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Lights, Camera,

Awash in

APRIL 2017

REALTOR®! List your house as a film location

Make information work for you

Affordable Mortgage Programs

Advertising Compliance for REALTOR® Teams


Tuesday, June 20 9 am - 4 pm Rosemont, IL

Through the Ages hosted by

with co-host

Informative Training Classes Learn How to Grow Your Business Business Expo So. Many. Prizes.




Awash in Make information work for you p. 20 Departments 5 President’s Message: Call for Action: Potential Tax Reform


Advocacy • Education • Ethics • Legal

6 What’s Online: Illinois Bicentennial; Latest Illinois REALTORS® Videos


8 Quick Takes: Customizable Brochures; YWCA Demolition; Hispanic and Millennial Homeowners


Awash in Big Data: Strategies to Chart Your Course


Seven Home Financing Programs for Spring


Lights. Camera. REALTOR®: Illinois REALTORS®’ Homes Used as Filming Locations


Don’t Make These Advertising and Property Access Mistakes

10 At the Capitol: Taking the Message to Springfield 13 Legal Update: Switching Brokerages; Advertising Compliance for Teams 18 Tech & You: Engaging Potential Clients on Social Media 26 RVOICE: Municipal Inspection Programs; “How Local Candidates are Selected for I.E. Support” Infographic 28 Market Watch: Trends to Watch: Inventory, Affordability and the Economy 30 Commercial Corner: What’s Ahead for the Commercial Market 34 REALTOR® Community




Licensing & Training Center Real Estate Licensing & Continuing Education The Illinois REALTORS® Licensing & Training Center is your TRUSTED SOURCE for state-approved education.



TICK TOCK... Managing Broker license renewal deadline is

APRIL 30, 2017 Let our Education Specialists answer your questions!

• How many CE hours have you completed?


• Are you required to take the BMCE course? • What date were you licensed as a Managing Broker? • How do you revert to a broker license?


Q&A and Checklist for the 2017 Managing Broker Renewal:

(800) 523-5077 ILLINOIS REALTOR® April 2017



ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR 2017 President

POTENTIAL UPCOMING TAX REFORM AFFECTING REAL ESTATE Since the early 1900s, Americans have had the opportunity to deduct mortgage interest on their taxes. The MID, as it is called, is a foundation of the real estate industry and provides homeowners with a tangible tax benefit. It has been around so long that many of us take it for granted, but that would be a mistake. This year Congress could make an effort at meaningful tax reform, and the MID could be in the crosshairs. For REALTORS®, eliminating or watering down MID’s impact would be catastrophic. The impact of a tax overhaul might be felt in other ways, too. XX The deduction for state and local taxes could be affected. In a high property tax state such as Illinois, that would hurt homeowners.

Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter speaks at a ribbon cutting for the Chicago Association of REALTORS®’ (CAR) new office in Chicago. In the background is CAR President Matt Silver and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

XX The 1031 Like-Kind Exchange could also be eliminated. The exchange allows tax deferral as long as the proceeds from certain commercial property sales are reinvested. This would have a broad impact on the commercial real estate sector which uses the 1031 Like-Kind Exchange as a way to build business and invest in communities. As an industry, REALTORS® are in a good position to help preserve these important tax code provisions. We have deep relationships on both sides of the political aisle, and our members are motivated and engaged. That’s all well and good, but in order to be most effective, all of Illinois’ 44,000-plus members must to be ready to answer calls for action, invest in RPAC and make sure they are able to convey the necessity of protecting private property rights.

(l-r): Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, 2016 Illinois REALTORS® President Mike Drews, CAR CEO Ginger Downs, CAR President Matt Silver, NAR President-elect Elizabeth Mendenhall and NAR CEO Dale Stinton cutting the ribbon.

“As an industry, REALTORS® are in a good position to help preserve these important tax code provisions ... all of Illinois’ 44,000-plus members must to be ready to answer calls for action, invest in RPAC and make sure they are able to convey the necessity of protecting private property rights.” — Doug Carpenter, Illinois REALTORS® president





2017 OFFICERS President Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR President-Elect Matt Difanis, ABR, GRI Treasurer Dan Wagner Immediate Past President Mike Drews, GRI Chief Executive Officer Gary Clayton, CAE, RCE


Executive Vice President Luke Bell, RCE

Illinois will celebrate 200 years of statehood in 2018 and Illinois REALTORS® will be part of the celebration, working with heart on community service projects throughout the state. Illinois REALTORS® are planning projects — from Rockford and McHenry in the north, throughout Chicagoland, Central and Southern Illinois — including “adopting” a historic home or property in our local REALTOR® association communities as well as downtown Springfield, in the block shared by the Illinois REALTORS® headquarters. The Illinois REALTORS® Bicentennial Task Force is the organizing committee for REALTOR® efforts, but there are things you can do, too. Learn more at You’ll find the Illinois REALTORS® Bicentennial Store featuring promotional materials — selfie signs, pins, a commemorative T-shirt and more — to help you spread the word.

Editor Jon Broadbooks Senior Editor Stephanie Sievers Content Marketing Specialist Bill Kozar Graphic Designer Katie Grant For advertising information contact Advertising & Sponsorship, (217) 529-2600, The ILLINOIS REALTOR® (ISSN 0744-221) is published four times a year during the months of January, April, July, and ­October by the Illinois REALTORS®, Post Office Box 19451, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9451. Periodical postage paid at Springfield, Illinois and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster : Send address changes to: The ILLINOIS REALTOR®, Post Office Box 19451, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9451, 217/529-2600.

For updates, LIKE us on Facebook at REALTORSCelebrateIllinoisBicentennial and follow and tag #REALTORSworkingwithHeart.


Opinions expressed in any signed ar ticles of the ILLINOIS REALTOR ® are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Illinois R ­EALTORS ®. Adver tising of product or services does not imply endorsement. Advertising rates are available at or on request. ­Annual dues of every REALTOR®, ­REALTORASSOCIATE®, and Affiliate member includes $3 for a oneyear subscription to the ILLINOIS REALTOR®.

VOLUME 54: NUMBER 2 Copyright © 2017 Illinois REALTORS® All rights reserved.

Like us on Facebook. Join us on LinkedIn. Follow @ILREALTOR and @ILREALTORmag on Twitter. Follow @IllinoisRealtors on Instagram. Subscribe to


‘NO OTHER’ AREAA VIDEO Illinois REALTOR Vicky Silvano tells her story of immigrating to the U.S. in the Asian Real Estate Association of America’s (AREAA) video promoting the successful “No Other” national education campaign to get Asian American and Pacific Islander housing data added to Census reports. Silvano is the immediate past chair of AREAA. ®

View the video at AREAA-No-Other

CALENDAR You can stay up-to-date on all of the upcoming Illinois REALTORS® events by visiting our events page at Here are some of the events occurring in the next few months: • Capitol Conference “REALTOR® Lobby Day,” April 25 in Springfield • Conference & Expo, May 10-11 in Collinsville • June Business Meetings, June 5-7 in Springfield • REALTOR of the Year Banquet, June 6 in Springfield ®

HAVE YOU SEEN THE LATEST ILLINOIS REALTORS® VIDEOS? Illinois REALTORS® has produced a variety of new videos of interest to our members including: • Illinois REALTORS® Outreach Team videos • Illinois REALTORS® Tips: Advice for First-Time Homebuyers • Professional Standards Toolkit – Arbitration vs. Mediation Find all of our videos at user/IllinoisRealtor

Growing the Future of Real Estate Education The Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation (REEF) fosters quality education and professional development in the field of real estate.

DID YOU KNOW? Scholarship funds are available for: • Children and grandchildren of REALTORS® • Individuals pursuing a career in real estate, or related field of study • Students attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign • Illinois REALTORS® to expand leadership skills in real estate • Illinois REALTORS® to pursue several NAR designations • Individuals pursuing association management • Minority real estate students

Since 2000, REEF has awarded scholarships totaling over $565,000, helping Illinois real estate professionals fulfill their educational dreams and pursue their careers in the real estate industry.

522 S. 5th Street, P.O. Box 2607, Springfield, IL 62708 | Phone: (866) 854-7333 | Fax: (217) 529-5893 | ILLINOIS REALTOR April 2017 7 ®



Hispanic homeownership rate rose to 46 percent in 2016, an increase over 45.6 percent in 2015. For the second year in a row, Hispanics were the only ethnic demographic with an increase in their homeownership rate.


RVOICE brochures are customizable Enhance service to your clients by sharing RVOICE consumer brochures, many of which are now customizable, allowing you to add your name, company information, phone number and other contact information. Download these FREE handouts and share information with your clients on such topics as: understanding the cost of homeownership, carbon monoxide laws, zoning, special service areas, buying a condominium and more. Download the brochures at www.

(Source: The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP)

Time-lapse video captures Springfield YWCA demolition The old YWCA building across the street from the Illinois REALTORS®' headquarters was demolished in February to make way for a possible future urban park and pedestrian walkway that will connect the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Illinois Capitol. Watch a time-lapse video of the demolition at

Friday is the most common day for home closings Heading to a real estate closing? Then odds are good that it’s a Friday. Researchers with the National Association of REALTORS® analyzed 2016 home closing data and found that more property closings occur on Friday (33.4 percent) than any other day of the week. Aside from the weekend when very few closings happen, Tuesday was the least common day for a closing with 14.3 percent. Learn more at


In Memoriam ROBERT E. “BOB” COOK


Bob Cook, the former Illinois REALTORS® Executive Vice President who ushered in an era of modernization and growth for the trade association during his 28-year tenure, died Feb. 8 in Colorado. Cook is one of only three executives to lead Illinois REALTORS®, joining the organization at a time when the association’s annual budget was a scant $20,000. By the time Cook retired in 1984, the budget had grown to $2.5 million, there were 23,000 members and the organization had been transformed into a leader in the fight to protect private property rights.

REALTOR® Mac Boyd, a managing broker with Farmers National Company in Arcola, died on Dec. 20. A recognized authority on Illinois farmland, Boyd was also a leader in the REALTOR® organization and received the Illinois REALTORS® Distinguished Service Award in 2004 and the 1993 Farm and Land Broker of the Year for the Illinois Chapter of the REALTORS® Land Institute. He was the 2007 president of the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and was the 2002 national president of the REALTORS® Land Institute. Boyd was a member of the Illinois and National Association of REALTORS® RPAC Halls of Fame.

Millennials prefer modern or farmhouse kitchen styles Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? Your generational status is a good indicator of whether you’ll choose traditional warm woods or replace everything with a more contemporary style. The home renovation and design website Houzz looked at what homeowners want when they redo their kitchens in the “2017 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study.” The findings: Millennials are more likely to choose modern or farmhouse styles while Baby Boomers are twice as likely to choose traditional. White cabinets win out over other cabinet color choices, gray walls are becoming more popular with all age groups and 72 percent of homeowners are going with stainless steel appliances. Homeowners aren’t sticking with all neutrals though. One third of countertops and a quarter of backsplashes have multiple colors. Find the full Houzz study at



AT THE CAPITOL Julie Sullivan | Director, Legislative and Political Affairs

YOU CAN HELP US MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN SPRINGFIELD The 100th General Assembly was sworn into office on Jan. 11 and over the course of the 2017 spring session, thousands of bills are introduced. Your team of lobbyists from the Illinois REALTORS® will remain engaged and vigilant on behalf of YOU and private property owners throughout the State. The Illinois Senate currently has 27 committees and the House has 57 committees where legislation is first reviewed. Bills will be considered and those securing passage will then be debated on the floor. Those passing the original chamber are sent to the second chamber for a repeat of the process. You can stay informed by tracking weekly legislative activity in the State Capitol Report and you can rely on your lobbyists to be at the Capitol daily to track key bills, to represent you in testimony before House and Senate committees and educate your representatives and senators on these proposals. Direct lobbying is our job, but you play a vital role in the success of our legislative agenda. Your involvement ensures that we will continue to be one of the most powerful trade associations in Illinois. Elected officials look to you as experts on issues that impact the real estate industry and private property rights. As the action heats up in Springfield, we may send out a Call for Action email. Please take the few moments to respond when we send out those emails urging you to contact your elected officials. IT MATTERS! We do not send out these alerts on every proposal but, in a typical session, we will identify four to six bills that are critical, either for passage or defeat. The judicious use of a Call for Action underscores its importance. Remember, your legislators need to hear from you, because they value your opinion as a constituent. And when an issue impacts property owners, there is no better

KEY DATES IN 2017 For video/audio of action from the House or Senate floor; full text of bills and amendments; schedules and contact information for the Illinois General Assembly:



April 4-7; 24 (House only); 25-28 and May 2-5 (Senate only); 9-12; 15-19; 22-31

expert than you. The Call for Action email will give you some bullet points of key information to explain the legislative proposal and our position on the issue. A sample email response is also provided which you can send to your legislator in two clicks — one to open and one to send. TAKING THE MESSAGE TO THE CAPITOL We also have a successful State Legislative Contact (SLC) network that includes a REALTOR® contact and team for each member of the General Assembly. These REALTOR® members are so named because of their established relationship with a state representative or senator. The goal of this network is to have a key contact working with a team of 5-10 additional REALTORS® to provide local and personal contact. These contacts may

KEY DEADLINES April 10-21 Spring Recess

May 19 Deadline for House Committee Hearings of Senate Bills

April 28 Deadline for Final Consideration of Bills in Original Chamber

May 26 Deadline for Final Consideration of Bills in Second Chamber

May 12 Deadline for Senate Committee Hearings of House Bills

May 31 Scheduled Adjournment Date of 2017 spring session

make phone calls or schedule office visits, especially on our lobby day, to discuss our legislative agenda. Our SLCs also ensure the involvement of legislators in appropriate local association events. Should you be contacted by one of our SLCs to join the team, PLEASE volunteer! JOIN US FOR CAPITOL CONFERENCE On Tuesday, April 25, 2017 the Illinois REALTORS will hold its 41st annual Capitol Conference “REALTOR® Lobby

Day” in Springfield. Lobbyists will brief you on the hot issues and you will have the opportunity to be at the Capitol for floor and/or committee action and to meet with your legislators. We end the day with a reception at the Abraham Lincoln Doubletree Hotel to allow networking with your colleagues and members of the House and the Senate. Find more information at



LEADERSHIP OF THE 100TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY President of the Senate: John Cullerton

Republican Leader: Christine Radogno

Majority Leader: James Clayborne, Jr.

Deputy Republican Leader: Bill Brady

Assistant Majority Leaders: Bill Haine Kim Lightford Terry Link Tony Muñoz Donne Trotter Majority Caucus Chair: Ira Silverstein President Pro Tempore: Don Harmon

Assistant Republican Leaders: Jason Barickman Sue Rezin Chapin Rose Dave Syverson Republican Caucus Chair: Pam Althoff

Majority Caucus Whips: Mattie Hunter Iris Martinez

Rep. Caucus Whip: Karen McConnaughay

Speaker of the House: Michael Madigan

Republican Leader: Jim Durkin

Majority Leader: Barbara Flynn Currie

Deputy Republican Leaders: Patti Bellock Dan Brady

Deputy Majority Leaders: Lou Lang Art Turner Assistant Majority Leaders: Luis Arroyo Dan Burke Sara Feigenholtz Mary Flowers Jehan Gordon-Booth Elaine Nekritz Jay Hoffman

Assistant Republican Leaders: Norine Hammond Chad Hays Mike McAuliffe Bill Mitchell David Reis Mike Unes Republican Conference Chair: Tom Demmer

Conference Chair: Greg Harris



Capitol Conference “REALTOR® Lobby Day” April 25, 2017

Make Your Voice Heard!


Learn the issues and discuss the REALTOR® agenda with your state legislators


LEGAL UPDATE Elizabeth A. (Betsy) Urbance | Illinois REALTORS® Director of Legal Services; Associate, Sorling Northrup Attorneys


sponsored licensee is leaving one sponsoring broker to go to another one. A This topic has been popping up on the Illinois REALTORS® Legal Hotline lately. Here are a few thoughts for agents who may be leaving (or thinking of leaving) their current sponsoring broker. First, “your” listing agreements really belong to your sponsoring brokerage company even if you are the designated agent for the seller. As a result, you may not induce your seller client to break that active listing in order to follow you to your new office. Without special provisions allowing for this in your independent contractor/employment agreement (ICA) with your sponsoring broker, you may well be responding to a complaint filed with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) or in the courts for breach of contract if you engage in that “exit strategy.” As mentioned, you may have negotiated a provision to allow you to “take” your listings if you leave but you would need to have that in your ICA with your current sponsoring broker, or the sponsoring broker’s office policies would need to allow for this. Sellers who wish to follow you should deal directly with your soon-tobe former sponsoring broker on their own (with advice of their attorneys if need be). Second, you should not assume that you will be paid for transactions that are pending when you leave. In fact, the general rule is that commissions also belong to the sponsoring

brokerage company and will be paid to you in accordance with your ICA. If there is not a provision in your agreement or in the sponsoring broker’s policies that you will be paid for pending deals, don’t count on it. Be sure to review your ICA thoroughly with your own attorney before you leave. Finally, check to see if your ICA requires you to give any specific notice and a time period before you leave. This is a fairly common provision. For managing brokers: Make sure you have signed ICAs on file in your offices. The Illinois Real Estate License Act (RELA) requires that all licensed real estate offices have written ICAs with their sponsored licensees. The licensees must be provided a copy, and your office must maintain a copy as well. The ICA must cover whether the relationship is one of independent contractor or employment status, supervision, duties, compensation, and a termination process. The ICA does not have to contain any specific termination date, just a process for termination. This Q&A does not cover every possible concern but highlights a few. Perhaps it is enough to encourage you to review your ICAs whether you are the sponsoring entity or the sponsored licensee with your respective attorneys. If you are a sponsored licensee, do this review before you change offices, and you might find that you need to stay a bit longer in some cases. The bottom line is that written agreements between licensees and their sponsoring brokers are required under the Act.

Q I have been approached recently by a business owner

in my town who wants me to help her sell her business. The business is a popular pizza place on a busy intersection.The real estate is not for sale along with the business, but there will be an assignment of the building lease. I have heard something about needing a business broker’s license.What do I need, if anything, to help this business owner sell her business? A There is a statute in Illinois entitled the “Illinois Business Brokers Act of 1995” (BBA) which may or may not apply in this situation. (815 ILCS 307/10-1 et seq.) The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office is the agency in charge of administering the BBA. Those people who engage in brokering the sales of non-securities type businesses must register with the Secretary of State’s office and pay the fee. There is a registration process



requiring a fee and an annual renewal. There are also certain disclosure and record-keeping requirements. If the sale of the business is one in which an interest in real estate is a dominant element in the transaction, then the BBA does not apply. As a result, the first question to address, is whether an interest in real estate is a dominant element in the transaction. The rules under the BBA define dominant element as one in which the interest in real estate is of a dollar value worth at least 50% of the net asset value or purchase price of the business, is an integral part of the transaction or is the single largest part of the transaction. (Title 14, Part 140, Section 140.51). It is worth noting that, if an interest in real estate is a dominant element of the transaction, the person brokering the transaction would need a properly sponsored real estate license. In addition, according to the rules under the BBA, one would look to the definition of “real estate” in the Real Estate License Act of 2000 (Real Estate License Act) to determine what constitutes an interest in real estate. Leaseholds are clearly included in that definition. (225 ILCS 454/1-10). Thus, given the fact situation above, if the leasehold being transferred fits any of the criteria set forth under the definition of dominant element, the transaction could be classified as a real estate transaction as opposed to a business transaction. The agent is then covered by his real estate license and would not need to register under the BBA. On the facts above, the pizza place is located on a busy intersection in the town. As a result, it is probably safe to assume that the transfer of the leasehold for that building is, at the very least, an integral part of the transaction. Remember the real estate professional’s mantra, “Location, location, location.” Let us change the facts a bit and assume the interest in real estate is not included in the transaction and the real estate broker has been asked to broker the exchange of the goodwill and maybe some personal property related to this pizza business. May the real estate licensee handle the transaction without registering under the BBA? The BBA does contain a limited exemption. (815 ILCS 307/10-80(a)(2)). If a person is primarily engaged in business as a real estate licensee under the License Act, that person is exempt for purposes of the BBA if he/she brokers a business transaction on an “incidental basis” to the practice of real estate. Unfortunately, there is no definition in the BBA or its rules for “incidental basis.” So, the real estate practitioner must make that call if he is asked to broker a business transaction and it cannot be classified as a real estate transaction.


Depending on the real estate licensee’s real estate business, one business transaction might be enough to require registration under the BBA. Assume the real estate licensee practices on a part-time basis and does an average of two real estate transactions a year. That person may not be able to argue successfully that to do one business brokerage transaction is “incidental” to his real estate business. On the other hand, if the real estate licensee does 50 real estate transactions in a year, he has a better argument that one business brokerage transaction would be incidental to his real estate practice. If the potential commission is substantial, or there is any question at all as to whether or not it would be incidental, avoid the issue by registering with the Secretary of State’s office and paying the required fee. (www.cyberdriveillinois. com/departments/securities/busbroker.html). It is a registration process and not really a licensing procedure. As always, if there is any doubt, consult the advice of an attorney to review the particular facts.

Q Please discuss advertising requirements for teams

within an Illinois real estate brokerage company.

A First, it is important to remember that the name of the sponsoring real estate brokerage company, including any franchise affiliation must appear in all real estate advertising, whether or not this is being done on behalf of a team or an individual licensee. In addition, when licensees employ the use of social media in their businesses; the regulations governing their practices apply in this environment too. All of the rules and regulations apply to the functional units in offices that are referred to as “teams.” As a rule, teams are not separate legal entities but groups of people in a real estate company that work together. Generally speaking, a team name can’t be used instead of the sponsoring broker’s company name. In order for a team to use its name in lieu of the sponsoring broker’s company name, the sponsoring company would have to register that team name as an assumed corporate name with the appropriate agency or office, i.e. the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office for assumed corporate names and at the local court house for sole proprietorships. This is not allowed at all in the case of franchise operations. So, if the sponsoring entity is a franchise, the entire sponsoring company name must appear in the same ad as the team name in a “readily apparent manner” (that is the standard contained in the REALTOR® Code of Ethics). A “popular” transgression involves misleading team names. Because teams are typically functional units within a brokerage office

Advertising Compliance for teams

operating in a team-like manner, if a team uses a name to identify itself, it should not be misleading in any way. The sponsoring broker’s company name must still appear in the ad. If the team name appears to be a company name in its own right, this is problematic and is very likely to be misleading to the public. For more guidance on these and other issues of interest to teams, check out this publication: webfm_send/1849 (login required).

APRIL IS GOT A LEGAL QUESTION? The Illinois REALTORS® Legal Hotline is the Designated REALTOR®/managing broker’s go-to source for legal information. Phone: (800) 952-0578 Email: Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday

NEED HELP RESOLVING A DISPUTE WITH A REALTOR ® ? Illinois REALTORS® has a Consumer Help Line to resolve questions relating to real estate transactions.

FAIR HOUSING MONTH April 2017 marks the 49th anniversary of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act. REALTORS® are committed to upholding fair housing law and offering equal professional services to all in their search for real property. Find Fair Housing resources including the “Fair Housing Is A Serious Matter” brochures for REALTORS® and consumers at www.IllinoisRealtors. org/FairHousing/Resources

Help Line: (800) 952-0578 Web: Hours: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday


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REALTOR® Networking Reception Wednesday, May 10 Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant

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Core B Legal Issues: Real Estate Compliance is Not a Game (COR 16016, 3 hours Core B)

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Closing Session: Making Your Message Memorable


Breakout Session: Turbo-charge Your Business With These Top 10 Tools From RPR

Illinois REALTORS ®

Legal Issues Breakfast Thurs., May 1 1 8-9am $20

ELIZABETH “BETSY” URBANCE Illinois REALTORS Director of Legal Services ®

JEFFREY T. BAKER Illinois REALTORS® Legal Services

Illinois REALTORS® • • 522 S. Fifth Street, Springfield, ILILLINOIS 62701 REALTOR


April 2017


TECH & YOU ENGAGING POTENTIAL CLIENTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Q&A WITH LEIGH BROWN By Courtney Westlake As a REALTOR®, the potential to reach clients through popular social media channels is highly appealing, but where should you have a presence and why? How often should you post and what content should you display on social media sites? Your social media efforts should promote your brand in a way that pulls consumers toward you and doesn’t push them away. Leigh Brown, a well-known industry speaker and a top-producing REALTOR® with RE/MAX Executive Realty in Charlotte, North Carolina, is scheduled to share her insights into social media success with the session, “Making Social Media Work,” at the Illinois REALTORS® Conference & Expo on May 10. As a preview, Illinois REALTOR® asked Brown five questions about the best social media practices that produce results for agents.

How can a social media presence help an agent connect with potential clients? These networks are designed for interaction. You will never connect with people by simply posting virtual tours or borrowed material. You can use these platforms in your business by finding connective information with potential clients, such as hometown or college, and by responding to posts with thoughtful comments.

What are the benefits of the different platforms and how should an agent choose which to focus on first? With limited time each day for social media, agents need to focus on what they enjoy and where they see results. I read a long time ago that Facebook is a dinner party, Twitter is a cocktail party, Instagram is your photo album, Pinterest is to inspire – so choose the one where you are most comfortable! If you like deeper conversations, it’s Facebook. If you like to wander from conversation to conversation, Twitter is your home. If you love photos, it’s Instagram, and if you love ideas and inspiring visuals, it’s Pinterest. (You may notice I didn’t mention Snapchat; I’ve tried it, and it’s not for me. But if it’s your style, go for it!)

How concerned should agents be about getting a return on investment when it comes to the time they spend on their social media efforts? Real estate agents have two commodities: time and knowledge. You have to focus on your return on investment in everything you do, including social media. Scheduling in the time to manage these networks helps to ensure they don’t become a drain on your time and resources.

What are some of the mistakes you see REALTORS® making on social media? Many agents make the mistake of simply clicking ‘like’ or ‘thumbs up’ rather than truly engaging on a platform with comments or responses to questions. Another behavior that puts off potential clients is when agents solely post real estate content, like virtual tours or open houses, and don’t showcase their personal side. However, the biggest mistake I see from REALTORS® is keeping their contact information on lockdown. You need to make sure your company, address, phone, and website are set to public across all of your social media sites (note: it’s also critical to make sure you’re in compliance with the real estate license act and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics!)


“Real estate agents have two commodities: time and knowledge. You have to focus on your return on investment in everything you do, including social media.” – Leigh Brown

You advocate for agents to be authentic and true to themselves. How can agents find the balance of being authentic while avoiding content that might offend a potential client? There are controversial landmines (politics and religion, for example) that you probably want avoid so as not to offend potential clients. I am not afraid of politics or my faith life, but I am careful to not be inflammatory. My rule of thumb is that if you would not say it on a stage with a microphone in front of the people you love, don’t post it on your Facebook page. If the world is on fire, stay out of it unless you’re actually being helpful. You can display your personal side while remaining professional and true to your real estate brand. Leigh Brown is a partner at RE/MAX Executive Realty in North Carolina and the broker-manager of its Concord office. The owner of Leigh Brown Instruction, she is a sought after industry speaker, a frequent contributor to REALTOR® Magazine and a member of the National Association of REALTORS ® RPAC Hall of Fame.

About the writer: Courtney Westlake is a writer and photographer from central Illinois. She can be reached at


MAY 10-11 Collinsville Gateway Center

Advocacy • Education Ethics • Legal

Learn more about social media and real estate at the Illinois REALTORS®’ Conference and Expo. Leigh Brown’s breakout session “Making Social Media Work” will teach you how to effectively promote your brand and make the most of your time online. Brown will also kick off the conference with the opening session, “How to Defeat External Threats,” sharing tips to help REALTORS® stand out from the competition and promote the REALTOR® value. • See ad on pages 16 & 17 •






Congratulations Sue Miller 2017

Illinois REALTOR® of the Year The Heartland REALTOR® Organization and all of its members congratulate Sue Miller on this prestigious recognition.

Thanks, Sue, for all you have given to the real estate industry!

Heartland-Sue-Miller-ROTY_ad.indd 1



3/8/2017 12:38:46 PM

Awash in Strategies to Chart Your Course By Bridget McCrea

Here are six ways to turn the tables on information overload and use big data as a business advantage in 2017


eal estate agents and brokers have long relied on networking, personal relationships and feet-on-the-street customer generation and retention tactics to build their business. But analyzing huge sets of data to figure out human behavior, buyer preferences and community interactions sounds more like the stuff of statisticians, mathematicians and information technology types, right? No, says Bryan Robertson, CEO of Catarra Real Estate in Los Altos, Calif., and a former business intelligence software developer. Digging into big data may be a newer concept for many real estate professionals, but more are learning how to leverage it to their advantage. “Agents are using big data to try to figure out how to connect with clients in a faster, easier and lower-cost manner,” says Robertson. “That’s ultimately the promise that big data Robertson brings to the table.”

What is Big Data Anyway?

Big data is defined as extremely large data sets that may be analyzed with a computer to reveal patterns, trends and associations — especially those relating to human behavior and interactions. Big data isn’t just another passing fad that real estate agents can afford to ignore. “Big data used in real estate identifies who buys or sells what, when, where, why and how. When real estate markets implement data modeling, it gives an in-depth analysis of consumer behavior as it relates to and impacts the real estate


industry,” according to Innovation Enterprise, a business media company specializing in enterprise innovation, including big data. “As big data usage becomes more standard, agents who practice data analysis will see their revenue surge, their costs drop and their market share increase,” according to the Innovation Enterprise article, “Big Data: How Businesses Will Benefit From it in 2016.” These lofty goals could be attained more easily using big data and the actionable analytics it provides. By drilling down into the data, agents and brokers can use the information to make business decisions. The question is, how can you turn information overload into practical, useful insights that help your everyday business? Here are five practical ways that real estate agents and brokers can start using it right now:


Paint a true and accurate picture of your buyers’ homeownership costs.

The days when homebuyers had only loanto-value ratios and rough estimates to go on when determining whether they could afford homeownership are gone. The proliferation of data makes it easier for agents to help their customers truly understand what they’ll be paying on an annual, monthly and even weekly basis after those closing documents are signed. “Big data helps buyers find the type of home — and the related qualities and characteristics — that they can really afford,” says John Murray, managing broker at Key Realty, Inc., in Rockford.

For example, agents can develop property-specific reports that include everything from heating bills to utility costs to basic living expenses in the specified area (i.e., fuel costs for someone who commutes to and from work, food bill for a family of four, fitness center memberships, and so forth). “The mortgage company may know that someone can afford a $250,000 house,” says Murray, “but it doesn’t take into account how much milk, eggs and gas cost within a specific ZIP code.”


Geo-target individuals within your local market for optimal marketing ROI.

Big data has literally become a “crystal ball” of sorts for agents, who can use the information to identify the likelihood of a buyer or seller — in any one market — to buy or sell a home. Having this level of insight can be extremely valuable for agents working in competitive markets. “Instead of blanketing a neighborhood blindly,” says Murray, “agents can utilize social data, consumer trend information, transactional data, property histories, and other information to identify the 2,000 out of 10,000 homeowners who have the highest chances of moving within the next year.” That means an agent who would have historically spent $10,000 (e.g., Murray $1 per postcard) to hit the entire area can spend just $2,000 on the postcards and allocate the rest for a follow-up campaign (or, a different approach).


Ditch the old-school real estate mentality and boil the data down into actionable information for customers.

Sellers want to know if their homes are going to sell, in what timeframe, and for how much money…plain and simple. Nobu Hata, director of digital engagement for the National Association of REALTORS®, says agents who can use big data to give homeowners a true and — perhaps more importantly — understandable picture of their home’s ability to sell will stand out. “Think about how you can make data useful for people who don’t understand real estate and the data associated with it,” says Hata. Hata says Redfin provides an example of how a brokerage can use MLS data to differentiate itself and create brand loyalty. Hata “Redfin takes the MLS data and says, ‘There’s a 40 percent chance that this home will sell within the next 10 days,’” he says. “That creates a sense of urgency for people to go out and see the property’s open house or reach out to the listing agent.

This is something a lot of other brokerages could be doing, but they don’t because they’re reliant on an old-school mentality.”


Help buyers and sellers make better decisions. Kirsten “Kiki” Wanshura,

regional director for Realtors Property Resource, LLC (RPR), says agents should urge their clients to think beyond Zillow Zestimate — which uses an automated valuation model (AVM) to come up with a target price — when pricing their homes. “What many people don’t understand is that the AVM factors in public records, but not MLS data” says Wanshura. By marrying MLS data with various other data sources (i.e., public records), RPR provides a “much more accurate value that the general public doesn’t have access to.” And that, says Wanshura, gives REALTORS® a more powerful position in the marketplace. Armed with RPR’s neighborhood Wanshura reports (which incorporate housing statistics, population demographics, quality of life data, etc.), trade area reports (for the commercial side of the business) and the mobile app (for accessing while away from the office), agents “get the tools and technology they need to further reiterate their importance in the marketplace,” says Wanshura. “REALTORS® aren’t just selling homes; they’re selling lifestyles,” Wanshura says. “By leveraging big data and drilling down into the key points of interest, agents can help their buyers and sellers make the best possible decisions for their individual situations.”


Help sellers determine whether those upgrades will translate into a higher selling price (or faster sale).

When listing a home for sale, agents typically focus on two key factors: getting the best possible price and getting the home under contract as quickly as possible. In some cases, both are predicated on a seller’s willingness to fix, change and/or upgrade parts of the property to prepare for sale. Using big data, agents can help their sellers figure out how to get the most for their money or even advise them not to make an upgrade that isn’t going to produce optimal return on investment (ROI). For example, are potential buyers expecting Viking stoves or will a stainless steel Kenmore appliance suffice? And, are Formica countertops and carpeting acceptable, or do buyers want granite in their kitchens and hardwood floors throughout? For best results, Murray advises agents to collect and comb through their local and regional market data to develop intelligence reports that help sellers make the best possible choices. “I don’t think a lot of agents are doing this yet, but as more data is collected and analyzed, more of



them will be using it to help sellers make these decisions,” said Murray.


Incorporate predictive analytics into your brokerage expansion plans. For

brokerages, hiring is usually an ongoing effort and physical expansion happens when opportunity arises. Murray sees predictive analytics (i.e., when data and analytics are used to make predictions about unknown future events), as a better way. A brokerage who wants to establish a presence in a new region in Illinois, for example, can use geo-targeting to figure out which markets are similar to the ones it already serves and what the home prices are in that market. Other key data points to review include transaction volumes and months supply of inventory, both of which can provide important clues about a market’s potential. Murray says this data-driven exercise can also help brokers weed out markets where they may not perform as well. “Selling homes in downtown Chicago is much different than selling lakefront dwellings or farm houses,” says Murray. “When you arm yourself with the data, you can tell pretty quickly whether or not your existing business model and approach will work on your target expansion market.”

Big Data Isn’t Rocket Science The value of big data lies not in the information itself, but in how you use it and implement it. The good news is that bridging that gap isn’t rocket science. In fact, Carrie Bey-Little, a broker-associate with Baird & Warner in Glen Ellyn, says a good starting point is a quick comparison of recent sales data versus the same period last year. “If an agent just took one day each month to look at their marketplaces and compare the data to last year’s market (at the same time), he or she would already be ahead of the game,” says Bey-Little, who speaks frequently on the integration of big data and real estate. “It’s all right in the MLS.” Bey-Little Then, when talking to potential clients, agents have that information at their fingertips and won’t have to keep referring to new data sources and/or doing more, timeintensive research. “By simply taking the time to read and digest the data on a consistent basis,” Bey-Little says, “you can quickly become the expert and authority in your marketplace.”


Big Data Resources for REALTORS® CoreLogic A supplier of U.S. real estate, property, mortgage, consumer, and specialized business data, CoreLogic supplies information, analytics, and outsourcing services that agents and brokers can use to make timely and insightful decisions. Illinois REALTORS®’ MarketStats Complete, updated forecasts and statistics for the state of Illinois and the individual markets served by Illinois real estate professionals. Inman’s Home Improvement ROI Infographic Provides detailed data that agents and brokers can use to help their sellers make the best choices regarding pre-sale home improvements. REALTORS® Property Resource Comprehensive data, powerful analytics, and client-friendly reports for each of NAR’s constituencies. SmartZip Predictive marketing solutions for the real estate industry. The company offers a SmartTargeting product that helps agents identify and target the homeowners most likely to sell in any neighborhood across the U.S. (Note:The resources mentioned in this article are not meant to represent an endorsement by Illinois REALTORS®.)

About the writer: Bridget McCrea is a business, real estate and technology writer in Clearwater, Fla. She can be reached at


home financing programs to help you get buyers into a home this spring

Are some of your potential homebuyers putting off the decision to buy because they believe they must have 20 percent or more for a down payment? That’s what 39 percent of non-owners said when they were surveyed for the National Association of REALTORS®’ (NAR) Aspiring Home Buyers Profile. Another 26 percent said they believed they would need 15 to 20 percent. Fact check: The necessary down payment is lower for many buyers than they realize. In fact, the median down payment for first-time buyers has been 6 percent and 14 percent for repeat buyers in recent years, according to the latest NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. And with assistance programs and certain loan programs, down payments can be even less. As you work with this spring’s homebuyers, help spread the word on these and other state and federal homebuyer assistance and mortgage financing programs that require low down payments and in some cases, no down payments. You should also check with your local city or county.



Administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA, @HomeIllinois offers $5,000 down payment and closing cost assistance, lender paid mortgage insurance, a federal tax credit certificate for first-time buyers and the choice of FHA, VA, USDA or Conventional 30-year, fixed rate loans. Qualifying borrowers include: first-time buyers, veterans, repeat buyers and those looking to refinance. Borrowers must meet income and purchase limits, credit requirements and contribute $1,000 or 1 percent of the purchase price, whichever is greater. Learn more at


2 1stHomeIllinois 1stHomeIllinois is a similar IHDA loan product, but is only available to first-time buyers and veterans purchasing a home in Boone, Cook, DeKalb, Fulton, Kane, Marion, McHenry, St. Clair, Will and Winnebago counties. Qualifying buyers get $7,500 cash assistance for down payment and closing costs for a low-cost 30-year, fixed rate mortgage and also must contribute $1,000 or 1 percent of the purchase price, whichever is greater. Learn more at

FHA Loans

Mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) continue to be a popular option for homebuyers because of the minimum down payment of 3.5 percent, low closing costs and the ability for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit to qualify. In January, FHA maximum mortgage limits increased to $275,665 in most Illinois counties that qualify as low cost areas. Limits are higher in the Rockford area ($339,250) and in the Chicagoland area ($365,700). Learn more at

HomeReady Mortgage by Fannie Mae


HomeReady offers a 3 percent down payment option for eligible lowto moderate-income first-time and repeat homebuyers. Additional income sources will be considered and all co-borrowers (parents for example) don’t have to live in the property. Homebuyers must complete a homeownership education course. Learn more at HomeReady


Home Possible Advantage by Freddie Mac


Home Possible Advantage is Freddie Mac’s version of the 3 percent down payment mortgage product. The program is open to qualifying low- to moderate-income first-time or repeat buyers or those purchasing in high-cost or underserved areas. First-time buyers must complete homeownership counseling. Learn more at HomePossible

USDA Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program Buy a home in certain rural areas and you might not need any down payment at all. This U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program assists low- and moderate-income consumers buy homes in eligible rural areas, including many counties in Illinois. The low-interest, fixed rate loans can be used to build, rehabilitate, improve or relocate a dwelling in an eligible area. Learn more at


VA Home Loan Program VA loans are another financing option that don’t require a down payment. The loans are available to qualifying veterans, active military members and eligible surviving spouses. Guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the loans do not require mortgage insurance. Learn more at HomeLoans



Lights. Camera. REALT OR®: A Day in the Life





REALTOR® State’s film office reaches out to agents in quest for TV, movie and commercial advertising locations By Bill Kozar, Content Marketing Specialist

Illinois REALTORS® can help one of their listings get a starring role by listing properties in a state database used by location scouts for TV, commercial advertising and movie productions. It’s a move that officials with the state’s film office say can financially benefit property owners, provide bragging rights and maybe even give owners a chance to meet the stars. The Illinois Film Office, which is part of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, says it is looking to encourage awareness of the database for homeowners as the state hosts a growing number of productions in Illinois. “We never have enough properties in our database,” says Louis Ferrara, assistant deputy director, Illinois Film Office. “Properties change, owners change and buildings get torn down. Our goal is to constantly review our information and update it. We’re always looking for fresh ideas. Always.” The types of properties needed vary widely, from empty industrial and busy commercial sites to older houses, apartment complexes, upscale condos, farms, wooded properties, riverfront businesses, lake cottages and luxury homes. And for those who think producers only want property in Chicago, portions of the movie Legally Blonde 2, for example, were shot in Springfield. Compensation depends on many variables, such as the location, length of time the property is needed and the project’s budget. Representatives of the Illinois Film Office said they believe the brief investment of time can be very worthwhile. “My home has been used to film Chicago P.D.,” says REALTOR® Jill Hare, vice president of sales and a broker associate for Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty in Chicago. “We had an amazing experience with Chicago P.D. It was really a seamless process and extremely lucrative. I would Hare highly recommend it to anyone.” REALTOR® Brett P. Holmes leased his Wicker Park warehouse residence to movie producers for five weeks for a project titled “Landline.” “The whole experience of booking it with a production team was fairly 24

easy and came about naturally,” says Holmes of Krain Real Estate in Chicago. “My main concern was how potentially disruptive the filming might be to my neighbors with young children. But the producer agreed to reasonable shooting hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.), reasonable noise levels and limiting the number of Holmes people inside. The only problem that arose was from the crew gathered outside the building during filming. But I spoke to the producer, and he quickly resolved it.” Opportunities would seem to be plentiful with several popular television shows regularly filming in Chicago this season: four by NBC (Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med and Chicago Justice) and three by FOX (Empire, APB and the Exorcist). Movie producers also come to Illinois, says Ferrara. For example, one movie titled “Captive State,” with John Goodman and Vera Farmiga, filmed in February, while another titled “Widows” directed by Oscar winner Steve McQueen, is scheduled for filming in April.

‘I’m anxious to check out what they did with my place’

“It was awesome to see what they had done to our home,” Hare said. “While they explained everything beforehand, it was really cool to see the transformation. They put a ton of time and effort into what turned out to be only about 10 minutes of screen time in our home.”

Filming of Fox Network’s Empire in Chicago. Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

She estimated that six weeks elapsed between the filming and the broadcast. “It was a full-blown deal, they moved us completely out, put us up at the Four Seasons for a week, and then moved us back in,” said Hare, who declined an invitation to watch filming. “Overall, it was a really cool experience.” Holmes advises others to make sure the contract has specific language about filming hours, noise and where the cast and crew can congregate during the work day. Although the crew rearranged his furniture for movie scenes, he said he was impressed that everything was put back in place when the project was finished. “I’m anxious to see what they did with my place during the film,” Holmes says.

Above: Actor Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon and Trai Byers as Lucious’ son Andre speak in a scene from Empire.

How do I sign up?

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

REALTORS interested in putting their homes or other properties in the Illinois Film Office’s database can submit information online at They will also find a comprehensive list of tips to consider about insurance, about working with filmmakers and about negotiating location agreements. REALTORS® can submit information on behalf of clients if they have the clients’ written permission, says Illinois REALTORS® Director of Legal Services Betsy Urbance. REALTORS® who are property managers and those who represent clients can help negotiate contracts with production companies, she says. She cautions them to negotiate a fee for their services with the production company by separate written agreement. While the REALTOR® client may be the property owner or “lessor,” the “lessee” would be the production company and the entity most likely to pay the brokerage fee in this scenario, even if not the client. “Make sure you ask yourself the question, ‘Who is my client?’” says Urbance, cautioning them not to get enamored or intimidated by being involved in film projects. “Always put the needs of your real estate clients first.” ®


The following television shows and movies were filmed in Illinois, according to the Illinois Film Office, which is part of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Recent TV and Online Streaming Chicago Fire (NBC) Chicago P.D. (NBC) Chicago Med (NBC) Chicago Justice (NBC) Empire (Fox) The Exorcist (Fox) APB (Fox) Shameless (Showtime) Patriot (Amazon) Sense8 (Netflix) Boss (Starz)

For more information: Call (312) 814-3600, send an email to or visit

Noteworthy movies North by Northwest (1959) In the Heat of the Night (1967) The Blues Brothers (1980) Risky Business (1983) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Planes,Trains and Automobiles (1987) The Untouchables (1987) Home Alone (1990) A League of Their Own (1991) The Negotiator (1998) Return to Me (2000) Barbershop (2002) Barbershop 2 (2004) Batman Begins (2005) The Break-up (2006) The Dark Knight (2008) Public Enemies (2008) Transformers 3 (2011) Divergent (2013) Southside with You (2015) Office Christmas Party (2016) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Just down the street from the Chicago Board of Trade building, cabs sporting New York license plates set the scene for Empire. Although Empire takes place in New York, the show is filmed in Chicago. Courtesy of 20th Century Fox



Mike Scobey | Director of Local Advocacy and Global Programs

MUNICIPAL INSPECTION PROGRAMS AND THE U.S. CONSTITUTION Since the advent of home rule in the early 1970s, some municipalities have developed inspection programs in which the municipality inspects real property. This may take the form of a pre-sale home inspection (of single-family homes) or it may be a systematic inspection of rental properties, usually larger apartment buildings. REALTORS® have long advocated — and courts have reaffirmed — that there are constitutional concerns with these programs and the procedures associated with them. Specifically, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches without a valid warrant, and therefore provides safeguards for the privacy and security of individuals against arbitrary invasions by government officials. Federal court cases have reaffirmed this principle. Generally, this constitutional principle can be respected through enacting appropriate administrative provisions and procedures. Illinois REALTORS® always lobbies for a consent provision. Municipalities must obtain consent for any inspection of private property. In addition to these constitutional issues, REALTORS® have practical concerns about inspection ordinances in general. Some of these concerns are:

because so much that happens at the local government level affects our industry (building codes, “point-of-sale” requirements, regulations imposed on rental properties, to name a few examples). A significant way that we provide support to candidates is through our Independent Expenditure (IE) program. This enables us to communicate directly with likely voters about the candidates we support and the reasons to vote for them. This is dubbed an Independent Expenditure because it must be independent of the candidates’ campaigns; no coordination can take place. In this cycle, Illinois REALTORS® will be providing this kind of support to over 20 local candidates. (Note: See the infographic on page 27 that shows how IE candidates are selected.) Illinois REALTORS® has become a national leader when it comes to the level of support we give in both local and state elections. We have conducted IEs that have included direct mail and online advertising. The main purpose of this political activity is to make sure that REALTOR® champions are elected to local and state legislative offices in Illinois.

ZZ Inspection fees that are very high; ZZ Inspection follow-up that is done by the city/ village can interfere with the transaction (e.g. delays in the closing); ZZ Post-inspection requirements and repairs that are not related to health and safety which can needlessly add to the cost of the transaction (e.g. cosmetic upgrades). Twenty years ago, the Illinois REALTORS® created the local Governmental Affairs Directors program, enabling us to have professional staff monitor and lobby on important issues like municipal inspections. Presently, we have a staff of 12 individuals who work on these issues at the local level. You can see them and their assigned jurisdictions at www.IllinoisRealtors. org/LocalGovernment


On April 4, municipal elections will take place across Illinois and once again we will be involved by supporting REALTOR®friendly candidates. This is an important political activity


Recent mailer (front and back) produced through the IE program

The process for selecting IE candidates, explained A significant way that we provide support to candidates is through our Independent Expenditure (IE) program. This enables us to communicate directly with likely voters about the candidates we support and the reasons to vote for them. This is dubbed an Independent Expenditure because it must be independent of the candidates’ campaigns; no coordination can take place. Illinois REALTORS® has become a leader nationally in the level of support we give in both local and state elections. We have conducted IEs that have included direct mail and online advertising. The main purpose of this political activity is to make sure that REALTOR® champions are elected to local and state legislative offices in Illinois. Download this infographic at


Licensing & Training Center Real Estate Licensing & Continuing Education The Illinois REALTORS® Licensing & Training Center is your TRUSTED SOURCE for state-approved education.

Are you on the right track with your education? • • • •

Continuing Education you need Professional development you deserve Personalized attention from our education specialists More than 25 years of knowledge and experience at your service

Contact our Education Specialists (800) 523-5077 2017-April-mag-ad_Education-general_c.indd 1



2/23/2017 2:00:11 PM

MARKET WATCH TRENDS TO WATCH: INVENTORY, AFFORDABILITY AND THE ECONOMY Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for and Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) at the University of Illinois, offered an analysis of the real estate market at the association’s Public Policy Meetings earlier this year. The topics covered the economy, the state’s jobs picture, housing inventory, affordability and other factors that will be affecting home sales and prices this year. Here are some takeaways from the presentation: JOB GROWTH AND ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY The state’s ongoing political climate is affecting the economy and job growth, Hewings said. Illinois is growing at a slower pace than other Midwestern states and at a much slower rate than the nation. Part of the slowdown can be attributed to out-migration, he said. “If people are leaving and people aren’t coming in, what does that mean for housing demand?,” Hewings said. “This is a real problem and each one of these jobs lost has a ripple effect on the economy.” Hewings estimates that for every one person who leaves Illinois, there is a subsequent loss of one to one and a half jobs somewhere Hewings else in the economy. Long-term, Illinois’ ongoing political dysfunction — if not resolved — could further dampen job growth, tax revenue and interest from businesses looking to expand further, he said. INVENTORY If there has been one familiar theme in the market, it has been historically low housing inventories. This pattern seems to be holding true in 2017 too as the U.S. housing market began the year with inventory levels at a 20-year low, Smoke said. The market has continued to grow with higher home sales and with fewer days on market, he said. Smoke cautioned that this pace can’t be sustained forever without more supply. “It’s like the RPM gauge in your car. There Smoke is a point at which you cannot make that engine turn over more rapidly unless you have more acceleration and growth,” Smoke said. AFFORDABILITY Inventory constraints coupled with rising mortgage interest rates could affect affordability, but Illinois will not be as hard hit as higher-cost areas of the country, Smoke said. The days of record-low mortgage rates are over.


“Affordability continues to be solid,” he said. “It will be declining and it will become more of a challenge as mortgage rates go up, but we probably have another year of rising rates before we get to a point where we begin to see it negatively impact demand.” TRADE PARTNERSHIPS What happens at the federal level on international trade policy will affect Illinois too, particularly when it comes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Thirty-five percent of Illinois’ exports go to Canada and Mexico and, in turn, the state relies on intermediate inputs from those countries in order to produce goods that are shipped to other places, Hewings said. Retaliatory tariff increases on Illinois exports could have a negative impact on job growth and the state’s economy, he said. ILLINOIS HOME PRICES Median prices are steadily improving and the statewide median price could recover to inflation-adjusted 2008 levels in mid-2017, Hewings said. The Chicago PMSA will take a little longer to fully recover, possibly another year or a year and a half.

VIDEO: Illinois Housing Market at a Glance As an Illinois REALTOR®, you already have access to countyby-county housing data, market talking points, forecasts and infographics that offer a snapshot of the market. Now Illinois REALTORS® is offering monthly videos of market trends that you can watch and share. These videos highlight the latest monthly housing data and feature comments and perspectives from some of your industry peers. Find the videos on the Illinois REALTORS® YouTube channel at


Rents have increased in most Illinois counties in the last year. In fact, rents were up 5 percent or more in 29 percent of the state’s counties.

Based on monthly costs, it is cheaper to buy a home rather than rent in 90 percent of Illinois counties.

Home ownership is strong in Illinois with the state’s overall rate at 70 percent. Among Millennials, the rate is 50 percent.

Download Hewings presentation, “Housing and the Economy: Impacts, Forecasts and Current Research 2017 Update,” and Smoke’s presentation, “The Outlook for Housing in Illinois,” at MemberMarketstats. You can also find housing forecasts, county-by-county data, market talking points and consumer infographics.

SURVEY: Illinois Brokers Offer Their Market Predictions The single-family housing market is expected to be good in the first half of the year, and there is also optimism about the strength of the condo sector, according to Illinois brokers who participated in the first Illinois Top 200 Monthly Market Pulse survey. Illinois REALTORS ® launched the survey, which solicits market sentiment information from brokers in larger real estate firms throughout the state, earlier this year. Illinois REALTORS ® encourages those who receive the survey to fill it out.


INDUSTRY INITIATIVES AND WHAT THEY MEAN TO YOU By Rebecca Jensen President and CEO of Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) You’ve heard something about these industry projects, but just don’t know how relevant they are to you. Does “Broker Public Portal (BPP)” and “Upstream” sound familiar? These are a couple of initiatives currently affecting multiple listing services (MLSs) around the country. These projects will also have a large impact on how YOU, on a brokerage and individual broker level, do business. I thought I’d take a moment to explain, in general, what these projects are about, so you can decide how much attention to give to news about them and how they affect your MLS. Let’s start with the Broker Public Portal (BPP) The Broker Public Portal (BPP) is a collaboration between real estate brokerages and MLSs from around the country to create a national consumer home search experience. You’re certainly familiar with consumer real estate portals such as, Zillow,, etc. The participants in BPP are providing their own site, owned by the industry itself, and are committed to the Fair Display Guidelines (which includes that no ads for other brokerages or agents are displayed on or with a Brokerage’s listing, and leads are distributed at no charge to the listing brokerage firm). For more information go to BPP is utilizing the Homesnap app for this consumer search. For real estate professionals, Homesnap is very popular because it is so easy to use and has great functionality. MRED customers download the Homesnap Pro app from their phone’s app store, and use it to easily search for listings while on the go. They also invite their clients to

download the Homesnap app for an IDX search branded to the real estate professional. MRED has had great adoption of Homesnap, and we expect BPP to experience widespread adoption across the country throughout 2017. What about Upstream? Upstream is a data management project being done collaboratively by brokerages around the country. Upstream is creating a mechanism for brokerage data entry, management, storage and distribution. Participating real estate professionals will enter their listing content into Upstream, which in turn will feed listing data to wherever the Brokerage directs it to, including the MLS. For more information, go to MRED is closely monitoring the progress Upstream is making in creating this functionality, especially as it will require the Add/Edit functionality in the MLS to be done in Upstream instead (for those companies who become part of Upstream). Much more information will be forthcoming throughout 2017, as there are Brokerage and MLS pilot sites that are the test sites for Upstream who will have feedback on the functionality. There are no official or firm dates for the Upstream functionality going live at this time. So . . . I recommend to real estate professionals to keep an eye on both of these initiatives going forward. BPP is already having a very positive impact on our customers’ businesses, and I look forward to seeing how Upstream can help brokerages and their bottom lines as well. ®

Midwest Real Estate Data REinventing MLS

As always, MRED stands ready to provide great training assistance and award winning customer service to anyone who contacts us. Here’s to your success! ILLINOIS REALTOR® April 2017


COMMERCIAL CORNER WHAT’S AHEAD FOR THE COMMERCIAL MARKET THIS YEAR? REALTOR® Alex Ruggieri asks commercial REALTORS® for their insights and projections for the retail, farmland, office and industrial and multifamily sectors. RETAIL Despite Surge in E-commerce, Brick and Mortar Stores Have Staying Power Deena Zimmerman, vice president of SVN|Chicago Commercial

For those of us who focus on retail, it’s no secret the sector has suffered at the hands of e-commerce, which continues to dominate shopping preferences. The trend can be seen with the announcement that Macy’s plans to close 65 stores this year and Sears expects to close 150 stores. For decades, The Limited was a familiar clothing store fixture for women in shopping centers across the country. In mid-January, the company announced it was filing for bankruptcy, thus shuttering roughly 250 stores and its website. In reporting The Limited’s closure plans, a USA Today article noted, “its’ demise reflects a broader struggle by traditional retailers who are struggling to compete against e-commerce powerhouse Amazon and other online retail channels.” So does this mean that those of us who specialize in retail need to panic? Have no fear as technology and Millennial-driven shopping preferences dominate retail, and brick and mortar is here to stay. According to a recent International Council of Shopping Centers study, landlords are reconfiguring their properties to better accommodate popular options such as buying online, picking up in store and allowing more

“Retail will remain among the strongest of the asset classes as the physical and digital retail worlds continue to merge, giving both retailers and landlords unique opportunities for expansion and growth.” — REALTOR® Deena Zimmerman retailers to have shipping and storage operations in their stores to fulfill online orders. Let’s face it, while big box retailers such as Macy’s and Sports Authority are going dark in numerous locations, other retail giants such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, T.J. Maxx and Ulta continue to expand, backfilling many of these shuttered locations. Specialty grocers and fitness users will also be among the retailers that will continue to expand their retail footprint in 2017 and 2018. Another positive sign that brick and mortar retail will continue to grow stronger? E-tailers Bonobos, Fabletics and Warby Parker announced their aggressive plans to expand into physical stores this year. Retail will remain among the strongest of the asset classes as the physical and digital retail worlds continue to merge, giving both retailers and landlords unique opportunities for expansion and growth. 2017 is going to be a banner year!

FARMLAND Outlook for 2017 Land Values in Illinois

Winnie Stortzum, ALC, GRI, ARA, real estate sales/appraiser with Farmers National Company The land market in Illinois peaked in 2014, and land values have been slowly declining since then. Land values follow income, and as profitability has declined over the last couple of years, we’ve seen land values follow suit. Profitability limits the farmer’s ability to pay the same rental rates that they previously paid and landowners accept lower profits as a result. Farm income is likely to


remain at current levels for the next year, barring any significant weather issues. What factors will affect the direction of land values in 2017? The main factors currently being watched are interest rates, laws affecting taxes for landowners, the weather outlook for this crop year, commodity prices, and the general economy. Interest rates make a difference on whether alternative investments become more appealing for investors. When interest rates remain relatively low, farmland will continue to bode well. Higher rates will create additional costs for farm purchases requiring financing and operating costs for farmers.

“Farm income is likely to remain at current levels for the next year, barring any significant weather issues.” — REALTOR® Winnie Stortzum Tax policy can have a big effect on the strength of land values. Estate tax legislation, adjustments in individual and corporate tax rates, and changes in capital gains, for example, can affect how investors view land purchases and/or retention of their land investments. The strength of land values in any given area in Illinois depends on many individual factors, such as the soils productivity of each tract, drainage, access and location (both physical and the strength of buyers in the area), and a variety of other features. The method of selling land can make a difference. Public auctions in 2016 were down as compared to the two years prior. However, auctions generally continue to do well, especially for high-quality land for which competition between potential buyers is good. Investors have continued to demand high-quality tracts, which have shown lesser decline than lower-quality farms.

state. The Chicago area is center “Suburban office stage in market size, activity, transspace ended 2016 actions and dollar volumes. The rest of the state is often at a 15.1 percent judged against those Chicago metropolitan statistical area (MSA) vacancy while benchmarks and the state’s secondary, tertiary and even rural markets the central busicapitalization rates are adjusted ness district was upward often from 1.5 percent to 2.50 percent more on the investat 10.9 percent ment side. (more in line with Still, those markets may be where the bargains are versus the the U.S. averhighly competitive Chicago market with its compressed capitalizaage of just under tion rates. Pride of cash flow is still highly desirable to investors and 10 percent). owners. Industrial vacancy The office market in Chicago is also a tale of two markets — central rates hover at 6.5 business district (CBD) versus suburban. The Millennial desire to live percent.” in the urban Loop with walkability — REALTOR® John being foremost on their checklist Patrick McDermott has brought companies into the city from the suburbs. Even McDonald’s is moving its headquarters to the hip West Loop to the old Harpo Studio site, following Google, and others, both for the work force and the amenities. Suburban office space ended 2016 at a 15.1 percent vacancy while the central business district was at 10.9 percent (more in line with the U.S. average of just under 10 percent). The industrial market in Illinois is really a story of manufacturing, logistics and transportation dominated by warehouse versus flex industrial. These are divided nearly equally between single tenant buildings and multi-tenant buildings. Industrial vacancy rates hover at 6.5 percent. On the investment sales side, industrial continues to be the lowest price per square foot of any commercial real estate investment with the lowest rent per foot. A good solid, stable investment with typically tolerant tenants creates strong long-term appeal. In 2016 some 1,063 industrial sales closed for over $2.655 billion at an average price of $57.39 per foot at a 7.88 percent average capitalization rate in Chicago. In the end the Land of Lincoln offers great diversity in both office and industrial real estate.


John Patrick McDermott, senior vice president, SVN |Chicago Commercial In the world of office and industrial real estate in Illinois, it is truly a tale of two markets — Chicago and the rest of the




Apartment Sector is an Attractive Acquisition in Today’s Market

Mark Cosenza, senior vice president of Inland Real Estate Acquisitions In 2017, I believe we will continue to see rental increases slow down, but the apartment market will continue to be competitive even with the interest rate move. The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc., headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, started as one of the largest owners and managers of apartments in the country. Today, The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc. is getting back to its roots and currently owns and manages more than 10,000 apartments across 13 states. Multifamily real estate is an appealing asset class. Millennials are waiting longer to purchase homes and tend to be more transient and willing to move for work, which makes renting attractive. At the same time, Baby Boomers are downsizing. Last year, Inland facilitated the purchases of 15 apartment complexes, for nearly $640 million. We purchased more than one multifamily property per month.

Inland’s criteria for purchasing multifamily real estate is summed up by Vice Chairman of The Inland Real Estate Group, Inc., Joe Cosenza, “I wouldn’t purchase anything I wouldn’t want to live in.” One of Inland’s recent multifamily acquisitions was a property located in Naples, Florida, complete with balconies for every unit, crown molding, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, a pool and a work-out facility. Proximity to public transportation is another desirable criteria when looking to acquire apartment complexes as is demonstrated with Inland’s acquisition of Westlink at Oak Station in Colorado. Being close to downtowns and retail village-style centers are great assets to a property. We buy a lot of apartments so when we look for deals, we keep in mind that renters want to be close to work, recreational activities and transportation.

“In 2017, I believe we will continue to see rental increases slow down, but the apartment market will continue to be competitive even with the interest rate move.” — REALTOR® Mark Cosenza

About the writer: REALTOR® Alex Ruggieri, CCIM, CIPS, CRE, SEC, MBA, is a senior investment advisor with SVN-Ramshaw Real Estate in Champaign. He is currently serving on the Illinois REALTORS ® Global Working Group and the Commercial/Industrial/Investment Committee. He is also a member of NAR’s Insurance Committee and is a past member of the Commercial Committee. Ruggieri has been named a member of the 2017 editorial board for Real Estate Issues, a journal produced by The Counselors of Real Estate ( Members of the editorial board contribute to the content of peer-reviewed journal by recommending topics, working with authors and writing and reviewing articles. He can be reached at


The National Association of REALTORS® offers a variety of resources for commercial REALTORS®. Find research, resources and more at www.NAR.Realtor/Commercial

Commercial Connections — a publication distributed four times annually to NAR members and commercial real estate leaders, www.NAR.Realtor/Publications/Commercial-Connections

Commercial Digest — a monthly e-newsletter for commercial real estate professionals

REALTORS® Property Resource (RPR) — a powerful data platform available to members of the National Association of REALTORS® for comprehensive market data and analysis.

The Source: Commercial Blog — NAR’s commercial blog,

DON’T MAKE THESE ADVERTISING AND PROPERTY ACCESS MISTAKES By Rebecca Carraher, Director of Ethics and Professional Standards In 2016, there were 37 citations issued by the Illinois REALTORS® Ethics Citation Panel. The majority alleged violations of Article 12 of the Code of Ethics. Article 12 states, “REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. REALTORS® shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional.” As a REALTOR®, review all of your advertising to ensure you are presenting a “true picture” and that the advertising is not misleading in any way. The Ethics Citation Panel, when reviewing a complaint that is filed, does consider how a member of the public would reasonably interpret the claims made in the advertising.


CORRECT Many brokers assume that displaying a picture of their brokerage on the backdrop of their Facebook business page takes care of Code and license law compliance. However, that alone is not sufficient to meet the standard: Backdrop images do not show up in Facebook newsfeeds, so individual postings must include the brokerage name.

Standard of Practice 12-5 states, “REALTORS® shall not advertise nor permit any person employed by or affiliated with them to advertise real estate services or listed property in any medium (e.g., electronically, print, radio, television, etc.) without disclosing the name of that REALTOR’S® firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner either in the advertisement or in electronic advertising via a link to a display with all required disclosures.” Make sure the complete name of your firm is included in a reasonable and readily apparent manner in all advertising. Standard of Practice 12-7 states, “Only REALTORS® who participated in the transaction as the listing broker or cooperating broker (selling broker) may claim to have “sold” the property. Prior to closing, a cooperating broker may post a “sold” sign only with the consent of the listing broker.” Complaints were filed through the Illinois REALTORS® Ethics Citation Program regarding postcards that were mailed, citing properties that had “sold” in a particular area or subdivision. Case Study #12-13 in the NAR Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual includes footnote disclosures to use when advertising properties that have sold when the REALTOR® advertising these sold properties did not participate in any or all of the displayed transactions. Some disclosures that might be included in the footnote are: the properties displayed were listed and sold by various participants in the MLS, the period of time during which the transactions closed, and the source of the information, i.e. the MLS compilation of closed transactions. Article 1, Standard of Practice 1-16 and Article 3, Standard of Practice 3-9 were also cited in several Ethics Citation Complaints. Standard of Practice 1-16 states, “REALTORS® shall not access or use, or permit or enable others to access or use, listed or managed property on terms or conditions other than those authorized by the owner or seller.” Standard of Practice 3-9 states, “REALTORS® shall not provide access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or the listing broker.” To comply with the Code of Ethics, never enter, or allow a client or customer to enter, listed property without the consent of the listing broker and/or the owner of the property. As a best practice, try to obtain the required permission in writing. Additional information on the Illinois REALTORS® Ethics Citation Program is available at www.IllinoisRealtors. org/Disputes.






2017 Board of Directors

Meet the 28-member Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors who will direct the efforts of the 44,000-plus member organization. Members of the 2017 board include: Officers: President, Doug Carpenter; President-elect, Matt Difanis; Treasurer, Dan Wagner; and Immediate Past President, Mike Drews. Past president positions (And the year they were Illinois REALTORS® president):

Patrick Dalessandro, 1997; Sheryl Grider Whitehurst, 2011; Michael D. Oldenettel, 2013; and Kay Wirth, 2008. Board members: Ron Abrams, Michael Buscher, Phil Chiles, Andrew Cook, Robert Eby, Jim Kinney, Jeff Kolbus, David Levin, Nick Libert, Susan Miller, Max Mitchell, Ed Neaves, Michael Onorato, Michael Parent, Wayne Paprocki, Debbie Prodehl, Ginger Sreenan, Catherine Terpstra, Rebecca Thomson and Vicky Turner.

NAR tax expert talks about impacts of potential reforms Evan Liddiard, a senior policy representative for federal taxation with the National Association of REALTORS® was the featured speaker at a Federal Taxation Town Hall in Lisle sponsored by Illinois REALTORS® in February. He spoke on the necessity for REALTORS® to be wary of efforts to rewrite the federal tax code.

Chicago Association moves into new offices; Illinois REALTORS® shares space In February, the Chicago Association of REALTORS® moved into new office space on the eighth floor of the REALTOR® Building on North Michigan Avenue. Illinois REALTORS® is subleasing offices in the CAR space for advocacy staff and has retained space for a conference room.

NAR President-Elect Elizabeth Mendenhall speaks during the ceremony.


Sue Miller named 2017 Illinois REALTOR® of the Year REALTOR® Sue Miller, of McHenry, has been named the 2017 Illinois REALTOR® of the Year. Miller, ABR, BPOR, CRS, GRI, ePro, PMN, SFR, SRS, is the managing broker of Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell in McHenry. In her 30-year career, Miller has been an advocate for education, professionalism, political involvement and service in her local community. She will be honored at a June 6 banquet in Springfield.

Sonia Anaya honored for political involvement REALTOR® Sonia Anaya has been honored with the association’s 2016 Political Involvement Award. She is the broker-owner of America Real Estate in Chicago. The award is given to individuals for outstanding political and legislative service to the REALTOR® organization. Anaya is an RPAC Major Investor and is a member of NAR’s RPAC Hall of Fame. She has served on multiple Illinois REALTORS®’ committees and this year chairs the state association’s RPAC Major Investor Working Group.

2017 Leadership Development Class The association’s Leadership Development Program class of 2017 kicked off earlier this year. The 12 Illinois REALTORS® chosen for the program will attend a variety of training sessions this year to help them prepare for future work on committees, boards or as officers in their local real estate associations.

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All course work must be taken through the Illinois REALTORS® Licensing & Training Center except the ePro Designation Course. All course work must be completed in less than 5 years. All courses require a 70% passing score on the exams. Most courses are licensed for CE credit. All online courses will have the option of either online proctoring or at one of our approved proctor locations. There is a $15 fee to retake exam, with a maximum of two test attempts before being required ILLINOIS REALTOR® April 2017 to retake a course. No renewal fee is required for the GRI designation. GRI is a lifetime designation.


32% more transaction sides are closed by Realty Executives agents than the industry standard.



Illinois REALTOR® April 2017  

Illinois REALTOR® magazine brings you strategies for today's Information Age with six ways to turn the tables on information overload and us...

Illinois REALTOR® April 2017  

Illinois REALTOR® magazine brings you strategies for today's Information Age with six ways to turn the tables on information overload and us...