We pride ourselves in making home buying and selling personal, stress-free and professionalContact Us
What’s So Special
We’re Special. Heck, it even says so in our name. That’s why we treat real estate a little differently from other agencies. We look far beyond the transaction and more into the heart of what we do. We’re a humble bunch that really enjoy getting to know our clients. And by building real connections, it makes it simple for our clients to see us as not just their real estate agent but a trusted advisor and hopefully a long-time friend.
Part of a bigger family
The Green Lake area isn’t just our community, it’s our home. We’ve been active members of the communities we serve since 1992 and that’s not stopping anytime soon. We believe that a community is only as strong as those who make it. Leadership and good energy coupled with organic collaboration is proof that the areas we represent are indeed great places to work, live and play.
We're a team that goes above and beyond for our clients - and it’s not just for higher commissions. We’re here because we really care.
"In my profession, I truly believe in quality over quantity. Genuine relationships matter and I don't see my clients as fleeting - rather as neighbors and treat them as such."
Well respected in the local real estate community, Jeff loves what he does and has lived, worked and breathed the Green Lake life for nearly 25 years. Growing up in Northern Wisconsin, Jeff attended the UW-Stevens Point where he studied Business Administration & Political Science. He moved to the Green Lake area in 1994 and has been an active community member ever since.
At Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Special Properties, Jeff helps makes dreams come true as a seasoned resource for those seeking rare waterfront properties. He understands that real estate is an intimate business and takes pride in being a patient confidant and building a long-term client relationship. His passion for the community and interest in marketing is the reason Jeff has been the leading broker for home sales on Green Lake for over a decade. He enjoys serving as a broker for both sellers and buyers and works tirelessly to address each and every one of his customer’s needs.
Contact Jeff at 920-858-9786 or send him an email
“I’M ENERGIZED AND MOTIVATED TO ENSURE YOUR HAPPINESS. WHETHER YOU ARE SEARCHING FOR YOUR DREAM HOME OR SELLING TO START A NEW CHAPTER, I AM HONORED TO BE A PART OF IT. YOU CAN RELY ON ME TO GET IT DONE.”
The “Let’s Get It Done” Girl
Sarah, with her hospitable personality and driving ambition, is the nucleus of the Green Lake real estate universe. For over 17 years, she has been connecting and building a network of strong relationships with clients, banks, appraisers, and local professionals—to get things done!
Her local upbringing and breadth of real estate knowledge keeps her on the leading edge of the market. Sarah knows how to work with the right people to get deals put together, regardless of office hours or physical location. She will be by your side, fighting for your cause, and ensuring your happiness in the end.
Savvy negotiation, industry data and analysis, and always doing what’s right has spurred her reputation. The strength of her integrity shows through a steady and constant stream of repeat clients, referrals and happy people.
Contact Sarah at 920-229-6266 or send her an email
Broker, REALTOR®, RSPS
“The magic of Green Lake and that Midwestern friendliness solidified my belief that moving here and starting a career at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Special Properties was the best decision of my life.”
The New Yorker
Eileen is a native New Yorker with over 20 years of corporate experience. New York City, Baltimore, and Washington DC were all stops on her way to Green Lake, working her way through the fashion industry and the hotel business, including several years as an Event Planner for The-Ritz Carlton Hotel Company.
While real estate in Green Lake is very different than organizing elegant parties or debuting the latest fashions for top designers in NYC, Eileen gained invaluable experience working for clients who expected flawless service at every turn.
Relocating to the Green Lake area from the East Coast was an easy decision. Her goal of buying a home and raising a family in this charming Midwest community was realized in 2008 and she’s never looked back. For the past 10 years, Eileen has developed strong relationships and market knowledge and is a valued member of the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Special Properties team.
Active in the local community, Eileen is a Board Member at Green Lake’s “Town Square Community Center” and is an active member of the Green Lake Yacht Club. She and her husband Drew live on Green Lake, and are the proud parents of two young children.
Contact Eileen at 920-344-2502 or send her an email
"I've always loved the connection you make in business - how you can help someone with what they're looking for and perhaps something they never even knew existed."
Getting his start in the travel industry back in 2004, Mike has been in sales from the beginning of his career. Having worked for both a travel marketing company and travel technology company, Mike has lived in Milwaukee, and Appleton, Wisconsin, Berkeley, California, finally settling in to Green Lake, Wisconsin in the fall of 2017, where he currently lives and works. Mike has a passion for connecting and helping people, whether that was in creating dream vacations, finding clients the perfect home, or partnering with sellers to pass the torch to the next generation.
One of Mike’s favorite things about sales and marketing is that every day is different. He gets to work with new clients, meet new people, and be a part of selling some of Green Lake’s most iconic homes and businesses. Loving real estate and loving Green Lake truly go hand in hand. Even though Mike wasn’t born in Green Lake, he has a deep love for the local community. He is on the Green Lake Chamber Board of Directors and active with many of the events throughout the Green Lake community.
In his personal life Mike is very active. He loves to workout, be on the boat, golf, and of course get back to his travel industry roots by visiting new places. When he’s not in Green Lake enjoying all this great community has to offer, he loves to visit friends in Florida, California, and is always open to a new adventure.
If you would like to take on your next adventure, let Mike Ertmer help you find your dream house, that you can turn into your home.
Contact Mike at 920-216-7477 or send him an email
"Developing personal relationships and showing off Green Lake is what I think is the best part of the job."
Bianca left Green Lake twice and came back both times, saying it was always the small town closeness that pulled her back. She attended college in Iowa, where she earned a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. Bianca later worked in Chicago and Milwaukee but knew Green Lake was where her heart was.
“I love Green Lake because everyone knows one another, neighbors care for each other, and people are always there for you, no matter what.”
Bianca’s parents owned a bowling alley in Ripon, where she says she learned hospitality and customer service at a very early age. She was taught it doesn’t take much to go the extra mile for someone but it makes all the difference.
That same passion for the customer is what Bianca loves about selling real estate. She enjoys listening to what makes people happy and finding something special that’s just right for them. Developing personal relationships and showing off Green Lake is what she says is the best part of the job.
Contact Bianca at 920-428-2451 or Send her an email
“I love helping families find that home where they too will make lifelong memories. It’s truly the best part of real estate.”
The Lady of the Lake
To say Desiree has an eye for real estate is an understatement. This former interior designer brings her aesthetic to both buyers and sellers in and around Green Lake. In her career, She has staged countless properties, FROM NEW YORK TO CHICAGO, and helped clients see the potential in so many homes, but it’s not what she enjoys the most. The Wisconsin native says what she truly loves is lake living.
Since 1981, Desiree’s family has maintained a home on Green Lake. Located on the west end of the lake, the property is a former boat house and, as a result, is located right on the water’s edge. It’s not only one of the most recognizable properties on Green Lake, it’s incredibly special to Desiree. She says she knows every inch of shoreline and loves that she goes by many names such as “The Lady of the Lake” and “Lake Girl.”
“Living here is heaven and I thank God every day I wake up and look out the window.”
Contact Desiree at 847-863-5536 or send her an email
"The lake has a magic to it, and when everything is crumbling, that is a place you can retreat and bring yourself back to center, find your calm. The idea of sharing that with people is really calming to me."
Our Green Lake Girl
Kathy is a Green Lake native, who has traveled around a bit since high school. Having since returned to Green Lake Kathy, her husband and 2 kids own a beautiful farm house in the area. Kathy has a background in education and psychology, and taught in the Berlin school system for a number of years. Kathy has been working with rental properties and rehab for over 20 years before coming to join Special Properties.
After taking time off to have kids, Kathy went back to the work force in a way that paved her path to her career as a Realtor. She began her venture with her sister buying rental properties, which ultimately led to her decision to get her Real Estate license. Kathy has a passion for connecting the dots for people and helping them manage any stress that comes with home buying.
Kathy loves to travel and she’s a big fan of outdoor activities, which makes Green Lake the best location for her family. From hiking, biking, and being on the water, Kathy can’t get enough of the outdoors. Her happy place is being on a paddleboard in the middle of the lake or hiking through the woods on her farm.
Contact Kathy at 920-539-2369 or send her an email
"Meeting and connecting people from various walks of life on a daily basis and helping to provide the best solution to each unique situation is my goal. Creating new relationships inspires me to be the best I can be for you"
Ira became passionate about real estate through her mother, who is also a broker back in Russia. She grew up going to showings and learning about the market from a young age. Ira loves to meet new people and socializing is one of her passions.
Aside from real estate Ira enjoys photography, which she has been doing professionally since 2011. She has been part of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Special Properties since 2018, providing professional photographs and drone images for the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Special Properties website, social media pages, and marketing. She lives in Green Lake with her children, and husband, whose family are business owners’ in neighboring Princeton.
Joan Karsten, originally from Ripon, brings more than 30 years of leadership in residential and commercial real estate experience to the Better Homes and Gardens Special Properties team. After graduating from UW-LaCrosse in 1981, Joan moved to Massachusetts where she began her broker career with Better Homes and Gardens. She moved back home to Ripon in 1992 which commenced 30 years of service to CENTURY 21 as a Broker.
Throughout her career, Joan garnered more than 30 professional awards and acknowledgements including being named Wisconsin Realtor of the Year twice and a five-time recipient of the CENTURY 21 Centurion Award. As impressive as her results have been in real estate, Joan is well known in Ripon for her years of service as a community leader and volunteer. She has held leadership roles on numerous boards and community organizations and was recognized as the Ripon Commonwealth Person of the Year in 2005 and received the Ripon College Founders Day Award in 2007.
Joan joined Better Homes and Gardens Special Properties in 2022 as Broker and Office Manager. In her role, Joan often serves as the face and first point of contact for the office. Furthermore, she serves as a trusted advisor to all realtors and the lead trainer for new realtors.
Joan’s extensive market knowledge and client base provides an invaluable resource as Special Properties establishes their Ripon office and continues to cultivate their client network.
Contact Joan at 920-229-1952 or send her an email
"Customer service is really important to me. I have many parts of my personality that work together to create a realtor that is here for all of my clients."
“My goal is to get every transaction to close smoothly.”
That can only be achieved through superb customer service and total dedication to the clients. Liz prides herself on these values and uses her eight plus years in the real estate industry to be the best resource for her buyers and sellers.
Liz’s experience and knowledge of the ins and outs of a real estate office give her a unique vantage point that allows her to better assist her clients with their buying and selling needs.
“One of the biggest reasons why I love real estate is that you get to work closely with people to make their dreams become a reality! To be a part of such a huge moment in a person’s life is a true privilege.”
After growing up in Rockford, Illinois, Liz and her husband, Chad, have lived in the Green Lake area for more than 20 years with their daughter, Genevieve. As a child, Liz and her family also lived in Dublin, Ireland, her mother’s hometown. She has since returned to Ireland several times to visit family. That experience has influenced Liz’s interest in travel and experiencing all that life has to offer.
When Liz is not working, you will probably find her on the golf course trying her best to “hit ‘em straight!” She is also actively involved in the local community as a member of the Green Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Green Lake Association.
Contact Liz at 920-574-1974 or send her an email
Real Estate has been a passion for Jill since she started selling in 2005 and her success proves that. “I love working with people” and Jill’s personality and work ethic has not only made her successful in real estate but more importantly made her a lot of new friends over the years.
From the first time you meet Jill, you will feel at ease with her professional and personable working style. Growing up in the area, Jill is confident in her ability to represent your best interest through your real estate transaction.
Outside of work Jill is community oriented and she and her husband have 3 children and 8 grandchildren. Some of her other passions are gardening, cooking and spending time with friends and family.
Jill is excited to continue her career with the team at Better Homes and Gardens Special Properties.
Contact Jill at 920-517-5453 or send her an email
“Sharing the history of a property is part of the experience, helping you write the next chapter is my goal.”
Contact Melissa at 920-229-4206 or send her an email
The Coach -- "I love working with people, helping them find a place that means something to them. this is where they will raise their families, this is where they will have their lives"
Contact Marco at 920-290-0009 or send him an email
"I enjoy keeping the stress to a minimum for my buyers and sellers. Instead of simply presenting them with problems, I come up with a plan of options to solve issues when they occur to keep everything running smoothly."
Contact Marissa at 913-488-2105 or send her an email
Real Estate isn't just about buying and selling; it's about building relationships, accomplishing goals and developing friendships...I begin with the end in mind...and make sure my clients reach their goals.
Lisa has an extremely unique history here in Green Lake, with her family coming to the area more than 150 years ago. Her great-great grandfather, Ezra T. Whiting even has a bronze plaque outside of the North Bay Bait & Tackle. Whiting had an interest in real estate, which obviously became generational with Lisa carrying on the tradition. Her family owns and operates a farm that was original to her family from the 1800s.
Lisa spent her youth working at the Goose Blind paying her way through college. She originally worked in the travel industry which allowed her to find and follow her love of travel. She has been to 48 of 50 states in the U.S., some twice. She has also worked as a financial advisor, in the construction industry, and as the Executive Director of both the Berlin and Green Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Today, Lisa has 3 adult children as well as a daughter-in-law and resides in the Green Lake area. She loves a DIY project, which is what initially brought her into real estate in 2018. After a health scare that pushed her to follow the next dream in her life, Lisa took the plunge into real estate and never looked back. Lisa likes to get inside a buyer’s head and make sure that the investment they are making is the right one for them. Because of her past work in finance, coupled with a passion for the area Lisa has the best in mind for everyone she works with.
Aside from working and living in Green Lake, Lisa loves the culture of this small town in Wisconsin. She says, “The vibe of Green Lake is so chill, which is absolutely my vibe”. She goes on to say that she is not afraid of hard work, but she loves the slower pace of Green Lake and that there are so many people from different walks of life and backgrounds making up the melting pot of this great town.
Contact Lisa at 920-290-4494 or send her an email
"Coming of age in the Green Lake area gives me a deeper understanding of the landscape."
With wisdom beyond my years and a work ethic that rivals that of a 5th Avenue banker, you won’t ever find me standing still. I work hard for my clients, my colleagues, and my community. Coming of age in the Green Lake area gives me a deeper understanding of the landscape. I will introduce clients to pockets and opportunities that an outsider wouldn’t know or care about. As a daughter of a contractor and someone who believes that a home should reflect its owner, I will help clients visualize the possibilities in front of them. I pride myself on using modern marketing tactics to increase awareness and shorten the length of time a house is on the market. I know who to target, when, and what to say. So, whether you’re buying or selling, you won’t find a more passionate and hard-working agent to be in your corner. Sell: It’s not just my name, it’s my goal.
Contact Alyssa at 920-296-5140 or send her an email
Director Of Property Management
While he was born in Kenosha and lived in Chicago for most of his life, Doug is no stranger to Green Lake. For 22 years, Doug has owned a lake home in the area thanks to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Special Properties’ own Jeff Shadick, who sold him the house as a young realtor himself. After working many successful years in the financial industry, Doug realized he was more of a hands-on, outdoorsy, people person. With that, he sold his partnership in Chicago and headed for the lake.
Doug’s financial background, coupled with his remodeling skills, have resulted in a new division of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Special Properties. In addition to real estate brokerage services, Doug will head Special Properties Rentals, managing and maintaining lake properties.
Doug’s philosophy is never be afraid of a challenge and create as many memories he can. He believes there is no problem that can’t be fixed, and no time that should go wasted. Living by those words every day, Doug loves boating, water skiing, fishing and anything else that involves being on the water with his neighbors on Green Lake.
Contact Doug at 847-477-3783 or send him an email
"I am really lucky to get to live and work in a place that I have absolutely loved most of my life. I'm always ecstatic to see new faces around town and hopefully get the chance to show them why they'll just love it here"
A native of Chicago, Lynn grew up in Green Lake (in her own words) like “a typical lake brat.” Her parents bought a summer home on Green Lake in 1961 and for years she enjoyed family gatherings and holidays on the lake. Green Lake was always a magical place for Lynn – so magical that she moved to the area in 1965 and has loved life here ever since.
In 1992, her youngest of five children entered middle school and Lynn knew it was time to follow her passion for real estate in a town she loved. Lynn founded Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Special Properties at a time when women weren’t real estate agents and certainly not owners. Her 25 years of experience has earned her the respect of generations of families who have trusted Lynn with their biggest decisions.
Lynn’s depth of knowledge of the area and all types of properties on and off the water has not only assisted buyers and sellers, the work has allowed Lynn to maintain a deep commitment to Green Lake as an active volunteer for many organizations.
Contact Lynn at 920-960-9616 or send her an email
"The first time I came to Green Lake I thought I had died and gone to heaven. That's the feeling I love to share with clients in search of their own little slice of heaven. I'm not selling, I'm sharing!"
The Snow Bird
For someone who grew up in rural Texas, Kate loves the “green” in Green Lake. From the big mature trees and grassy fields to the water and wildlife, Kate enjoys sharing her adoration of our community with her clients.
After leaving the remote ranching town where Kate was raised, she worked in the corporate world in Arizona for 30 years and still makes the desert her home in the winter. But from May through October, you’ll find Kate living on Green Lake and working at our office on Mill Street. Kate has been selling real estate for 18 years and believes that truly listening to clients is the best way to find a property that may even surprise them.
Kate says it’s the sense of community and small town nature of Green Lake that often seals the deal for many homebuyers. This sense of belonging and camaraderie even for seasonal residents is one to which she can relate.
Contact Kate at 602-740-3435 or send her an email
Our happy clients
"Sarah is great to work with. She is very knowledgeable of the market, and prices. She is always willing to do whatever needs to be done to sell your house. She was a pleasure to work with and will definitely recommend her to others!"
"Mike was a pleasure to work with. His attitude was always very positive. He is very enthusiastic and ready to do more than what we could ask of him. He was willing to show the property and offered many open house events while always working around our schedule. He had great mediation skills and offered great advice about property improvements and setting price. I would highly recommend him to others and if I have the opportunity, I will use him again."
“Eileen was a pleasure to work with. Our family was tasked with selling my brother's house after he unexpectedly passed away. Eileen was sensitive and compassionate during this difficult time in our life. I've been put in charge to work with Eileen on behalf of our family and can say she made this process so easy and stress-free for me. I'm so thankful she was put in our lives to help us during this difficult period. Everything went as smoothly and efficiently it can when working in real estate with third parties. We are so thankful.”
"We were very happy working with Jeff. He was very knowledgeable and pleasant to deal with. He was very familiar with the market and our area and made the entire process of selling our home a very easy experience for us. We will definitely use Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Special Properties again and would highly recommend Jeff to anyone selling or looking to purchase a home."
Bianca went above and beyond to help me find the perfect home in the Green Lake area. Bianca was very professional, and I could always count on her to respond in a timely manner. For me, what really helped me build trust with Bianca was that if she didn’t know the answer to a question firsthand, she knew her limitations, and put me in contact with someone who did...I greatly appreciated and respected that! Also, when I started my search, I wasn’t very familiar with the area so having Bianca point out all of the local “hot spots” really sold me on the area. If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, I would highly recommend looking no further than Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Special Properties, and Bianca Curtis!
"We had a great experience working with Mike Ertmer when buying a house recently on Green Lake. Mike was very attentive, thorough and knowledgeable. We would highly recommend Mike and the entire staff at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Special Properties."
Eileen & John
Bianca was incredibly helpful and always quick with a response to any questions we may have. It was our first time buying a house and we could not have asked for a better agent to assist us through the process.
"Sarah was very knowledgeable about the locale and market. She responded in a timely manner and provided information and explanations as needed. She has a fun sense of humor too! Highly recommend her!"
"Mike Ertmer of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Special Properties was very attentive to our needs to sell our rental property. Our phone calls, texts, and emails were always replied to in a very timely manner. He was available at all hours, day or night. Mike was always available whenever we had a question or concern, and had professional suggestions for how to approach any and all issues that came up throughout the process. We would recommend Mike to anyone needing a first class real estate professional. The sale of our property couldn’t have been any easier, from our perspective."
We were very happy with the services provided by Bianca in selling our home. She was very professional and kept in great contact through the entire process. She spent a lot of time having open houses and kept the process moving forward seamlessly for us!
Desiree was an absolute pleasure to work with and really spent the time to help us find what we were looking for.
Bianca was consistently professional: courteous, knowledgeable, and helpful. She displayed a good sense of humor as we navigated the stressful business of selling our house. For all these reasons, and because she remained calm, she was easy to work with.
This was not our first Real Estate purchase. And also not our first attempt at purchasing Lake Property. Mike was absolutely the best representative we have ever worked with. His energy and communication skills are hard to beat. He worked Very hard for us to be able to get what we were looking for and for an acceptable price. We expect to be doing more Real Estate activity in Green Lake. Mike will be our go to guy for sure!"
Desiree was awesome to work with!! She LOVES the Green Lake area and it shows thru her extensive knowledge of the area and her enthusiasm! She was quick to respond to show us new listings and gathered extra information we needed on certain listings! I highly recommend working with her!!
Bianca made the entire process very streamline and enjoyable. She is very helpful and an absolute pleasure to work with. 5 outta 5 would recommend. 🤩
Bianca is a great realtor because she's so friendly, personable, and down to earth, it's like having a friend help you find your home. It felt like she was on our side, fighting and rooting for us. My main issue was that being my first home purchase, I was unsure how it all worked and as the process was unfolding, I was sometimes confused or wondering what the next step was. More explanation would have helped. Our transaction also wasn't typical, so it may have been confusing for everyone. But she always got in touch when there was news or developments. I'd certainly recommend Bianca to anyone looking for a realtor in the area. I hope she'll be a regular at our farm parties down the road.
Bianca was everything we could have asked for in a realtor. She was attentive, professional, prepared, accessible, and friendly! She was able to provide us with many great options before we settled on the home we ultimately purchased. She made what can normally be a frustrating process a joy and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to anyone looking for their next home.
The sale of our 3 homes was done very professionally by Bianca. She went over and above to make sure everything was done right.
We had a great experience collaborating with Bianca as we visited a new state to look at homes. Her knowledge of the territory is so impressive and helped so much with our home search. Her hard work to get a great deal for her clients is apparent and she treats her clients like family. We would recommend families and first time home buyers work with Bianca as she is super caring and compassionate.
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