How condominium and homeowner associations
should work— authored by two nationally known
real estate experts.

Sara E. Benson and Don DeBat are both veteran condo owners and residents. It is their own experiences with the underbelly of condo living that led them to write this cautionary work.

Collectively, Benson and DeBat have owned 14 condominium units in Chicago and its suburbs over the past four decades.

More than experienced owners, true real estate experts.
Beyond their personal ownership experience, Sara and Don have nearly 75 years of combined real estate expertise. Sara’s background as a Realtor®, consumer advocate and consultant to the U.S. Department of

Housing and Urban Development, and Don’s background as a Pulitzer Prize nominated real estate editor and writer have fueled this long overdue exposé.

Where do we go from here?
Sara and Don’s goal with this book was not simply to create a “tell-all” based on experience. Sara and Don continue to believe that condominium and homeowner association ownership can be a great experience.

They have worked hard to make this book a powerful and positive resource. It is their hope that by writing this book, millions of owners can understand how transparency of governance and proper stewardship can lead to a great ownership experience and maximize property value.




Sara E. Benson worked with the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development as a independent fee appraiser, compliance inspector, field reviewer and 203(k) construction inspector for more than 16 years. She has been in real estate brokerage and appraisal for three decades.

Benson has worked with brokers across the country to promote consumer advocacy. She helped change Illinois law and pioneered the innovative concept of exclusive buyer/brokerage representation.

Sara’s professional designations include Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) and Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR). The CRB designation is the highest award real estate brokerage managers can receive and is awarded to those brokers who have met stringent management experience and educational course work prerequisites. The ABR designation is awarded by the Real Estate Buyers Agents Council, of the National Association of Realtors to agents that have met extensive training and experience requirements.

Sara’s articles have been published in the Chicago Law Journal, the Chicago Sun-Times, and Real Estate Metro Magazine. Her work in consumer representation has been noted by the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business. Sara’s work also has been recognized by consumer advocate Ralph Nader and the Consumer Federation of America.

Sara purchased her first condo in 1979, and continues to own a condominium today.


Veteran author and journalist Don DeBat is a real estate investor and media consultant who served as an award winning real estate editor of the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Sun-Times for a combined total of 27 years.

Don has written hundreds of newspaper columns on condominium living and mortgage finance and has authored three books on real estate and finance.

A consumer and housing advocate, Don was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1981.

DeBat was named the Sun-Times’ most distinguished editorial employee in 1984, and was presented the coveted Publisher’s Award. In 2014, DeBat won a coveted Lisagor award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

In 1999, Don was inducted into the 16-inch Chicago Softball Hall of Fame in the media category. Ten years later, in 2009, he was again inducted into the Softball Hall of Fame, along with more than 100 other players, as part of the historic Daily News/Sun-Times team which played for 38 consecutive years and still plays tournament softball today.

Don earned Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Missouri.