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B US I NESS H ACKS TO H ELP YO U K I CK-START 2017 New Year, New Laws Pursuing Land Conservation Instead of Development How to be the


on the Block PAGE 21


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Departments 5 President’s Message: Make Your Voice Heard 6 What’s Online: Video: The Next 100 Years; Follow Us on Instagram 8 Quick Takes: Celebrating Illinois’ Bicentennial; Federal Overtime; Higher Mortgage Limits 10 At the Capitol: New Year, New Laws 13 Legal Update: Administrative Rules Revisions 29 RVOICE: Effective REALTOR® Involvement in the 2016 November Election 30 Market Watch: What’s Ahead for Housing 31 Infographic: 2017 Market Forecast 32 Ethics Hearings


Advocacy • Education • Ethics • Legal


16 21 24 33

Work Smart: Tips and Tools for 2017 How to Be the Best REALTOR® on the Block Increasing Land Conservation Statewide REALTORS® and the Issue of Unauthorized Access

34 REALTOR® Community



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Looking for a change? Ready to take your career to new heights? Join our team. Call your local Weichert® office today or 800-301-3000, or visit *Among traditional real estate brokers. Experian Hitwise 1/2016. **Average based Google Analytics, 7/2016. © 2016 Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. Weichert® is a federally registered trademark of Weichert Co. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. REALTORS® is a federally registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is a Member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Each WEICHERT® franchised office is independently owned and operated.


ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR 2017 President

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE There’s no mistaking the difference Illinois REALTORS® make in their communities. Each year, many of our 44,000-plus members donate time and money to make the places they call home better. As we enter into a new year, it’s also worth noting the impact Illinois REALTORS® have on the National Association of REALTORS® and the real estate industry as a whole. At the annual REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando in November, I announced more than 73 Illinois REALTORS® have leadership roles at the national level. They range from Mabél Guzmán, NAR vice president; to Deena Zimmerman, NAR commercial liaison; to Dan Wagner, who served as 2016 commercial liaison; to Pat Dalessandro, Region VII regional vice president; to the many others who either chair committees or serve on them. It’s an impressive list and shows the expertise and respect that our members bring to bear on industry issues. This commitment to leadership is likely to be more important than ever in the years ahead. Congress is poised to start work on tax reform. That means it is critical to have qualified REALTORS® in place who can help elected officials understand the implications of policy decisions. As we enter our 101st year as an organization, I urge you to get involved not just at the national level, but also at the state and local levels. There’s always room for committed REALTOR® volunteers who care about the future of the industry. Know the issues that affect your livelihood. Invest in RPAC. And most of all, make your voices heard.

President Doug Carpenter at his inauguration in October. Photo credit: Michael Hudson Photography

U.S. military veterans REALTOR® David Levin, 2014 President Phil Chiles, REALTOR® Ed Neaves and 2017 President Doug Carpenter lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the Illinois Caucus at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando in November.

Doug Carpenter with Margo Markopoulos, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (IDCEO) at an Illinois REALTORS®-sponsored IDCEO reception in Springfield in December.

“Know the issues that affect your livelihood. Invest in RPAC. And most of all, make your voices heard.” — Doug Carpenter, Illinois REALTORS® president

Disclaimer: The REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) solicits contributions from Illinois REALTORS® members only.





2017 OFFICERS President Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR President-Elect Matt Difanis, ABR, GRI Treasurer Dan Wagner Immediate Past President Mike Drews, GRI Chief Executive Officer Gary Clayton, CAE, RCE Executive Vice President Luke Bell Editor Jon Broadbooks Senior Editor Stephanie Sievers Content Marketing Specialist Bill Kozar


Former Illinois REALTORS® presidents and local association leaders share the highlights of the past 100 years and look forward to the future in a 100th Anniversary video on YouTube. Titled “Illinois REALTORS®: The Next 100 Years,” this story spotlights the ways we help consumers and each other.


Graphic Designer Katie Grant For advertising information contact Advertising & Sponsorship, (217) 529-2600, The ILLINOIS REALTOR® (ISSN 0744-221) is published four times a year during the months of January, April, July, and ­October by the Illinois REALTORS®, Post Office Box 19451, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9451. Periodical postage paid at Springfield, Illinois and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster : Send address changes to: The ILLINOIS REALTOR®, Post Office Box 19451, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9451, 217/529-2600. Opinions expressed in any signed ar ticles of the ILLINOIS REALTOR ® are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Illinois R ­EALTORS ®. Adver tising of product or services does not imply endorsement.


Advertising rates are available at or on request. ­Annual dues of every REALTOR®, ­REALTORASSOCIATE®, and Affiliate member includes $3 for a oneyear subscription to the ILLINOIS REALTOR®.

Illinois REALTORS® is taking part in one of the world’s largest real estate conferences in March when it will be part of the National Association of REALTORS® pavilion at MIPIM 2017 in Cannes, France.

VOLUME 54: NUMBER 1 Copyright © 2017 Illinois REALTORS® All rights reserved. email: blog:

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


Public Policy Meetings, Jan. 23-26 at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria. It’s just one of many important events for 2017. Mark your calendar for the Capitol Conference “REALTOR® Lobby Day” in April and our Conference & Expo in May. Visit our Events page regularly for updates.

This is the third year for Illinois REALTORS® at the conference, which attracts more than 21,000 real estate investors. Time is of the essence to sign up for the event, which will be March 14-17. NAR has a discount available at www.

Because hotel space is limited, it’s best to make reservations now.

CONNECT WITH US ON INSTAGRAM Illinois REALTORS® is now on Instagram! Follow us at

Also follow us on IllinoisREALTORS iar-llinois-association-of-realtors com/illinoisrealtorsvideo


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



REQUIRED FOR MANAGING BROKERS* 12 hours Broker Management Continuing Education by

April 30, 2017.


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February 8 & 9 March 1 & 2 April 6 & 7

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Broker Management CE classroom courses are state-approved and provided by 25+ branch locations of the Illinois REALTORS® Licensing & Training Center.

April 19 & 20 Each webinar is 12 hours. Norm Willoughby A proctored exam is required for any online course or live class in the state of Illinois.

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

* Managing Brokers licensed prior to February 1, 2015 are required to take 24 hours of CE that would include 12 hours of Broker Management CE. If licensed AFTER February 1, 2015 no Broker Management CE is required until your next renewal.

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!


QUICK TAKES Illinois REALTORS ® make plans to celebrate state’s 200th birthday in 2018 ILLINOIS REALTORS


working with in every community

To celebrate the state of Illinois’ Bicentennial in 2018, Illinois REALTORS® are planning projects across the state including “adopting” a historic home or property. Our theme “Illinois REALTORS® working with heart in every community” underscores how REALTORS® are leaders in their local communities, supporting local charities and causes, promoting economic development and a strong economy all while helping real estate buyers and sellers achieve the American Dream. The Illinois REALTORS® Bicentennial Task Force, chaired by Vicky Turner, is the organizing committee for this effort. Illinois REALTORS® will find updates on efforts to celebrate the bicentennial and ways to get involved on the Facebook page, #REALTORSworkingwithHeart #Illinois200

REALTOR® Jim Kinney named to Illinois Bicentennial Commission Kinney, vice president for luxury sales at Baird & Warner in Chicago and the 2015 Illinois REALTORS® president, has been appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner to serve on a panel which will shape the state’s 200th birthday celebration in 2018. Illinois became the nation’s 21st state on Dec. 3, 1818.

Jim Kinney (center),Vicky Turner, chair of the Illinois REALTORS® Bicentennial Task Force (left) and Sheryl Grider Whitehurst, vice chair of the task force (right) Photo credit: Ann Londrigan

Illinois Bicentennial 1818-2018

Illinois REALTORS® Global Working Group gains NAR recognition Congratulations to members of the Illinois REALTORS® Global Working Group, who were recognized for work building relationships with foreign consulates in the state by promoting the Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison Program. The working group was honored with the NAR Gold Global Achievement Program Award. The Chicago Association of REALTORS® earned a Gold Award and Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® was honored with a Platinum Award.


Injunction blocks federal overtime rule from going into effect in 2016 A federal overtime rule that would have doubled the salary threshold (up to $47,476) for non-exempted workers to qualify for overtime pay was blocked from going into effect on Dec. 1, 2016 after the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a nationwide injunction. Stay tuned as the U.S. Department of Labor has filed an appeal. NAR covers the legal development and what could happen next at injunction-issued-on-department-oflabor-overtime-rule. And for more information about what the overtime law would do, John A. Kauerauf, of Sorling Northrup Attorneys, wrote an article in the November 2016 issue of Designated REALTOR® Legal News, Nov2016/overtimerules

Member Benefit: Downloadable, fillable forms Illinois REALTORS® have exclusive access to free legal forms that can be used in your real estate transactions. Updated in late 2016, the forms can be downloaded in a pdf format or filled out electronically. We’ve also added a new form, the Broker Price Opinion/Comparative Market Analysis. Find the forms, along with sample manuals and checklists, on the Illinois REALTORS® website at (login required). The forms are also available to members through MRED, ZipLogix and soon, dotloop.

HIGHER CONFORMING MORTGAGE LIMITS IN 2017 Both conforming mortgage limits and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan limits are heading higher in 2017. As of Jan. 1, 2017, the baseline conforming mortgage limit for most of the U.S. and all Illinois counties will increase from $417,000 to $424,100 under a change by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). An increase is housing prices is also prompting FHA to adjust its loan limits higher. Limits vary regionally, but FHA has increased its “floor” from $271,050 to $275,665. Find limits for Illinois counties at https://entp.


NAR’s report, “Smart Homes & REALTORS®,” found that 42 percent of ® REALTORS say their clients are interested in smart home devices. Find the full report at

Design color trend to watch PANTONE® Color of the Year 2017:

Greenery 15-0343

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT The Quick Takes news item, "TRID Update: REALTORS® gain access to closing disclosure form," in the October 2016 issue of Illinois REALTOR® should have read: Lenders MAY 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® 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.



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

NEW LAWS FOR THE NEW YEAR Thousands of bills are introduced each year in the Illinois General Assembly. In fact, in the 99th General Assembly, which included 2015 and 2016, there were over 10,000 bills introduced in the House and Senate. Here is a summary of some of the new laws of interest that go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.


Public Act 99-728 (House Bill 6245), an initiative of the Illinois REALTORS® makes a needed clarification in the Real Estate License Act with regard whether, according to a strict interpretation of the law, a managing broker could not “earn” more than six hours of CE in one day. This conflicted with taking the test for the 12-hour broker-management CE course, and so this legislation resolved the issue. A duplicate bill, Senate Bill 2893 did not advance in the 2016 session. This measure is also discussed in Betsy Urbance’s Legal Update column on pages 13–15.


Public Act 99-662 (Senate Bill 2805) is another Illinois REALTOR® initiative that added two real estate licensees to the Illinois Electronic Recording Commission. This commission, established within the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act, is responsible for adopting standards to implement the Act and to set standards for counties to engage in electronic recording in Illinois.


Public Act 99-548 (House Bill 4562) amended the Illinois Human Rights Act to make Illinois law consistent with federal law. As signed into law, the amount of civil penalties for civil rights violations relating to real estate transactions were increased as follows: (i) a maximum of $16,000 (instead of $10,000) if the respondent has not been adjudged to have committed any prior civil rights violation concerning real estate transactions; (ii) a maximum of $42,500 (instead of $25,000) if the respondent has been adjudged to have committed one other civil rights violation concerning real estate transactions during the 5-year period ending on the date of the filing of the current charge; and (iii) a maximum of $70,000 (instead of $50,000) if the respondent has been adjudged to have committed 2 or more civil rights violations concerning


real estate transactions during the 7-year period ending on the date of the filing of the current charge. This new law is also discussed in the Legal Update column on pages 13–15.


Public Act 99-876 (House Bill 5973) Illinois REALTORS® had extensive discussions with Rep. Marcus Evans regarding a proposal he introduced in the 2016 spring session. Following those discussions, an agreement on his bill was reached to remove our opposition prior to it become law. In its initial draft, it would have amended the Real Estate License Act and other 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 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. Rep. Evans and the proponents of the legislation heard our concerns and the bill was amended to REMOVE real estate licensees from the bill. The new law now only covers professions licensed under the Funeral Directors and Embalmers Licensing Code, the Illinois Roofing Industry Licensing Act, and the Barber, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Hair Braiding, and Nail Technology Act of 1985.


Public Act 99-790 (Senate Bill 2300) 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 the bill was introduced in the Senate it would have prohibited the sale of a single or multi-family 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 Illinois Attorney General’s Office to amend the bill further in the House to clarify some provisions in the bill, including a limitation that the bill will apply only to a new lease entered into. The House amendment removed our opposition and the Senate concurred in the House changes prior to it being signed into law by the governor.

KEY DATES IN 2017 The calendar for the 2017 spring session of the General Assembly is available at JAN. 11 100th Illinois General Assembly will be sworn into office JAN. 23-26 Illinois REALTORS® Public Policy Meetings, Embassy Suites, East Peoria


Three initiatives of Cook County dealing with administrative adjudication were approved this spring session with one being vetoed by the governor. All amended Division 5-43 of the Counties Code which is applicable ONLY to Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. Senate Bill 2767 amends the section of the Counties Code regarding the enforcement of judgments to clarify that it also applies to a tax or fee. Currently, this section specifies “fine, other sanction, or costs”. The governor disagreed with the legislation and used his power to veto it based on his concern that it penalized property owners facing high property tax bills, so this bill did not become law.

JAN. 25 Illinois State of the State Address, Springfield FEB. 15 Governor’s Budget Address, Springfield APRIL 25 Illinois REALTORS® Capitol Conference, Springfield

Public Act 99-739 (Senate Bill 2833) provides that the findings, decision and the order of the hearing officer may be enforced in the same manner as a judgment entered by a court. This language placed in the Counties Code is similar to legislation previously approved in the Municipal Code and there are due process protections.

MAY 31 Illinois General Assembly scheduled adjournment, Springfield

Public Act 99-754 (Senate Bill 3284) will permit the aforementioned counties to provide for administrative adjudication of ordinances enacted by a participating units of local government only where (i) the unit of local government is engaging in activities or providing services within the county; (ii) the unit of local government has no system of administrative adjudication; and (iii) the violation occurred within the county. The participating unit of local government must enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the county for the administrative adjudication of violations of their ordinances by the county. For purposes of this new law, Metra was also included in the definition of “unit of local government”.

JUNE 5-7 Illinois REALTORS® June Business Meetings, President Abraham Lincoln DoubleTree, Springfield


Public Act 99-794 (Senate Bill 2823) was initiated by the city of Pekin. This new law will provide that in the case of a residential property constructed or renovated by students as part of a curricular program, the school board can engage the services of a licensed real estate broker to sell the property. The legislation caps the commission at 7 percent and specifies that the property must be listed on the MLS for a minimum of 14 calendar days. This alternative procedure is similar to what’s in place for a school board to engage a real estate broker after no acceptable bids are received for the property.

NAR 2015 President Chris Polychron (center) with Illinois REALTORS® 2016 President Mike Drews and 2017 President Doug Carpenter at “REALTOR® Lobby Day” 2016.

Illinois REALTORS® showing the Power of R at “REALTOR® Lobby Day” 2016.



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

Make Your Voice Heard!


Learn the issues and discuss the REALTOR® agenda with your state legislators Get the RPAC VIP Package! 2017 RPAC Pacesetters receive an exclusive VIP package for an evening at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Monday, April 24.


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


Two pieces of legislation of concern to REALTORS® and which become effective Jan. 1, 2017 are outlined here: XX Public Act 99 – 0728 amends the Real Estate License Act of 2000 (RELA). Previously RELA Section 5-70(j) prohibited real estate licensees from taking or earning more than six hours of continuing education (CE) in one calendar day. This amendment removes “or earned” from the statute. The effect is that, while a licensee is still prohibited from taking more than six hours of CE in any one day, the licensee is now able to take one exam covering more than six total hours of CE, rather than taking an exam that covers six hours of CE on day one, then coming back to the testing center the next day in order to take another test covering the next six hours’ worth of material. For example, a licensee completes 12 hours’ worth of CE over two days. The licensee could take the exam(s) covering all of the course content at the end of the second day, or at some other convenient time. The licensee is free to complete the examination requirements in one sitting. XX Public Act 99-0548 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (the Act) at Section 5/8B-104(C) regarding amounts of civil penalties that can be meted out for violating the Act. The increases reflect similar amounts currently in force under federal fair housing statutes. A first offender could have to pay $16,000 per violation of the Act as opposed to $10,000 previously. An offender who commits an additional civil rights violation within a 5-year period could now be subject to a $42,500 penalty as compared to the former $25,000 penalty. Finally, an offender who is found to have committed two or more fair housing violations in a 7-year period could be on the hook for $70,000 up from $50,000. XX For more information on legislative changes, see Julie Sullivan’s article “New Laws for the New Year” on page 10.

Revisions to the Administrative Rules under the Illinois Real Estate License Act of 2000 (Rules)

Rules revisions became effective on Sept. 2, 2016. A complete set of the Rules can be accessed at Due to space constraints, every change is not included. If you want to read rules relating to the new auction certification program or for changes to continuing education issues, check out the link provided. For pre-licensing and continuing education questions, you can also contact the Illinois REALTORS® Licensing

and Training Center at 1-800-523-5077 or by email at For more information on the revised rules, you can check out the Oct. 20, 2016 Illinois REALTORS® webinar, “Rules Revisions and Illinois REALTORS® Forms Updates,” at (login required). Highlighted below are some selected changes or clarifications to the Rules: XX Section 1450.100 – Definitions ZZ Named Managing Broker ff The managing broker in charge of the sponsoring broker’s office. ff The sponsoring broker names a managing broker as THE contact person for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s Division of Real Estate. ff The named managing broker is responsible for the oversight of the office(s). ZZ Sole Owner ff This means the owner is 100 percent owner alone. This rules clarification becomes important when assessing whether or not an owner dealing with his/her/its own properties is exempt from licensure under RELA.



ff It is important to note that for purposes of byowner advertising of broker owned property, sole owner is defined a bit differently and allows for by-owner advertising where the property is jointly owned as a joint tenant or tenant by the entirety, or where the licensee is the 100 percent owner in a land trust. ZZ Transaction ff This is now a defined term in the rules, and it is used to determine when the clock starts running for a broker who is holding escrow money to deposit the money. XX Section 1450.115 – Termination Procedure ZZ This procedure sets forth exactly what a managing broker must do when endorsing a license for a licensee who is leaving a brokerage office. It also clarifies that licensees may not perform licensed activities until they are re-sponsored by a new sponsoring broker. XX Section 1450.145 – Restoration ZZ The rule now includes a process that a licensee must follow to restore an expired license to active status. XX Section 1450.170 – Dual Licensure ZZ This rule says that if you hold one license the “lesser” license is effectively cancelled. XX Section 1450.170 – Exemption under Section 5-20(1) of the Act ZZ In order for a person to be exempt from needing a real estate license when dealing with real estate, that person must be the sole owner as defined under the rules. See Section 1450.100 definition of sole owner. XX Section 1450.550 – Managing Broker License Transfer to Broker License (Step-back) ZZ MB may step back to a broker license under the following conditions: ff If the step back occurs in the first year of the managing broker renewal cycle (after May 1 of an odd-numbered year), the licensee will need to have six hours of CE completed and be in good standing with Division of Real Estate.

THE (FORMERLY AVAILABLE) MOLD DISCLOSURE FORM Based on its periodic review of all forms and disclosures, Illinois REALTORS® has discontinued production of mold disclosure forms and notices. This action is based on advice from its legal team to discontinue as there is no statutory requirement for anyone to supply such a form in real estate transactions. Mold was at one time a “hot issue;” but since then, the science has not developed in such a way as to provide any acceptable or unacceptable levels for the presence of mold.


ff If the step back occurs in the second year of the managing broker renewal cycle (for example, right before May 1 of an odd-numbered year), the licensee will need to have 12 hours of CE and be in good standing with the Division of Real Estate. The broker license will renew on or before April 30 of an even-numbered year for essentially a 3-year time period since a license was last renewed, so the licensee will need six more CE hours to renew their broker license. ff There is no requirement to do the Broker Management CE. ff Complete a form (now available at the Division of Real Estate’s website – MBtoBrokerTransferApp.pdf) and pay a fee. XX Section 1450.715 – Advertising ZZ Among other things, this rule clarifies that if a licensee holds the managing broker license but is not the Named Managing Broker for the sponsoring company, use the term broker in advertising as opposed to managing broker. XX Section 1450.720 – Internet Advertising ZZ NEW subparagraph (b)(2) clarifies that IF advertising another broker’s listing, there must be permission from and identification of the listing office. ZZ Note that advertising another broker’s listing without consent and identification of the listing office has always been considered deceptive advertising (See Rules Section 1450.715). XX Section 1450.750 – Special Accounts (Escrow Rules) ZZ These revisions include a good clarification regarding the escrow holding broker depositing the escrow money by the next business day after RECEIPT of the funds per terms of the contract in cases where the escrow holding broker does not receive the escrow money immediately. XX Section 1450.765 – Disclosure of Licensee Status ZZ This provision makes the rules consistent with RELA by clearly stating that disclosure is required where there is ANY direct or indirect financial interest in the subject real estate.

At this time, there are no measurable standards, unlike levels of radon. In addition, if mold is present in a property, this is an indication of an underlying defect involving water or moisture that needs to be corrected in order to stem the growth and presence of mold. These issues are often material defects. The property owner will be obligated to disclose the underlying defect if the owner has actual knowledge; or the owner will need to repair the causal problem as well as remediate the presence of mold. In sum, mold disclosure or notice introduces

ambiguity into the transaction while also taking the focus off what are truly the important issues to the parties, such as repairing a defective condition involving excessive moisture, leaking or other water-related problems.

XX Section 1450.770 – Brokerage Agreements and Listing Agreements ZZ This revision incorporates the language from RELA Section 10-25 allowing for automatic annual renewal with a provision allowing a seller to terminate on no more than 30 days’ written notice. XX Section 1450.780 – Referral Fees and Affinity Relationships


ZZ There is a new provision that clarifies the fact that leasing agent licensees may request referral fees ONLY for residential leasing activities. This means the leasing agent may not be compensated for referring a sale.

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

XX Section 1450.790 – Broker Price Opinions and Comparative Market Analysis ZZ This is a new section to clarify RELA Section 10-45 and the fact that BPO/CMA is now a licensed activity under RELA. ZZ If a licensee holds a real estate license AND an appraiser license and does a BPO/CMA, he must use his real estate license number and not his appraiser license number on the BPO/CMA.

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

ZZ Licensees must comply with RELA Section 10-45 (Illinois REALTORS® has a new form for this purpose).

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

ZZ Word of advice from the Illinois REALTORS®’ Legal Team: Do not take these requirements lightly. XX Section 1450.900 – Unprofessional Conduct ZZ This rule adds that using a managing broker license to permit other licensees to “run the show” is grounds for discipline under RELA.

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2017-Jan-mag_GRI-Designation_half-page_01.indd 1

12/1/2016 9:34:48 AM



WORK SMART! BU S IN ESS HACKS TO H E L P YO U K IC K-START 20 1 7 by Stephan ie S ieve rs, Se n io r Ed ito r

A new year means a new chance to have the best year yet. Make 2017 the year you try something new, fine-tune something you are already doing and discard the things that aren’t working. Illinois REALTOR® talked with REALTORS® and industry experts for tips on everything from polishing networking skills and getting more out of social media to building stronger client connections.

LL YEAR A S S E C C U S R Don’t W FO and measurable.ore. Be c ifi ec sp s al go SET GOALS NO e ork m XX Make th want to go u want to netw re you charted out whe u get there? If you haven’t when yo will you know ear and attainthis year, how ss plan with cl ne si bu lid so a ® stay on track. Creating R EA LTORS lp e he n ca s al my map for th able go plan is basically ss r, fe ne si af bu Sh ® y n do “M OR Bran LT A E R ys sa s ce next 365 days,” way HomeServi Berkshire Hatha 16 20 a d an a broker with gton tate in Bloomin ip ® Snyder Real Es ORS Leadersh LT A E R s oi lin Il create r th fo of s these tip graduate ram. He shares og Pr t en m op Devel works: ing a plan that

ns. to targeted sectio in s al go ur yo k lo XX Brea als, techno gy ses on sales go

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ch but also add “stret Set realistic goals, By e. the urself a little morgoals should yo sh pu to s” al go istic all of your real , end of the year be making and you should f of d be checke goals. d your stretch progress towar


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Success in real estate often hinges on personal connections you build with clients and industry colleagues. REALTOR® Deena Zimmerman, vice president of SVN | Chicago Commercial and NAR Commercial Liaison, shares her tips:


industry” 1 “Cross networking. I focus on

ation with h a good lig one, a tripod selfie ht source. stick and XX Plan w find a You can hat y get starte four or fi ou want to say. d fo r Y under $1 ve bullet o 00. points in u don’t need a fo XX Repurp r m a l s cr mind th at you w ipt, but h ose every ant to co ave thin segment ver. and uplo g you do. You c an ad e dit it dow

commercial real estate, so I attend as many residential events as I can for two reasons. One, it’s a huge referral opportunity for me, but I also learn so much about the residential side of the industry, which is very valuable when working with businesses who want to know where their customers live and how much they spend on their homes. Two, I also meet so many great resources for my clients when they are ready to buy a home.

r it to You Tube, co ecord your Faceb nvert it to oo ter video s for Insta XX Remem an audio k Live gram an podcast ber you’re d Twitte or us you post r. it on Yo ing Facebook Liv uTube, u e flatterin a s a mar se g screen shot as y a program such keting tool. Befo our ima r as Canv ge. a to crea e LEGAL Anyti me you ar te NOTE a e mar m LEGAL NOTE

n to shor

ention yo keting yo comply w ur complete com ur brokerage bu siness, yo ith all adve pa u must rtising law ny name and s.


involved in a BNI-type 2 Get group. Groups such as

3 STRATEGIES TO NEGOTIATE WITH CONFIDENCE Essentially, negotiation is an exchange of value. It isn’t something you do to someone; it’s something you do for and with someone. Therefore, it is vital that you work to understand people’s wants or needs before you make any attempt to negotiate. Real estate trainer Karel Murray, of, offers three strategies you can utilize to build your confidence as you negotiate: exactly what you wish to 1 Establish achieve through negotiation. Aim for the best-case scenario, because generally when you expect more, you typically get more. Set an optimistic, but justifiable target. best negotiators recognize the 2 The value and impact of having leverage in a negotiation scenario – having an advantage. The best way to achieve this

Business Network International (BNI) are everywhere and typically only allow one person into the group from each industry. I have found great value being involved in one of these groups. Not only have the referrals been great, but again, I am meeting so many resources that can be of value to my clients. And I always have some great takeaways following these luncheons.

is to gain as much information as you can before the negotiation by preparing supporting data, be clear on your client’s position and be ready to anticipate what the other side will do. Your focus should be on receiving information rather than giving it. forget you are dealing with 3 Never human beings who have emo-


am a huge proponent of 3 Igetting involved. Whether

tions, deeply held values, and different backgrounds and viewpoints. This means people are unpredictable, and so are you. People frequently confuse their perceptions with reality and tend to see what they want to see. Work to understand where the other party is coming from. Are you paying enough attention to the people problem? Your objective is to maintain a working relationship good enough to produce an acceptable agreement — if one is possible — given each side’s interests. LEGAL NOTE LEGAL NOTE

it’s through your local or state association, NAR or something you love to do such as animal rescue, get involved. Try your neighborhood group/chamber of commerce, church/synagogue, local Boy or Girl Scouts or coaching your kid’s team, etc. If you truly love it and find a passion, it will be the most fulfilling thing you do, and will become one of the greatest referral resources to boot!

Always remember to follow your client’s lawful direction when negotiating on their behalf.




r car. ® nd a lot of your day in you As a REALTOR you spe for y thl oo sm ce work more Make your ‘on-the-go” offi ALTOR® Sam Powell, a bro RE m fro s you with these tip m Tea Sam for k As the alty and ker with Dream Town Re uncil of as the 2016 Women’s Co ved ser ell Pow go. in Chica ® apter President. REALTORS Illinois Ch


dshield washer fluid. Water bottles filled with winkb oxes when you are

unfreeze frozen loc Store a few in your car to winter. showing properties in the

to-do list apps, will

or similar Todoist mobile app. This appbe, laser focused when you are


ks and help you prioritize your tas everything that is otely. Seriously, turn off rem or ce working in the offi se your social mene on do not disturb, clo a distraction. Put your pho us on your list on your computer and foc dia apps, close the text app Take control of ls. too engage in those other of MUST DO’s before you let it control you. your technology. Do not hnology a huge fan of choosing tec The right technology. I am me ch laptop -in 12 k oo , it’s my MacB le. For and never r that works for your lifesty rge cha ne AN Y traditional pho h wit it rge cha can I e becaus large batteries to outlet. Also having a few er pow a for k loo to e hav ures everything while working remotely ens charge all of my gadgets efficiently away is another key to working is always functioning and from the office. in 2016 t changes I implemented Zero Inbox. One of the bigges ha wit g emails ox every day by organizin was getting to a zero inb simple process: swipe phone with a simple left • DELETE all spam on my single ails to a to-do folder in a • MOVE all priority em short right swipe keep for inforemails that I just need to ity ior -pr non all VE MO • der with a long right swipe mation into a DONE fol n life changon my iPhone and it’s bee I use an app called Spark the day and focus inbox empty throughout ing. I am able to keep my office. It gives me time allows at my mobile on my to-do folder when tize them so I can incoming emails and priori peace of mind to see the had an amazing has It t. d to address firs nee I es issu ent urg the fy identi iety levels.  effect on lowering my anx to Slydial app for the ability Slydial. I can’t live without the mily/ s/fa end /fri nts into the voicemail of clie from ge deliver messages directly ssa me ed  upt err k to with an unint bac get to d nee I ho re rs w pee ns, but the are and text for communicatio me. I much prefer emails to sing a message requested — or if I want times when a voicemail is dial is my best picking up the phone. Sly to someone without them friend for that. nload phone allows me to dow m Postcard Apps. This app on my the d sen it to social media post and use I m. the ut an image from someone’s abo ing let them know I am think ne pho my an intentional touch and on s app ard ss and using postc erle pap ng bei on f sel eiv my pride those who rec e er, but still connect with pap ch tou not to me ws allo lly fun to make from me. Plus, they are rea the postcards in the mail and feel great to send!

3 IDEAS FOR GENERAT IN G LE ADS Looking for ways to connect with consumers and turn them into potential clients? Build business leads by becoming a trusted resource offering valuable and actionable information on the market and the home buying and selling process. Steve Harney, founder and chief content creator for Keeping Current Matters, at www., shares three ideas for building connections.


1. Focus your marketing materials on information they really need.


2. Find out what their fears are and address them. Rising inter-




Don’t send them mailers with cherry pie recipes; use market data to give them insight about what is happening in their local housing market.

est rates? Conventional wisdom would lead you to believe higher rates cause the market to slow, but it often has the opposite effect and prompts people to get off the fence and finally make a move.

3. Educate potential sellers about the equity they have in their homes. People are living in their homes longer and gaining equity as prices rise. Market to those homeowners about the benefits of moving up.


AL M ED IA DO N ’T M AK E TH ES E SO CI M IS TA KE S TH IS YE AR ul tool to reach Social media is a powerf sellers, but if you today’s home buyers and all your hard work aren’t using it effectively, ssage or make the won’t send the desired me that you want. ers sum connections with con ategist and CEO Katie Lance, social media str ww, coaches real g, at of Katie Lance Consultin . She shares smart about social media get to how on ® nts estate age make and RS TO dia mistakes REAL the four biggest social me offers tips to avoid them.

k Profile Mistake #1: Using your personal Faceboo

s. completely for businesnam r for e such as Jenny Smith Realto

Don’t try to use a profile vice. Follow inst Facebook’s rules of ser your personal page. It’s aga ts can be about t — 80 percent of your pos the 80/20 rule for conten percent can passions and the other 20 your hobbies, interests and by using tter ough your newsfeed clu be about business. Cut thr /or clients. and nds frie s to organize your Facebook’s free private list

your Mistake #2: Simply copying and pasting

listing informa-

tion from the MLS.

fact advertising listings on Facebook – in You can talk about your for your clients re osu ess Page is great exp sin Bu r you on s ing list r you don’t want to generator for you. But, you and it can be a great lead then put a Write a sentence or two and copy/paste from the MLS. re. mo out or where people can find link back to your website


e to do it all for yo , writing Mistake #3: Hiring someitoncom es to scheduling posts

en An assistant can help wh when it comes and creating graphics, but eos vid g tin edi , sts po blog one that the be uld sho ial media, you to the personal part of soc or reaches out them a private message – posts to their wall, sends sonal note by calling or sending a per and takes the online offline in the mail.

nt. Mistake #4: Not creating original conte to s is great, but if you want

news article Posting links to relevant create your social media, you need to to crush it when it comes Live video ok bo ace g, F gging, podcastin own content through blo ry of what it al content helps tell the sto or other formats. Origin from every , of how you are different feels like to work with you consistent ate cre who invest the time to agent in town. For agents ous. rm eno are s h month, the return content each week or eac LEGAL NOTE LEGAL NOTE

® ju ness, Heath er Oyler disco st getting started in the bu sivered an im helped shap portant key e her succes that s — connec tors who off ting with m ered profess enional advice and encoura gement. No w a broker with Keller Williams Pre mier Realty in Peoria an d a 2016 gra duate of the Illinois R EA LT ® Developmen ORS Leadership t Program, Oyler share some of her s tips for find ing a mento who is the ri r ght fit.

1. Choose som eone you can trust and that can be comple you tely honest w honest with ith. If you’re n them, th ot

en you won yourself and ’t be honest you’re not go with ing to grow ally. profession-

2. Find someo ne someone wh that you “gel” with. It o has could

a similar wo b whose perso rk style, som e nality mesh eo ne es with you who has sha rs, someone red life role s (a fellow w who underst orking mom ands jugglin g the work /f balance, for amily life example).

3. Don’t just fi nd a mentor. B e thoughtful a judicious with nd the process. T like an interv reat the sea ie rc

w so you ca challenges yo n find someo h ne who u, but is als o someone genuinely li whom you ke and will want to spen each week. d time with

4. Don’t assum e that the top producer in th company will e b e th e b est mentor fo might not h r ave the time y o u . They to dev and ote to mento their sales su ring ccess might set unrealist ca use new agen ic performa ts to nce expecta tions.

5. Mentors an d


aches aren’t ju Even experie st for newbies. nced R EA L TORS ® can having an o benefit from ngoing men tori industry. It can give you ng relationship in the som off of, find new ways to eone to bounce ideas solve proble keep you on ms and task.

® REALTOR Code of the Illinois license law and the te business. esta l When using social media, rea r you ing ard ing you do reg ia Med Ethics rules apply to everyth cial l/So To learn more, visit ww w.Il



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estate said real r e v e e n for those No o siness, but u b y s a e in was an top and lead ® who rise to the S n R e g O rds REALT ets, the rewa rk a m e iv ct e their resp nges that are igh any challe e tw u o r fa the curerally holds true in is h T . p u p o nbound to cr remain a fou ly e lik ill w d n a well. rent market, ture agents as fu r fo t n e m le dational e “To avoid being a casualty you need to not be near the bottom two quartiles,” says real estate trends expert Stefan Swanepoel. “As a matter of fact you should be in the top 20 percent of successful brokers and producing agents.” Swanepoel and the National Association of REALTORS® identify the key threats that agents and brokers are dealing with in the real estate industry with The Danger Report. The report offers a comprehensive look at the key issues that should be top of mind for REALTORS® over the next 3-5 years including: the proliferation of untrained agents in the field; increasing regulations and the need for compliance; downward pressure on commissions; and the possibility that home improvement retailers could expand into the residential real estate brokerage business. One way to offset those challenges is to be in the top 20 percent of agents in your market. It isn’t always easy, but the effort it takes to get there is worth it for your long-term livelihood. Here’s how to make it happen and be the best real estate agent on the block in 2017.


seven Ways to Get into the Top 20% To buck the trends outlined in the report and rise to the top requires a commitment to “do something better than your competitors can,” says Swanepoel. “Be the best listing agent, use technology exceptionally well, have the most unique brand awareness in the neighborhood, convert more online leads than anyone, and soon.” Here are seven more strategies you can start using in 2017 to get into (and stay in) the top 20 percent in your own market:

Turn threats into opportunities. While the threats outlined

in the report may sound scary, Swanepoel says it’s important to remember that the threat is not the danger in and of itself. In some cases, the threats outlined in the report can actually present opportunities for enterprising brokers and agents. If your market is saturated with uninitiated agents who don’t understand the business, for example, sign up for a few continuing education or certification courses and then prominently display those credentials on your website and marketing materials. “Make a plan and figure out how to use the momentum Swanepoel of change to implement something new,” Swanepoel says.

Focus on the relationship over the transaction. At Realty

Executives Elite in Lemont, Broker-Manager Christine Wilczek says her team puts an effort into building relationships over closing real estate transactions. “So many of our clients have become friends who have invited us to their weddings, birthday parties, and other events,” says Wilczek. She sees these bonds as a strong asset for her firm, which has been known to talk people out of buying a home that wasn’t the right fit, or show a buyer more than 150 properties to get to the perfect “fit.” By



looking past the transaction, Wilczek says her firm built a strong reputation in the market and an impressive referral pipeline. “People send referrals to us because they know that their friends, family, and colleagues will be taken care of,” she adds. “We’re not just selling houses here; we’re forming lifetime bonds.”

20 Issues that Should be on Your

Radar Screen

Transform yourself into a full-fledged real estate concierge. Everyone knows that real

estate agents and brokers specialize in helping others buy and sell properties. What happens when you add the “concierge” title to that menu? According to Wilczek, it helps you stand out from the crowd by becoming the “go to” resource for your buyers and sellers. “Our clients know that they can come to us with an real estate-related question,” says Wilczek, “whether it’s about home values, picking the right granite for a kitchen, or finding a reputable contractor in the area.” She says the brokerage retains a list of the “best providers for anything,” (i.e., appliances, carpeting, flooring, etc.) for anyone who needs it. “We’ve become a full-fledged real estate concierge for our clients.” According to Swanepoel, most brokers and agents look for magical solutions to their biggest challenges. These days, many are turning to technology for help—a strategy that finds many real estate professionals wasting precious time and dollars on the “next best thing,” only to have it fail to meet expectations. “REALTORS® will buy a product and roll it out quickly without even reading all of the manuals,” he says. “Then they wonder why it doesn’t work out.” To avoid this trap, Swanepoel tells agents to focus on the efficient and effective implementation of the technology, and not on the device, software, or application itself. Slow down, he advises, understand what you’re buying and why, figure out how it will enhance or support your business strategy, and then take the necessary time to fully implement it. “Stop looking for the quick fix,” Swanepoel adds, “and learn how to implement and maximize your investment.”

Stop hunting for technology’s “silver bullet.”

“To avoid being a casualty you need to not be near the bottom two quartiles. As a matter of fact you should be in the top 20 percent of successful



— Stefan Swanepoel 22


agents. ”

The DANGER Report, which is available online at, breaks down the key issues impacting agents, brokers, NAR, state and local associations, and the Multiple Listing Services. Looking specifically at the hurdles that agents and brokers are (or could be) facing, the 20 key issues are:

For agents • • • • • • • • • •

Masses of Marginal Agents Destroy Reputation Commissions Spiral Downward Agent Teams Threaten the Survival of Brokerages IRS Forces Exodus of Independent Contractors The Decline in the Relevancy of Agents The Agent-Centric Era Ends Housing Finance System Fails Commoditization of Residential Real Estate Commissions Concentrate into Fewer Hands The Agent is Removed from the Transaction

For brokers • • • • • • • • • •

Regulatory Tsunami Hits Paper Brokerages Cause Disruption Brokers Lose Control of Data A Consumer Brand Crashes the Party New Business Models Go Mainstream Brokers Simply Go Broke Technology Becomes a Runaway Train FSBO Develops into a Do-It-Yourself Model Sales Tax Threatens Margins Portals Leverage Lead Gen Dominance

What is the DANGER Report? The 164-page, 2015 report outlines the top 50 dangers and challenges facing the real estate industry in the coming years. Commissioned by NAR and its Strategic Thinking Advisory Committee, the DANGER Report was researched and written by industry expert Stefan Swanepoel. REALTORS® can download a free copy at

“Being a great agent means knowing yourself, and that takes a lot of introspection.” — Leslie Ebersole Deliver unsurpassed customer service, every time. It’s been 26 years since Angie Zahn got her

start in the real estate industry, and during that time she’s never wavered from two very important missions: delivering a high level of customer service and always treating clients with dignity. “It doesn’t matter if someone is buying a $20,000 property or a $200,000 home, I always listen to them and focus on their goals—not mine,” says Zahn, a managing broker at Strano and Associates Real Estate in New Baden. And while she does utilize new business technologies and purchases leads from large aggregators, Zahn says she nearly always reaches for the phone first. zahn “Nine out of 10 times I’ll call someone instead of sending an email because I’ve found that people really like the personal touch,” she says. “When you can connect with someone and show them that you care, the rest of the process just tends to fall into place.”

our Spit-shine y . online image

photos, blog posts, and other items that might “date” your site. “If you last posted a blog in 2014, then you shouldn’t be doing a blog,” says Geller. And don’t overlook your, Zillow, LinkedIn, and Trulia profiles—particularly if geller you’ve taken a “set it and forget” approach to these sites in the past. “When someone sees the accolade, ‘Top Producer in 2007,’ he or she is going to wonder what you’ve been doing over the last 10 years,” says Geller. She regularly updates her online content and profiles, and has even removed a few along the way. “I had a Pinterest account that wasn’t touched for 2-3 years, so I closed the account down,” says Geller. “That way, when someone sees my name, they don’t go to an account that I haven’t used in years.”

Pick a niche (or two) and stick with it. While Leslie

Ebersole, a broker-associate with BRIX Group at Baird & Warner in St. Charles, knows her own market, she also realizes that selling properties in Manhattan would not be her thing. “I could no more sell real estate there than fly to the moon,” admits Ebersole, who urges agents to explore and understand their own strengths. Then, use that information to pick one or two niches to specialize in. “Being a great agent means knowing yourself, and that takes a lot of introspection,” says Ebersole. “Where a lot of agents will have fun ebersole doing anything that’s real estate-related, the top licensees who know and understand their strengths can serve clients better because they’re not tripping over themselves at every step.”

Don’t Ignore the Realities “It really doesn’t matter how many listings you have anymore,” says Andrea Geller, broker associate with HOT PROPERTY® The Chaz Walters Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicago, “it’s about your online presence and how you look online.” In some cases, looking good online means removing old content,

As he looks around at the current state of the real estate industry and assesses the issues presented in the DANGER Report, Swanepoel says his biggest fear is that large chunks of the existing residential real estate brokerage business will simply ignore them and continue largely unchanged. “That is sad as this is the last window for brokers and agents to reform before numerous winds of change will redesign what we know today,” he said. About the writer: Bridget McCrea is a business, real estate and technology writer in Clearwater, Fla. She can be reached at



Organizations AIM TO INCREASE



By Bill Kozar Content Marketing Specialist


n Illinois, representatives of 42 conservation land trusts are working with parks, communities and government agencies to build on the 200,000 acres already set aside for conservation, largely using tools like conservation easements. Described as “voluntary legal agreements” between landowners and either conservation land trusts or government agencies, these easements prohibit land development to protect rare wildlife habitats or to preserve farmland. Landowners retain the right to own and use their land, sell it and pass it on to their heirs, according to the Land Trust Alliance website. Individual conservation land trusts monitor the permanent land use limits of conservation easements. “Since our founding in 1972, we have worked with — not against — the business community, the development community, municipal and county organizations, as well as other environmental groups,” says Dan Lobbes, director of land protection/ Kane County program director of The Conservation Foundation. “One of our previous board members used to say we are the ‘reasoned voice’ in conservation, so we don’t see a lot of opposition to the work that we do.” For decades, the easements have protected natural resources for Illinois communities, provided enduring legacies for families and allowed landowners tax savings. Although largely considered positive by farmers and outdoor enthusiasts, not everyone likes conservation easements, including some property owners who inherit land and don’t like the limitations the easements bring.

Understanding conservation land trusts and conservation easements The Conservation Foundation is a regional conservation land trust working to preserve land and water and protect wildlife habitats in DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties. Lobbes says his organization helps bring a unified voice that represents local, regional and state interests. It works closely with park districts, municipalities, township open space districts and forest preserve 24

“Since our founding in 1972, we have worked with — not against — the business community, the development community, municipal and county organizations, as well as other environmental groups,” — Dan Lobbes, The Conservation Foundation



districts. The Conservation Foundation was founded to help those organizations achieve their missions, so regular communications and cooperation is important. “Conservation easements in Illinois got their start in the 1970s, and while many were put in place in the 1980s and 1990s, there have been quite a number since then,” says Lobbes. “They slowed down a bit during the recession, as did everything else at that time. But last December, Congress passed a bill expanding some of the tax benefits a bit, so conservation easements are happening more often. “Conservation easements are meant to last forever, no matter who owns the land,” says Lobbes. “There are very few ways that an easement gets extinguished. They ‘run with the land.’” However, he says it’s useful to remember that a significant amount of the preserved land is unsuitable or difficult to develop. Although 200,000 acres sounds like a lot of territory, says Lobbes, it’s less than 1 percent of the state acreage. In 2016, his organization had one new conservation easement. Ray Brownfield, LandPro Managing Broker/Owner, and a chair of the REALTORS® Land Institute Land Education Foundation, says conservation easements don’t draw much media attention. He says they are not nearly as popular as they were in the 1980s and 1990s. The HeartLands Conservancy, a conservation land trust in the St. Louis Metro East area, has been taking on conservation easements ever since 2000, says Mary Vandevord, President and CEO of HeartLands Conservancy. The organization completed five in 2014 — its highest number — and finished its most recent in September 2016. The HeartLands Conservancy and the Conservation Foundation are two Illinois trusts that are part of the Prairie State Conservation Coalition, a nonprofit organization created to help land owners, communities and conservation land trusts. The PSCC provides a directory of its members on its website.

What’s not to like?

Conservation easements aren’t the only way property owners show their love for the land. In rural Illinois, where agriculture is king, REALTOR® Mac Boyd says the subject of conservation comes up frequently. Boyd “I specialize in agriculture and rural properties,” says Boyd, who works for Farmers National Company in Arcola. “Counties like to see green space, too. Most counties have resources set up to help land owners educate themselves about zoning, planning and



“Opposition sometimes comes when we’re turning over a piece of protected property to the government. Some people prefer limited government ownership of land.” — Mary Vandevord, HeartLands Conservancy land use so that wise decisions can be made. They do the best they can do.” Sometimes, relatives who inherit land with a conservation easement don’t like the specified land use and the lack of flexibility for land development, says Lobbes. Other objections can come a substantial period of time after the easement was created, says Boyd. For example, he cites a situation in Pennsylvania where farmers put their land in a conservation easement to protect themselves from urban development. But development continued all around them, caused road problems they didn’t anticipate and then they found it difficult to sell their land because of the easement. “Had they sold their land instead of creating the conservation easement, they would have been able to relocate and avoid the situation,” Boyd says. A third kind of objection has surfaced in the HeartLands Conservancy. “Opposition sometimes comes when we’re turning over a piece of protected property to the government,” says Vandevord. “Some people prefer limited government ownership of land. Others sometimes think we’re trying to stop growth and economic development, when we’re actually trying to encourage economic development in a way that provides a high quality of life and maintains the uniqueness and character of our region.”


A collaborative approach, Lobbes says, has been the key to The Conservation Foundation’s success. The foundation also offers educational and Conservation@home™ programs for members. The HeartLands Conservancy is involved in projects and initiatives that preserve open spaces, consider bicycle and pedestrian green spaces and explain the importance of comprehensive (or long-term) planning in southwestern Illinois.

MORE INFORMATION The Conservation Foundation The Prairie State Conservation Coalition (PSCC) The HeartLands Conservancy The Land Trust Alliance REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) Shawnee National Forest


Vandevord says the organization has a good relationship with most farmers, too. Although the southeastern part of Illinois doesn’t have a specific land trust organization to monitor activity, HeartLands Conservancy has stepped in to help. “We’ve been serving as the surrogate land trust for that area. For example, we’ve been working with the Shawnee National Forest lately to protect important properties adjacent to the forest,” she says. “These properties will eventually become a part of the national forest.”

Look ahead

When asked to consider the biggest challenges to land conservation in her region of the state, Vandevord says limited funding stymies land acquisitions, hinders stewardship of protected properties and prevents the state from supporting tax incentives for conservation easements. Also, the general public and elected officials aren’t aware of the importance of land conservation and they don’t understand conservation land trusts or conservation easements. More Illinoisans need to appreciate the natural resources available in some parts of the state, says Lobbes. As a result, residents must recognize the decline of these resources and provide funding to restore and maintain them.



By Rebecca Jensen President and CEO of Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) We consider ourselves to be your business partner. Your success is obviously very important to us. Therefore, we have processes in place to give you and your fellow MRED customers many ways to tell us how we can help you succeed (see my last Illinois REALTOR® column). It’s all about your success. From your input and our industry research, MRED implements products and system functionality that best compliments your business and your brokerages’ efforts to maximize your productivity. Here are some of the best tools MRED has to offer to help you succeed in 2017: Homesnap – Homesnap is MRED’s mobile app. For real estate professionals, it is very popular because it is so easy to use and has great functionality. MRED customers download the Homesnap Pro app from their phone’s app store, and use it to easily search for listings while on the go. Invite your clients to download the Homesnap app - it is branded to you, with no competing agents’ ads next to the search results. ShowingTime – It is now easier than ever to schedule and manage showings. ShowingTime for MLS now features two-way text messaging for showing requests and automatic voice-to-text phone notifications of showing requests. The new Calendar View allows agents, staff and managers to see appointments at a glance. Configurable showing feedback includes customizable questions, and Listing Activity Reports can be sent to your sellers to keep them informed. The latest update allows you to add your buyer to a showing for your personal reference only.

Private Listing Network (PLN) – The Private Listing Network is a separate database within connectMLS where you can place “mini drafts” of property info for listings you choose to share with other brokers BEFORE exposing them to the public. It’s a great way to pre-market properties not ready for the standard MLS system. connectMLS – Responsive Design – connectMLS has gone mobile! Responsive Design simply means that the appearance of connectMLS is tailored to whatever device you are viewing it on. The updated and modern look and feel includes bigger icons, cleaner navigation and intuitive menus. This is an ongoing process, so make sure to check MRED Communications often for further updates. SmartBar - This dynamic search bar allows you to search for active listings, clients, agents, and more, from anywhere within connectMLS. Realist – The best public records platform is integrated into connectMLS. Do you take full advantage of what it has to offer? Neighborhood reports, distressed property statistics through Market Trends, search by map, search by data fields including tax and ownership, foreclosure and property characteristics, prospecting tools, and more are included. Need to learn more about how to use these products and services? Want to refresh/sharpen up to get ready for 2017? MRED Training is still free, and can be delivered to you in a number of very convenient ways. Check out the Training tab on, or for more information contact our Help Desk at (630) 955-2755 or help.desk@ As always, MRED stands ready to provide great training assistance and award winning customer service to anyone who contacts us. Here’s to your success! ®

Midwest Real Estate Data

REinventing MLS

REALTOR® Scholarships $1,000 JAMES M. KINNEY SCHOLARSHIP For the children and grandchildren of REALTORS®, REALTOR® Associates, membersin-good-standing of the Illinois REALTORS®, or any child or grandchild of an employee of a local, state or national association of REALTORS® in Illinois. Deadline: April 1



For Illinois residents to pursue a college or university education in the field of Business, Law, Finance, or a graduate program in Business. Deadline: April 1

For Illinois residents who are United States veterans to pursue a college degree in the field of real estate or education in real estate administration. Deadline: April 1

ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIPS $500 AIREE GRANT FUND For the continuation and expansion of knowledge in the field of real estate instruction. Deadline: April 15

Deadline: April 1 $1,000 - Academic: For any accredited college or university in Illinois. $2,000 - Morgan L. Fitch: For students attending the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. $2,000 - Thomas F. Seay: For any accredited college or university in the United States.

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



WHY I INVEST “As a REALTOR®, I understand how decisions made by our state and federal government can positively or negatively impact our industry. Please continue to invest in RPAC to help elect more candidates who understand and support your business interests.”

All the tools available to Illinois REALTORS® _ RPAC, grassroots outreach and Independent Expenditures _ were used and were instrumental in REALTOR® Tony McCombie’s winning campaign against a two-term incumbent.

Tony McCombie REALTOR®, Mel Foster Co., Savanna State Representative 71st District, Illinois General Assembly* *Effective Jan. 11, 2017

RPAC always has your business interests in mind. 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 or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.

Mike Scobey | Assistant Director, Advocacy and Local Issues

EFFECTIVE REALTOR® INVOLVEMENT IN THE 2016 NOVEMBER ELECTION The Illinois REALTORS® and the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) were actively involved in the 2016 election cycle. We supported candidates throughout the state with direct RPAC contributions, as well as targeting candidates in tough battles with extra support through direct mail and other outreach efforts. RPAC also funded direct outreach efforts to members in the targeted districts to help “REALTOR® Champions”(state legislative and local candidates who support our positions on real estate issues). Like our direct contributions, this is a bipartisan program, which means we are supporting candidates in both the House and Senate and from both political parties. Another method for REALTORS® to support our champions is through our Independent Expenditure (IE) program, which enables us to communicate directly with likely voters about the candidates we support and the reasons to vote for them. This is dubbed an “Independent Expenditure” because it must be independent of the candidates’ campaigns. No coordination can take place. For the Nov. 8 General Election, we provided IE support to 12 candidates for the Illinois General Assembly and to five county candidates.

RESULT: All three referenda were DEFEATED! In every election cycle, we need YOU to make sure we elect candidates who’ll fight for pro-business, pro-property rights, low taxes and pro-growth agendas. We are already preparing to line up support for candidates in the April 4, 2017 municipal elections. Please be on the lookout for our efforts in the weeks to come.

RVOICE Brochures Debut with New Look, Easier Free Download The popular RVOICE brochures are being revised and are available in a new, easy-to-print downloadable format at Share updated information with your agents and your clients on: XX Carbon monoxide detectors XX Requirements for septic systems owners XX Buying a condominium XX How much mortgage can I afford? XX Understanding the cost of homeownership.

Independent Expenditure (IE) program mailers

Download at

RESULT: Our IE-supported candidates won in 14 of the 17 races, an 82 percent success rate. Local Referenda: Illinois REALTORS® also opposed three

Home Rule referendum in Yorkville (Kendall County), Auburn (Sangamon County) and Westville (Vermilion County) through direct mail, telephone calls and newspaper advertising, urging residents to vote NO.

New, revised RVOICE brochures



MARKET WATCH THE YEAR AHEAD Expect Illinois home sales and prices to continue the trend of moderate growth into 2017 even as the state’s economy, job growth and a decline in foreclosure sales affect the market, says Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois, in his 2017 Housing Forecast. An infographic (on page 31) breaks down the forecast for home sales and median prices for 2017 and you can download a PDF of the full forecast at Illinois REALTOR® talked to Hewings about some of the trends to watch this year.

Factors that could impact the market in 2017 Inventory – In Illinois and nationally, the supply of homes on the market has steadily fallen in recent years. At the height of the recession, Illinois had a 16- to 18-month supply of homes for sale, but by 2016, that had dropped to a two- to four-month supply, bringing it more in line with pre-recession levels. Homeowners may be hesitant to put their homes on the market for a number of reasons including: uncertainty about ongoing budget impasse issues in Springfield, apprehension from the unpleasant 2016 election campaigns and uncertainty about the incoming Trump administration and whether it will have a positive or negative effect on their lives, Hewings said. Rising rental prices – Rental prices are increasing, but not as much as three or four years ago. The trend could have an effect on whether more renters decide to become first-time homeowners. The Millennial generation and its student loan debt burden is one of ongoing interest. Will higher rental prices prompt them to become buyers? Interest rates – At the moment interest rates are historically low. If interest rates move up a fraction of a point, Hewings said he doesn’t think it would affect the market, but if rates climb one percent it could begin to have an impact. Inflation – Significant tax cuts could increase inflation, especially if recipients spend the additional funds on goods and services. But it’s important to note that tax cuts don’t automatically equate to increased consumer spending, Hewings said. Foreclosures – The number of foreclosures are down and that’s good news. There also has been an increase in the median prices of foreclosed properties. While the percentage of total sales that are foreclosures continues to decline, the good news is that the market is responding better than in 2006-07. The bad news is that the foreclosed inventory will take longer to reach pre-recession levels. Illinois REALTORS® can get a copy of the 2017 forecast at


WHAT OTHER ECONOMISTS ARE SAYING The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) forecasts U.S. existing-home sales to grow around 2 percent in 2017 with an even stronger market in 2018; median prices are expected to climb 4 percent. Gains could come from more Millennials getting ready to buy a home, increased household formation and an improving jobs market. “NAR surveys from both current renters and recent buyers prove that there’s an overwhelmingly strong desire among the younger generation to own a home of their own. The housing market over the next couple of years should get a big lift in demand from these new buyers. The one caveat is it’s essential that there’s enough new and existing supply at entry-level prices for them to reach the market. – Lawrence Yun, chief economist, NAR “The 40 basis points increase in rates in the days following the election has caused us to increase our interest rate prediction for next year. With more than 95 percent of first-time home buyers dependent on financing their home purchase, and a majority of first-time buyers reporting one or more financial challenges, the uptick we’ve already seen may price some first-timers out of the market.” – Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for “Depending on the incoming president’s policy priorities, our forecast for 2017 is subject to both upside and downside risks. For example, we expect near-term growth would get a boost from any tax cuts and spending increases that are made, but if new policies result in sharply higher tariffs on China and Mexico, rethinking the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, it would likely drag on growth.” – Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae “The decline in foreclosures is one of the drivers in the drop in vacancies, which is positive for homeowners and communities. Heading into 2017 we see that prices, performance and production – the three most important drivers of the real estate market – are all improving.” – Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic “We are projecting that home purchase originations will increase again in 2017, building on an estimated 10 percent increase in 2016. Strong household formation coupled with further job growth, rising wages, and continuing home price appreciation will drive growth in purchase originations in the coming years.“ – Mortgage Bankers Association (November 2016 Forecast Commentary)

“Rising mortgage rates are likely to slow down home price growth in the next few months. Mortgage rates have risen about half a percentage point since the election. The impact of rising rates is likely to be greater for home values in the higher end of the price range. Lower-priced homes are in short supply and high demand across most metro areas, so price growth is likely to stay strong even with the increase in borrowing costs.” –

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Illinois Housing Inven 2008 – present

00 Dec. 2008 107,4 28 Dec. 2009 100,2 0 Dec. 2010 99,53



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3 Dec. 2014 64,32 9 Dec. 2015 59,53 0 Nov. 2016 57,31

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ETHICS HEARINGS The Illinois REALTORSÂŽ Board of Directors approved publishing the results of ethics hearings throughout the state. These are the conclusions of ethics hearings and are not part of the Ethics Citation Program.

TIME PERIOD: April 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2016

Articles found by a Hearing Panel to have been violated and ratified by the Board of Directors

Discipline and fines imposed

Previous violation(s) in last three (3) years?

Complaint #1

Article 1

Letter of Warning and one continuing education course


Complaint #2

Articles 1 and 11

$3,000 fine and Letter of Reprimand


Complaint #3

Articles 1 and 2

$1,500 fine, one continuing education course and Letter of Warning


Complaint #4

Articles 1 and 8

$1,000 fine, one continuing education course and Letter of Reprimand


Complaint #5

Articles 1, 2 and 9

$2,000 fine, two continuing education courses and Letter of Warning


Complaint #6

Articles 1 and 4

$500 fine, one continuing education course and Letter of Reprimand


Complaint #7

Articles 1 and 4

$500 fine, one continuing education course and Letter of Reprimand


Complaint #8

Articles 1 and 4

One continuing education course and Letter of Reprimand


Complaint #9

Articles 1 and 4

One continuing education course and Letter of Reprimand


Complaint #10

Articles 1, 2 and 9

$1,000 fine, one continuing education course and Letter of Reprimand


Complaint #11

Article 1

Four continuing education courses


Complaint #12

Article 1 and 2

$1,000 fine and one continuing education course


Complaint #13

Article 3

$1,500 fine and one continuing education course


Complaint #14

Article 3

$2,500 fine, two continuing education courses, one ABR course and Letter of Warning


Complaint #15

Article 3

One continuing education course and Letter of Warning


Complaint #16

Article 3

$100 fine, one continuing education course and Letter of Reprimand


Complaint #17

Article 3

$1,000 fine, one continuing education course and Letter of Reprimand


Complaint #18

Article 3

$1,250 fine and one continuing education course


Complaint #19

Article 3

$1,500 fine, one continuing education course and Letter of Reprimand


Complaint #20

Article 3

$500 fine and Letter of Warning


Complaint #21

Article 12

$500 fine and one continuing education course


Complaint #22

Article 12

$250 fine and Letter of Warning


Complaint #23

Article 16

$5,500 fine


Complaint #24

Article 16

$250 fine and one continuing education course




Access to Properties

By Rebecca Carraher, Professional Standards Coordinator, Illinois REALTORS® The most common complaint being filed through the Illinois REALTORS® Ethics Citation Program involves REALTORS® gaining or giving unauthorized access to properties. These types of violations of the Code of Ethics are addressed in Article 1, Standard of Practice 1-16 and Article 3, Standard of Practice 3-9. Standard of Practice 1-16 states, “REALTORS® shall not access or use, or permit or enable others to access or use, listed or managed property on terms or conditions other than those authorized by the owner or seller.” Standard of Practice 3-9 states, “REALTORS® shall not provide access to listed property on terms other than those established by the owner or the listing broker.” XX Anyone that enters a listed property needs authority from the seller and the listing broker XX Even if a property is unoccupied, do not enter without authorization XX Follow the showing instructions to receive permission to enter the property XX Get authorization in writing, if possible

access to a lockbox, whether a member of the public or another broker, is a violation of lockbox rules XX Don’t remove keys from a lockbox and take them to the closing unless you have written permission and direction to do so

XX Retain a copy of the authorization to protect yourself if a complaint is filed

XX The fine through the Illinois REALTORS® Ethics Citation Program for unauthorized access is $1,000

XX Generally speaking, a buyer’s REALTOR® should not allow a buyer to enter a property unaccompanied XX Be responsible for everyone you allow to enter the property

XX For more information on the Illinois REALTORS® Ethics Citation Program go to

XX Follow the rules and regulations governing the use of the lockbox

XX Allowing any unauthorized user

At a Glance: Illinois REALTORS® Ethics Citation Program HOW IT WORKS: 1. If a filing is found to meet the program’s standards, a Citation Panel will review the case. If the Citation Panel believes a violation has occurred, a citation will be issued to the Respondent, along with a set fine. 2. The Respondent has the opportunity to pay the fine within 30 days or request a hearing before an Ethics Hearing Panel. Fines range from $250 to $1,000, depending on the nature and severity of the violation. 3. If a hearing is requested by the Respondent, the complaint will be sent to the Grievance Committee for review.

Ethics Citation Program brochure PDF version available for download at




REALTORS® assist with Habitat build in Florida While in Orlando, Illinois REALTORS® joined colleagues from around the country to volunteer at the REALTOR® Build Day for Habitat for Humanity. Illinois REALTORS® have a long tradition of helping with Habitat construction projects that assist deserving families to achieve the dream of homeownership. #REALTORSworkingwithHeart

HIGHLIGHTS FROM YPN NONCON’16 The Illinois Young Professionals Network (YPN) hosted a successful NonCon’16 event in Naperville in October. In a variety of breakout discussion groups, Illinois REALTORS® talked about the latest technology tools, business strategies, marketing trends and more.

ion innovat



REALTORS® Meet With Ecuadorian Consulate General Chicago REALTOR® Betty Milam (right) met with Carlos Lenin Housse Dávalos, consulate general for the Republic of Ecuador. The Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison Program aims to strengthen global real estate ties and now has more than 20 liaisons.

No structured program, no paid speakers. Just fresh content!

m brainstor


GRI Grad Held in East Peoria Illinois REALTORS® reunited, reconnected and reenergized at the Graduate, REALTOR® Institute Grad course in East Peoria on Nov. 30 – Dec. 1. The event featured a panel discussion of top producers and sessions on technology, business strategies and legal issues.

REALTORS® ATTEND NAR CONFERENCE IN ORLANDO More than 240 Illinois REALTORS® attended NAR’s REALTOR® Conference & Expo in Orlando in November and at least 73 of the state association’s members have been appointed to help guide NAR on committees and in other leadership roles.

Photo credit: Matt Difanis


Five honored with Presidential Medallions Congratulations to five Illinois REALTORS® who were honored for their service to the association and industry with presidential medallions from 2016 Illinois REALTORS® President Mike Drews.

Pam Krieter, Retired CEO Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®

Lynn Madison,

Ed Neaves,

Lynn Madison Seminars Schaumburg

Berkshire Hathaway Snyder Real Estate Bloomington


Vicky Sampah, REALTOR®

The Abri Group, LLC Plainfield


Steve Volkodav,

Illinois REALTORS® are industry leaders Around the state and nationally, Illinois REALTORS® step up and take on leadership roles to serve the real estate industry. Their commitment was evident at the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando, where they were recognized for their work or appointed to new roles. Catherine Terpstra, president of the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®, earned the SRES Outstanding Service Award. Rebecca Thomson, president-elect of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, was named Region 2 Vice President for the Women’s Rebecca Thomson Council of REALTORS ®.

Carrie BeyLittle, Illinois Women’s Council president and a member of the Mainstreet Carrie Bey-Little Organization of REALTORS® Board of Directors, was named to the Women’s Council of REALTORS ® Executive Committee.

The following Illinois REALTORS® were appointed to serve in leadership capacities for NAR:

CEO, North ShoreBarrington Association of REALTORS®

Three Rivers donates to local Boys and Girls Club In October, the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® donated $1,000 to the George Werden Buck Boys and Girls Club of Joliet, a nonprofit organization that helps more than 1,000 children annually. Supporting Boys and Girls Clubs was a national NAR initiative in 2016.

Mabél Guzmán

NAR Vice President

Genie Birch

Chair, Diversity Comm.

Michael Oldenettel

Chair, Risk Management Issues Comm.

Patrick Dalessandro NAR Regional Vice President

Jim Haisler

Deena Zimmerman

NAR Commercial Liaison

John C. Kmiecik

Chair, AEC-RCE Certification Chair, Federal Technology Policy Advisory Bd. Advisory Bd.; Vice Chair, Business Issues Policy Comm.

Karen Robertson

Alex Ruggieri

Vice Chair, Medium Board Forum

Chair, Commercial Leadership Forum

Zeke Morris

Vice Chair, Large State Forum

Rebecca Thomson Chair, Meeting and Conference Comm.

Association Executives Bell and Frazier Earn RCE Designations

Congratulations to Luke Bell, executive vice president of Illinois REALTORS® and Deb Frazier, CEO of the REALTOR® Association of Southwestern Illinois, for earning the REALTOR® Association Certified Executive designation. Frazier




Illinois REALTOR® January 2017  

Illinois REALTOR® magazine gives you the tips you need to make 2017 your best ever. We've asked REALTORS® throughout the state about what ti...

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