As Quincy REALTOR® Glenn Swick looks back on his previous 32 years in the real estate profession, on the very short list of career highlights is his involvement in the Illinois REALTORS® Ombudsman Program. It’s number one.
Although the word ombudsman confuses many of the people Swick speaks with, it doesn’t take him very long to explain his role as an objective problem solver for consumers aand REALTORS®.
“Initially, many people don’t really seem to know a lot about who we are or what our mission is,” says Swick, who speaks to consumers and REALTORS® by telephone. “Sometimes I feel we are perceived as some kind of special secret enforcement branch of Illinois REALTORS®. . . until it finally clicks about who they’re talking to.”
Sometimes, colleagues don’t pay close attention to the ombudsman program until they need it. But once their options are explained by someone who has an understanding of all resolution processes available from Illinois REALTORS®, most elect to try an ombudsman request. “My experience has been that in almost every case, the parties were very appreciative of the process. With a success rate of 70 percent of complaints resolved, I think it’s working.”
Swick says his background knowledge in professional standards has given him a great foundation for serving as one of 25 volunteer ombudsmen in the state. “I was fortunate to be among those selected to develop the program a few years ago under Chair Chris Read. It was an amazing and rewarding experience which I thoroughly enjoyed. I appreciate that I was allowed to be a participant then and now.”
Ombudsmen learn from process, too
“I have learned that there are ALWAYS two sides (sometimes three) to every dispute situation,” says Swick, “and to remain objective in my thought process throughout the entire ombudsman event. It still amazes me how certain and impassioned one party or the other may be about what events occurred, only to completely reverse upon further discussion with the ombudsman.
“I think it’s very easy for people to put on blinders when they feel they have been slighted, mistreated or mislead. The trick is pulling out of them what they really want to accomplish, then staying on point until the matter is resolved to their satisfaction. Most often, the resolution is one they come up with themselves.”
Swick started his career in 1984 and became a REALTOR® that same year. He is the managing broker for Swick Realty in Quincy and serves home buyers and sellers in western Illinois and northeastern Missouri. He was the Quincy Association of REALTORS®’ 2014 REALTOR of the Year and has served on many local committees. He’s been the president of the Quincy Association twice and chaired its Professional Standards Committee twice.
State association highlights include serving as vice chair for the Pro Standards Committee and another as chair. Both experiences helped him learn about good decision making and enabled him to pass that good judgement on to others.
He is an ombudsman, a mediator and ethics citation panel member, and he has chaired or been empaneled for many ethics hearings and some arbitrations in Illinois, he says. He advises REALTORS® who are serious about their careers to take the NAR Mediation Training Program. “The lessons you learn and experience you gain are priceless.”
Illinois REALTORS® interested in joining the Ombudsman Program can apply to be part of the program and receive necessary training. Applications will be accepted until Oct. 15.