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® REALTOR REPORT

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| www.stlrealtors.com spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

| Spring 2017 - Volume 13 - Number 2


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REALTOR® REPORT

IN THIS ISSUE

St. Louis

REALTORS

®

6

ST. LOUIS REALTORS® GIVE BACK

17

BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR

7

REBUILD DAY 2017

18

TRUE AMERICAN HERO

11

LOVE STORY

19

YPN

15

ADVOCACY IN REAL ESTATE

20

TALE OF TWO CITIES

16

DOWN PAYMENT RESOURCE

22

NEW STLREALTORS.COM

3

Introducing the St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation

Changing the lives of three neighbors in need

St. Louis’ romantic history

Uniting under a common goal

Tap in to this excellent service

spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

Meet one of the best neighbors we know

Meet USA Marine Corp Veteran Anthony Smith

Gets involved

Revitalizing a neighborhood

Get connected


ST. LOUIS REALTORS® STAFF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT

John R. Gormley, RCE, CAE, CIPS Chief Executive Officer jgormley@stlrealtors.com | 314.576.0033

2017 BOARD OF DIRECTORS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Barry Upchurch, President Marc Levinson, President Elect Bob Bax, Vice President/Treasurer Sue Middendorf, Secretary Luan Meredith, Member-at-Large Sandy Hancock, Immediate Past President James Delgado, Commercial Division President John R. Gormley, Chief Executive Officer

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® DIRECTORS

LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT Martina Johnson, Government Affairs Director mjohnson@stlrealtors.com | Direct Line: 314.590.2309

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Karen Dunn, Director of Professional Development & Project Management kdunn@stlrealtors.com | Direct Line: 314.590.2312 Monica Wilson, Professional Development Coordinator mwilson@stlrealtors.com | Direct Line: 314.275.7888

Barry Upchurch, President Sandy Hancock, Immediate Past President Carole McCabe, Large Firm Representative Bruce Aydt, Distinguished Service Award Janet Judd, Director

Jessica Prater, Professional Development Specialist jprater@stlrealtors.com | 314.275.7888

REALTOR® DIRECTORS:

PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS

Jeff Bosch Gail Brown Jill Butler Mike Hejna Ricky Hopkins Angie Ignatowski Barb Keathley Tom Kennedy Suzi Mattus Rhonda Overberg Michelle Syberg John Powel Walsh

REALTOR® ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS: Randy Alaniz Katherine Berry Sean Wiegert

Jesse Solis, Member Services Coordinator jsolis@stlrealtors.com | 314.576.0033

Tracey D. Yost, Director of Professional Standards/Contracts & Forms Liaison tyost@stlrealtors.com | Direct Line: 314.590.2305

MEMBERSHIP AND FINANCE Rick Capelli, Chief Financial Officer rcapelli@stlrealtors.com | Direct Line: 314.590.2313 Katie Benz, REALTOR® Shoppe/Membership Specialist kbenz@stlrealtors.com | 314.576.0033 ext. 320 Emily Whitlock, Lead Member Specialist ewhitlock@stlrealtors.com | 314.576.0033 ext. 339 Monica Alsup, SUPRA Administrator malsup@stlrealtors.com | 314.576.0033 ext. 315 Jessica Perez, Finance & Member Services Assistant jperez@stlrealtors.com | 314.576.0033 ext. 314

AFFILIATE DIRECTOR Kay Nuernberger

MID AMERICA REGIONAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS (MARIS) Paul Prince, President pprince@marisnet.com David Price, Senior Vice President & Systems Manager dprice@marisnet.com Denise Bielicke, Vice President Operations dbielicke@marisnet.com Katie Otto, Vice President Member Services kotto@marisnet.com Jason A. Darrough, Support Manager jdarroug@marisnet.com Brad Whitrock, Support Specialist bwhitrock@marisnet.com

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Carroll Morrow, Membership Coordinator cmorrow@marisnet.com

MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS & PUBLIC RELATIONS Candice Coleman, Director of Marketing & Communications ccoleman@stlrealtors.com | 314.576.0033 ext. 317 Laura Borders, Graphic Designer lborders@stlrealtors.com | 314.576.0033 ext. 301

Tabitha McDuffie, Accounting Coordinator tmcduffie@marisnet.com

Jake Niehaus, Content Specialist jniehaus@stlrealtors.com | 314.590.2312

Randi Marie Penny, Member Services Coordinator rmpenny@marisnet.com

COMMERCIAL DIVISION

Debi Peel, Compliance & Membership Coordinator dpeel@marisnet.com Sarah Nadler, Marketing & Communications Specialist snadler@marisnet.com

Margo Colestock, Director of Commercial Services & Events mcolestock@stlrealtors.com| 314.576.0033 ext. 309 Brandy Biggs, Administrative Assistant Commercial bbiggs@stlrealtors.com| 314.576.0033 ext. 306 For advertising information or to submit articles for consideration in the REALTOR® Report, please contact the Marketing Department at communications@ stlrealtors.com or 314.576.0033.


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ST. LOUIS REALTORS® FOUNDATION

$1000 - Homemaker

Giving Levels

5 $750- Key Holder

4 $500 - Roof Raiser

3 $250 - Wall Stud

St. Louis

2 $100- Foundation Friend

REALTORS®

1

FOUNDATION

the american dream for all

$25 - Next Door Neighbor

ST. LOUIS REALTORS® GIVE BACK STORY BY: JOHN GORMLEY

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in a big way through ‘new’ Foundation

HAF, REALTORS® Housing Assistance Fund, is now St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation. It’s still a 501(c)(3) charity. And 100 percent of your donation is still tax-deductible. So why the name change, you may ask? “The Foundation has a nice ring to it,” says St. Louis REALTORS® President Barry Upchurch. “It’s partly a branding thing, leveraging our new St. Louis REALTORS® name. But it’s more than that, much more.” In recent years, RHAF had been issuing relatively small checks (typically several hundred dollars each) to a variety of causes – some not housing-related. But Upchurch explains that association leaders wanted to align the charitable arm with organizations that have compatible missions. “Rather than reinventing the wheel or duplicating efforts, it made sense to support organizations that have goals and philosophies similar to ours.” Some of those include Rebuilding Together, Community Builders Network (CBN), St. Louis Association of Community Organizations

(SLACO) and InvestSTL. All have a strong housing component, with the desire to revitalize entire neighborhoods across St. Louis. “RHAF has done a lot over the years to help people in need, and we owe a debt of gratitute to Ellen O’Brien, and others, for their vision and dedication to get it to where it is today. We hope the St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation will build on that legacy, exponentially,” Upchurch added. This year, St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation has already donated $50,000 to Rebuilding Together, renovating three homes in Old North and the Grove, and building a pocket park down the street from Crown Candy Kitchen. But it’s not just about the money – it’s also about boots on the ground. “We had more than 100 members sign up for our second-annual Rebuild Day with Rebuilding Together on May 6,” Upchurch says. “And we had plenty of folks sign up May 24 to help build our pocket park, a project partially funded by a smart growth grant from the National Association of REALTORS®. Whenever and wherever there’s a need, our St. Louis REALTORS® roll up their sleeves

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and get it done.” Chelsea Vonder Haar is this year’s chairman of St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation. Edwina Conley is vice chair. Candice Coleman is the staff liaison. A big fundraising event is planned for the Foundation in September. The Mustache Dash 5k Fun Run & Walk will be September 9 at Carondolet Park. For more information on the Foundation or the Mustache Dash, visit stlrealtors.com. If you would like to donate by check, please send to: St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation attn: Rick Capelli 12777 Olive Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63141

Mission

To engage in philanthropic and community activities, positioning the foundation as a viable and visible contributor to St. Louis’ quality of life.

Vision

To make the AMERICAN DREAM possible for ALL in Greater St. Louis.

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PHOTO BY LAURA FEASLINE-BORDERS

BUILDING A BETTER ST. LOUIS STORY BY: CHELSEA VONDER HAAR

O

n May 6, St. Louis REALTORS® participated in our second annual Rebuild Day. We partnered with a fantastic charity, Rebuilding Together St. Louis, to help three elderly St. Louis homeowners in desperate need of home repairs. We were assigned two houses in the Old North neighborhood and one in the Grove. Critical repairs were needed to make these homes livable again. We added hand rails, installed new windows, patched up interior and exterior holes, installed new flooring; the list goes on and on. The purpose of Rebuild Day was simple – we would show up and help with needed

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One Block At A Time

repairs. However, you can’t involve St. Louis REALTORS® and expect to get the bare minimum. Our members go above and beyond the call of duty. Every volunteer immediately got to work, all with a smile, and without a single complaint. Everyone pitched in to do backbreaking work, while getting covered in paint, dirt and dust. Several of our volunteers took the time to speak to one of the homeowners, Luevenia. They wanted to make sure she was satisfied with all the repairs. The volunteers at one house ended up finishing their work early – but instead of going home, they went over to another house to pitch in! As I observed all the work being done at all

the houses, I was struck by just how much St. Louis REALTORS® truly care about their community. They want to make St. Louis a better place to live, and they’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. Rebuild Day, along with several other charitable events coming up this year, is made possible by the St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation. As the 2017 chair of the Foundation, I am so proud of the work we’re doing to improve our community. We believe in making the American Dream possible for ALL St. Louisans and we’re always striving to achieve this goal. On Rebuild Day we donated a grand total of $50,000 to Rebuilding Together – $30,000


to repair the homes and an additional $20,000 to build a pocket park in Old North. This park is an amazing addition to the neighborhood. It has beautiful landscaping, with oversized checkers and tic-tac-toe boards for the children. The community is thoroughly enjoying their new park. Community involvement is just one aspect of our plans for the St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation this year. Another goal is to raise awareness about our Foundation, so we can raise more funds to help the St. Louis community even more in 2018. This year, we’re doing just that by hosting a 5k Fun Run & Walk! The St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation’s,“Mustache Dash” will take place on September 9 in Carondelet Park. Not only will we have some fun surprises that correspond to our theme, we’ll also have plenty of drinks, snacks and awards for all the participants at this family friendly event! This race is open to the public, so please bring your family and friends and have fun while helping a great cause! If you can’t already tell, I am incredibly proud of the work we’re doing at the St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation. We are very fortunate to have so many REALTORS® and Affiliates who want to help us make a difference in the St. Louis community. If you haven’t joined us yet, I highly encourage you to get involved or consider donating to our wonderful cause. You’ll leave knowing that you truly made a difference in the St. Louis community and that’s an incredible feeling.

PHOTOS BY: LAURA FEASLINE-BORDERS

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PHOTOS BY: LAURA FEASLINE-BORDERS


PHOTOS BY LAWRENCE BRYANT

10 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com


ST. LOUIS

STORY BY: BARRY UPCHURCH

I

A Love Story

am going to tell you about a love story that rivals the Verona family feud of the Capulet and Montague households in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and reveals the benevolence of St. Louis.

son Auguste and set out north toward the French settlement of Ste. Genevieve. There he established a new frontier trading post in the Upper Louisiana Territory, and, once established, he sent for Marie and their children.

who eventually became residents. It didn’t take long for Pierre to send for the love of his life and their children to oversee the growth and success of a city with no laws, no noblemen and no charter. Imagine that – John Lennon would have been proud.

St. Louis was founded by Pierre Laclede, a nobleman’s son from France, who made his way to St. Louis via the French creole town of New Orleans. It was there that Pierre came across his Juliet, Marie Therese. Marie’s father died when she was six, and while her mother remarried, Marie was married off to the villain of the story, Rene Auguste Chouteau. Choteau was a “ne’er-do-well” son of a respected French family, who became a notorious tavern owner embroiled in petty lawsuits, libels against competing merchants, and he was a wife beater to boot. True to Rene’s character, he abandoned Marie when she was pregnant and returned to France, leaving her to raise their only son, Auguste Chouteau, the future “first citizen” of St. Louis. Pierre, our Romeo, came across beautiful, but destitute Marie – with a new child and no husband – in the French Louisiana Territorial Capital. Eventually, Pierre and Marie fell madly in love and had four children. Unfortunately, religious rule forbade Marie’s divorce, despite her cruel husband’s abandonment. Stuck in this tragedy, and not knowing when – or if – Rene might return and break up their melded family, Pierre decided to take his now informally adopted, but beloved, step-

Twenty miles south of the marshy confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, Pierre and Auguste discovered a gradual bluff at a bend in the river with good portage and visibility to the west.

The story quickly developed twists and turns. The villain Rene eventually reappeared in New Orleans, seeking to reclaim his wife after many years of neglect; France abandoned the Louisiana territory to Spain; and the French lost French Canada to the British, concerning everyone that the British might be coming. I don’t want to ruin the end of the story or the movie, but I will say that Rene got what he deserved and Pierre and Marie ended up with their “happily ever after.”

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Pierre christened the site St. Louis, in honor of his French King, whose patron saint was King Louis IX. Louis IX is the only French King to be canonized as a saint for his benevolence to the poor, infirmed and elderly. He ushered in the “Golden Century of Saint Louis” for France – not because of his military exploits, but because of his charitable persona and deeds. Pierre gave Auguste, now 14-years-old, the responsibility of overseeing 30 men and the honor of breaking ground on our new city. But the story does not end there. Despite the fact Pierre only had a charter to start a trading post, he quickly made peace with the local Osage Indians and became revered as an honest trading partner, guaranteeing the commercial success of the city. St. Louis began to attract a congregation of hardworking Spanish, French, African, American Indian and colonial Americans,

As for the city of St. Louis and its citizens, the story is not over. Other heroes and villains showed up. St. Louis became the epicenter of debate for a young nation in the Dred Scott decision. Brothers fought and killed brothers in a war that was anything but civil, placing St. Louis smack dab in the middle of the Civil War, as a border city in a border state. The great divide of 1876 split the city from the county, each in search of its own fortune. If only the citizens had taken a cue from Pierre’s diplomacy, they might have been better off – together – like the white settlers and the Osage. The great Delmar Divide, Pruitt and Igoe, Shelley vs. Kraemer, Michael Brown, Darryl Wilson and


Ferguson segregated our city. What lessons can we learn from these stories and what new twists are ahead? Think back on Marie’s storyline pre-Pierre. For all intents and purposes it certainly looked bleak. But in the end, they got their happy ending because good can triumph over evil when selfless people are willing to step forward. Like Pierre.

under the Equal Protection Clause, which was the catalyst for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule against restrictive covenants in the Shelley vs. Kraemer case. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that St. Louis has been at the center of debate over contentious issues. Therefore, it should be incumbent upon us to lead the way. After all, we are America’s HEARTland.

So what does this have to do with the St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation? Everything. Our name sake, Louis IX, was all about benevolence. It is in our DNA, it is our pedigree. That is why St. Louis is one of the most charitable cities in America. We are descendants of men and women like Pierre, Marie, Auguste Chouteau and countless others who were raised to look after each other, to get along with each other and to dig in and work hard for the common good. That’s the St. Louis way.

It is in the protection of the innocent, in which civilizations are formed and thrive. “With malice toward none. With charity for all.” These are the words of a famous American President, tragically assassinated, on the brink of what could have been a peaceful reconstruction of our civilization after a bloody division. No line in the sand, no boundary, no divide, nor villain can confuse good with evil when enough people say, enough is enough. The time is now to forge a new frontier for all, because the American Dream can be a reality for all.

One last, but certainly not least, part to the story comes back to Louis IX. He was responsible for bringing the concept of Presumption of Innocence to the laws of France, and, for that matter, the entire world. It was folded in to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11. And our Constitution’s fifth, sixth and 14th Amendments. It was the 14th Amendment,

Imagine all the people living at the confluence of peace and harmony – that is what Pierre, Marie and Auguste founded St. Louis upon and that is what the St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation is all about. That is our birthright.

12 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com


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Position yourself in the market to reach your future clients.

Stick out from the crowd. Advertise with us. 314-621-6666 | homes@post-dispatch.com

14 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

STLtoday.com/homes


ADVOCACY IN REAL ESTATE

P

STORY BY: MARTINA JOHNSON

olitics is all around us. From yard signs in your neighborhood, to news updates on television, to the Facebook statuses of your family and friends, it seems that nowadays one cannot escape the ever present politics that divide our nation. While this may be annoying, or invigorating to all the politicos out there, REALTORS® need to be aware that as long as politics exists, so does the need for advocacy. Advocacy is when REALTORS® unite under a common goal to protect and advance the real estate industry. While we all have our personal political affiliations, whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Green Party, we are all members of all the bi-partisan REALTOR® Party. The REALTOR® Party is a strong force in the state of Missouri, with the grassroots power of 20,000 members. As a group, the advocacy efforts of the REALTOR® Party help influence local elections and keeps elected officials educated on how proposed legislation could affect the real estate industry. St. Louis REALTORS® has its own political action committee, where a committee of members decides which local and state candidates to support. Money raised through the REALTORS® Political Action Committee, or RPAC, also goes toward helping St. Louis REALTORS® members achieve

15 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

United Under A Common Goal

their political aspirations. The association applied for four independent expenditure campaigns this past spring, for four REALTORS® who are making a difference in their communities. Recently, St. Louis REALTOR® and Keller Williams agent Josh Voyles used the help of REALTOR® Party campaign services to win a successful bid for Mayor of Fenton. Congratulations Josh! All REALTORS® who are thinking about one day running for office are encouraged to attend our St. Louis REALTORS® free candidate training program coming up this fall. In addition to being active in political campaigns, the association employs lobbyists at the municipal, county, state and federal levels of government to advocate on behalf of homeowners and the real estate industry. These professionals monitor for legislation that could harm REALTORS® and act, when necessary, to halt or alter drafted legislation. Government Affairs staff is directed by the Advocacy Committee, which reviews legislation and determines the policy position of the association. This in-depth committee structure ensures that members are able to voice their opinions and participate in the legislative process. By simply being a member of St. Louis REALTORS®, all of our advocacy resources are

working behind the scenes on your behalf, every day. But there are ways to further get involved to make a bigger impact on the decisions that shape the real estate industry and the future of St. Louis. By volunteering to serve on the St. Louis REALTORS® Political Action Committee (SLARPAC) or Advocacy Committee, you can become directly involved in future advocacy efforts of the association. There is also a way to participate that requires even less of your time. Investing money into RPAC is the best way to ensure that the REALTOR® Party remains a powerful voice in government and allows the association to support ballot initiatives and candidates that will benefit our members. Every REALTOR® should invest a minimum of $25 into RPAC, whether you’ve been an agent for 30 years or three months. Politics is never going to go away, and neither are threats to your ability to make money selling real estate. By investing in RPAC and serving on association committees, you can ensure that the powerful advocacy of the REALTOR® Party will be around to protect REALTORS® and homeowners, for many years to come.


DOWN PAYMENT

Resource

STORY BY: SANDY HANCOCK

R

EALTORS® work every day to help hopeful buyers find the perfect home for themselves and their families. Many buyers would not be able to work through the labyrinth required to reach the dream of homeownership. It’s the REALTOR® who understands the contract, negotiations, financing, inspections, title, surveys … and even the latest paint colors! Perhaps the hardest part of purchasing a home is saving for a down payment and securing a loan. Luckily, there are dozens of down payment assistance programs available in Missouri right now, but most people do not know where to find them, and, in some cases, have no idea they even exist. Down Payment Resource can help! It keeps track of local, state and national programs and monitors the programs for changes and updates. DPR is a free resource provided by MARIS that flags each property that is eligible for special programs that may help your buyer get into a home. DPR is a buyer tool. When you set up a buyer search in the client portal, each listing will be flagged if there is a possible program match. This lets the buyers know what down payment assistance is available prior to looking at the home. It’s a great feature that our MLS provides that is not available on other public searches such as Zillow. DPR is a listing tool. You can input your upcoming listings on the DPR website

to determine the programs available for that home. It’s great information to include in Agent Remarks. DPR is a lead generation tool. You can help buyers get registered to find out about different programs and generate leads to increase your business. DPR is a marketing tool. Customizable down payment assistance fliers are available for your open houses that encourage potential buyers to find out about DPR programs. DPR is a social media tool. You can post links for buyers to connect and get prequalified for DPR programs. DRP is a website tool. Use your own URL to direct potential buyers to the DPR to get qualified and saved as a lead in your free account. This is a wonderful tool to increase business and help more people purchase homes. With Down Payment Resource, both you and the buyers win! As a REALTOR®, you are in the unique position of having both the knowledge and resources available to make homeownership available. Click on the Down Payment Resource link on the MARIS home page to get all the details.

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The knowledge and experience to handle the most difficult closing situations.

The convenience you need with 10 branch and satellite offices.

The owner’s title insurance policy issued at the closing table.

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16 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com


PHOTO BY LAURA FEASLINE-BORDERS

BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR STORY BY: EDWINA CONLEY

B

REALTORS® Housing Assistance Fund (RHAF) to help the homeless. She was never shy about promoting RHAF, in both private sectors and governmental entities. Many members saw the value of the fund and have been committed to the cause for many years.

At the Missouri REALTORS®’ January 2017 meetings, this St. Louis REALTORS® member was recognized as the recipient of the Missouri Good Neighbor Award. In addition to the recognition, the Foundation received $2,500 and the members present contributed matching donations.

Recently, RHAF made the decision to establish a Foundation, within the charity, to work with community partners to assist with rebuilding homes in communities that are attempting to stabilize.

For 28 years, Ellen has personally volunteered her time and donated financially to support a dream that has enabled many families to have homes to call their own.

Eventually, she chose real estate as a profession. This choice opened additional opportunities to not only assist families with obtaining the American Dream of homeownership, it opened doors to establish organizations that distributed funds to assist homeless individuals and families, children with special needs and to stabilize neighborhoods.

In 2016, St. Louis’ REALTORS® Foundation sponsored three homes that qualified for Rebuilding Together’s Rebuild Day in Pagedale. On a very rainy Saturday, more than 100 REALTORS® volunteered to work. No one saw the rain – they worked hard and shared the joy of helping citizens who were very appreciative of making their homes whole again.

Never underestimate your dream. It can make a difference in the lives of individuals you may never know personally.

Being a REALTOR® allowed her to expand her leadership skills and, in turn, serve St. Louis REALTORS® in various positions. She was elected to serve as president in 1989.

The Foundation continued the partnership with Rebuilding Together in 2017 by donating $30,000 to repair the homes of three neighbors in need in Old North and the Grove. In addition, the Foundation donated an additional $20,000 to Rebuilding Together St. Louis to build a pocket park in Old North.

E A GOOD NEIGHBOR. A young girl growing up in Kirkwood never saw this as a defined mission. This was a way of life for Ellen O’Brien and her family.

Growing up in a large family with a philosophy of giving, regardless of financial status, sharing was the norm for Ellen, not the exception. This lesson remained a guiding light throughout her life, as she passed forward the importance of being a good neighbor.

This little lady with a big dream had a vision to give value to regional communities. She founded the

17 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

Ellen O’Brien had a vision – she has made a difference in the lives of citizens who might have needed a little help to make their lives better. She made it possible for REALTORS® to give of themselves and to make a difference. We owe Ellen O’Brien a debt of gratitude. She made it possible for all of us to be A GOOD NEIGHBOR.


d e t i n U ates St e Corp n i r Ma

8 9 8 7 9 1

Anthony Smith, Master Sergeant United States Marine Corp Retired

TRUE AMERICAN HERO STORY BY: KAREN DUNN

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e have a true American hero within the ranks of our membership -– and his name is Anthony Smith. In his quiet, unassuming manor, Anthony has made his mark on the world in ways big and small. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corp in 1978 and served his country for more than 20 years, in Operation Desert Shield and on the Enterprise CVN 65E in the Persian Gulf enforcing the “no fly-zone.” Mr. Smith retired from the Marine Corps as a Master Sergeant and went straight to work helping his fellow veterans at Veterans Affairs St. Louis, as a Veterans Benefits Representative and Veterans Triage Agent. Mr. Smith first came to my attention when he attended the Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Designation in early 2014, and helped launched the MRP Alumni Group, later renamed the Military and Veterans Outreach Alliance. The bonds that were formed within that class have lasted and have been sustained through a shared purpose and determination to help local veterans and the military. For many years, Mr. Smith has been volunteering his time and efforts to the Missouri Veterans Home in North County. With the help of members Rick Champ, Bryan Bergjans and Kevin Gibbs, he was able to unite the MRP alumni to plan and host an annual Christmas party for the veteran residents, as well as a lively and well-attended monthly bingo game where residents can win up to $50 a game! These moments are treasured because 65 percent of the residents do not receive visitors because they are alone or too far away from family. They look forward to the monthly visits and a chance to add a little cash to their commissary account for treats or essentials.

18 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

USA Marine Corp Veteran

In October 2016, Anthony Smith became the first president of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP) St. Louis chapter. Established in 2011, the USA Homeownership Foundation, Inc., doing business as the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP), is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization dedicated to increasing sustainable homeownership, financial-literacy education, VA loan awareness and economic opportunity for the activemilitary and veteran communities. In partnership with St. Louis REALTORS® and (St. Charles REALTORS®), outreach includes VAREP hosting a minimum of four “Lunch & Learns” per year for members to get more information on how to better serve our veteran and military demographics; an annual Veterans Housing Summit with like-minded entities; and two fundraisers that will benefit veterans under financial stress, in danger of losing their homes or in need of home repair assistance. VAREP and its members represent and work within all sectors of real estate, housing and financial-services industries. VAREP MISSION Increase sustainable homeownership, financial-literacy education, VA loan awareness and economic opportunity for the active-military and veteran communities. VAREP ACCOMPLISHES ITS MISSION THROUGH

A FIVE-POINT PLAN 1.

Homeownership Advocacy. Advocate nationally, developing programs that reduce barriers to homeownership in the military and veteran communities.

2.

Community Outreach. Foster responsible homeownership in the military and veteran communities by providing housing education through “live” and online courses, on such topics as foreclosure prevention, financial literacy and understanding credit – pre and post-purchase.

3.

Professional Membership. Provide a place where real estate and financial service professionals can share ideas, get educated and be empowered to better serve the real estate needs of service members, veterans and their families. Nonmilitary members are welcome.

4.

Veteran Job Creation. Collaborate with organizations in the financial service sector to support veteran employment and help implement legislation.

5.

Affordable Housing. Provide affordable homebuying opportunities for veterans and service members who have gone through VAREP’s homeownership education and counseling services.

You can join VAREP via this link: varep.net/stlouischapter. You may also attend one of its upcoming events, such as VAREP Trivia Night, to help raise funds and learn more about the organization. Thank you for your service Anthony Smith and thank you to ALL our veteran members – we value and honor you for all you have done and all you have sacrificed.


PHOTO BY LAWRENCE BRYANT

ST. LOUIS REALTORS® YPN STORY BY: LIZ SMITH

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Connecting NEW Agents

PN’s goal is to help connect new agents with the association, but another one of our key pillars is community engagement. Our goal is to promote professionalism in our larger community and volunteerism with causes that make an impact. Rebuild Day is a great way to support our community, while making a difference in the lives of St. Louisans in our region.

not every day that you get the ability to see directly how an organization as large as ours can really affect the lives of those in need. I helped to paint a bedroom, hung smoke detectors and attempted (not very successfully) to help lay flooring. I took time to help sweep, scrub floors, clean up and take out trash. These are things that ensure you’re tired at the end of the day, but tasks you could accomplish without too much of a struggle.

As the chair for St. Louis REALTORS® Young Professionals Network (YPN), I’m honored to have taken part in helping others in our community. YPN is a diverse group of St. Louis REALTORS® members made up of different ages (not just young people), companies and backgrounds working together to help shape the future of our industry.

For the homeowner we were assisting, these tasks were of major significance. She told me she’d been waiting for more than a year for help and she couldn’t believe it was actually happening. She knew there were many things happening around her home that would allow her to live more safely and comfortably.

The majority of our Advisory Board volunteered at Rebuild Day’s three sites, with more signed up to help at St. Louis REALTORS® Pocket Park Build Day.

For me, I had fun as I worked with other agent friends, made new friends and got to know some of our amazing affiliates. Some of the more advanced volunteers at our site secured the porch and worked in the basement to stabilize the foundation. That’s right – our volunteers helped an elderly woman stabilize the foundation of her home, which will

On May 6, 80 members of St Louis REALTORS® participated in Rebuild Day. It was amazing! It’s

19 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

have a lasting impact on how she lives. The St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation has a mission that connects closely to this theme of stabilizing and building strong foundations. YPN will continue to work to show the community what we can accomplish when we stick together! Working as a REALTOR® with other REALTORS® helps strengthen our communities, our reputations and allows a fun opportunity to network with others. You never know who might be on the other side of that multiple-offer situation and how knowing them might help your current clients. We invite you to join the YPN community. We are open to all members of St. Louis REALTORS® and look forward to having fun, while supporting our association, industry, peers and the community. We encourage you to join YPN at our upcoming “30 Under 30” event June 21 - 22. Visit stlrealtors.com/30-under-30-2017 for more information. And you’re always welcome to send me questions about YPN at lizsellsstl@gmail.com!


PHOTOS BY LAURA FEASLINE-BORDERS

A TALE OF TWO

STORY BY: BARRY UPCHURCH

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id you know the construction of the Gateway Arch was actually an agonizing experience for the crews and officials involved? They worried the arch wouldn’t stand on its own due to high winds. They worried the southern and northern legs of the Arch would not fit. They worried the thermal expansion of the steel under the morning sun would jeopardize the “topping off” ceremony. And they worried they would let down the crowd of dignitaries and curious residents, and the media would capture a monumental failure. In the end, powerful hoses cooled the steel, making it possible to secure the keystone into place. And while the crowds cheered, the workers were left reeling from the enormous pressure of the task at hand. Like something was missing. A lack of closure. On a much smaller scale, residents of Crown Square, near Crown Candy Kitchen, had high hopes for Old North. Rise Community Development had invested more than $35 million over the years to bring Crown Square back to its original glory; the organization re-created the “town center” of the

20 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

City Projects

community by rehabbing 27 buildings into loft, apartment and “live/work” units and redeveloping 34,000 square feet of commercial space. In fact, the National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized the Crown Square redevelopment with its annual National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. There was nothing agonizing about this process. And yet, while the crowds cheered … the residents were left feeling the task at hand just wasn’t complete. Like something was missing. A lack of closure. How does St. Louis REALTORS® know this? Because they told us so … on May 24 … the day we decided to build a pocket park. Our $50,000 donation to Rebuilding Together St. Louis was two-fold this year. We rehabbed the homes of three neighbors in need in Old North and the Grove. And we wanted to further enhance Old North by creating something beautiful in Crown Square. Working with Rise Community Development and Rebuilding Together, we found a patch of land, between two buildings in a vacant and abandoned commercial lot, with crumbling brick, sunken concrete and loose gravel. It was an

eyesore. It was a safety hazard. It was the perfect place to build a pocket park for area residents and visitors. On May 24, St. Louis REALTORS® members, affiliates and staff, including leadership from Rebuilding Together, changed the face of 2613 North 14th Street. Through toil, sweat and laughter, we built a park. A park for everyone to enjoy, with its lush greenery, comfortable benches, oversized checkers and tic-tac-toe games, wildflowers, a chalkboard wall for the kids to create art – it’s a family friendly urban oasis for the residents and business owners. It truly is the keystone of a bright and burgeoning neighborhood. How do we know? At the end of the day, the residents told us so. While completely different in size and scale, one thing remains the same on this tale of two city projects. Our love for St. Louis propelled and keeps propelling us to make St. Louis a better and more beautiful place to live for many generations and many, many years to come.


21 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com


Explore Our Amazing Neighborhoods

SEE MORE

NEW STLREALTORS.COM

STORY BY: JOHN GORMLEY

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ater this year, around the first of October, we’ll have a new website launching at stlrealtors.com. It will be a combined member and consumer site.

The new stlrealtors.com will be mobile-responsive, so you can get things done in the field (on your iPhone, Android phone and iPad). It will employ Clareity SSO (single sign-on) technology – the same as your MARIS Dashboard. So, you can register for association classes and events, renew your dues, invest in RPAC or donate to the St. Louis REALTORS® Foundation. All without having to remember your password. It will be neighborhood-focused, with an eye toward our advocacy role in keeping St. Louis affordable and desirable for homeowners and investors through our government affairs efforts. It will have basic MLS listings. And this is controversial in our market. Our website task force decided to include property listings, in a limited way, on the new website. But not to compete with brokers. And it won’t. In fact, all consumer inquiries about properties (leads, some might call them) will be distributed via email according to the brokers’ wishes. At no charge.

22 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

Will Connect Members & Consumers The reason? Two-fold: 1. To draw visitors into our virtual neighborhoods, so they can see what we’re doing to make St. Louis better through community engagement and advocacy; and 2. To offer a complete website experience. Today’s consumer expects to see property information on a real estate website. That’s why they visit real estate websites in the first place. As website task force and board member Sean Wiegert put it, “We sell houses. It is important to own that. On our association website, consumers will be able to learn all about St. Louis REALTORS® and how we advocate for their private-property rights. They’ll be able to find a St. Louis REALTOR® based on a variety of criteria, but not see what homes are on the market? That would be a big disconnect, especially for Millennials.” Consumers visit real estate websites for property information. To draw them in, we want to offer what they want, while also providing what we want them to know. Which is that St. Louis REALTORS® are the professionals they can rely on for their real estate needs – and to protect and enhance their quality of life. Again, the intention is not to compete or interfere with any broker’s business model. The goal is to get more eyeballs on the website, and better connect

consumers with members. Any consumer inquiries (leads) generated through the site are a byproduct – they’ll be distributed automatically via email, the way brokers want them distributed. To broker and listing agent. Or to broker only. Or listing agent only. And brokers can opt out of the system, at any time, through MARIS – just like any listing portal. If the RETS feed includes a brokerage website, that will be displayed so consumers can click over to it. IDX rules will apply, so no advertising will be displayed around listing content. When it launches, the new stlrealtors.com will be a year-and-a-half in the making. A lot of thought has gone into it. Members of the website task force put in a lot of time and effort. And yet, it will be a work in progress. We’ll adjust according to member and consumer needs. The new stlrealtors.com represents a quantum leap forward for the association and our members. We hope you’ll like it, we hope you’ll use it and we hope you’ll help us improve it with your feedback. John Gormley, RCE, CAE, CIPS, is Chief Executive Officer at St. Louis REALTORS®.


FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE WE OFFER: Three Home Inspection Packages and Pre-Listing Inspections. Additional services including, Radon Testing, Sewer Scope and more. Professional Reports, including color pictures and Cost Estimate Guides. Convenient scheduling, friendly customer service, and prompt follow ups. Knowledge, details and peace of mind when choosing your next home.

THIS IS HOME

www.PillarToPost.com/ScottFrederick FrederickTeam@pillartopost.com (314) 571-9824

23 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com


AMERICAN SOCIETY STORY BY: HARRY O. MORRELL

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he St. Louis American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is fortunate to have had a great working relationship with St. Louis REALTORS® for well over two decades. This is not as typical in other parts of the country. As the 2017 St. Louis ASHI president, I can tell you that this relationship has gone beyond just providing inspections to REALTOR® clients – it has expanded to a partnership of community engagement and industry involvement. St. Louis ASHI members are members of the Missouri Housing Industry Alliance, which meets four times a year in Jefferson City. This is the state version of our own St. Louis REALTORS® Industry Forum, which ASHI is also involved and wholeheartedly supports. Our ASHI legislative representative sits with Missouri REALTORS®, as well as all the industries that are related to real estate in Missouri. We and our lobbyist monitor and introduce legislation that helps the real estate

24 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

Of Home Inspectors

community do their job better and more effectively. As Affiliate members of St. Louis REALTORS®, we were proud to support and help pass Amendment 4. This amendment was a statewide initiative to protect REALTORS® – and any other service industry – from being taxed on their services.

of the many charitable organizations that our inspectors, along with various REALTOR® teams and offices, are involved. St. Louis ASHI was proud to support Rebuild Day on May 6. Our inspectors proudly volunteer their time and expertise to make St. Louis a better place to live.

As business people, we enjoy being a part of the real estate community and assisting our clients in the process of purchasing and selling homes for their families. As inspectors, our travels throughout the greater metropolitan St. Louis area also allow us to see and interact with the not-so-fortunate, who need that extra little help that government cannot always provide. Our inspectors are encouraged to support and stand with the REALTORS® they work with in giving and walking that extra mile, such as supporting community outreach programs like Rebuilding Together St. Louis’ Rebuild Day. In addition, Sunshine Kids, the Ronald McDonald House and Habitat For Humanity are just a few

It is my pleasure to announce that St. Louis ASHI will be utilizing the St. Louis REALTORS® Conference Center for our spring and fall seminars in March and October. We cordially invite REALTORS® to stop by and observe our training. For a complete list of local ASHI certified inspectors, please visit stlashi.org. Respectfully, Harry O. Morrell President-St. Louis ASHI


COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE STORY BY: JAMES DELGADO

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he Commercial Real Estate markets have improved considerably over the past few years. The following information covers the most recent markets for Office, Industrial and Retail. OFFICE The St. Louis office market consists of approximately 49 million sq. feet. The St. Louis market is made up of several small and large sub-markets – and for this article, excludes Western Illinois. To further break down the numbers, St. Louis has 22 million sq. feet of Class A, 23 million sq. feet of Class B and four million sq. feet of Class C space. Vacancy is consistent with most major markets, with vacancy highest in Class C with 18 percent, Class B at 14 percent and Class A, the lowest standing, at approximately nine percent. Market absorption for the year came in at just over 200,000 sq. feet. The good news is – YTD – the absorption is 635,000 sq. feet. Notable deals range from 19,000 sq. feet to 164,000 sq. feet, which was a deal that Spectrum took down at 14000 Riverport Drive. Due to the tightening space availability, we’re seeing a bump in new construction. Bunge Limited, located at 11720 Bowman Drive, is building a 145,000 sq. foot facility in Chesterfield; followed by Centene, with 500,000 sq. feet in Clayton; World Wide Technologies with 200,000 sq. feet in Westport; and Cortex Wexford Science and Technology with 160,000 sq. feet in Midtown. These numbers cover the general environment in St. Louis.

25 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

On The Rise

As you drive the area, you can really begin to see the face of St. Louis changing. INDUSTRIAL Industrial markets have enjoyed several good years and 2016 was no different. There are several types of property classes that make up the total inventory: Warehouse and Distribution, Flex/R&D, Light Manufacturing, Manufacturing and Truck Terminal. For 2016 we saw the following: vacancy is down, absorption is up, along with new construction, and lastly, rates are improving. More than five million sq. feet was taken down this past year. Amazon, Schnucks Market (NorthPark) and GM (Wentzville) were responsible for more than three million sq. feet, as major users of industrial space. This expansion is consistent with similar cities such as Nashville, Cincinnati and Kansas City. In addition, nearly nine million sq. feet of new construction was completed or started since the beginning of 2016, to date. As it relates to asking rents, owners saw an increase of more than 18 percent. From an investor point of view, there have been a few sizable deals to mention. On Lakeview Corporate Drive, a 715,000 sq. foot property sold for $44 Million or $58 per sq. foot, and, at Gateway Commerce, a similar size building sold for $59 per sq. foot. We expect to see additional new construction due to limited options for new and expanding businesses requiring larger spaces that currently don’t exist in the market. The general consensus is 2017 will be another good year.

NOTE: The Industrial report includes the Metro East, accounting for two million sq. feet. RETAIL Although we continue to see large box retailers like Best Buy, Kmart and JC Penney shuttering stores, the smaller base users are not filling in the gaps. The metro area is made up of over 154 million sq. feet. The vacancy at the end of 2016 sat at ten million sq. feet or approximately six point five percent, down slightly from 2015. The overall absorption was one point five million sq. feet, an average rate of $11.90 per sq. foot, area wide. Menards and Academy Sports (Manchester Plaza) took 280,000 sq. feet this past year. Notable sales include the following: St. Louis Outlet Mall at the Mills sold for $4,400,000 and Gravois Plaza sold for $15 million, along with Ronnies Plaza at an undisclosed price. For 2017 the trends continues Macy’s, Gordmans and Radioshack are set to close more stores this year. In closing, the 2016 market review is a good one. We saw great price stability and a much improved demand for new construction. Although I see 2016 as a tough act to follow, 2017 is looking to be a good year. James Delgado 2017 President, St. Louis REALTORS® Commercial Division


Welcome&NEW Members

REALTOR®

DESIGNATED REALTOR® Dain Rudolph, Dynamic Homes

Dennis Perkins, Platinum Realty of St. Louis Edwina Conley, Ryan David Homes (Dual Membership)

Kenneth Hearst, R.Z Development, LLC Derek Kessler, Walpert Properties Adam Kustra, Radius Realty Douglas Giles, Giles Realty Harjot Padda, Harjut S. Padda William Hare, Gateway Land and Farm LLC Nancy Kamp, Keller Williams Realty STL Jennifer Maness, Circa Properties David Parker, Parker Appraisals LaTricia Smith, TRAC Management Patrick Shaw, Complete Street Real Estate Moyibi Thomas, Real Estate Logistics Michael Wotka, Wotka Realty LLC Clare Baxter, Clare Baxter Realty Diane Dumbauld, Abbotsbury Realty Kate Kruger, Kate Kruger, Broker Charlene Robinson, Image Realty Robert Scott StoneCastle Realty LLC Deborah Kiper, DCK International (REALTOR® to DESIGNATED REALTOR®)

Michael Rechan, Michael Lauren Development

Travis Tarrant, Tarrant & Harman RE and Auction Corp Brian Beldner, Premier Real Estate Group LLC

Tammy Hanson, Show and Tell Realty (REALTOR® to DESIGNATED REALTOR®)

Dan Asher, Asher Realty Tracy Larkins, Blue Key Realty Rick Parker, Parker Real Estate Greggory Sharpe, HSG Realty Lini Zhang, Forest Realty

Chan-Wa Fong, Oston Properties Pamela Schroeder, Anthony Gray Properties

Gina Fitzmaurice, Movement Mortgage Jeffery Griffin, Griffin’s Like New Again Carpet Cleaning

Matt Strucky, Insight Title Company Jessica Ritter, Premier Realty Exculsive Quinton Coe, BPG Robert Gore, RTTR Inpections

Lawrence Hopkins, Longhorn III Investments, LLC

Joel Greenley, Disaster Restoration Pros

Dave Kosanke, AdvantaClean of West St. Louis

Christina Atwell, Pillar to Post

Darin Wood, Film That House Kevin Baker, Legacy Home Inspectoins

(Dual Membership)

Jack Boain, BPG

Robert Moroney, Real Broker LLC

Lauren Treat, US Bank

Joe Graczak, BPG

Daniel Davenport, BPG

Joe Palmer, Top Notch Waterproofing & Foundation Repair

(REALTOR® to DESIGNATED REALTOR®)

Doug Hippler, Century 21 Fortune Realty (REALTOR® to DESIGNATED REALTOR®)

Charlotte Stewart, Image, REALTORS

Michelle Howard, St. Louis Radon Valerie King, Dazzle Interiors & Home Staging

Jeff Svoboda, BPG Robert Wood, BPG

Megan Minicky, Dazzle Interiors & Home Staging

Mary Jo Murphy, Better Homes and Gardens RE Preferred Prop

Kevin Pannebecker, Mister Fit-It LLC

Michael Glasener, The Camera Guy

Andrew Voellinger, The Sewer Pros

Deborah Johnson, Allstate Insurance

REALTOR®

Ryan Antonovich, Vinson Mortgage

Tom Mesmer, Gemstone Cleaning

Cynthia Fox, Real Living Now

Terry Cook, Carpe Diem Inspections

Ron Ruzicka, Enterprise Home Loans

Dan Asher, Keller Williams Realty STL

Frank Dean, Pillar to Post

Martin Sanderson, Ultra Electric Inc

Lisa Grus, Keller Williams Realty STL

Paul Finely, Hyperion Glass Company

Susan Roelle, Cushman and Wakefield

Amy Guignon, John Jackson Neighborhood RE

Susan Schleicher, Midwest Radon Testing

William Hess, W. H. Appraisal, LLC Josephine Wairimu, Fine Gateway Properties LLC

Brian Ungles, Cushman and Wakefield Kevin Hoffman, Casemark Realty Wafik Malek, Platinum Premier Properties

Roxann Bohstedt, Your Home Team Inc.

James Dick, Turn Key Inspections

Justin Moll, US Inspect

David Taylor, JP Inspection Services

John Shaw, Tom Shaw, REALTORS

(REALTOR® to DESIGNATED REALTOR®)

David Smith, The Crasksmith

Justin Leonard, Arenz Pest Management

Kelly Rohlfing, Vinson Mortgage

Sarah Bueltmann, Urban Living STL

John Walsh, Equity Missouri Confluence

David Robinson, Premier Tax and Business Services

Lee Wilber, Simple Solutions Real Estate Kevin Barbier, Barbier Agency

(REALTOR® to DESIGNATED REALTOR®) (REALTOR® to DESIGNATED REALTOR®)

AFFILIATES

Anna Wiesler, STL Construction

Chris Hansen, St. Louis Radon

Joe Bryant, Pillar to Post

Anthony Smith, Caliber Home Loans

Jason Gunter, Enterprise Home Loans

Christine Storm, Keller Williams

Michael Leonard, Arenz Pest Management

Blake Anderson, Dielmann Sotheby’s International

Nick Maserang, Pillar to Post

AFFILIATES

Patti Bailey, U.S. Title

Carlos Santana, Pillar to Post

Elizabeth Connolly, Inhance It! Home Staging

Matthew Belcher, Hibbs Homes LLC

COMPANY NAME CHANGE

Cheri Bliefernich, CP Creations

Charles Davis, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Preferred Prop.

James Allsbury, Legacy Home Inspection Patti Bailey, U.S. Title

Carolyn Pilla, CP Creations Eric Ridge, Eric Ridge Photography

Williams Rayburn Hare, Mossy Oak Properties of the Heartland

Scott Spicuzza, Pillar to Post

Karen Lovadina, Kosztik Realty Group

Laura Wehnes, Keller Williams Southwest

Stephen Chismarich, Delmar Financial Inspection LLC

Steven Barks, Worth Clark Realty

Neil Endicott, Neil Endicott Photography

Joseph Walker, Pillar to Post

Larry Sontag, STL PRO REALTY, LLC

Thomas Bills, T. Bills Properties LLC

Sean Hardin, Kreismann-Bayer Insurance

Ryan Aldridge, Embrace Home Loans

Britani Garder-Evans, Quest Real Estate

Charles Coyle, C. E. Coyle Realty

Pete Klarmann BPG

Levi Barnhart, The Sewer Pros

Edna Montgomery-Spencer, Montgomery Realty

Robert Moroney, SRE Matrix Missouri LLC

Randy Maynard, Pillar to Post Home Inspection

26 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

Don Hawley, Hawley Home Inspections LLC


PHOTO BY LAURA FEASLINE-BORDERS

WHITE PRIVILEGE

T

wenty-three years ago I was walking through the streets of Washington, DC with my friend, Andrea, looking for a place to eat. I stopped at a pay phone (remember this was pre-cellphone days), flipped through the yellow pages, made a few calls to check out availability, and we were on our way. It seemed like such an easy task to me, yet as I turned back to Andrea she commented how amazed she was by the way in which I walked through the world with confidence, a lack of fear, and as if all its resources were at my disposal. It was a stark reminder of the privilege I was born into; being white and middle class. By privilege I do not mean to imply that it is better to be white or have some money. What I mean is that I recognize the world is much more manageable for me and I have access to almost all that I want and need. While my example is only about a simple dinner reservation, to those who view the world as hostile or unnavigable - anything can be daunting. My life experience is not hampered by salespeople accosting me as I shop in a store or bankers looking disparagingly as I attempt to open a checking account. I have walked fifty-four years in the shoes of a white, Jewish, gay woman and I can speak to only that experience. I do not profess to know how it feels to be a twenty-two-year-old black man or a

27 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

STORY BY: LISA MANDEL

newly immigrated Saudi woman wearing a hijab. However, I can imagine the indignity I might feel if someone were to cross the street to avoid me or stare with disgust at what I was wearing. Since one of my life’s goals is to make the world a kinder and gentler place, I need to listen to the experiences of those people that are “other” than me, accept that they are real and true, and work to change the racism, sexism, homophobia and other baggage that lives inside me. It is essential I acknowledge that with privilege comes responsibility and an obligation to speak up when I see inequity. We have a word in Judaism called Tzdekah. Some people believe it to mean charity but in fact it translates to the word justice. Charity is a choice, justice is an obligation. I did not earn my privilege, it was gifted to me by random chance and I have a choice about whether I acknowledge it, feel guilty about it or use it to help re-balance our broken world. As I drive through the parts of our city that are ravaged by decay I wonder how a child can possibly excel in class when on their morning walk to school they pass burned and boarded up buildings, streets lined with trash, overgrown yards and remnants of lives lost. Upon arriving at school, they enter through a metal detector and encounter ceiling tiles falling into the hallways, outdated and struggling

HVAC systems and ill functioning bathrooms. A child that grows up in that kind of environment must work exceedingly hard to find self-worth and has only a fraction of the chance I had to attend college, secure a job and actually purchase a home. My obligation is to use my power and privilege to help those who are blocked from the advantages that I so freely possess. I must be the one who speaks up when a colleague makes an anti-Semitic joke or a white client assumes our mutual racism and expects me to agree with not buying property in “that” neighborhood. This theme of this article was intended to be community service and I know the first thing that most of us think of when we hear that phrase is to volunteer. It is so true that we need to involve ourselves physically in the work of justice. However, I’m reminded of a line from the Hippocratic Oath to which medical professionals abide - “first, do no harm”. My feeling is that if I acknowledge and accept my white privilege, use it to help rather than control and look deeply at my own prejudice; then I will be on the road to best serving my community.


NE

W

St.Commercial Louis

REALTORS®

Commercial Information Exchange

Broadcast Email System St. Louis Commercial REALTORS® is excited to announce that a new member benefit will be going “live” for members very soon! We will be launching a broadcast email system for members to easily communicate Needs & Haves! This easy to use program will allow all members to post information about Needs & Haves, and search posts by criteria as well. Members will be able to manage their preferences to control what type of email notifications they receive. The system notifies all users whose preferences match the have or needs posted and it will also notify users of any updates to those posts. Postings can include documents, website links, photos, along with the typical listing data including location and price, etc. Training and technical support will be provided.

27 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com 24 spring 2017 | www.stlrealtors.com

Second Quarter REALTOR® Report - St. Louis REALTORS®  
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