Kevin Graham and Bonnie Cartwright of Century 21 in Springfield, Illinois, truly went above and beyond for us. Not only did they cheerfully respond to my husband’s numerous texts at all hours of the day (and even late evening), but they also calmly, ably guided us through the process of finding and buying a house. From the onset, Bonnie was always reliable, punctual, available, and personable. She expertly answered all of our questions and addressed our concerns in a kind, easy-to-understand way. It felt like we were being counseled by a close friend. Not only is Bonnie very knowledgeable about the housing market, but she is also a mind-reader, and picked up on our fears and concerns even before we ourselves realized them. She also tactfully coached my husband and me through the minor miscommunications and disagreements that come with buying a home for the first time. Never condescending, always calming and wise, Bonnie listened to our concerns and questions and never pushed. She gives a kind of gentle, wise advice that’s never lecturing, and always right. Perhaps it’s all her years teaching that helped her perfect this skill. But don’t let that make you think Bonnie is an amateur—during the negotiating process, she proved herself again and again. Bonnie really knows her stuff when it comes to real estate! She knew what to look for to make sure we found a sound home. She was able to point out things that would show up on a home inspection—such as foundation issues, furnace, water heater, etc. In fact, one day, Bonnie gave me a little lesson on water heaters (I’m afraid she had a poor pupil). Bonnie also has extensive knowledge of the Springfield area and market, having lived here for much of her life. She also knows the school districts—something that was very important to us. With each house, Bonnie was able to point out pros and cons regarding everything from the actual house itself to the neighborhood and location. I’m thinking she should give tours of Springfield on the side. I will say—she is a very smooth driver, with or without our then-3-year-old in the backseat. Bonnie also handily guided us through finding a bank from which to procure our loan and her colleague Kevin helped us estimate monthly and closing costs beforehand. And for the record—Kevin was pretty close! They make quite a team. Bonnie and Kevin also have several good contacts with local banks, as well as contacts with home inspectors and contractors. They have yet to steer us wrong. When our offer on our house was accepted, Bonnie drove my husband and daughter all the way to Jacksonville to my work so I could sign the papers. Her enthusiasm and excitement for us was touching—she genuinely cares about her clients and is always truthful. At closing, Bonnie calmly explained things when we had a small blip (on the seller’s part) during the process. I just cannot say enough about how great it was to work with Bonnie and Kevin. Perhaps the biggest testament to their expertise and professionalism is the fact that they even put my parents at ease. My parents have bought, sold, and built homes of their own, so naturally, they wanted to come along to a few showings to meet Bonnie and make sure she was taking care of us. After one showing, my mom remarked that we were definitely “in good hands” and that Bonnie would guide us to the right house for us —and she did!