NextHome announces new Chicago-area brokerage

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Zach Criswell

Pleasanton, CA — April 30, 2020 — NextHome is pleased to announce the newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Oak Street Realty, based in Libertyville, Illinois. The brokerage represents the fifth office location opened in Illinois for the NextHome franchise and the 465th NextHome office opened nationally.

The brokerage will serve clients across Chicago, including the city’s northern and western suburbs. In addition, NextHome Oak Street Realty will be licensed to serve clients in nearby Wisconsin. Libertyville is a charming town located about 40 minutes north of Chicago. The town of just over 20,000 people is just five miles west of Lake Michigan, and about a 45-minute drive south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Owned by second-generation Libertyville local Zach Criswell, NextHome Oak Street Realty provides a wealth of in-depth area knowledge. 

Zach began his real estate career in December 2012 under the tutelage of MJ Seiler at a local Century 21 brokerage. Zach learned everything he could from MJ, an industry veteran with more than four decades of experience running a Chicago-area real estate brokerage. 

“MJ took me under his wing and showed me everything,” Zach recalled. “I followed the No.1 agent in the office for a few months, and after that my career took off, I never looked back.”

Zach remained with the office after it was acquired by Baird & Warner in 2017 and was the recipient of many awards and recognitions. Zach consistently earned a President’s Club award, and also went above and beyond in the company’s corporate relocation department. Throughout the years, Zach consistently handled corporate transferees for some of the biggest names in pharmaceutical healthcare and food production. 

From the beginning of his real estate career, Zach has been motivated by his dedication to Libertyville’s small-town charm and the desire to mentor others the way that MJ mentored him. Those guiding principles led Zach to consider opening his own brokerage. 

“For my clients relocating from various parts of the country, I always seem to draw a comparison of Libertyville with Bedford Falls from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ or Mayberry from ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’” Zach said. “I wanted to cultivate that culture of community in a real estate brokerage, and I knew that in order to do that I would have to partner with a franchise that prioritized camaraderie over agent count. I wanted to recreate the type of brokerage that helped to nurture my career and, in turn, nurture others. The impact that MJ had on me is the legacy I want to leave.”

As he researched all his options, he discovered a partnership with NextHome was the perfect solution. 

“After extensive market research, NextHome is the only franchise out there I feel will really resonate with the smaller, tight-knit group I am establishing,” Zach said. 

Today, Zach is offering buyers, sellers, and brokers things that bigger brokerages do not. 

“There is a level of one-on-one support at NextHome Oak Street Realty that you can’t get anywhere else,” Zach said.

In addition, Zach’s local knowledge is second-to-none. As a second-generation local he knows the area inside-out and will go above and beyond for his clients from beginning to end. 

“For me, it’s not about just selling a house and sticking a sign in the yard,” Zach said. “It’s about having an understanding of all the emotions that clients go through. I’m dedicated to making sure my clients feel as if I’m buying or selling the same house for my family. The level of personal touch I bring to every transaction is my pride and joy. I think about what is best for people and make the right decision for their future.”

Zach attended college and played football in Santa Barbara, California. He finished his undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina. He followed that up with additional studies at Northwestern University. When he isn’t helping clients or building his brokerage, Zach enjoys golfing, traveling, and spending time with his family. He met his wife, Michelle, in high school, and they were married in July 2017. Together they have an 18-month-old girl named Avery, and they are anticipating the arrival of another baby girl in July. 

Please join us in congratulating Zach on the opening of NextHome Oak Street Realty in Libertyville, Illinois!


Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at


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