As President of Freedom Title, Larry Howard brings over 30 years experience in the title and escrow industry, and in-depth knowledge of the related construction and real estate industries to his customers and affiliates. Surrounded by a leadership team that offers over 80 years of industry expertise, and a company culture where the people really care about each other and about their customers, Freedom Title is a well-known and respected name in the states where their growing business operates.
Prior to his founding of Freedom Title in 1998, Larry’s extensive experience on all aspects of the title and escrow industry was repeatedly tapped to build and lead the operations, title and escrow, underwriting, and commercial and construction business development for the largest agents of some of the most respected national underwriting firms in the industry, including Stewart Title Guaranty and Chicago Title. Further, Larry has specialized expertise in the areas of foreclosures, tax sales, and construction and commercial underwriting.
Larry takes an active role in the title and escrow, real estate, and commercial construction industries. He recently served as the President of the Northern Illinois Commercial Association of Realtors, is an active member of the Commercial Industrial Committee for the Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR), and is a Licensed Realtor in the IAR and the NAR (National Association of Realtors). Larry also maintains the depth and breadth of his multi-industry knowledge as a member of the Realtors Commercial Alliance, Homebuilders Association of Greater Chicago, International Council of Shopping Centers, National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, and the Justinian Society of Lawyers. Finally, Larry is an active member within the community at large, including participating in the Park Ridge Indian Guides, and receiving the “Heart of Gold” award from the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation.
Elyse H. Spencer, National Commercial Escrow Agent/Paralegal, has more than 30 years of combined real estate experience. Upon graduation from college, she joined a law firm in the capacity of paralegal. The firm specialized in real estate law and was also an agent for a national residential title insurance company. Following that position, the remainder of her career to present has been concentrated in all facets of the title insurance industry. Positions held include client representative, title examination and clearance, escrow closing agent, closing services, and a vice presidency with a small northern Illinois title agency.
Her successful ability to work with national, commercial, residential, construction, REO and SBA accounts at all levels is a direct result of her experience and knowledge in these areas. Elyse strives to provide the best client support and assistance during and after the closing process.
Shari Haefner, Senior National Commercial Account Manager, brings 25 years of sales and marketing experience to Freedom Title. Shari began her title career as a commercial closer in 2003, and moved into national commercial sales and marketing 2 years later with a national underwriter, and was then promoted to manager of national commercial title services. Shari joined the Freedom Title team in 2017. Shari has extensive knowledge of the commercial title industry, both locally and nationally, and focuses on providing quality title solutions for her customers.
Prior to moving into title, Shari worked in the music and video industry for PolyGram Records, Questar Video, and Fast Forward Marketing.
Shari is heavily involved in Chicago’s commercial real estate market. She is a past-president of Chicago Real Estate Council (CREC), and is an active member of International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Real Estate Investors Association (REIA), National Illinois Commercial Association of Realtors (NICAR), Rogers Park Builders Group (RPBG), Real Estate Finance Forum (REFF), as well as numerous networking groups.
Liz joined Freedom Title Corporation in 2002. She has worked in the title insurance industry for 21 years and is currently Senior Examiner and Underwriting Counsel handling both residential and commercial properties.
Prior to joining Freedom Title, Liz practiced law for 15 years as a sole practitioner and as an associate with the Chicago law firm of Righeimer Martin & Cinquino, P.C. Her areas of practice included general real estate matters, commercial litigation, mortgage foreclosure and bankruptcy mainly for the banking industry. As an attorney, Liz represented buyers and sellers in both residential and commercial property transactions.
She has served as an arbitrator for the Cook County mandatory arbitration system and is a past member of the Chicago and Illinois State Bar Associations. Liz earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin/Madison and her law degree from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Jamie Howard, senior escrow officer, has over 20 years experience in the title industry. She is well versed in residential closing and knowledgeable in FHA and VA RESPA regulations. She also has experience with 1st and 2nds closing piggy back, b/c paper and refinances.
With years of residential closing experience Jamie can put new buyers at ease in stressfully closing situations. Jamie has also helped coach new attorneys in understanding the “closing” routine.
During her “stay at home” years she was an active member of Park Ridge Community Women and Co-Chaired the annual Holiday Bazaar, volunteered as room mom at St. Paul of the Cross, and charter member of Faith Hope and Charity Guild at St. Paul of the Cross. Most recently she and her husband Co Chaired the annual Spaghetti dinner at St. Paul of the Cross Church. For the fall she is quite busy with St. Viator High School Football dinners on Thursday and games on Friday.
Jamie holds her degree from Western Kentucky University. Her major was in Business and a minor in Economics. She was a member of Kappa Delta Sorority and was Panhellenic president her junior year. Ms. Howard came to Chicago after graduation and has enjoyed her years in the title industry.
Michael Bentcover joined Freedom Title in 2014 and has more than 35 years of combined real estate experience. Following graduation from college he joined a small savings and loan in Chicago’s inner city, and then joined a community bank on Chicago’s north side, where he rose from Mortgage Loan Officer to Senior Vice President. He was responsible for all lending and administrative activities to support the $350 million loan portfolio, 70% of which was real estate oriented. During this time he also developed several townhome/residential/apartment properties in the Chicagoland area. Many of our construction escrows are lender escrows. Mike brings a unique perspective from the other side and both a lender and developer.Michael’s extensive experience on lending and development has afforded him the expertise to assist clients with the many issues involved in construction processing and lending transactions.
Dianne has over 30 years of experience in the title insurance business. She is knowledgeable in all aspects of the closing process. Since 1988 she has had several positions with major agents in the Chicago metropolitan area. Dianne has performed escrows both locally and nationally for residential and commercial properties which include a variety of loan types; conventional, FHA, VA, construction and SBA loans. Dianne is a licensed escrow agent in Indiana as well. With Dianne’s experience, she will put everyone at the closing table at ease and guide them through a smooth closing.
Before coming to Illinois in 1988 Dianne started her career as a branch manager and loan officer of a major savings and loan in Wisconsin with multiple branches throughout the state and is an avid Badger fan.
As Senior Account Executive for Freedom Title Corporation since June 1, 2016, Paul brings over 30 years of sales, marketing and service experience to our team. Paul is a relationship expert who owned and operated 2 cellular stores and outside sales during the years 1985 to 2000. Paul went into banking working with municipalities, school districts, businesses and commercial real estate until his arrival at freedom title in 2016. Paul has extensive knowledge in commercial and small business lending along with depository relationships. Paul understands the entire banking process from putting together loan packages, underwriting, cash flow verification, through the closing the loans. Paul brings a unique perspective as an entrepreneur and banker understanding what his clients need from a title perspective.
Paul has held many leadership positions with the LaGrange Chamber of Commerce, as executive director and president, with the Knights of Columbus as Grand Knight, a director with the West Suburban Chamber, a founder of H.E.L.P. Hodgkins Elementary Learning Program as well as a director of School District 105 Foundation. Paul is an avid baseball fan and an active participant with his community baseball teams and scout pack.