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Meet Our Team

At United Country – Michigan Lifestyle Properties, we specialize in bringing together buyers and sellers of lifestyle properties throughout Michigan, including premier properties, Great Lake waterfront and other lake properties, country homes, small farms, log homes, horse properties, acreage and other recreational properties.

Based in the Lake Michigan resort town of South Haven, Michigan Lifestyle Properties and its agents represent properties throughout the state of Michigan. United Country – Michigan Lifestyle Properties is committed to serving sellers and buyers of properties that fulfill their dreams and support their lifestyles.

For sellers of Michigan lifestyle properties, we are committed to using creative and unique marketing methods in order to bring maximum exposure to the properties we’re privileged to represent.

We know that it takes more than a ‘For Sale’ sign and an MLS listing to attract buyers to exceptional Michigan properties. So we employ a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes extensive internet marketing, unique national and regional print advertising, direct mail and e-mail to a database of interested buyers, as well as social network marketing methods in order to reach as many likely buyers as possible.

As seen with actor Verne Troyer on TV’s "Celebrity House Hunters"

As seen with actor Verne Troyer on TV’s “Celebrity House Hunters”


For buyers, we offer a comprehensive knowledge of the wide variety of Michigan properties that draw people to Michigan. We are also committed to providing exceptional client service and operating according to high professional standards. The professionals below specialize in a wide variety of Michigan lifestyle properties in their local areas. They know the local history, understand the issues, have longstanding relationships, and devote the time and energy necessary to help their clients buy and sell the properties of their dreams.

 

 

Meet Our Lake Home Experts

Our team of professionals has a significant breadth of experience and expertise. Though our clients may work primarily with one member of our team, their needs are often served by other staff members who are consulted behind the scenes to serve our clients best interests. Feel free to contact any of us to discuss your real estate needs or questions. We look forward to serving you.

 

davekreagerDavid S. Kreager, CFP®, ABR®, Broker/Owner
Cell: (269) 352-1381
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Dave is a native Michigander, originally from the metro Detroit area. He started Michigan Lifestyle Properties, the only company of its kind that specializes in serving buyers and sellers of Michigan waterfront, recreational, equine and other lifestyle properties, in 2009. Dave has 30 years of sales management, marketing and real estate development experience, having spent the majority of his career with American Express Financial Corporation. Since 1984, he has been a Certified Financial Planner ®, and is qualified to work with IRA investors who invest tax-qualified money in real estate. In 2001, he stepped out of a senior sales management position to devote more time to his family, community involvement, and to manage a number of business interests. He is a Past President of the Gull Lake Community Schools Board of Trustees, as well as the Gull Lake Area Rotary Club, and is a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Minnesota Executive Development Program. Dave and his wife live in South Haven, on the Lake Michigan shoreline.


Kelley Blacken, ABR®, Realtor®kelley
Cell: (269) 806-4231
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Kelley is a native of southwest Michigan and knows very well the unique qualities that make the area a great place to live and vacation. A veteran of the real estate business, Kelley has extensive knowledge of the neighborhoods and lakes of the region. For over 20 years, she published The Condominium & Apartment Guide, an invaluable resource for apartment dwellers throughout southwest Michigan. The marketing experience that Kelley gained from that endeavor, combined with United Country Real Estate’s unique marketing resources and capabilities, enable Kelley to serve her clients extremely well. She particularly enjoys working with buyers and sellers of Gull Lake, Gun Lake, Wall Lake, Pine Lake and other lakefront properties, as well as log, golf, and unique country homes. And as an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, Kelley is well-qualified to work with buyers throughout the entire process of purchasing their dream properties. Kelley and her family live in Barry County.


Paul Blacken, Realtor®Paul Blacken
Cell: (269) 217-3612
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Paul has a passion for southwest Michigan, as well as for helping people. He’s lived in the area for most of his life, and spent the majority of his career as a teacher, coach, high school principal and school superintendent. In those capacities, he developed exceptional teaching and communication skills. He’s also an avid golfer, and loves sports in general, activities that have taken him to places throughout west Michigan. The combination of Paul’s knowledge of the area, as well as his outstanding people skills, make him an ideal fit to work with buyers and sellers of all types of property. He has a particular passion for working with lakefront properties, country homes, golf properties and executive homes throughout southwest Michigan. Paul and his family live in Barry County.


Jane Carpenter, SRES®, Realtor®jane
Cell: (269) 568-1800
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Jane has an exceptional work ethic and enthusiasm for serving clients. After a successful career as an educator, she obtained her license in 2006. Since then, she has successfully combined her outstanding people skills, her ability to communicate and teach, and her natural desire for helping people to bring great value to both buyers and sellers of a variety of properties. As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist®, Jane is particularly well-qualified to serve the needs of America’s fastest growing market, those being buyers and sellers over the age of 55. And of course, since she and her husband live on Gull Lake, Jane has a natural affinity for representing Gull Lake and other lake properties.


Geoff Cripe, Realtor®geoff cripe
Cell:
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Geoffrey Cripe hails from Kalamazoo where he serves on the City of Kalamazoo Planning Commission and works with the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. Geoff holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Public Management from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, with a focus in urban and regional planning. Before joining United Country’s staff of agents in Michigan, Geoff worked for three years as an urban planner, and eight years in land conservation. In his role with the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, Geoff directs the land protection program, which includes managing transactions through the property conveyance process, undertaking GIS-based planning and mapping analyses, assisting with estate planning (land decisions) and evaluating land from a natural resource perspective. In this capacity, Geoff has met with hundreds of large-acreage landowners across the nine-counties of Southwest Michigan and has an intimate knowledge of all nine counties as well as a comprehensive understanding of land use potential, natural resource values and regional zoning parameters. Geoff resides in Kalamazoo with his wife Sarah and son Lyndon.


Cathy Ficks, Realtor®Cathy Ficks
Cell: (269) 252-1223
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Cathy is a native of southwest Michigan. She grew up in Kalamazoo County, graduated from Western Michigan University, and lives locally with her family in a community along the Lake Michigan lakeshore. An avid tennis player, Cathy played tennis throughout high school and college. Her passion for water activities, as well as the great outdoors, is why she loves this area so much. Cathy is very energetic and passionate about real estate and she truly cares for her customers. Cathy has natural people skills and a great work ethic. These characteristics, combined with her creative marketing approach, drive Cathy’s ability to help you with any of your real estate needs. Why does Cathy go to such great lengths for her customers? As she states in her slogan, “I Love My Job!”


Don FultonDon Fulton, Realtor®

Cell: (269) 208-1976
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Don’s area of expertise is working with buyers and sellers in Berrien and Van Buren Counties. He’s lived in Southwest Michigan most of his life and regularly enjoys Lake Michigan beaches, boating, entertainment and the arts. He loves the area, and his knowledge and enthusiasm for it serves his clients well. Don’s passion for life and desire to help others improve has led him to own and operate adult foster care homes. For the past 23 years, he and his wife Valerie have also operated a successful commercial and residential cleaning company. This business has exposed Don to a variety of property types, from premier and luxury homes, to beach bungalows and lake homes. His knowledge and expertise are an invaluable resource for both buyer and seller clients.


Dennis Gebben, Realtor®dgebbens
Cell: (616) 510-1046
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A native of west Michigan, Dennis enjoyed a successful career as an environmental geologist for 30 years, and has experience in civil engineering, hydrogeology, environmental restoration, and land use policy. In 2004, he began to apply his vast knowledge and experience to a career in real estate, focusing primarily on equestrian properties, vacant land, rural residential and farms, hunting and recreational properties. Dennis enjoys applying his knowledge of Michigan’s glacial geology and land use to finding the ideal property for buyers. When clients specify the size, natural setting, and potential uses they have in mind, Dennis identifies some interesting property choices and helps his clients to evaluate the properties’ features and potential uses. Dennis is extremely well qualified to work with buyers and sellers of a wide variety of unique properties. He and his wife live on a horse farm in Ottawa County.


Jenni Hoeksema, Realtor®Jenni Hoeksema
Cell: (269) 217-9550
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A native Michigander, Jenni is a graduate of Central Michigan University, and worked for a number of years as the Small Business/Marketing Director for both the Ypsilanti and Battle Creek Chamber of Commerces. Jenni and her husband have since lived in southwest Michigan for almost 20 years, where they raised three children, all graduates of Gull Lake High School. Jenni is very community-focused, having devoted time and energy to a wide variety of organizations, including the Gull Lake Community Schools, the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center, and others. She is an experienced Realtor®, and is very well qualified to work with both buyers and sellers of a variety of property types, including Gull Lake executive homes, Gull Lake and other lakefront homes, country homes, and other residential properties. Jenni enjoys spending time with her children and pets, reading, bird watching (nature), photography, walking and traveling.


Ryan Johnson, Realtor®/Appraiserryanjohnson-new
Cell: (269) 720-1345
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Ryan is a native of the Gull Lake community in southwest Michigan. He has a strong passion for the outdoors and enjoys a wide range of recreational activities. His ambitions for the outdoors led him west, where he graduated from Colorado State University, with a degree in Commercial Recreation & Tourism. Ryan started his career at US Lots.com, a national internet based marketing firm, where he was responsible for developing national relationships for selling lots and land. Later, Ryan moved back to Michigan and co-founded Yankee Appraisal Associates. He is an active appraiser of real property, specializing in suburban and rural land, with an emphasis in partial interest type appraisals for local units of government, government agencies, private landowners and conservation groups. Ryan’s knowledge and passion for land makes him a natural fit with United Country – Michigan Lifestyle Properties. He works throughout west Michigan with buyers and sellers of a variety of land types, farms and country estates. His extensive appraisal background provides enormous value to his clients. Ryan and his family live on Gull Lake, in Hickory Corners.


Nova Schiavone, Realtor®Nova Schiavone
Cell: (269) 598-8152
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Originally from Indianapolis, Nova has made southwest Michigan her home for 40 years. One of her passions is for travel, which began in an earlier career as a flight attendant, and later, as the manager of two travel agencies. She has been all over the world, and especially enjoys visiting her two daughters in the western U.S., as well as traveling to Italy. Nova has been a licensed Realtor® for almost 30 years, and has a special ability for relating to people, understanding their situations, and helping them through the process of buying or selling their real estate as part of accomplishing their bigger goals. She lives on Gull Lake, and specializes in Gull Lake and other lakefront properties, as well as Gull Lake area executive homes, and country homes. Nova loves being with her family, as well as photography, hiking and a variety of other outdoor activities.


Leslee Schnepp, Associate Broker, CNE®, ePRO®leslee schnepp
Cell: (269) 420-4487
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Leslee specializes in working with buyers and sellers of country homes, hobby farms, log homes, lakefront and horse properties, and executive homes in southwest Michigan. An experienced Realtor®, Leslee quickly identified rural properties as her niche. She is a native of Michigan, was raised in a mid-Michigan farming community, and has lived in various areas throughout the state, including the upper Peninsula, where she graduated from Michigan Technological University. She enjoys the natural elements that make Michigan properties unique. “Living in the country was a wonderful way to grow up, and now raising my own family makes me appreciate what Michigan’s countryside has to offer.” She believes Michigan is a great place to live because of its natural waterways, interesting countryside, small towns, and the beauty of its four seasons. She and her family live along the Wabascon Creek, just north of Battle Creek, where wildlife regularly crosses through her back yard.


Steve Sprengel, Partnersteve sprengel
Office: (800) 643-2909
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Steve has been involved in Southwest Michigan lake homes for over ten years, and has experience in the reconstruction and marketing of lakefront cottages, as well as the purchase and development of vacant land, including roles in design and that of general contractor. Being hands-on familiar with all the essential aspects of fine residential building, Steve has been able to spearhead the development of communities sought after by discerning second home buyers.

Prior to this, Steve has had over 20 years of sales, marketing, and executive sales management experience for companies in the midwest. His most recent role was regional vice president at a large national telecommunications company. Here he was responsible for all aspects of the ongoing and long term planning for the region, with a staff of over 200 and annual revenues of over $100 million. Steve and his wife live on an all-sports inland lake in Southwest Michigan.


Rebecca Zwar, Marketing ManagerRebecca Zwar

Office: (269) 629-4947           Email Me
Fax: (269) 629-4968
Cell: (269) 252-3957

Originally from Chicago, Rebecca now lives in Southwest Michigan, near the Lake Michigan shoreline. She and her family have a passion for Michigan’s great outdoors, and they enjoy it all, from the woods to the beach. Prior to joining United Country – Michigan Lifestyle Properties, Rebecca ran an online marketing agency, specializing in real estate, and spent eight years with a property management company. Her background and experience give her the experience to serve the Michigan Lifestyle Properties team as the point person for marketing and administrative activities.

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