Mary Umberger is an independent journalist who has covered real estate since 1995. In her long career at the Chicago Tribune she has covered every aspect of the housing market, from the basic how-to-buy-a-home story to an exploration of the trials and travails at Fannie Mae. She continues to write a column (that has won the National Association of Real Estate Editors' prize for Best Column three times) for the Tribune. For more than six years, she has broadcast "Real Estate Minute" segments on Chicago radio stations. A graduate of Ohio State University, she resides in the Chicago area.