THE VOICE FOR REAL ESTATE IN ILLINOIS
Introducing 2017 President
BUILDING GLOBAL CONNECTIONS with Consulate General Liaisons
Plus: How to protect yourself & your clients from cybercrime
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S: R A E Y 0 ®’ NEXT 10 S
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G N I K O O L O THE T
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THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF ILLINOIS REALTORS®
Serving Up Responsive Design Update Your Listings Wherever You Are! Features Include: Updated Look and Feel to connectMLS Optimal Viewing and Interactive Experience on Any Device Easy Reading and Navigation When Adding/Editing Listings New SmartBar for Quick, Dynamic, Predictive Searches And Much More!
CONTENTS OCTOBER 2016
Meet 2017 Illinois REALTORS® President
Doug Carpenter p. 15
Doug Carpenter leads the Illinois REALTORS® as it looks to the future. Photo credit: Michael Hudson Photography. Doug Carpenter was photographed at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oak Lawn, where he serves as senior organist.
Departments 5 President’s Message: What a century!
Advocacy • Education • Ethics • Legal
6 What’s Online: YPN Noncon’16, online GRI, #IllinoisRealtorRewind
8 Quick Takes: Illinois seniors, Illinois REALTORS® member profile, TRID update
10 Legal Update: Unauthorized practice of law, therapy animals, drones 12 At the Capitol: 2016 Spring Session Legislative Report 28 RVOICE: Illinois REALTOR® advocacy successes 32 Ombudsman Program Infographic 33 Market Watch: Q & A with Geoffrey J.D. Hewings 34 REALTOR Community ®
23 24 30
Illinois REALTORS®: The next 100 years The Consulate General Liaison Program Hacked! Protect yourself & your clients from cybercrime Real Property Alliance: Helping Chicago property owners file tax appeals
ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016
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PRESIDENTS’ MESSAGE Mike Drews GRI 2016 President
ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR 2017 President
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE What a century! Which century, you might ask? Both. You see, Illinois REALTORS® spent the year celebrating 100 years of service to the real estate industry and to those who rely on our members for professional guidance. Now, the focus shifts to the next 100 years. It would be hard for the association’s founders to recognize the real estate world we work in today, but the framework they established in 1916 created an organization that by its very nature always looks forward. William C. Johnson, Joseph K. Brittain and others on Illinois REALTORS®’ original board of directors knew protecting the industry through aggressive advocacy and attention to professionalism would prevail, no matter what the market was doing. They set big goals. Their work ultimately delivered on those goals. Our founders’ legacy set up generations of volunteer leaders who understood the need to constantly look at “what’s next” rather than concentrate on “what’s now.” Whether it is dispensing legal guidance, providing education or maintaining a steady focus on professional standards, Illinois REALTORS®’ members have ensured the association is relentless in its mission of remaining relevant in a fast-changing world. It’s this drive for excellence that makes it a certainty that Illinois REALTORS®’ second century will be as illustrious as its first. Thanks for being a part of our future.
2016 President Mike Drews shares the association’s efforts to build members’ international expertise at a meeting in Washington, D.C., in May. Photo credit: Matt Difanis
Incoming 2017 President Doug Carpenter addresses incoming local association leaders at the Illinois REALTORS® Leadership Summit in August.
Stay safe on the job. Find tips and tools to increase your knowledge, awareness and empowerment from the National Association of REALTORS® at www.REALTOR.org/Safety
ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016
ILLINOIS REALTORS® THE VOICE FOR REAL ESTATE IN ILLINOIS
2016 OFFICERS President Mike Drews, GRI firstname.lastname@example.org President-Elect Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR email@example.com Treasurer Matt Difanis, ABR, GRI firstname.lastname@example.org Immediate Past President Jim Kinney, ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, SRES email@example.com Chief Executive Officer Gary Clayton, CAE, RCE Executive Vice President Luke Bell
JOIN US OCT. 5 FOR THE YPN NONCON’16 IN NAPERVILLE
Content Marketing Specialist Bill Kozar
Learn about the latest digital trends, favorite business and marketing tips and best industry practices during this one-day conference. Discussion leaders include Deena Zimmerman, Sam Powell and Carrie Bey-Little. The setting is informal and the opportunity to share ideas and network with your peers is invaluable. The $20 registration fee will be donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.YPN Noncon’16 is 1 – 4:30 p.m., with an after-party, on Oct. 5 at the Chicago Marriott Naperville.
Graphic Designer Katie Grant
Learn more at www.illinoisrealtors.org/ypnevents
EARN YOUR GRI ONLINE
THE LATEST HOT LEGAL TOPICS
Editor Jon Broadbooks Senior Editor Stephanie Sievers
For advertising information contact Advertising & Sponsorship, (217) 529-2600, firstname.lastname@example.org 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. 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 www.illinoisrealtor.org or on request. Annual dues of every REALTOR®, REALTORASSOCIATE®, and Affiliate member includes $3 for a oneyear subscription to the ILLINOIS REALTOR®.
VOLUME 53: NUMBER 4 Copyright © 2016 Illinois REALTORS® All rights reserved. www.illinoisrealtors.org email: email@example.com blog: www.iarbuzz.com
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Earning your Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI) has never been more convenient with the Illinois REALTORS® Licensing and Training Center’s new online program and curriculum. The online courses fit your schedule and allow you to study anytime, anywhere and enable you to earn a respected designation that improves your earning power and professional credibility. Get started on your GRI at www.illinoisrealtors.org/gri.
DID YOU KNOW?
Throughout 2016 in honor of the Illinois REALTORS®’ 100th anniversary, our social media channels have spotlighted different moments in the association’s history. Find them on Facebook and Twitter under the hashtag #IllinoisRealtorRewind. (www.facebook.com/ hashtag/illinoisrealtorrewind and https://twitter.com/ hashtag/RealtorRewind)
Learn more about the legal topics affecting the industry and your business with the Illinois REALTORS® Legal Webinars. Each one-hour webinar is available at www. illinoisrealtors.org/legal/ webinars.
Legal webinars are a membersonly benefit, so you will need to log in. Recent topics include: • Drones, Contracts and More • Insurance Coverage and Products for Real Estate Brokers
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QUICK TAKES ILLINOIS SENIORS CONCERNED ABOUT PROPERTY TAXES AND HOUSING AFFORDABILITY Senior citizens in Illinois are happy with the quality of life in Illinois, but they worry about property taxes, the cost of living and their ability to age in place as they get older, according to a recent survey of state residents 55 and older commissioned by the Illinois REALTORS® Senior Housing Working Group. The survey provides a better understanding of the impact the state’s aging population will have on housing and to prepare the association’s members to better serve senior clients.
Top concern for state’s seniors: Property taxes Paying property taxes tops the list of financial concerns for seniors surveyed.
How hard is it to afford: Property taxes
Saving for retirement
Groceries & food
Among the findings: XX Two-thirds (66 percent) said it is somewhat hard or very hard to afford property taxes. XX Three-fourths of those polled (76 percent) said they were concerned about the cost of living in the state, including 44 percent who said they are very concerned. Yet, 33 percent of respondents said they were very confident they can afford the home they want in the future. XX Eighty-one percent of seniors surveyed own their homes and 17 percent said they rent. When asked what they would do if they moved, 35 percent of respondents said they would likely rent. XX One third (34 percent) of respondents said they plan to downsize the amount of living space they have if they move. Thirty-nine percent of women say they plan to downsize, versus twenty-nine percent of men.
30% 28% 26% 16%
Healthcare & medical expenses Utilities
49% 42% 41%
Percentage totals may not add up precisely due to rounding.
Most seniors say they would prefer to stay in state If older residents move, most say they’d stay in Illinois; fifty-six percent say they would stay within their community or another part of the state.
Percentage who would stay in same community (46%) or move to another part of Illinois (10%)
Percentage who would move to a different state
The survey is part of a new Senior Housing Resources Toolkit. Find the full survey, housing information and resources at www.illinoisrealtors.org/Senior-Toolkit. You’ll also find a brochure, “Planning for Senior Housing in your Municipality,” that you can share with policymakers in your community.
“We know that as people age, their housing needs change. This survey shows how important it will be in the next few decades for policymakers and developers to craft communities which provide the right housing choices and services for senior citizens.” – REALTOR® Dana Hybl, SRES, chair of Illinois REALTORS® Senior Housing Working Group
ILLINOIS REALTORS® MEMBER PROFILE
Typical years of female* experience in the real estate business**
of business comes from repeat customers; 21% through referrals from past clients**
are certain they will remain in the real estate business for two more years**
Independent contractors with their firms**
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has launched I-REFI, a program that offers underwater Illinois homeowners up to $50,000 in federal assistance to buy down mortgage balance and refinance to an affordable, 30-year loan. Illinois is one of two states creating refinancing programs with federal funding from the Hardest Hit Fund. To qualify for the I-REFI program, homeowners must be current on their mortgage for at least 12 months, have a qualifying credit score and be within IHDA’s income and home price limits. Learn more about the I-REFI program and find a list of participating lenders at www.ihda.org
Average age of Average age* NEW members*
New I-REFI program helps underwater Illinois homeowners refinance
TRID Update: REALTORS® gain access to closing disclosure form Lenders may now provide consumers, sellers and their real estate agents with access to the mortgage closing disclosure form, under a TRID clarification announced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this summer. REALTORS® had fought for the change since the TRID rules went into effect, arguing that by having access to the closing disclosure, they could better serve their clients and consumers would have a better understanding of their mortgage.
Affiliated with an independent company**
Real estate is their only occupation; 84% for those with 16+ years experience**
Own their primary residence in Illinois**
Sign up for REALTOR® Party text alerts ltory ReaPa rt ®
Sources: *Illinois REALTORS ® membership database; **“2016 Member Profile: Illinois REALTORS ® Report” prepared by the National Association of REALTORS ® www.realtor.org/ reports/member-profile
Have Calls for Action sent directly to your mobile device. (Message and data rates may apply.) Text REALTORS to 30644 or fill out the online form: http://bit.ly/textCFA
Asian American and Pacific Islander housing data added to Census reports The Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) successfully pushed to have distinct data on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders collected for quarterly homeownership reports beginning in July. Chicago REALTOR® and AREAA National Chair Vicky Silvano along with her AREAA colleagues were instrumental in getting the change. AREAA’s national educational campaign, “No Other,” called for pulling out specific homeownership statistics of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders rather than combining them in the “other” census category. The change will provide better understanding of this population group’s housing and homeownership issues. http://blog.illinoisrealtors. org/2016/07/july-marks-beginning-census-bureau-advocated-silvano-areaa
(l to r) AREAA Chair Emeritus Jim Park, U.S. Census Bureau Director John Thompson and AREAA National Chair Vicky Silvano.
ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016
LEGAL UPDATE Elizabeth A. (Betsy) Urbance | Illinois REALTORS® Legal Hotline Attorney; Associate, Sorling Northrup Attorneys
WHEN ASSISTING A BUYER VEERS INTO THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW AND OTHER LEGAL QUESTIONS Q Recently, a broker was assisting a buyer to find a
suitable home.The buyers found a “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) property.The broker called the seller and calls went unreturned. Before looking for properties, the broker had referred the buyer to a local lender to be pre-qualified for a loan. In the end, the buyer and FSBO seller got together on their own and negotiated terms of their agreement without the buyer’s broker, or any broker at all.The buyer’s lender then assured the parties that she would oversee the preparation of the paperwork. Is this appropriate? A There are several troubling issues on these facts. First, one would think it good business practice for the lender to send the buyers back to their own real estate broker for advice on the market and preparation of a potential offering price. In addition, the buyer’s broker could probably have provided a form purchase contract that is commonly used in the community and prepare the offer (only completing business and factual information). If seller would not then respond to the buyer’s broker, the buyer could proceed to the seller on their own. (This analysis will not assess any commission payment issues). On the facts presented, regardless of payment, the buyer’s broker would owe agency duties to the buyer client. However, the facts at hand suggest that the lender avoided the buyer’s broker altogether, which cause further concerns to arise. One issue is whether the lender has appropriate access to a local form purchase contract. If the lender provided a form contract, chances are the lender did not have the proper permissions to use the form. Next, if the lender oversees the preparation of the written contract, or even prepared the contract reflecting the parties’ agreement, the lender has engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Seller and buyer are free to write their own contract reflecting the terms of their agreement, essentially serving as their own “attorneys.” But for anyone other than the parties or their licensed attorneys to do this, unlicensed practice of law is a concern. When buyers and sellers need to commit their agreement to sell or purchase real estate to writing, they may need their attorneys to assist them. There are times when a licensed real estate broker could assist them, but only when the real estate broker is doing this in furtherance of providing other real estate brokerage services. The real estate broker can assist
when using a form that is commonly used in their community and then, only to complete business and factual information on the form purchase contract. Real estate brokers must always suggest that their clients seek legal advice for any drafting of substantive contract language or for any legal analysis or interpretations needed. Sellers and buyers are free to write their own contracts, but this might not always be the best decision. The bottom line on these facts is that neither the lender nor the real estate broker should assist the parties with the preparation of their purchase contract once the parties have agreed to all the terms on their own. To do so would be the unauthorized practice of law.
DO ‘NO PETS’ RULES APPLY TO THERAPY ANIMALS?
Q Is it permissible for a landlord or property
manager to refuse to rent to a person who has a therapy or emotional support animal if the building has a “no pets” policy? Isn’t it true that therapy animals are treated differently than service animals, such as guide dogs? A While there might be some difference in treatment between service animals and therapy or emotional support animals for access to public places under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); for housing purposes the analysis is substantially similar. Therefore, a person who needs a therapy or support animal would be able to avoid the “no pets” policy if the person provides a basic level of proof for the need. For example, the prospective tenant might provide a doctor’s prescription for the animal. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Develop-
ment (HUD) says in an April 25, 2013 memorandum, that requests for an assistance animal should be analyzed as a request for a reasonable accommodation. In addition, HUD says the Fair Housing Act applies to almost all housing, whether there is federal assistance or not. (The exceptions are owner-occupied housing with no more than four units, where the owner does not use the services of a real estate broker and does no advertising of the property). For an assistance animal request, the owner or manager can ask two questions: 1. Does the prospect have a disability that limits major life activities? 2. Does the prospect have a “disability-related need for an assistance animal?” This could include emotional support that “alleviates a person’s symptoms or effects or a person’s existing disability.” HUD says if the answer to either question is “No” then the owner/manager could apply the “no pets” policy. HUD goes on to say where the answer to both questions is “Yes,” the housing provider must modify or make an exception to the “no pets” rule. The assistance animal must be allowed to go wherever the assisted person can go. The reasonable accommodation must be made unless it would create an undue financial burden on the owner. The owner/manager can ask for some minimal level of proof of the disability, i.e. a prescription for a diagnosed condition. Generally speaking, the owner/manager must not charge a pet deposit. Although, he could charge to repair damages after the termination of the lease. Owners/managers must not apply size or weight restrictions. And, the type of animal could be assessed as to whether it would cause a direct threat to the safety of others. Tigers will likely not qualify as support animals. (The previous statement, while true, is also a test to see who is reading until the end). For more details on this question, go to the HUD Memo Dated April 25, 2013; https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=servanimals_ntcfheo2013-01.pdf
FAA RULES FOR USING DRONES
Q What is the latest news on using small drones for
XX It is important to note that drones may not “operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, and not inside a covered stationary vehicle.” This rule will likely make drone flying in any urban area quite impractical without seeking a waiver. Note the above list contains only a few of the most basic provisions. For more on the subject see Jeffrey T. Baker’s article in the Illinois REALTORS ® DR Legal News, dated July, 2016 (http://www.illinoisrealtors.org/DRlegalnews). In addition, see NAR’s list of FAQs at http://www.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/ drones-frequently-asked-questions As of press time, the written test for drone pilot certificates had not been drafted. However, all signs indicate that commercial drone pilots will need a basic understanding of airspace and flight regulations, safety procedures and flight risk management. Go to these websites for more information: XX http://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/fly_for_work_ business/becoming_a_pilot/ XX https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/acs/ Furthermore, understand that some local ordinances governing the commercial drone flights might already be in place. Generally speaking, drone operators must comply with any local regulations, even if they are stricter than federal rules. Keep in mind that all drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds are already subject to a registration requirement where a unique number must be affixed to the drone. Stay tuned for further developments at every regulatory level as commercial drone usage will undoubtedly increase. If you are flying drones commercially, get your certificate and follow the rules. Consult with your attorney and your insurers. If you hire someone to provide drone flight services, make sure the operator is certificated and insured.
A The federal rules governing the flight of small “Unmanned Aircraft Systems” (UAS), or drones, became effective on Aug. 29, 2016 and will be administered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Generally, the rules permit the commercial operation of small drones — those weighing 55 pounds or less — during daylight hours no higher than 400 feet above the ground. The drone operator must be at least 16 years old and possess an FAA issued remote pilot airmen’s certificate, which must be recertified every two years. In addition, there are operational variations and limitations that drone pilots need to know about, unless the pilot is granted a waiver from FAA. These include: XX The maximum ground speed may not exceed 100 mph. XX If the operator does not hold the certificate, he must be under the supervision of someone who does have the FAA certificate. XX The operator may not fly the drone from a moving vehicle unless the drone is being flown over a sparsely populated area.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday GOT A LEGAL QUESTION ON TRANSACTIONS? Call the Illinois REALTORS® Transaction Helpline. Phone: 844.647.3833 | Email: email@example.com NEED HELP RESOLVING A DISPUTE WITH A REALTOR ® ? Illinois REALTORS® has a Consumer Help Line to try and resolve questions relating to real estate transactions. Help Line: 217.529.2600 | Web: www.illinoisrealtors.org/disputes Hours: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016
Julie Sullivan | Assistant Director, Legislative and Political Affairs
AT THE CAPITOL
Genera l Elect ion N
2016 SPRING SESSION LEGISLATIVE REPORT The 2016 spring session of the Illinois General Assembly was dominated by the state budget. Thousands of substantive bills were considered and your Illinois REALTORS® lobbyists tracked and worked on nearly 200 bills. Below are the top issues on our agenda this year.
Stopped efforts to expand the number of home rule units Status: DEAD
Two proposed amendments to the Illinois Constitution, House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment (HJRCA) 34 and 38, were initiatives of the Illinois Municipal League (IML) which sought to put the question on expanding the number of municipalities that would be automatically granted home rule powers. HJRCA 34 lowered the municipal population threshold from 25,000 to 20,000 and HJRCA 38 lowered the municipal population threshold from 25,000 to 5,000. HJRCA 38 was the one favored by the IML and it would have added 173 new home rule units. Illinois REALTORS® OPPOSED the amendments, arguing the framers of the Illinois Constitution already provided for a referendum as the mechanism for additional municipalities to be granted home rule status.
Stopped new smoke detector mandate Status: DEAD
SB 2837, which we OPPOSED, sought to amend the existing Smoke Detector Act to require homeowners and landlords of pre-1988 housing to replace current battery operated detectors with NEW detectors with batteries that are not removable or replaceable and which last for at least 10 years.
Stopped extreme expansion of radon disclosure provisions for renters Status: DEAD
House Bill 4528 sought to repeal the radon disclosure provisions relating to one-story and two-story rental dwelling units, which had been negotiated several years ago, and replace those provisions with a comprehensive new “Tenants Radon Protection Act.” The proposed new Act, which we OPPOSED, was an extreme expansion that would require landlords to tell prospective tenants the dwelling may expose them to radon and is “the leading cause of death in private homes.” This would have been beyond the disclosure for sales transactions. Tenants would have been allowed to do their own testing and mitigation and to break their lease if a radon hazards was not mitigated. Coverage was expanded to ALL rental dwelling units — even highrise buildings (currently the law applies only to one-story and two-story units), as well as short-term oral leases, where the risks of exposure are extremely limited due to the very short term occupancy of the dwelling.
Ensured that the Real Estate License Act is current and REALTORS® are represented
Status: PASSED and SIGNED into law (Public Act 99-662). Effective Jan. 1, 2017.
House Bill 6245, an initiative of the Illinois REALTORS® clarified the Real Estate License Act with regard to ambiguity as to whether, according to a strict interpretation of the law, a managing broker could not “earn” more than 6 hours of CE in one day, which goes against taking the test for the 12-hour broker-management CE course.
Removed real estate licensees from legislation regarding licenses for convicted felons Status: PASSED and SIGNED into law (Public Act 99-876). Effective Jan. 1, 2017
House Bill 5973, which the REALTORS® initially OPPOSED, would have amended the Real Estate License Act and others licensing Acts, to create a presumption that an offender of ANY criminal offense is entitled to a real estate license, once they have served their sentence, unless the department finds that the crime was “directly related to licensed activities.” We initially strongly opposed the bill as it would have potentially granted past violent felons a real estate license, whereby they would have direct access to property through lock boxes, a leasing office, etc. The sponsor and proponents of the legislation heard our concerns and the bill was amended to REMOVE real estate licensees from the bill.
Fixed legislation regarding lead mitigation
Status: PASSED and SIGNED into law (Public Act 99-790) Effective Jan. 1, 2017.
After months of negotiations, Senate Bill 2300 was approved. The bill amends the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act to require that if a “lead mitigation notice” is issued (indicating a child living there has been poisoned by lead) that the hazard must be mitigated prior to entering a new lease. When initially introduced the bill would have prohibited the sale of a single or multifamily building if it had a lead issue. The Senate amended the bill and sent it to the House to put this new requirement on rental properties only. Illinois REALTORS® worked with Cook County and the Attorney General’s Office to further amend the bill in the
House to clarify some provisions in the bill, including a limitation that the bill will apply only to a new lease.
Opposed efforts to expand the sales tax to professional services or advertising Status: ONGOING
We continued to work with a coalition to express our opposition to concepts that have been discussed to expand the sales tax to cover certain services — i.e. professional services that would include real estate brokerage OR a tax on advertising and advertising services. NO bills have, to date, been introduced or considered but these continue to be on our WATCH list. Go to www.noadtaxillinois.com
Stopped onerous local lien legislation and efforts to create separate state tax lien registry Status: DEAD
We again battled municipal efforts to expand their lien powers. Senate Bill 3038 amended the section of the Illinois Municipal Code dealing with the lien that a municipality files for costs incurred for removing weeds/grass, trees/ bushes, pests, garbage, debris and graffiti. This bill sought to make a dramatic change to allow the municipality to skip the foreclosure proceeding on the lien on the offending property and to instead obtain a judgment lien against ALL real estate of the owner. Duplicate bills initiated by the Illinois Department of Revenue — Senate Bill 3323 and House Bill 6621 — sought to create the Uniform State Tax Lien Registration Act to allow the state to file a notice of a tax lien in a separate state registry rather than record it in the recorder’s office in the county in which the property is located.
Supported efforts to streamline/consolidate local government units Status: PASSED
For several years, Illinois REALTORS® have supported efforts
to reduce and consolidate the staggering number of local governmental units. There were several bills introduced this year: • House Bill 229, expanded the successful consolidation plan from the DuPage County initiative to Lake and McHenry counties (efforts were made to expand to ALL counties stalled). PASSED
and SIGNED into law (Public Act 99-709) Effective Aug. 5, 2016.
• House Bill 4371, provides for a mechanism to dissolve a water authority (except an authority servicing any part of Chicago).
PASSED and SIGNED into law (Public Act 99-668) Effective July 29, 2016.
• Senate Resolution 1938 created a 19-member “Working Group on Local Government Consolidation” to identify ways to eliminate barriers to consolidation and resolve certain discrepancies in Illinois law governing local governments and special taxing districts in Lake County and the 31st Legislative District. Passed and is in effect.
• Senate Bill 2994 amends the Illinois Counties Code to require county boards to prepare and file a report with the General Assembly on or before Jan. 1, 2017 to identify any local public entity that it appoints members to and to provide specific information about those local public entities. PASSED and SIGNED into law (Public Act 99-634) Effective July 22, 2016.
There were also several bills that specifically dealt with township consolidation/dissolution, some special taxing districts and citizens’ empowerment that were also supported but stalled.
include ALL types of notices and ALL units of local government and we cautioned legislators about the impact on property owners who may not be aware of checking a local government’s website or the state’s maintained Transparency and Accountability Portal.
Stopped legislation that would have prohibited the use of comps in valuing certain property Status: DEAD
Senate Bill 2367, a measure that sought to establish a new and controversial method of assessing the taxable value of a particular subset of commercial property, was not called for a vote. The bill specifically targeted, retail property where the building is 50,000 square feet or more, improved within the last 20 years, and the original owner of the property, or a tenant, is engaged in retail and occupies more than 75 percent of the square footage of the property. The bill would have prohibited the use of comparables in the valuation of these properties.
Stopped legislation creating new Class 4 felony for criminal building management Status: DEAD
House Bill 6036 would have created the offense of criminal building management. The bill would have made commercial building owners and managers potentially subject to criminal prosecution if there was a code violation on the premises which was a contributing factor in a first responder getting hurt or killed on the premises.
Stopped diminishment of public notice requirements Status: DEAD
Senate Bill 3181 and House Bill 6098 would have permitted the electronic publication of public notices rather than in a newspaper. We were concerned with the sweeping change to
Learn more about the 200+ bills tracked by your Illinois REALTORS® lobbyists to protect your clients and your real estate business www.illinoisrealtors.org/government.
ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016
2017 Illinois REALTORS® President Doug
right note as Illinois REALTORS®........ moves
By Stephanie Sievers Senior Editor
hen Doug Carpenter looks back at everything the Illinois REALTORS® has accomplished over its 100-year history, the only word that comes to mind is “amazing.” From its humble beginnings in 1916, the association has grown into one of the leading state REALTOR® organizations in the country. The Illinois association has earned the respect of not only its members, but also from industry peers around the country, he said. Carpenter, the managing broker of Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell in Orland Hills and a trained musician who has served as senior organist at his church, has that legacy in mind as he prepares to lead the association into its next century. “We’ve created a strong foundation and I want to carry that forward and build on it as we head into our future,” he said.
The early years
“By staying involved you’re not only learning from it, but you’re part of the process.”
Carpenter grew up in Rockford, the oldest of four children. After graduating from Harlem High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. The Vietnam War was going on at the time and Carpenter decided he would rather enlist than wait to be drafted. He chose the U.S. Air Force because of the training and education benefits it provided and was stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California. He served from 1966 to 1969 before being sent home on a hardship discharge so he could help his family after his father was injured in a work accident. Carpenter began working in sales when he returned home, but says the rigors and experiences of serving in the military have a lasting impact on those who have served. “I look back at that as a good molding, shaping experience for me,” he said.
— 2017 Illinois REALTORS ® President Doug Carpenter Photo credit: Michael Hudson Photography
ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016
“Each day is different and there is a challenge to that. It’s the enjoyment of watching that first-time homebuyer achieve their dream and know that you’ve been part of the process.”— 2017 Illinois REALTORS President Doug Carpenter ®
“Each day is different and there is a challenge to that. It’s the enjoyment of watching that first-time homebuyer achieve their dream and know that you’ve been part of the process,” he said. Carpenter said his three years leading an association as a CEO gives him additional insight into the issues facing local associations.
Steady voice of leadership
Carpenter has served as senior organist at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oak Lawn for 15 years. He is scaling back his involvement this fall, but music has always been an important part of Carpenter’s life. He began playing the piano at the age of 8, but later switched to the organ and played his first worship service on Easter Sunday when he was just 14. Photo credit: Michael Hudson Photography
A love of the real estate process Carpenter’s sales career eventually led him to Chicago where he was working in the 1980s when a friend suggested that he consider a job in real estate. Ready to try something new, he jumped in and found he enjoyed the process of working with homebuyers, sellers and agents. He got his real estate license in 1985 and quickly got into broker management. With his previous background in sales management and his training as a continuing education instructor, Carpenter says he has found himself well suited to managing a brokerage. At the Orland Hills Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell office, he oversees an office of 32. In 2003, his management focus shifted gears when he became the CEO of the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS®. The job offered him new professional challenges while allowing him to continue in the REALTOR® organization at a different level. The Three Rivers association represents more than 1,000 members in Joliet and parts of Will, Grundy, Kendall and Kane counties. While he enjoyed his work as CEO, Carpenter found that he missed the day-to-day interactions of working with agents and clients and returned to brokerage management after 2006.
Illinois REALTOR® and industry trainer Lynn Madison has known Carpenter as a colleague and friend for years and says one of his greatest leadership strengths is his ability to get everyone involved, engaged and feeling like their voice is being heard in the decision-making process. Madison says he is an inclusive leader who has a calming effect on everyone, listens to all sides of an issue and knows what needs to be done. “He’s thoughtful. He doesn’t jump to conclusions,” she said. His leadership style worked well during the not one, but two times he has served as president when his local REALTOR® association merged with another REALTOR® organization. Now he takes on the task of leading the state association and his predecessor, 2016 President Mike Drews says the association will be in good hands as it moves forward. “Doug is very knowledgeable about the issues we have as REALTORS® at all levels: local, state and national,” Drews said.
Rolling up his sleeves and getting to work Carpenter has a long history of getting involved not just at the local association level, but also with the Illinois REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). During his more than 30-year career, he has volunteered his time and expertise to numerous local, state and national committees, working groups and boards. Carpenter says he believes if you are going to be a part of something then you should get involved and contribute your time and talents. “By staying involved you’re not only learning from it, but you’re part of the process,” he said. Some of his early state participation was in the Real Estate Educational Foundation (REEF), and professional development continues to be a priority. He served as REEF president in 2009 and again in 2010. He encourages REALTORS ® to keep learning more about the industry by pursuing professional designations. “I think designations are very important not only for you, but for your client. It goes back to your knowledge base and having the most current and up-to-date information and skills,” says Carpenter, who holds the ABR, AHWD, GRI and SFR designations. Through his committee work, Carpenter has been able to focus on two other areas that are important to him: improving professional standards within the industry and addressing the business issues and
license law affecting REALTORS®. He was a member of the license law working group during the last rewrite of the state law. Nationally, he is a long-time member of NAR’s Board of Directors and has served multiple terms on NAR’s Business Issues Policy Committee. Carpenter’s involvement has not gone unrecognized. He has been honored as REALTOR® of the Year by his local association and in 2009 was awarded the Illinois REALTORS® Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes REALTORS® who have provided outstanding contributions and service to the state association and local community.
RPAC supporter & champion Carpenter has the prestigious distinction of being the first Illinois REALTOR® to be inducted into NAR’s RPAC Hall of Fame. The award recognizes those who have contributed an aggregate of at least $25,000 to the REALTORS® Political Action Committee. Ever committed to the RPAC mission, Carpenter has now reached $50,000 in contributions and will be honored by NAR in the spring. In 2002, Carpenter and 22 other REALTORS® nationwide were honored as the first RPAC Hall of Fame class. Like the nearly 700 REALTORS® around the country who have followed in the years since, the inductees have been honored with their names inscribed on a plaque on the rooftop of the National Association of REALTORS® building in Washington, D.C. “For me that recognition has never been the reason why I do it, but as you realize what you are doing and how you are contributing to the goal and the cause, there are good feelings about that,” he said.
Carpenter says it is important for REALTORS® to understand the power of RPAC and advocacy to protect not only their business interests, but also the rights of homeowners and consumers. The state association works diligently to educate members about the importance of RPAC, and Carpenter said a goal this year is to increase involvement.
2017 Illinois REALTORS®
Looking ahead One of the big issues facing REALTORS® today is constantly changing technology and the impact it has on consumers. “It’s a balancing act because unfortunately the technology that the consumer goes to today is not always the most current information,” Carpenter said. “We have to get them back on track to what is the most up-to-date on the MLS. Sometimes they have their heart set on something that is no longer available.” That is why the role of the REALTOR® is more important than ever, he said. “You’re constantly reestablishing and building that relationship so that you are the go-to person and not the Internet,” Carpenter said.
ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR Managing Broker of Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell in Orland Hills
Matt Difanis, ABR, GRI
10 Q U E S T I O N S
Co-owner of RE/MAX Realty Associates in Champaign
How would you describe you leadership style? Consensus building What has been your greatest accomplishment, personally or professionally? Becoming president of the Illinois REALTORS® What is your favorite part of the real estate business? Working with new licensees What is the best real estate advice you ever received? Make one more call
Senior Vice President for Government Relations at the Oakbrook-based Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc.
If you weren’t a REALTOR®, what would your other dream job be? Teacher What do you like to do with your free time? Reading and working in the yard What is your favorite vacation destination? Somewhere I haven’t been before What’s the last good book you read? “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow What’s something people would be surprised to know about you? It would probably surprise me as well Carpenter points to his name on NAR's RPAC Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®.
If you could have lunch with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be? Abraham Lincoln
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Mike Drews, GRI
Broker-Associate with Charles B. Doss & Co. in Aurora *All leadership positions are to be approved by the Board of Directors on Oct. 6.
www.illinoisrealtors.org/officers ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016
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lot can happen in 100 years. When the Illinois REALTORS® was formed in 1916, Model T’s were the car of choice, indoor lighting was the most high-tech thing in most people’s homes and renters outnumbered homeowners. As we stand on the cusp of our next 100 years, Illinois REALTOR® magazine asked people with a significant investment of service in the association to talk about the themes and trends they think will shape our future. Technology could substantially impact how we reach consumers and members through advocacy, the evolution of
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education options, the legal landscape and the ongoing goal of improving professional standards. “Illinois REALTORS® has always been great at being able to look ahead to the future for what was coming down the pipeline for our real estate business,” said REALTOR® Loretta Alonzo-Deubel, who served as president of Illinois REALTORS® in 2012. In the years ahead, the traditional real estate business model could evolve. “Technology is going to take us to a whole new level. We don’t know where that ceiling is or if there even is a ceiling when it comes to technology,” said REALTOR® Jean Crosby, who led the Illinois REALTORS® in 1999.
The Future of ADVOCACY Having a stronger political voice on the issues affecting their business was one of the earliest reasons many REALTORS® came together to form local, state and national associations. Through the years, the REALTOR® organization — at all levels — has been a leader in making sure REALTORS® have a voice, says Illinois REALTORS® Director of Governmental Affairs Greg St. Aubin. “In our advocacy, the vast majority of what we do is try to fix or stop bad ideas. Year-in and year-out, no matter what crisis is going on at the local, state and national level, that’s what we do,” he said. The REALTOR® organization has a track record of committing the resources and attention needed to provide top-notch advocacy through technology, personal contact and other means and that will only evolve and grow, St. Aubin said. Illinois REALTORS®’ Springfield lobbying team and the local Governmental Affairs Directors (GADs) represent members around the state and technology has allowed them to quickly
send advocacy messages and empower the association’s members with the grassroots tools they need to push for change. Calls for Action can be sent directly to mobile devices enabling REALTORS® to immediately contact elected officials. Developments in Springfield can be reported in “real time.” Social media and websites carry the REALTOR® message to an ever broadening audience. Mike Scobey, assistant director of RVOICE and Local Advocacy for Illinois REALTORS®, says that a fast response is essential for tackling issues such as efforts to increase regulations and fees on property owners or to expand home rule. Efforts to reach out to consumers directly on issues, as with the new Real Property Alliance foundation, help bolster community support and keep homeowners informed. “We’re using websites and technology to engage more people not just when the issue is right in front of them, but for the long haul,” Scobey said. REALTOR® Ed Neaves, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Snyder Real Estate in Bloomington, expects the use of predictive analytics to be a major tool of future advocacy efforts. By analyzing behavioral data and other variables, Illinois REALTORS® will be able to drill down and send the most persuasive advocacy message to the most responsive audience. “Instead of a shotgun theory of ‘let’s just put Ed Neaves it out there to everybody,’ you can actually target it to a group,” he said. “If you can at least predict that they will respond to certain messages, then the messages could be more targeted and probably more effective.” The strong foundation of advocacy is in place so that “whatever comes in the future, we are always going to be on the cutting edge of using the most current and cutting edge tools to protect our members and Illinois property owners,” St. Aubin said. — Stephanie Sievers, Senior Editor
ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016
REALTOR® Leaders weigh in: 2016 President MIKE DREWS: “Illinois REALTORS® has been committed for the last 100 years to advocacy, education and ethics. We’re going to continue that fight to protect private property rights and make sure that our REALTORS® are the most educated and professional that we can possibly be and we’ll continue that for the next 100 years.” 2012 President LORETTA ALONZO-DEUBEL: “Technology is going to lead the way and it’s already starting and changes are happening. We’re becoming more global, not just doing real estate in Illinois but also in other countries. It will become second nature for us to do that.” 2006 President STAN SIERON: “I think we may be fighting the same battles, but we could also try to be on the cutting edge and I think that’s one thing that our governmental affairs does. I think we can always be one step ahead and hopefully anything that comes up that could be detrimental to what we believe in, we’ll be able to fight that immediately.” 1999 President JEAN CROSBY: "I believe there will be a day and time when you will do all of your transaction — the closing included — online. People won’t have to leave their homes. Instead of loans being funded in eight or 10 hours, they’ll be funded in 30 seconds. Technology is going to take us to a whole new level.”
The Future of EDUCATION Looking ahead, what does the future hold for the training and professional development of REALTORS®? Online, video and interactive courses will be key to meeting students’ needs, says Carrie Elliott, Education Manager for the Illinois REALTORS® Licensing & Training Center. “With rapidly changing technology, our real estate education programs must be adaptable to attract the new digital generation,” she said, “Our school will continue to enhance our flexible learning programs to accommodate a wide range of learning styles.” Fortunately, REALTORS® may be sure that the programs offered by the Illinois REALTORS® Licensing & Training Center are always stateapproved and contain the most accurate, relevant and up-to-date information available. REALTOR® and Instructor Carrie Bey-Little, of Baird & Warner in Glen Ellyn, says it
will become more important to diversify educational options. Some REALTORS® prefer to attend Carrie Bey-Little real-time classes and webinars, but others prefer access to courses on their own time online or through downloadable recordings that they can come back to later. “They want to be able to learn it when they’re ready to learn it, not when we make it available,” she said, adding that younger generations are digital natives who may prefer à la carte options that offer more flexibility. Professional development is about more than merely earning required credit hours, however. Illinois REALTORS® Director of Professional Development Kristen Butcher, CMP, says the Licensing & Training Center will be working hand-in-hand with professional standards to provide
new professional development opportunities above and beyond regular continuing education courses. Professional development content will be geared toward making REALTORS® better, keeping them in compliance, and helping them through difficult transactions. Courses will likely be available in small, onehour segments that will delve more deeply into specific subject matter. Because the subject matter is so focused, REALTORS® may select only the courses which directly address their questions. Ultimately, the limit to how far REALTORS® may go in their profession is determined in large part by their commitment to ongoing professional education and the Illinois REALTORS® Licensing & Training Center will be here every step of the way. — By Dawn Pennington, Marketing Specialist
The Future of PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS More real estate professionals need to live by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, report the bad behavior of colleagues and stay current about developments in the industry, says Chris Read of the Illinois REALTORS® Pro Standards Committee. Those changes will improve professionalism, increase consumer satisfaction and reduce complaints, she says. “Consumers must see the value agents bring to the transaction today,” says Read, of CR REALTOR® in Woodridge. “Agents can’t just be order takers, they need to stay abreast of the latest developChris Read ments and use what they’ve learned to make every client’s experience great. If more agents would commit to excellence, then we wouldn’t have 10 percent of them doing 90 percent of the business.” Managing brokers set the tone for continuous learning. “We have to get managing brokers on board to make it work,” says Read. “Two years ago, I was the chair of the Pro Standards Committee and one of the questions I asked state committee members was: “What percentage of bad behavior gets reported as a complaint? Their answer was less than 5 percent. That precipitated the citation program for ethics complaints, a program designed to expedite the process.
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is working on an initiative for additional efforts to raise professionalism across the country, Read said. CURRENT ILLINOIS PROGRAMS Educating members about the Illinois REALTORS® dispute resolution programs is important, whether the issue is resolved through the Ombudsman Program or the Ethics Citation Program, says Becky Carraher, Illinois REALTORS® Professional Standards Coordinator. The Illinois REALTORS®Ombudsman Program uses real estate experts who are committed to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics to resolve disputes between consumers and REALTORS® and between association members. The Ethics Citation Program allows REALTORS® and consumers working with REALTORS® to file complaints stemming from violations of certain Articles and Standards of Practice of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Carraher says that holding REALTORS® accountable for violations is critical, too. Members also have to be willing to report violators so that the same mistakes aren’t made repeatedly. A FORECAST Kate Sax, director of Professional and Ethical Practices, Mainstreet Organization
of REALTORS® (MORe), leads a department responsible for the enforcement of pro standards in three associations: MORe, the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and the North ShoreBarrington Association of REALTORS®. “It seems to me that NAR is trying to make the process more efficient as well as more stringent when there is non-compliance,” Sax says. “NAR recently required non-prevailing parties to pay an arbitration award Kate Sax within 10 days either to the prevailing party or deposit the funds with the association while a procedural review is processed. This allows the prevailing party to be paid when there is no review of the process, but also allows the
association to make the payment to the prevailing party if the award is upheld after the review. “This used to be a voluntary aspect of the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual in the Chicagoland area,” Sax says, “But it was difficult to enforce when the parties to the dispute were from different associations. It is now mandatory. “I also see NAR making more movements towards ethics mediation,” she says. “They recently required all associations to offer ombudsman services which is similar, but does not provide any concrete sanctioning. An ethics mediator has more latitude in creating resolution, including discipline and payment to the complainant or a third party.” — Bill Kozar, Content Marketing Specialist
The Future of LEGAL When it comes to anticipating future legal issues, the best way REALTORS® can prepare is to read information from their national, state and local associations, says Betsy Urbance, Illinois REALTORS® Legal Hotline Attorney. Preparations can include a thorough study of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and Illinois Real Estate License Act, webinars, newsletters and workshops from the Illinois REALTORS®. “For example, REALTORS® should avoid unauthorized practice of law issues in complicated real estate transactions,” says Urbance. “They Betsy Urbance can assist with commonly used form purchase contracts by completing business and factual information. Regardless of complexity, the member's expertise is in valuation, assessing market conditions, pricing strategies, advertising, making effective use of contacts, and providing other market-related information to help their clients make the best decisions and deals possible when buying, selling or leasing real estate.” Q. Have any issues come up more frequently lately that need to be addressed? She says: “From the Legal Hotline, I hear about more situations related to no service or limited service brokerage businesses in transactions. Our members should analyze how to serve their clients' best interests and be mindful of making independent business decisions for their own companies. It is important to note that Illinois statutes require brokers who are subject to exclusive brokerage agreements to provide a certain level of basic or minimum services during contract negotiations.” Q. How have technological improvements affected our members legally? “I am not sure what legal ramifications technological advances have had on our members,” Urbance says. “However, our members should follow tech developments and apply their knowledge
of the License Act and the Code of Ethics to the way services are delivered. Generally speaking, legal constraints will still apply in the brokerage business in the same way as they have in the past ... just maybe in a different environment. “In other words, contract negotiations might be carried out on an electronic platform with date stamps and/or encryption keys to use for signatures as opposed to paper contracts with ‘wet’ or pen and ink signatures,” she says. “The concepts as to what will be enforceable are similar (the age-old legal principles contained in the Statute of Frauds still apply) but proving a provision or signature might become necessary (and be accomplished by different means) should anyone deny a provision or signature remain the same.” Q. What about social media -- has anything new come up? Debbie Prodehl, chair of the Business Issues and License Law Committee, says, “It seems as though social media is becoming more of an issue as many of our members are not understanding Debbie Prodehl what they can and cannot do. How they need to identify themselves along with their brokerage. We have to continue to educate our members.” Urbance says: “Again, same concepts, governance and restrictions apply, just different delivery methods. REALTORS® must bear in mind that when they are engaged in their real estate brokerage business, even via a social media outlet, legal and ethical restrictions and requirements still apply. For instance, if a REALTOR® is advertising a listing on Facebook, the sponsoring brokerage company name and the information included must be truthful and complete.” — Bill Kozar, Content Marketing Specialist
1997 President PAT DALESSANDRO: “I can only begin to believe that technology will be so advanced that you are going to be able to stay in the living room and look at your television, smartphone or whatever they have at that time and take a three-dimensional, virtual walk through of the property. I also believe that housing affordability will become more attainable because of improvements in construction and design.” CEO, Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® PAM KRIETER: “If we continue with this quest for professionalism and raising the bar and code of excellence I sense that we may be smaller than we are, but we’ll be more fine-tuned. I feel that by having that cohesiveness and a smaller group potentially of high level professionals, we may find that is a big enough voice. 2010 President MIKE ONORATO: “As a student of history, it just seems like issues come and go. Bad ideas keep coming back around and we’re going to have to continue to deal with those in the governmental affairs arena. “ 2015 President JIM KINNEY: “Technology is changing things. The exciting thing is there are always new things on the horizon for us to be aware of, but the flip side of the coin is, it can be a little scary. That requires us to have a good leadership team and a good organization to protect and defend our rights.” — Comments taken from video interviews for the Illinois REALTORS® 100-year anniversary.
ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016
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Building Global Connections
Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison Program Looks to Grow Engagement By Sharon Gorrell, Illinois REALTORS Global Working Group Staff Liaison ®
If you have traveled abroad at some time in your life, you may have heard of the term “consulate.” The U.S. has consulates and embassies worldwide and for most people, the term consulate brings to mind a place they can go when they are in a foreign country and there is some type of trouble or need. This visit could be the result of a lost passport, a crazy night that winds up in a conversation with the local police (no judgement here), maybe you got injured and need a doctor, or it could be something as serious as an invasion, political turmoil or national disaster. No matter what the situation, consulate offices or embassies are where Americans abroad go when we need some type of help. But what many people don’t realize is the role consulates play in developing business and economic partnerships for their country and promoting their nation’s arts and culture abroad. Almost every nation has a consulate office somewhere outside of its borders. Illinois is host to over 80 foreign consulate offices with roughly 60 that include a full-time Consul General. He or she is an appointee of their government and is in charge of their country’s commercial interests and the well-being of their citizens who are living and working in the country they are assigned. The commercial and economic development portion of their role is where Illinois REALTORS® come in. Illinois REALTORS® is an organization that has a core value of promoting and protecting the real estate industry here in Illinois and the U.S. Part of that goal is achieved through advocacy efforts in all levels of government. However, now that our industry, like most others, has become more “global,” the association leaders felt that it was
time to begin building relationships that could help expand the Illinois real estate industry’s global footprint. As companies expand or move, technology “shrinks” the world. Currencies and political climates fluctuate and crossborder investment and resulting employment is increasing. According to the 2016 IBM Global Location Trends Report, the Chicago metropolitan area is the top U.S. destination for foreign direct investment. In order to capitalize on that trend, the REALTOR® brand needs to be prominent and to do that Illinois REALTORS® created the Consulate Liaison program. What started as an eightperson team, has recently expanded to include eight additional liaisons. Each liaison fills out an online application on the association’s global webpage and is appointed by the association’s president. Their role is to be the face of the REALTOR® brand, foster the use of a REALTOR® by foreign investors and promote Illinois as a place to live and work. The liaisons have been building and developing relationships and have received a welcomed response from the offices. The growing program began as the vision of 2016 Immediate Past President Jim Kinney, vice president of luxury home sales for Baird & Warner in Chicago. Kinney said he would like to see the program expand and encourages other Illinois REALTORS® to apply. “This program is gaining popularity across the country. A local association in Florida is now inquiring how we did it and wants to replicate it,” he said. As we continue to grow the program here in Illinois, please consider taking part. If you have a relationship or ties to a foreign country and culture, let us know. Simply fill out the online application, we are excited to be “expanding the tent” both within our organization and throughout the globe!
Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaisons
Sonia Anaya Mexico
Delmy Economos Honduras
Mike Emery Australia
Marsha Collins-Mroz Greece
Maurice Hampton Canada
Jana Herdova Czech Republic
Jim Kinney United Kingdom
Andy Velkme Latvia
Dany Novakovich Serbia
Don Pasek Poland
Vicky Sampah Rwanda
Michelle Shang China
Pradeep Shukla India
Vicky Silvano Philippines
Matt Silver Israel
Nancy Suvarnamani Thailand
Are you interested in serving as a Consulate General Liaison?
Illinois REALTORS® is looking for members who have international connections and a passion for sharing the news about Illinois’ real estate market. Learn more about the program and find an application at www.illinoisrealtors.org/cglp ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016 23
HackeD! ead news headlines in recent years and you’ll notice that cyber criminals have taken a growing interest in real estate transactions, REALTOR® websites, social media accounts and the activities of homebuyers and sellers. Tech-savvy criminals might try to hack into your company’s website and get access to you and your clients’ data. They might try to hijack your social media accounts or hack your email so that they can conduct a wire fraud scam and trick your clients into sending them money. Justin Letheby, a technology trainer and a broker with Keller Williams Fox Valley in St. Charles, says the threats seem to be growing in relation to the real estate business itself. In other words, when business is good, the number of people interested in scamming agents and their clients increases exponentially. “When you’re busy and you get a vague email saying, ‘Here’s an offer, please open it,’” says Letheby, “your first instinct is probably to click on the link and download the file.” Unfortunately, that one move could launch a whole series of problems, from viruses to phishing scams. And while it may sound highly Justin Letheby “non-techie,” Letheby says the best defense against email scams is to simply pick up the phone and ask the sender if he or she meant to send you the message and/or attached file. “That’s all it takes,” he says. “If that person says ‘no,’ then delete the message and move on.”
Honing Their Targets
In many ways, real estate brokerages and other small- to mid-sized businesses are particularly vulnerable to cybercrime, according the National Association of REALTORS®. “Big-name breaches make good headlines, but smaller businesses make easy targets for online criminals. This is partly because many small-business owners believe they are “below the radar” for cybercrime and thus fail to implement safety measures to protect themselves from attack,” writes
NAR Associate Counsel Jessica Edgerton in the NAR article, “Legal: You’re the Ideal Target for Cybercrime,” available online at www.bit.ly/cybertarget. In February, the Florida REALTORS® published a warning about a homebuyer who was Jessica Edgerton asked to wire $34,000 to a scammer. According to the REALTOR®, he had emailed a client a few weeks earlier about providing “an amount to wire within the next day or two.” A few hours later, the buyers received another email from the agent’s email account — one he never sent — that gave instructions on wiring an amount close to $34,000 (versus an anticipated $80,000). A similar crime took place in Rhode Island, where a scammer hacked into an agent’s email account and tricked a buyer into wiring $13,000 to a bank in France. Cyber criminals are also targeting real estate websites, according to Realtor.com’s “Did Your Listing Get Hacked?” (www.bit.ly/hackedlisting) On vacation rental sites, for example, scammers lift both text and photos from sites like HomeAway. com and VRBO.com and republish their own versions on other websites. “Suddenly the person collecting the deposit or fees is not the homeowner,” Realtor.com warns. The list of real estate-related breaches doesn’t end there. From social media to corporate websites to basic email, there are an abundance of possible entry points for cyber criminals.
Navigating a Dangerous Parking Lot
Over the past year, 594 million consumers globally were affected by cybercrime, with the average person losing 21 hours and $358 dealing with the incident, according to the most recent Cybersecurity Insights Report from the software security company, Norton (www.bit.ly/nortoninsights). In the report, FBI Director James Comey, called the Internet, “the most dangerous parking lot imaginable,” and warned people to be just as aware of scams, compromised websites, malware, and other threats as they would be of a physical theft.
How to protect yourself and your clients from cybercrime on social media, email and the web By Bridget McCrea
Up until recently, people often did not approach the Internet with the same heightened sense of danger as they would when dealing with threatening situations in real life, according to the Norton report. This oversight is especially problematic for REALTORS®, whose clients trust them to keep sensitive information and documents secure before, during, and after the transaction. At the same time, agents need to be vigilant when monitoring their own websites, social media accounts and email. “Hacking is rampant right now,” says NAR’s Edgerton. “Whether you’re talking about social media, email, or web, it’s all relevant for the REALTOR® who holds onto consumers’ personally identifiable information.” (By definition, personally identifiable information includes any data that could potentially identify a specific individual.) Social media presents its own set of possible threats, according to Edgerton. “If someone hacks your Facebook and starts posting on your behalf,” she says, “it can create reputational damage and a whole slew of other problems.”
Thwarting the Criminals
Cybercrime can impact real estate agents on many different levels, with web, social media, and email standing out as three of the top threats that REALTORS® should be aware of when communicating and transacting business in the virtual world. Regardless of which approach the hackers take, your first line of defense will always be to change your password immediately to stop the criminals from doing any more damage. “This simple step is by far the fastest way to shut down the activity that’s taking place on your social media account or website,” says Letheby, who also advises agents and brokers to change their passwords regularly, and to use strong (i.e., with a good combination of letters/numbers/capitalization, etc.) passwords.
Social Media Strategies
If the attack involved a social media site — and if the password change didn’t completely solve the problem — then email or call the site’s customer service department and let them know what’s going on.
Letheby says the company may be able to temporarily “turn off” your account while it investigates the problem and figures out a solution. “Ninety percent of the time changing your password will solve the problem of social media hacking,” Letheby says. Once you’ve changed your passwords and/or enlisted the social media company’s help in dealing with the issue, Matthew Brewer, Illinois REALTORS® Director of IT, suggests creating one or more posts explaining what happened and apologizing for any inconvenience. “If someone was posting on your social media site on your behalf, you’ll definitely want to explain what happened and suggest that anyone who may have ‘clicked’ on links (from the scammer’s posts) run a virus scan and also change their own passwords,” says Brewer.
Defending Your Email
Over the last year, real estate professionals have reported an upswing in a particularly insidious wire scam. A hacker will break into a licensee’s email account to obtain information about upcoming real estate transactions, writes Edgerton in another blog post, “ALERT: Wire Fraudsters Targeting Real Estate Transactions” (www.bit.ly/wirefraudsters). After monitoring the account to determine the likely timing of a closing, the hacker will send an email to the buyer, posing either as the title company representative or as the licensee. The fraudulent email will contain new wiring instructions or routing information, and will request that the buyer send transaction-related funds accordingly. Edgerton says NAR is advising all real estate professionals to tell their clients about the scam and about email scams in general. “Very often if a hacker gains access to an email account or a system, he or she will be able to collect enough information to very convincingly put together fake emails,” says Edgerton. “And these emails are not that easily distinguishable from legit messages. They’re not the bad grammar and the weirdly-phrased scams that we’re all used to seeing and know how to recognize by now.”
ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016
Also, Edgerton says agents warn customers to never trust wire instructions that are delivered via email (and, as Letheby pointed out, a quick call to the sender to confirm the legitimacy of the email is sometimes all it takes to avoid a major problem). “Email can be a wide open door for scammers,” says Edgerton, “so make sure your clients and everyone who you’re working with is using strong email practices.” One good way to thwart the crooks who use email, according to Letheby, is by using an account that offers two-factor authentication. Along with usernames and passwords, two-factor authentication requires a mobile device, smart card, or biometric data (such as fingerprints). If an attacker tries to hack into your account with just a password, for example, he or she would also need your mobile device or fingerprints to get in. “If someone is trying to log in from a unique device, he can’t just randomly start keying in passwords and get lucky; he’ll need a code as well,” Letheby said.
Thwarting Website Hacks
Posting home photos and details may seem innocuous enough in today’s web-centric real estate environment, but if you don’t keep an eye on the activity that’s taking place on your websites you may find yourself falling prey to hackers. Letheby says he sees the highest number of breaches taking place on do-it-yourself websites on platforms such as WordPress. “If you hire a market leader to produce and host your site, the odds that it will get hacked are lower,” says Letheby. “Plus, if something happens, you can just call the company and say, ‘fix it.’” In most cases, he says the breaches happen because agents don’t update their plug-ins. “If you keep up to date with your WordPress plug-ins and profiles, and update them even on a quarterly basis, the number of hacks will drop pretty quickly,” says Letheby. In some cases, keeping your information and your clients’ data secure is just a matter of common sense. For example, Letheby says he’s consistently shocked by how many agents and brokers log into public computers, use the devices, and then forget to log out of their accounts. “The simplest thing in the world that you can do to protect yourself is to log out after using a cloud-based service,” says Letheby. “It happens way more than you would think and continually amazes me.” Like any other crime, Internet-related crime should be reported to appropriate law enforcement investigative authorities at the local, state, federal, or international levels, depending on the scope of the crime. Citizens who are aware of federal crimes should report them to local offices of federal law enforcement. Visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center to file a complaint at https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
WAYs To S Ay SMaRT
IN A WORLD OF CHANGING TECHNOLOGIES In its Cybersecurity Insights Report, Norton offers these eight tips for operating in a world where hackers and scammers can hit you from a number of different angles: a unique, smart, secure password for each 1. Choose account you have online.
2. 3. 4.
5. 6. 7.
Delete emails from senders you don’t know, and don’t click on attachments or links on suspiciouslooking emails.
On social media sites, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it just might be. Avoid clicking on posts that offer that “Free trip to Tahiti!” especially if they don’t come directly from a reputable, “official” trusted company page. Always monitor your financial accounts for unusual activity. If you see a charge that you didn’t make, report it immediately. Often cybercriminals will charge a small “test” amount before attempting to drain your bank account. Don’t put off updating your software. Yes, those update pop-ups are annoying, but those updates often contain important patches for dangerous security holes that cybercriminals could use to access your device. Use a secure backup solution to protect your files and backup regularly so criminals can’t hold them for ransom.
rely on freeware for cybersecurity. You get 8. Don’t what you pay for. And some freeware options that are meant to protect your information are even selling it to make money.
MORE RESOURCES: For more information on cyberscams, as well as further information on cybersecurity best practices, NAR offers these online resources: www.realtor.org/articles/request-to-redirect-fundsshould-trigger-caution www.realtor.org/topics/data-privacy-and-security www.realtor.org/topics/risk-management
About the writer: Bridget McCrea is a business, real estate and technology writer in Clearwater, Fla. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Licensing & Training Center Real Estate Licensing & Continuing Education The Illinois REALTORS® Licensing & Training Center is your TRUSTED SOURCE for state-approved education.
MANAGING BROKER LICENSE RENEWAL
ILLINOIS MANAGING BROKERS... Here’s what you need to renew your license by April 30, 2017. Managing Brokers
first licensed after
licensed prior to
Feb. 1, 2015:
Feb. 1, 2015:
Feb. 1, 2017:
You will need to have taken 12 hours of CE between May 1, 2015 and April 30, 2017.
You will need to have taken 24 hours of CE between May 1, 2015 and April 30, 2017.
* YOU DO NOT
The 12 hours must include a minimum of 6 hours of Core (3 Core A and 3 Core B) and a maximum of 6 hours of elective credit.
The 24 hours must include 6 hours of Core (3 Core A and 3 Core B), a maximum of 6 hours of elective credit, and 12 Hours Broker Management CE (mandatory 12-hour interactive course).
Submit your renewal application with the $200 State of Illinois licensing fee to the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) by April 30, 2017. www.idfpr.com
Submit your renewal application with the $200 State of Illinois licensing fee to the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) by April 30, 2017. www.idfpr.com
need to renew in 2017. Your managing broker license renewal deadline is April 30, 2019. *Sec. 5-70 (d) A person receiving an initial license during the 90 days before the renewal dates shall not be required to complete the continuing education courses provided for in subsection (b) of this Section as a condition of initial license renewal.
Illinois licensed attorneys with an “active” attorney registration are exempt from completing continuing education hours, but must submit the required renewal fee and application to the IDFPR. CE earned for disciplinary purposes may not be used toward your CE renewal requirements.
DOWNLOAD Official Q&A and Checklist for the 2017 Managing Broker Renewal:
Copyright Illinois REALTORS®. This information may not be reprinted in whole or in part without express written permission of the Illinois REALTORS®. Send reprint requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ilinois REALTORS® Licensing & Training Center is your trusted source for state-approved real estate licensing and continuing education courses (classroom, home study & online) including state-of-the-art interactive course webinars - you don’t have to leave home!
Mike Scobey | Assistant Director, Advocacy and Local Issues
REALTOR® ADVOCACY MEANS PROPERTY OWNERS WIN IN YOUR COMMUNITY REALTORS® and local Governmental Affairs Directors (GADs) work hard to advance public policy that will enable more affordable homeownership and protect real property rights. Here are some recent examples of local successes and the GADs who led the charge.
Rockford offers tax refunds to promote housing growth In March, a broad coalition of leaders from Rockfordarea taxing bodies and the Rockford Area REALTORS® announced a new program to encourage investment in Rockford neighborhoods by refunding property taxes on distressed or newly built home purchases for three years. The Homebuyer’s Property Tax Refund Program offers buyers of qualifying foreclosed or short-sale single-family homes, as well as newly-built homes, in the city of Rockford a property tax refund for three years after the purchase. Homebuyers must be under contract by Dec. 31, 2016 and close by March 31, 2017. New construction must be under contract and close by Dec. 31, 2017. Properties will be eligible for refunds from the taxing bodies that approve the program. Currently 80 percent of a typical Rockford homeowner’s property tax bill is paid to the Rockford Public Schools, city of Rockford and the Rockford Park District, which have all approved the rebate program. As in many real estate markets, foreclosures have wreaked havoc and every Rockford neighborhood has been adversely affected. This prop- Conor Brown, erty tax refund program shows the kind of cre- GAD for Rockford ativity and inter-governmental cooperation that Area Assoc., Belvidere Board, taxpayers and voters demand. REALTORS® Heartland helped lead the way on this important initiative. REALTOR® Org. Learn more about Rockford’s Homebuyer’s and Assoc. of Property Tax Refund Program at Northwestern Illinois www.homebuyerstaxrefund.org/#home
Residential fire sprinkler mandates don’t play in Peoria For more than a year, the city of Peoria’s Construction Commission has been studying 2012 building codes to replace the 2006 building codes currently used by the city. While the entire suite of codes was under review, the major amendment to any recommended code was related to the 2012
International Residential Code, which included a mandatory requirement that all new single-family dwelling units have fire sprinkler systems. Over a period of 16 months, the city conducted several public meetings. Throughout it Kristie Engerman, all, Peoria REALTORS® were in attendance to GAD for Peoria make sure private property rights were proArea Assoc. tected, consumer choice was preserved and hous- and its Lamoine ing affordability was not negatively impacted. Valley Chapter, Bloomington-Normal Our message was simple: eliminate the Assoc., Mid Valley sprinkler requirement for residential new Assoc. and construction, or at the very least, allow for Quincy Assoc. optional installation of a sprinkler system. After a lengthy building code review process, the Peoria City Council is expected to vote in October to adopt the 2012 International Residential Code with no mandatory residential sprinkler requirement. However, homeowners do have the option to have them installed if they choose. It is important to note that the city of Peoria is the last municipality in Peoria County to move to the 2012 codes, and REALTORS® have successfully advocated for optional sprinkler installation in each of those other communities.
Additional successes Here are some other recent examples of significant “wins” at the local level that were the direct result of Illinois REALTORS® advocacy: XX Proposals to increase regulations on rental properties (including regular inspections and new fees) in the cities of Lockport and Braidwood were shelved. XX An overly broad and costly impact fee proposal in Carterville was stalled, and a new version (acknowledging REALTORS®’ and developers’ concerns) will be introduced later this year. XX An Evanston proposal for licensure of landlords was defeated. XX A Cook County proposal to eliminate an owner’s right to “use and occupancy” in eviction trial cases stalled. XX Negotiations in Sycamore resulted in lower development impact fees. XX Proposed Chicago regulations on “Airbnb” were modified to be less burdensome on short-term rentals.
RPAC NUMBERS by the
Our REALTOR PAC is recognized ®
as one of the PACs in the country, supporting both Republican and Democratic candidates.
condo financing and helping to make homeownership
more affordable to first-time and lower income buyers.
This tax has been stopped by a REALTOR®supported coalition, effective lobbying and RPAC.
RPAC dollars are best spent supporting REALTOR®-friendly candidates in local government, state elections and races for the U.S. House and Senate.
reforming Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
tax on real estate advertising
House Resolution (H.R. 3700) passed the U.S. House and Senate,
number of dollars
The RPAC gives to candidates for
Just $20 can make a difference for your homebuyers and commercial property owners. That $20 is a bargain for an insurance policy for your business.
$3,500 Estimated tax savings
from the Mortgage Interest Deduction for the average taxpayer who owns a $200,000 home with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of 5% (source: NAR). RPAC plays a key role in preserving the Mortgage Interest Deduction for American homeowners.
THANK YOU Illinois REALTORS members ®
who invested in RPAC this year!
Are you among the 32,122 of our 44,000 members who have not? RPAC is funded completely through voluntary contributions from members.
www.RPACnow.com Contributions to RPAC are not deductible for federal income tax purposes. Contributions are voluntary and are used for political purposes. The amounts indicated are merely guidelines and you may contribute more or less than the suggested amounts. The National Association of REALTORS® and its state and local associations will not favor or disadvantage any member because of the amount contributed or decision not to contribute. You may refuse to contribute without reprisal. Up to thirty percent (30%) may be sent to National RPAC to support federal candidates and is charged against your limits under 2 U.S.C. 441a. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s official website www.elections.il.gov or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.
DID YOU KNOW ?
Did you buy your property less than Because a propert three years ago? y’s its taxes are based assessed value and, ultimat ely, on market value, price could result a in a lower tax bill. lower sales If you fall in this category of homeo the purchase price wner, multiply on percent and compar your closing statement by 10 e that amount on your tax bill. to the amount If the quick math figure lower than generates a dollar your assessment, file an appeal. If you file an appeal, you may want to include a copy make sure you of the closing statement.
Real Property Alliance, Chicago REALTORS® partner to help property owners WHAT ’S MY SQUA RE
The Chicago Associa Property Alliance tion of REALTORS® and Real have a website to help guide property owners through the propert appeals process y tax .
www.RealProp ertyAlliance.com / PropertyTaxes
ERTY TAXES101 How you get taxed & How to see if you migh be paying too
When a REALTO R® markets a home, use a square footage they calculation based typically space in a dwellin on livable g. things are handled For assessment purposes, a bit differently. Assessor uses The Cook County a number based on the exterior perimeter of a home.
When Chicago property owners got their 2015 tax bills this summer, they got a shock. The city increased its property tax levy by $543 million, and combined with a triennial reassessment process, bills soared 12 percent on average. Seeing the concern the increases caused, Real Property Alliance, Illinois REALTORS®’ consumer advocacy foundation, partnered with the Chicago Association of REALTORS® to help property owners in the city understand what they could do to lower future tax bills. Real Property Alliance and the Chicago association worked with Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios’ office to come up with an outreach program to help residents file tax appeals. The Chicago association and RPA created a website, printed a brochure for REALTOR® members to use with property owners and produced a video explaining why taxes were going up and what steps residents could take. The partnership plans a series of events at Illinois REALTOR® members’
offices in Chicago to help residents gather the information they need to file an appeal. While the tax bills for 2015 and 2016 have already been finalized in the city, an appeal can lower assessments in future years. “We knew that Chicago residents were really upset by these increases,” said Pat Callan, a REALTOR® and chairman of the board for Real Property Alliance. “RPA at its core is an educational foundation, and helping inform property owners how they might be able to lower their tax bills fits nicely with our mission.” The Chicago Association of REALTORS® has aided consumers with property tax bills before. During the recession, the association helped thousands of residents file appeals when housing prices plummeted. “CAR is always looking for ways to help homeowners, whether they currently own homes or are in the market to buy,” said Dan Wagner, the association’s president and treasurer-nominee for Illinois REALTORS®. “The tax increase allows our members to help play a role in
While a REALTO R® might exclude a garage from a square footage estimate, an assessor might include it in the perime ter calculation.
advising property owners who are struggling to pay their bills and may be bewildered by the process to file an appeal.” Illinois REALTORS® “Chicago Property are a natural fit to Taxes 101” brochure explain the intricacreated by Real cies of Cook County’s Property Alliance property tax system to and the Chicago residents, said Brian Association of Bernardoni, a local REALTORS® governmental affairs director for Illinois REALTORS®. “Our members deal with tax issues daily as they serve clients, and they are deeply connected to the communities which are bearing the brunt of this tax increase,” Bernardoni said. “Having a trusted person to explain the tax appeal process can make a huge difference for a property owner.” The Chicago Associa tion of REALTO represents nearly RS® 13,000 membe rs engage all aspects of the real estate industr d in y.
Real Property Alliance foundation devoted is a non-profit to educating consumers about private propert y rights.
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9/7/2016 12:33:46 PM
STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION
The ILLINOIS REALTOR® (ISSN-0744-2211) is published four times a year (January, April, July, October) for $3.00 per year by the Illinois REALTORS®. The offices of publication and the headquarters and general business offices of the Publisher, Gary Clayton, are located at 522 S. Fifth Street, P.O. Box 19451, Springfield, IL 62794-9451. The sole owner of the publication is the Illinois REALTORS® at the address listed above. There are no known bondholders, mortgage or other s ecurity holders.
Total # copies (net press run) Paid/requested subscriptions Sales through dealers and carriers Other Classes Mailed through the USPS TOTAL PAID DISTRIBUTION Free distribution by Mail Free Distribution Mailed at Other Classes Free Distribution Outside the Mail Total Free distribution TOTAL DISTRIBUTION Copies not distributed TOTAL Percent Paid
Avg. # copies ea. issue during last 12 mos. 45,551.75
Actual # copies single issue nearest filing 45,938
99 44,059.50 1,495.25 45,554.75 99.78%
37 44,526 1,412 45,938 99.92%
I certify that the information stated is true and complete. Jon K. Broadbooks, Editor
YES, WE HEAR YOU
By Rebecca Jensen President and CEO of Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED)
s our valued customers, you deserve to be heard. When I first arrived a year and a half ago (that long already!), I had certain ideas and goals firmly planted in my mind, for implementation immediately upon my arrival at MRED. These concepts arose from the lessons I learned from great teachers, fantastic mentors, and my experiences in Utah. Not everything I have done was successful, but it’s led me to the great place I’m so proud to be in today. Plenty of luck and hard work have created great results, but none of it happens if I did not make my No. 1 priority the implementation of a process of information gathering. What do I mean by this? We have a system that results in MRED staff knowing what our customers think. It helps us to “predict the future” and involves utilizing a number of difference “intelligence” tools: • Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys – Very short, two question surveys that MRED posts to all of our customers twice a year on our MLS system. These are designed to measure customer satisfaction and give our users an opportunity to sound off. Every response recorded in our NPS surveys is reviewed, considered and responded to. That’s thousands of comments, twice a year! • Focus Groups – We routinely form Focus Groups to tackle big issues necessitating deep customer feedback and direction. The Private Listing Network (PLN), Transaction Management and Commercial are three examples of Focus Groups that have had a significant impact on issues our Board of Managers need input on. • Brokerage visits – I personally visit brokerages as often as possible. Typically the request is for an MRED update, but I have an ulterior motive! I’m there to find out what YOU are thinking about. • Event sponsorship and attendance – MRED’s presence at events throughout Illinois is not only to show support for our partner associations and their members, but to gather intel about the issues that are on the minds of our customers. • Help Desk cataloging of calls – Every call made to our Help Desk is tracked in our HEAT system. Recommendations for MRED to consider are recorded in the same system, and staff reviews each suggestion for possible implementation. • Strategic Planning – We invite our brokerage owners and association partners to participate in our strategic planning sessions, in yet another way we are sure to hear what they have to say. Whew! I hope that convinces you we have a number of very effective ways to hear you. As we all look forward with anticipation, we are confident we have a process in place that gets us the information from you that we need. By the way – we also “read” you. We always welcome your input via email, even snail mail. As always, MRED stands ready to provide great training assistance and award winning customer service to anyone who contacts us. Please feel free to get in touch with ® our Help Desk at 630-955-2755 or help.desk@MREDLLC.com with any Midwest Real Estate Data REinventing MLS and all questions. “Hear” you soon!
ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016
OMBUDSMEN FIND SUCCESS IN SETTLING DISPUTES The Illinois REALTORS® Ombudsman Program works to resolve disputes between consumers and REALTORS® and between association members and 2016 is expected to be the strongest year yet. As of July, the program is on track to successfully resolve more ombudsmen requests. Number of requests for an ombudsman received
Resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction
Complainants that stated they would pursue an ethics complaint
Complainants directed to seek legal advice
Jan 1 to July 31, 2016
Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2015
Top issues addressed by an Ombudsman
Business ethics Contracts Lack of communication Code of Ethics Property management/leasing Earnest money Procuring cause
Code of Ethics Business ethics Contracts Lack of communication Property management/leasing Earnest money Jan 1 to July 31, 2016
If you would like to apply to be an ombudsman volunteer, fill out the form at http://bit.ly/2bI8OYs Deadline is Oct. 15, 2016. Photo credit: Matt Difanis
The Ombudsmen Team (front row, left to right): Illinois REALTORS® Rebecca Carraher and Ombudsmen Bob Floss, Chris Read, Kimberly Noyes and Yvonne Seffer. (Back row, left to right) Terry Umecker, Wayne Paprocki, Ginger Westin, Georgia Pierini, Kimberly Trimmel, Linda Pilmer, Eleanor Nastepniak, Joan Sandrik, Debra Hymen, Stephen Hudson and Matt Difanis. Not pictured: Connie Conway, Karen Irace, Shari Kindle, Nancy Koch, David Levin, Molly Sabatino, Glenn Swick, Sandy Workman and Angie Zahn.
MARKET WATCH Q & A WITH GEOFFREY J.D. HEWINGS Illinois REALTOR® magazine talked to Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) at the University of Illinois, about the state’s housing market and some of the factors affecting home sales and prices.
: What do consider the biggest issue facing the housing industry right now? Hewings: Uncertainty. The presidenHewings tial election presents a stark choice with important implications on the health of the economy. Given the fact that housing is now following the economy much more closely than the pre-recession period, it is likely that this will probably dampen sales and price gains through the end of the year. The other main issue concerns Millennials and their reticence to enter the housing market, dampening the number of first-time buyers. Huge college debt burdens are frequently mentioned as one of the main causes, but another important fact is their penchant for an urban central-city lifestyle that is focused on flexibility (renting homes, cars, bicycles etc.)
: It seems like low inventory has been an ongoing issue affecting markets throughout Illinois. Homebuilding has picked up modestly, which will add to the supply, but many potential sellers seem reluctant to list. What do you attribute that to and how do we get past it? Hewings: The first issue noted above is a major issue. Even though job growth has been reasonably robust in 2016, many consumers are still wary about moving up in the housing market and are therefore reluctant to list properties. In many months this year in Chicago, growth in sales and prices from foreclosed property inventory were major contributors — in one month the sole source — of price increases. In many parts of the country, a large percentage of homes are still “underwater” and until prices recover enough
to yield positive returns, homeowners are going to be reluctant to list.
ing homeownership rates. But prerecession, we all know that these rates rose for artificial reasons and were not sustainable. We’ll monitor this more intensely over the next 6-9 months.
: How long could it take to get inventory levels back to where they should be? Hewings: There is a trade-off. During the recession, time on the market was extended up to 18 months creating disincentives for people to list homes. I think the issue is reluctance of current homeowners to venture into the market and incur significant transaction costs to upgrade to a new/larger/ differently located home. Consumers are still reeling from the memory of the recession and the political hiatus in federal elections and the state’s fiscal mess, are forcing more people to wait and see. Time on the market has come down to 2-4 months, so in one sense the market might be considered to be operating at pre-recession levels based on this criterion. I do not see a lot of latent demand in the data – I am not sure it is an inventory problem.
: For the most part, this year’s Illinois market has seen price gains and sales growth, but have these other economic factors kept it from being more robust? Could the trend continue through the rest of the year? Hewings: There is no doubt that the continuing stalemate in Springfield has dampened job growth. During the last six months, Illinois’ employment growth rate has been fallen way behind the nation’s each month. Job growth and housing sales are closely linked — if we do not create jobs, we are reducing the size of the fiscal injection into the economy. Firms seem more willing to expand employment in plants in states other than Illinois and that is a worrying trend that neither House Speaker Michael Madigan nor Gov. Bruce Rauner seem to appreciate.
: Could the trend begin to affect housing affordability going forward? Anytime prices start moving upward, the issue of affordability looms. The doom and gloom perspective is that many have been forced out of the market – evidence of declin-
: How much of a factor are foreclosures having on the Illinois market now? Hewings: Much less; as a percentage of sales, they are declining such that the reduction in the size of the inventory has slowed. It is now unlikely to return to pre-recession levels in the foreseeable future. However, it appears not be having a dampening effect on prices – in many months the rate of increase in prices of foreclosed properties has been higher than regular properties, even though they are still some distance apart.
ILLINOIS REALTOR® October 2016
REALTOR® COMMUNITY FOLLOW US:
Peoria CEO Dallas Hancock Honored for Association Leadership m Illinois award fro layton e th s e iv rece Gary C Hancock RS® CEO REALTO
Three Rivers uses $1,200 grant to help Coal City farmers’ market grow The Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® used a NAR Placemaking Grant to help a local farmers’ market get started. The grant covered the costs of tents for the market vendors. #REALTORParty #IL
Dallas Hancock, CEO of the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® since 1985, was awarded the 2016 Rhino Award from Illinois REALTORS® in July. The annual award honors an association executive for longstanding strength, leadership, service and loyalty to the profession.
Patrick Dalessandro to serve as 2017 NAR Region 7 VP Dalessandro, broker-owner of Coachlight Realty & Property Management in Niles, will serve as Regional Vice President for Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Ruggieri named president-elect for National Council of Exchangors REALTOR® Alex Ruggieri of SVN-Ramshaw Real Estate in Champaign has been appointed president-elect of the National Council of Exchangors (NCR) and will serve as the organization’s president in 2017. Ruggieri is a frequent contributor to Illinois REALTOR®, writing on commercial real estate issues.
Congressmen Foster and Roskam meet with Illinois REALTORS® U.S. Reps. Bill Foster (IL-11) and Peter Roskam (IL-6) hosted community meetings with REALTORS® during the summer. Foster met with REALTORS® in Romeoville to discuss FHA appraisals and housing. Roskam held an event in West Chicago to talk about issues affecting local real estate. Plainfield REALTOR® Jeff Gregory is the Illinois REALTORS® Federal Political Coordinator (FPC) for Foster and Wheaton REALTOR® Pat Callan is the FPC for Roskam.
Greater Gateway presents $1,500 check for Collinsville project The Greater Gateway Association of REALTORS® used a NAR Housing Opportunity Grant grant to help the Collinsville Community Collaboration host a local housing opportunity seminar. #REALTORParty #IL
ILLINOIS REALTORS® ATTEND REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTIONS Representatives from the Illinois REALTORS® attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this summer. The conventions offer a chance to meet face-to-face with top policymakers in an informal setting.
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Published on Sep 23, 2016
Learn what Illinois REALTORS® see for the future in this final magazine of the centennial year. Also, meet 2017 association president Doug C...