Get To Know Us

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Abby Umlauf is the consummate connector. As a real estate agent, she is focused on creating value for clients looking to sell or buy their homes by building personal relationships, providing industry expertise and insight, and delivering quality service.

Abby was born and raised in Winston-Salem in a real estate family. From an early age she began to understand this city and its surrounding areas through the lens of one of its most powerful assets – its homes and neighborhoods.  After years of building deep roots in the community and living in many parts of the city, Abby found herself providing real estate advice informally to friends and colleagues on a near daily basis. In 2013, she decided to give it her full time attention and became a real estate agent. Being a natural connector, Abby's market expertise and deep involvement in many facets of the city allowed her to quickly move to the forefront of the real estate industry and into the top 1% of agent production in the Triad.

Abby has two boys adopted from Ethiopia. She lives in the Holly Avenue district downtown in a beautiful old home that is a Forsyth Historic landmark house and listed on the National Historic Registry. Abby enjoys walking to local restaurants, parks, and has recently found a yoga studio she loves, Wildlight Wellness.

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Bekah Cooke is a real estate agent and works with The Umlauf Group in the North Carolina Triad area. Her role on the team is to provide operational management and work directly with clients during the prelisting, marketing, and contract phases. Bekah is passionate about providing clients with a personal, high quality experience by providing subject expertise, timely communication, and resources. She is a native of Winston-Salem and is happy to be resettled and raising her family in this beautiful, bustling city. 

Bekah graduated from the University of Virginia in 2004 and worked in the non-profit sector until she earned a Master's in Public Administration from the University of Southern California in 2008. Bekah then spent three years consulting for local governments in the Los Angeles area on issues related to housing, transportation, environment, and public safety. After spending a year abroad in the Netherlands for her husband's doctoral work, Bekah and her family returned to make Winston-Salem home again in 2014.

Bekah immediately joined Abby's team to provide administrative support and became a licensed Realtor in 2015. 

Bekah and her husband, Clay, have three children in live in the West Salem neighborhood. They enjoy living in proximity to downtown, being outdoors, and spending time with family, friends, and neighbors.

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Mark Easterling is an accomplished lead agent who specializes in working with buyer clients to achieve their home ownership goals and settle into the Triad community. Mark makes it his mission to know market inventory and ensure his clients have every opportunity to find their dream home and make a sound investment. He distinguishes himself by being invested in the process from start to finish (and long after!) and provides unparalleled customer care. His wide range of experience includes multiple offer negotiations, providing value by connecting clients with reliable vendors, and problem solving unforeseen events to the best outcomes possible.

Born in Mobile, AL, Mark, his wife Sarah and their two boys have proudly called Winston-Salem their home for the past 17 years. When not doing real estate, Mark loves to play the guitar, attend concerts, and be with his family. Entrenched in this great city, you can find Mark and his family out and about at any given time enjoying all that Winston-Salem has to offer.

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Karen Neitz is a real estate agent and began her real estate career in 2006 as a licensed assistant and office manager.  From the start, Karen realized she gets the most joy from providing quality client care, whether in the role of agent or transaction coordinator. Karen enjoys nurturing long lasting relationships with clients and developing partnerships in the real estate community that serve our clients’ best interests. An excellent, informed and smooth home buying experience is always her goal.


Karen has lived in the W-S area since 2002 and is absolutely in love with the city and all it has to offer! When not exploring the myriad activities and events around town, Karen surrounds herself as much as possible with her four grown children, their significant others and 6 grandchildren. In her free time, Karen also loves to read, write and do outdoor activities.

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Melissa Neff is the Umlauf Group’s Director of Social Innovation and Creative Design. She oversees the team’s marketing, branding, and community collaboration efforts in addition to providing client care and administrative support. Melissa brings her keen eye for design and aesthetic, along with a strong background in community investment to support The Umlauf Group’s commitment to its clients and the flourishing of the greater W-S area.


Melissa and her husband, Luke, started their life in Winston-Salem in the mid-2000s when Luke was a resident at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. During that time, she completed her Masters in Social Work at UNC-Chapel Hill and then served the Winston-Salem community as a social worker for the Forsyth County Department of Social Services. She went on to serve in various community building capacities throughout Winston-Salem until Luke’s military obligation stationed them in California. There she served as guardian ad litem for foster children and worked in the social work research and writing field.


After a 6 year stretch away from Winston-Salem, Melissa and her family returned and bought one of the old Catholic Social Services offices downtown, which was originally constructed in 1910. They spent 9 months lovingly restoring it back to a single-family home. Melissa and her husband have 3 daughters and enjoy rediscovering the new and old of this beloved city after their time away. Melissa volunteers with the Catholic Social Services food pantry and Arts Based School. In her free time, Melissa listening to audiobooks/podcasts, doing Crossfit, thinking about design and making her home space more functional, and hanging out with friends.

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Jill Sear is a lead agent with unparalleled commitment to helping clients achieve their real estate goals. As a seasoned sales professional and home design enthusiast, Jill expertly guides clients in prioritizing goals, understanding market trends, and evaluating cost-benefit scenarios. Having previously worked in sales at Procter & Gamble, and then several years in marketing in the furniture industry, Jill understands all too well the importance of establishing strong, personal relationships.


Originally from the northeast, Jill moved to Winston Salem over 25 years ago. An avid member of the community she enjoys gardening, cooking, gallery hopping, Pickleball and renovating her Buena Vista midcentury modern home.  Married to a local business owner with two sons, one an aspiring actor living in L.A. and the other headed off to college in the Fall, she is deeply connected to the community and a member of Home Moravian Church.

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Ryan Willett is a Lead Agent who offers that powerful combination of intellect, grit, and character in service to his clients and their lifelong real estate needs. For Ryan, trust is everything and he will leave no stone unturned to advocate for and protect his clients’ best interests. His wealth of experience in a broad array of business and real estate ventures is an asset to clients that demonstrates he is a problem-solver not afraid to think outside the box. Ryan is a firm believer in seeing potential and making it come to fruition. Working with Ryan means having peace of mind before, during, and long after any RE transaction. His incredible work ethic, combined with industry savvy, is rooted in a strong ethical framework of honesty, loyalty, and reliability.  


A Massachusetts native, Ryan relocated to the southeast 6 years ago to be near his close-knit family, including his two nephews. In his free time he loves restoring vintage and antique furniture, exploring the outdoors & playing sports, and following his favorite childhood teams (Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics & Bruins).