Illinois REALTORS® learn from Czech counterparts


(l to r) Sharon Gorrell, Joanna Krouz (Broker, Keller Williams, Buford, GA), Jan Borůvka and Jana Herdova.

By Jana Herdova and Sharon Gorrell

Jana Herdova, Illinois REALTOR® Consulate Liaison and NAR President’s Liaison to the Czech Republic, along with Sharon Gorrell, Illinois REALTOR Housing Policy Advisor and Staff Liaison to the Global Working Group, participated in a two-day trade mission in the Czech Republic during the past week.

In her capacity as president’s liaison, Herdova coordinated the mission with Jan Borůvka, Secretary General for Asociace realitních kanceláří České republiky (ARK ČR) and is also the Co-Chair of the Property Agents Committee for European Association of Real Estate Professions (CEPI-CEI) where he works on behalf of real estate professionals on industry standards and public policy in the European Parliament of the European Union.

Herdova and Gorrell toured property developments, attended a building and real estate trade show, and participated in a round table discussion on real estate markets and global business programming for associations.

Gorrell explained how the Illinois REALTORS® Global Working Group structure and partnerships with organizations such as AREAA, NAREB and NAHREP would better prepare members to engage in global business. A better understanding of other cultures will help members become trusted advisors to clients from anywhere in the world.

Borůvka pointed out similarities in his association’s advocacy and public policy. He shared that there is pending legislation in the Czech Parliament that will establish a license law policy. While the Czech Republic currently does not require professional credentials to sell real estate, he is hoping a regulatory framework will help their real estate practitioners become the best, most qualified, trusted advisors to their clients too.

Also, the monetary policy has resulted in very low interest rates, even lower than U.S. rates, he said. A low supply of new units, coupled with the low interest rates, has generated a large demand and has pushed up prices. A mixed-use development just outside of the Prague city center has duplexes in the $600,000-plus price range and condo prices roughly half that.

The developer shared that the green building movement is gaining some ground there.  However, like the U.S., the costs are relatively high and people have to think long-term to realize the increased investment.  The Czech Parliament has also had several discussions on policies such as set-asides for affordable housing units.

In a discussion with real estate broker and owner of Professionals Real Estate Consultants s.r.o. Tomáś Duda, we learned about some of the commercial trends in office space.  “Co-worker” style offices are becoming quite popular because they allow independent or small business owners to access communal spaces, administrative services and other office needs for a monthly fee as an alternative to leasing entire spaces. This has provided an affordable option for many business owners.

Borůvka is looking forward to learning more about Illinois while sharing information on the Czech real estate industry and European Union standards so our members can better guide clients who may want to invest or relocate there. The ARK website can be found at this link: and the CERI site is These are good resources to gain a better understanding of the European real estate industry.

“For us, it was extremely interesting to hear the news about the real estate market in Illinois,” Borůvka said. “It is always interesting to watch the development of the real estate market in a developed economy. Compare it with the development in our country. Many things can so easily be estimated in advance.”

Borůvka is happy to help NAR and Illinois REALTORS® interested in doing business in Europe or helping European clients here in the U.S.  He plans to attend the 2018 NAR Convention in Chicago to connect with Illinois REALTORS® and experience the rich Czech heritage the Chicagoland region enjoys.

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