People Serving People:
Today, as originally intended, we still are a small, dedicated real estate agency, practicing a specialty, a service exclusively-for-buyers, in support of both local and in-bound relocating families ….executive, military and otherwise. Our domain is area-wide, but focused on finer homes in the best living areas.
Our team of real estate professionals has many years of experience in the local markets as well as in the unique practice of exclusive buyer representation. All know the territory; all are disciples of exclusive buyer representation; all are very intent on delivering only the best possible quality of service to buyer clients; all have earned impeccable reputations in the industry; and all have been together for a long time, with astonishing stability. With client satisfactions high, ours ar, too! We're having a wonderful time, consistently delivering the best in home buying services.
Paul and Merrill Ottwein, son and father, are the principals of the company. Paul's son, John assists Paul in the Edwardville office in working closely with individual clients for that market, while Merrill managers more of the overall business and marketing from the O'Fallon office, and preservices the prospective buyers intending that geographical preference. See their bios below.
Long ago, we learned that we relate to people as much as to property. So we build in a special sensitivity to every concern, enhancing the experience for the whole family, humanizing an often emotional experience. So our offices become your home where you make your own coffee and help yourself to cookies and coke, until together we find that single best home for your next chapter! And while you’re here, you’re family!
In addition to the satisfactions borne of delivering top service, our reputation is of paramount importance to us. The majority of our clients are referrals from other clients, or from companies that we have otherwise served. (In recent years, the web sites have also become generators of business, though, as they tell our story of client satisfaction and deep resources.)
We intend to provide the most successful, pleasant total relocation experience possible….that which we would want for ourselves if we were going to a new "home town"! We claim the tools and the attitude to consistently do that.
Contrary to most traditional real estate firms, we are organized to allow teamwork and specialization to help deliver consistently superior service. When a power search begins, our clients are assigned to one primary agent, who is dedicated to and responsible for the overall service to that client. But, others still pitch in as needed, and each has unique strengths and perspectives to share, contributing to a real feeling of family within the staff.
That makes us, "Small enough to stay personal....large enough to serve well."
The two offices are provided for our client's convenience when searching in specific markets, centering in two dynamic market centers, the north and south of Southwest Illinois. While staff sometimes slips back and forth as needed, clients often visit both centers, enjoying options presented objectively and viewing the whole of SW Illinois. From these centers, we uniquely serve all of the best living environments in SW Illinois...no other single agency can say that.
In many ways, we're still very traditional. We get great satisfaction from trying to exceed clients expectations. We enjoy total openness, (now called "transparency"). We don't take ourselves too seriously, and revel in the fun of the totally open relationship. We intend off-the-chart hospitality, the "Cheers" of the real estate world. And it's a small thing, but we still like to answer the phone with a live person, as this cartoon jokingly acknowledges as a relic practice.
|Through all of this, our “No Hustle Pledge” remains in place. From your first call to the final documentation, no one here will ever “hustle” you for a decision or commitment before its time. That means however, that we rely on you a bit more for the initiation of phone calls and service, using your timetable and your comfort zone to determine when that is.
Please see the Library, under “Promises” for the “No Hustle Pledge” and the “Home Buyers Bill of Rights”
Brief biographies of the two principals:
Paul Ottwein: Paul is a native of Edwardsville and as a former co-owner of Century 21 and Coldwell Banker franchises there. Licensed for 28 years, he has been an officer in the Greater Gateway Association of Realtors and currently serves on the Professional Standards Committee of the Board of Realtors. He has been through relocation training in both Century 21 and Coldwell Banker systems, handling most relocations in the former agencies. While all of us have "war stories" about our professions, Paul seems to be a lightning rod for the truly unusual; we're urging him to write a book about them. (We're adding them to our Scrapbook section soon.)
Paul supervises and performs most of the Edwardsville area home-buying, and holds an ABR degree, ("Accredited Buyer Representative") from Rebac, (Real Estate Buyers Agency Council.)
Paul started his realty career with the family development firm and supervised maintenance and management functions there as a youngster. Paul lives in Edwardsville, enjoy sports and following his increasingly-active family of three boys, John, Adam and Tyler, and his "new" daughter, Dakota. He is shown below with his wife Amber, and mom and pop, Gracie and Merrill.
Paul is an avid collector of local stuff and war memorabilia, part of which is displayed in his office, where he's more than anxious to share it. Local stuff includes arrowheads and other Indian artifacts, and old bottles from area businesses no longer present. He enjoys talking of all these things, but discourages disparagement of the Cardinals and the Blues....sacrosanct fan status prevailing.
Merrill Ottwein: Merrill has the “whiskers”, and for more than thirty years has been involved with sales and development of real estate in the Edwardsville area, developing communities such as Cottonwood Station, Lakewood, Ginger Creek, Kettle River and others.
With degrees in Agriculture, Agricultural Economics and Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois, Merrill started his professional career as a practicing veterinarian. He enjoyed ten years of general practice as owner of Hawthorne Animal Hospital in Edwardsville, served on the Advisory Committee to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, and as President of the College’s Alumni Association before leaving practice in 1968.
He and his family spent the year 1967 in Honduras, Central America where he directed “Diakonia,” a Church World Service lay-project in agricultural and business self help, and returned for a short period after Hurricane “Fifi” to assist with relief efforts in 1974. A scrapbook story is under construction.
In April of 1969, he was elected to the Illinois Senate as a Republican serving the heavily Democratic 53rd Senatorial District, losing his bid for re-election, the subject of another short scrapbook story soon.
He’s been a member of the Board of Directors of First Federal Savings and Loan of Edwardsville, and is Past President of each of the Cahokia Mounds Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Land of Goshen Chamber of Commerce and the Edwardsville Rotary Club. He’s a member of Eden United Church of Christ and has served 2 terms on the National Board of Directors of the United Church Board for World Ministries, as well as 2 terms as Delegate to the United Church General Synod.
Merrill is considered a pioneer in the national movement to exclusive buyer representation. He has appeared on consumer and professional programs, has written extensively in support of the concept of buyer representation. A charter member of The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents, he served as its first Treasurer, on the Board of Directors and as its fourth President. He hold’s NAEBA’s CEBA designation and is certified by the “Buyer Broker Institute”. He also holds ABR and ABRM degrees from REBAC; (“Accredited Buyers Representative”, “Accredited Buyers Representative Manager”.
In 2006, he was inducted into REBAC's Hall of Fame, 1 of only 6 from a membership of almost 80,000 nationwide, that for blending the interests of NAEBA and REBAC and pioneering in the concept of Exclusive Buyer Representation.
He has also been quoted many times in national media when exclusive representation is discussed, and has appeared on many national programs and panels in support of the concept.
Avocationally, in years past, he was a member of a locally popular singing group that included his sister, a professional musician, and a barbershop quartet. He still occasionally “treads the boards” with the quartet and still plays trombone in an enlarged group of family/friends called “The Family Brassworks”, the Eden Brass, a church-oriented brass quintet with wide recognition, and in the Troy Municipal Band. He has been song leader at the O'Fallon, Illinois Rotary Club for almost 20 years.
He and his wife Grace live in Cottonwood Village, in Glen Carbon, Illinois. They have three daughters and one son, and seven grandsons, and in recent years enjoy 3 more step grandsons and 2 step granddaughters. Gracie and Merrill just recently celebrated their 61th wedding anniversary, (another short scrapbook item soon.) His biographical sketch appeared in Who’s Who in the Midwest, 1972-1976, and 1993-96, and in Who’s Who in America, 1997 forward