Advocacy goes global

This week the IAR leadership and staff participated in a education event for the Republic of Ghana, which sent representatives of its Parliament to learn how Illinois regulates and practices real estate.

Hosted by IAR member, Vicky Sampah, a Ghanian, this day-long event included several speakers and provided the delegation with an enormous amount of information on license law, continuing education, finance, public/private partnering, multiple listing service, association structure and several other components.

The Republic of Ghana currently does not have a regulated real estate industry and this has caused problems and uncertainty in its marketplace.  Sampah made a commitment to her home country to help lead an effort to formalize and professionalize her industry.  She has already been successful in organizing a professional trade organization there and is working with the National Association of REALTORS® on a bilateral agreement.  Her passion and commitment has resulted in her ability to host key decision makers from Ghana in the United States so they can learn and understand how a balanced regulated industry can contribute to much success in a national economy.

The IAR highlighted different areas of the industry through presentations by the IAR Leadership Team. Jim Kinney, President, Mike Drews, President-Elect and Doug Carpenter, Treasurer shared information on how to represent buyers and sellers as well as the importance of professional development and education to become the “trusted advisor” of real estate consumers. Bill Caton, Vice-Chair of the IAR Commercial Committee gave a presentation on the importance of including commercial real estate in their efforts in addition to sharing information on his role as a broker-owner and how to run and manage a real estate office.

IAR Director of Governmental Affairs Greg St. Aubin and IAR Housing Policy Advisor Sharon Gorrell also contributed to the discussion. St. Aubin spoke on some of the components of the proposed draft of their licensing act in addition to the importance of collaboration with the industry they are going to regulate.  Gorrell spoke about housing finance and how the state of Illinois and the federal government expand access to mortgage lending through down payment programs and loan options through IHDA and FHA.

Another component to the program was a presentation from a member of the Illinois Legislature. Illinois State Rep. Marcus Evans (33rd District) presented the “Government Perspective” on regulating an industry, the importance of a healthy and inclusive housing market and why housing plays a huge role in economic development for a state and a nation.  As the Chairman of the Economic Development and Housing Committee of the Legislature, he made some important points on affordable housing, senior housing and the importance of the IAR’s involvement in the legislative process.

Also participating in the day were: Kate Sax, Director of Ethical Practices, Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®; Midwest Real Estate Data CEO, Rebecca Jensen; and Katie Stouffs-Grimes, Stacey Moncrieff and Joe Schneider from the NAR Global and Commercial Division.

The delegation will also meet with CCIM and REALTOR® University while here in the United States.

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