Photo of Gary Salem
  • Gary Salem

  • Broker,CREN,SFR
  • Oak Park/River Forest Office
  • 1037 Chicago Avenue
  • Oak Park, IL 60302
  • Office: 708.697.5900
  • Cell: 708.250.1430
  • Fax: 323.500.4462

About Me


From Oak Park to Highland Park, from the City to the western suburbs of La Grange and Wheaton, I’ve helped my clients successfully buy and sell real estate throughout Chicagoland.

After more than 20 years as a TV and radio financial markets journalist covering real estate, Wall Street, business and other money matters, I followed a bit of a different path.  The transition from broadcaster to broker requires many of the same skills and mindset.  Providing timely and accurate information and communicating quickly and clearly is paramount to buyers and sellers who both require and deserve no less when making an important and costly financial decision.  Rapid response to client’s phone, email and text questions or requests is vital.  I always work with my client’s best interest at heart.

I’m a skilled negotiator for both buyers and sellers and hold a designation as a Certified Real Estate Negotiator (CREN). I’ve also earned the Short Sale/Foreclosure Resource (SFR) certification that allows me to deal with distressed properties.  In addition, I’m the recipient of the Illinois Association of Realtors President’s Club Sales Award and the Baird & Warner Vice President’s Club Award.  I am proud to be a Director of the Oak Park Area Association of Realtors (OPAAR).

The testimonials below speak volumes about my client’s real estate experience and how satisfied they are with their home purchase or sale.  It also speaks to the quality level of care I provided as their broker.  Some are repeat buyers and sellers and many have become good friends as well.  

I’m here to help navigate you through every step of the real estate process from the search, showings and negotiations to inspection, attorney review, financing and the closing.   I’m also a source for great service providers should you need to enhance your curb appeal for sale or make some personal style alterations to your new purchase.  My job is to create an enjoyable and low stress real estate experience for you.



"We had worked with other realtors in the past, but have never worked with someone as knowledgeable, professional and patient as Gary Salem. It took us two years to find our home in Skokie and Gary was there with us every step of the way, never pushing us to purchase a home just to complete a sale. He was insistent that we purchase a home that met our needs, which we finally accomplished. We love our home, the neighborhood and school large part due to Gary's efforts. Thanks, Gary!"                                                                                                                                     
– Lana Johnson & Alonzo Rivas , Attorneys at Law
"Gary helped us purchase our first home in Berwyn. We really wanted a 2 flat and he was extremely patient with us in finding the perfect property. It was a long process, but Gary guided us the entire way. He came prepared for every showing and was a good source for service contractors as well. Gary negotiated on our behalf throughout the buying process including at the closing. He made certain we got exactly what was agreed upon by the seller. We loved working with Gary and highly recommend him to others."                                                                                           
– Joshua & Corazon Ballantine
"Gary Salem is the consummate real estate professional who has an exceptional market knowledge and who also works tirelessly to see the deal through to the end. He was particularly effective in selling my Oak Park property in a very short period of time and provided me with timely suggestions throughout the entire listing, staging, negotiating and selling processes. If you are seeking to buy or sell properties, Gary Salem is the agent that you should definitely call".                                                                                                                               
– Rodney Stewart, Pharmaceutical Sales Manager
"I just sold my historic condo in Oak Park and got 96.8% of my asking price. How? Gary Salem. If you are looking for a real estate professional who is truly knowledgeable about the real estate market, advocates for your best interest, is an excellent listener and communicator and is willing and capable of taking care of both the big and small tasks -- then you should call Gary. As a seller, Gary was there for me all through the process giving me the tools and information I needed to feel confident. He made it a point to highlight all the excellent qualities of my unit which made it easy for interested buyers to appreciate the care and attention that it had been given. My phone calls and texts were answered within minutes. I never waited anxiously to hear news or learn next steps. Gary is a consummate professional and clearly loves what he does. And his many years working in real estate means he has a reliable network of colleagues and services that he can make available if you need them. After several not so great real estate agent experiences, I was fortunate to meet Gary. I strongly recommend that you work with him if you are looking to buy or sell real estate throughout Chicagoland".                     
– Nancy Tait, Healthcare Marketing Executive
"Gary was referred to my wife and I by very close friends who had worked with him before. Gary made the entire process very easy for us. He was always available, kept us informed on key steps in the process, and calmed us down when we needed to be calmed down. At every moment, we felt that Gary was always our advocate and he had our best interest in mind. In the end, we fell like we ended up with the best home, thanks to Gary's guidance and support."
– Paul H
"Now that we are moved-in to our Oak Park home, we wanted to write a brief note to say how much we enjoyed working with Gary Salem. Right away, Gary gave us the tools and information we needed, guided us with his knowledge of the area, and truly listened to our preferences. He was with us every step of the way to narrow choices, arrange follow-ups, and guide our eventual offer into a purchase contract. Gary's involvement in the Oak Park/River Forest/Forest Park community also speaks volumes about his neighborhood commitment. We were lucky to have met Gary during our search for a home in Oak Park!  Now, back to unpacking..."                                                                                                          
– Tim & Shelley Cirone
"Gary is professional, friendly, prompt, informed, listens well and is delightful to work with. He always has or finds answers and resources when needed. Gary's communication is excellent and his responsiveness immediate. As stressful as house buying or selling can be, he is always calm and thoughtful. I recommend Gary to everyone."                                                                                                 
– Nancy Nicholas
"Having initially contracted with another brokerage agency and after a number of disappointing months without positive effort or feedback, we switched agencies and found Gary Salem.  His approach was professional, effective and immediate.  Gary marketed our home to our satisfaction in a manner which reflected what we considered the characteristics and essence which we felt made our house a home.  The turnaround from the inception of our listing agreement with Baird & Warner was phenomenal. Gary Salem is at the top of his game"! 
– Joyce & Edward Bowles
"Choosing Gary Salem to help us relocate from South Florida to the Chicago area resulted in providing us with a comfortable and smooth transition.  We knew we would be difficult clients because we only had our target area narrowed down to about a fifty mile radius  Gary worked tirelessly to meet our demands and must have shown us over thirty homes in many different towns.  He was very helpful in our decision making process and was always willing to give his honest opinion.  We wound up choosing a beautiful home in La Grange.  Now that we are settled in we know we made the right decision and are very happy in our new home.  We will definitely use Gary for all our real estate needs in the future."
– Jim & Lisa Clark
"We have bought and sold many properties over the past 50 years.  In good market times, a real estate agent can be no more than a functionary.  In times of housing recession or depression, more skill is required.  We had the good fortune to work with Gary Salem during the difficult real estate market.  He is the most knowledgable, personable, diplomatic and capable agent we have known.  We like him both personally and professionally and are pleased to recommend him to all comers.  We have just returned to the real estate market after having Gary sell our home recently.  He quickly found us a new property and again helped negotiate a successful transaction. The rating system you supply lacks the category of "outstanding".  He deserves this".
– Dr. Robert & Rosemary Mason
"Well satisfied in every way. Gary was attentative to every detail, well organized and followed up on every lead. It's easy to sell in a hot market. In this market, a professional sales agent separates himself/herself. We fared better than we expected, and much was attributable to Gary. "
– Dominic D.
"Now that we've moved in to our Florida condo, we wanted to thank Gary for his efforts in selling our River Forest, IL home. His professionalism, persistence, follow-up and market knowledge all contributed significantly to a successful sale. We couldn't be more pleased with his service. Gary helped make a normally stressful time easy for us, and it's truly appreciated."  
– Dom & Harriet Difilippo
"We were impressed with Gary's professionalism and thoroughness.  His follow up with buyer agents provided important feedback that kept us up-to-date on the latest showing activity.  Gary's involvement in multiple offers - from negotiations to successful conclusion - was most instructive.  We really appreciated his extra step of covering details with the Village of River Forest while we were on vacation.  We would be happy to recommend Gary in the future to both buyers and sellers.  Thanks."                                                                                                 
– Bob & Nancy Nicholas
"During our home search, we spent countless weekends over many months with Gary.  It  was time well and enjoyably spent, not just because he was so skilled at helping us understand the market, but also because he's just a great guy.  Gary was always responsive to email and phone queries, but never intrusive.  He was a fine tutor and a terrific advocate for us. We owe him a great debt for helping us find the perfect home."  
– Marc Falkoff, Associate Dean, Northern Illinois University College of Law and Alix Reid, Freelance Editor
"It was really important to have a realtor that was attentive, understood our requirements and make great use of the limited time we had to look for a house.  Gary was amazing at meeting all these needs.  He also provided great personal service."
– Corey & Betty Y
"It was a pleasure to work with Gary.  He is patient, an excellent listener, and a trustworthy advocate.  He made our home search process smooth and low-stress."
– Kenny William, Software Analyst and Andrea Forney William, Insurance Auditor
"Gary was extremely patient and professional with us over our two-year long new home search.  Once we found one, he made it happen giving us perfect advise to get the seller to accept our home sale contingency.  Then, he gave us spot on advise to get our old home priced and staged appropriately.  In a terrible seller's market, our old home was under contract within 30 days and we were in our new River Forest home shortly thereafter.  Thanks Gary!"
– Nate Mellman, Attorney at Law & Nicola Jacobs, Corporate Director
"Gary handled both the sale of our home in Oak Park and the purchase of our new River Forest home, and we could not be happier with the services he provided.  On the sale of our house, Gary consistently went above and beyond what was expected - his willingness to take care of things both big and small was enormously helpful.  We know that his attention to detail directly resulted in a higher sales price for our house because of the way it was negotiated.  Gary was also a great help when we bought our current home.  We really appreciated his knowledge of our real estate market and all the time he spent with us making sure we got the house we really wanted.  We give Gary our highest recommendation."
– Chris & Rachel Niewoehner, Attorneys at Law
"Gary acted in a prompt and professional manner throughout my home buying process.  His attention to detail and ability to adjust his schedule to mine made working with him a pleasure."
– Andy Kotansky
"We worked with Gary to rent and subsequently sell our home during one of the toughest housing downturns in history, and he was outstanding.  He knew the local market, was open about various options that we had, and gave excellent and pragmatic counsel throughout the process.  He would tenaciously follow up with potential buyers, and kept us appraised of all feedback and suggestions to improve our marketing strategy.  We were living in London during the whole process and had the utmost confidence in Gary's ability and integrity to bring things to a successful close.  We strongly recommend Gary and would be happy to use him again."
– Amy Bird & Jon Atchue, Corporate HR Director
"As first time homebuyers, Gary's patience and professionalism allowed us to feel confident in our purchase.  He was proactive, forthcoming and honest in analyzing each home as we tried to find one that fit our needs and captured our spirit.  His knowledge of the real estate industry and his network of reliable professionals including attorneys and title companies helped us find our way through a new and unknown process and Gary was always available to answer our many questions.  We are very happy with our new home and highly recommend Gary to anyone looking to buy or sell.  Gary gets an A+ in customer service from us!"
– Nancy Morris, Graphic Designer/Marketing Specialist & Mike Morris, Electrical Engineer
"Gary's expertise, responsiveness, diligence and patience made both the home buying and selling process successful and quicker than I had anticipated in the current difficult market.  Gary's professionalism cannot be overstated, particularly during his interactions with realtors on the home selling and buying sides of the transactions.  Gary insured that I received Fair Market Value for my condo and that I did not overpay on my new home purchase.  He provided invaluable support throughout both processes with excellent results."  
– Heather Sloan, Attorney at Law
"Gary is the consummate real estate professional.  His knowledge and expertise guided us effortlessly throughout the home buying process.  His professionalism, attention to detail & candor are second to none."
– S. Zaripheh, Ph.D & John O'Brien, Attorney at Law
"Gary Salem made the sale of our Chicago condo and purchase and eventual resale of our first home in Oak Park a truly enjoyable experience.  He's a true professional with the ability to wade through several contracts with perseverance, patience and candor.  Gary is our trusted source when considering a home sale or purchase in Chicagoland."  
– Mike & Becky Kucharski