyers Seminar. I'll walk you through the process of buying your first home and help you know how to navigate your way through so that it is an easy and enjoyable experience. 

Also, we'll also be bringing in Michael Grove with Ruoff Mortgage to talk with us about the lending side of buying a home as well.

When and Where?

  • When: Monday Night, March 31, 2014 @ 7pm
  • Where: 332 N. Ironwood, corner Ironwood and McKinley, South Bend
  • Located in the lower level of the Cressy & Everett Office on the corner of Ironwood & McKinley
  • Light Fare will be provided
  • Your Host:  Cressy & Everett Real Estate, Inc. with Abram Christianson (Phone: 574-855-7910, Email:, Web:


Reserve your seat here!!



Login to My Homefinder

Login to My Homefinder