Welcome to The Pulse – The LMKS Group blog making an impact in both Chicago and the Suburbs! We’re excited to create a place for you to find real estate insight, décor inspiration, neighborhood inside scoop, and more. Our team is growing – so let us start by introducing ourselves.

Meet: Laura McGreal

Favorite thing about Downers Grove: I love Downers Grove because it still has a quaint downtown area that we can walk to with restaurants, boutique stores and coffee shops. It also has great schools which were important to us and great accessibility to the city via the express trains.

What I love about my job: I love working with my clients and getting to know their unique wants in their new home. Some people are looking for a renovated home and some are looking for “projects”.  Each client is so unique!  I love walking through new homes as they hit the market.

My design splurge: Lighting – it can make a huge impact on the design of the home.

Favorite décor brands: Restoration hardware, West Elm, Target & Land of Nod

What I love most about helping people buy:  I love seeing the excitement people get the day they close or move in to their new home. It’s such a huge accomplishment to save for that down payment and to have your finances in order to make this purchase.


Meet: Karen Schwartz

Favorite thing about Chicago: The restaurants, the entertainment aspect, the fact that you have a lake that you can boat on or run beside and a beach you can go to that’s just a few miles away.

Favorite restaurant: Bavette’s. I love the ambiance. The service is always excellent and the food is consistently delicious.

Industry insider tip: Be Kind and professional not only to your clients, but also to all other professionals in your industry. We all share a common goal of helping our clients and sellers buy or sell an amazing place and keeping our clients happy.

Favorite decor brands: Gilt Home, Jonathan Adler, Target, West Elm, Restoration Hardware

What I love about helping people buy and sell real estate: The greatest satisfaction from this job comes when you’re able to help your clients find their dream home or when you can help your clients sell their place so they can move on to the next stage of their lives – whether that is moving up, downsizing, or moving to another location. I love being able to work with so many different clients and learning about where they come from, what they do for work, what motivates them. This motivates me and is a continuous learning experience.


Meet: Ryan Blake

Favorite thing about Chicago: Chicago is constantly changing. The neighborhoods change and develop.  New restaurants are opening every day.  And the seasons bring a different attitude to the city.

What I love about my job: Buying/selling a home is not something people do every day and it can be intimidating. I love helping people navigate that process and do my best to make it as smooth as possible. It is a constant learning experience and every transaction is unique.

 My design/decor splurge: I really love well designed kitchens. I think they can differentiate a place and it’s usually where most people gather when hosting.

Favorite décor brands: Room and Board, West Elm, Pottery Barn

 Industry insider tip: There are a lot of moving parts in a buying/selling transaction and having great resources is key.  A good lender and/or attorney can make the biggest difference in your experience. 


Meet: Alison Van Bergen

Resides in: Downers Grove since 2005, grew up in Western Springs

What I love about my job: Helping people alleviate their fears when buying a home! It is likely the largest purchase they will make and I am always privileged to be a part of it.  I love finding their “perfect home” or helping them renovate one to best fit their lifestyle.

My design/decor splurge: Built-ins!!!

Favorite décor brands: Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams, Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel

Favorite restaurant: Neat Kitchen & Bar in Westmont


Meet: Megan Studencki

What I love most about my job: It really never feels like a job at all. I love meeting new people and developing strong relationships. I feel very lucky to be a part of the decision making process with my clients. Buying or selling a home can be very stressful. It feels great to be able to make the process as easy as possible.  It also helps that I am surrounded by such and amazing team!

My favorite decor brands: Crate & Barrel and Home Goods. I love shopping around to find fun and unique decor items. Home Goods is also great if you are shopping on a budget!

Industry insider tip: Less is more when selling your home. You want potential buyers to be able to picture themselves in your home. De-clutter to make the best parts of your home shine to your buyers.

If you have one hour to visit Frankfort: Stop into Fat Rosie’s for a fresh Margarita and some yummy tacos. Also, take a stroll over to Ginger & Bailey, a cute boutique with handmade jewelry and home decor made by local artists.

What I love most about helping people buy: The look on my clients’ face when we walk into a home and they know “This is the ONE!!!”


When it comes time to buy, sell, rent, list or even choose a spot to grab a bite to eat or style of your next couch, we’re your people.

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