5 reasons I love the RAFV Reverse Raffle

RAFV AE Chris Studebaker (foreground) picks a number from the gold drum while Lucas Albright checks the board during the Reverse Raffle.

The Second Annual REALTORS® Political Action Committee RPAC Reverse Raffle produced many positives for the REALTOR® Association of the Fox Valley (RAFV) on Oct. 26. In fact, after discussing it with RPAC Fundraising Manager Kim Buscher, I came up with five great reasons why I love the reverse raffle:

  1. Suspense – Instead of a traditional raffle’s single moment of surprise, the reverse raffle creates a night of excitement. Throughout the night, the 500 participants are eliminated until one $5,000 winner remains.
  2. Friends and colleagues – or “frolleagues” (a term I just coined). As member outreach manager, I travel all over the Northern Illinois and I love catching up with all of my RAFV friends at this event. From the RAFV staff to the unbelievably fun RPAC Committee, MRED team and participating REALTORS®, it is a casual atmosphere to network and catch up with some great Fox Valley folks.
  3. Food – I love food. The reverse raffle has such great food that the first year they ran out. Last night there was plenty. The chips and guac are my vice; sorry that I ate it all.
  4. Fulfilling my MI Pledge – It is late in the year and I still have (gulp) how many hundreds to go on my MI pledge? Are there any state raffles left? Any auctions? The RAFV Reverse Raffle is held late in the year and is the perfect way to fulfill the remaining balance on an MI pledge! Whew.
  5. Home by 9:30 – Okay this may not apply to everyone, but I’m a Ben Franklin when it comes to my sleep habits. I had a blast last night and was still home by 9:30 p.m. with plenty of time to get all my beauty sleep.

Are you sad you missed the RAFV reverse raffle or already ready to get it on your calendar for next year? Have no fear, I’m sure association executive Chris Studebaker will be ready to sell tickets in no time.

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

With REALTOR® support, Will County Board passes state and local tax resolution

The Will County Board passed a resolution that asks federal legislators to preserve the state and local tax deduction when considering tax reform. (Bigstock Photo)

The Will County Board is discouraging its congressional representatives from eliminating the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction as part of federal tax reform, maintaining that it will have a disproportionately negative effect on middle class homeowners, especially in Illinois.

Will County Board Member Mike Fricilone, who is also the chair of the county’s finance committee, helped develop a resolution that emphasized the importance of the SALT deduction. The resolution, which was supported by Illinois REALTORS®, was passed by the county’s finance committee and the full county board, and board members pledged to share it with their federal legislators.

When the White House and Congress first announced their federal tax reform plans, REALTORS® sounded the alarm. One portion of the proposal would eliminate SALT, amounting to double taxation and would hit high property tax states like Illinois especially hard.

In Will County, more than 125,000 homeowners save an average of $2,000 a year using the SALT deduction, according to an article in the Herald-News.


During Fricilone’s July visit to Capitol Hill on behalf of Will County and the National Association of Counties, he defended the merits of the 104-year-old SALT deduction.

To raise awareness of the issue, a video of Fricilone was distributed to other counties across the country. A significant amount of double taxation would hit homeowners if the SALT deduction is repealed, he said.

Fricilone, of Homer Glen, is a long-time champion of private property rights and REALTOR® issues.



Joliet REALTORS® and affiliates partner to promote homeownership


Nearly 50 housing-oriented organizations came together on Saturday, Sept. 9 to laud the benefits of homeownership at the Second Annual Joliet Housing Expo in Joliet.

Real estate professionals, mortgage lenders, attorneys, title company representatives, insurance company representatives and home inspectors were on hand to answer questions and provide expertise on the home buying process. Additionally, representatives from the Joliet Public Library District, Rialto Square Theater, Will County Forest Preserve, City of Joliet and the YMCA attended to promote Joliet’s quality of life.

The Housing Expo was sponsored by the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® through a National Association of REALTORS® Housing Opportunity Grant. The First Midwest Bank and Neighborhood Loans sponsored a portion of the marketing materials. Approximately 100 attendees learned about Joliet’s Down Payment Assistance Program and other homeownership incentives during a presentation from First Midwest.

Also attending and supporting the event were city officials, including Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, City Councilman Mike Turk and City Councilman Don “Duck” Dickinson.

REALTOR® association helps Lockport with grant for pedestrian plan

(l to r) Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® CEO David McClintock, Renee Saban (Lockport city council), Joanne Bartelsen (Lockport city council), Three Rivers President Matt Persicketti, Steven Streit (Lockport Mayor) and Three Rivers Secretary-Treasurer Ken Pytlewski.

The Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® presented Lockport officials with a $5,000 donation last week to help the city’s pedestrians.

The local REALTOR® association secured the funds through the National Association of REALTORS®’ Smart Growth Action Grant program. Three Rivers’ President Matt Persicketti and Secretary/Treasurer Ken Pytlewski spoke during a Lockport City Council meeting.

“As part of our local community involvement, the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® prides itself on securing National Association of REALTOR® grants for projects that line up with the vision local leaders have for their communities,” said Persicketti.

“Lockport has excellent transportation assets with a Metra stop, access to Interstate 355 and the I&M Canal Trail,” said Pytlewski. “The pedestrian plan update is a great way to add character and value to an already great town.”

Lockport boasts a network of bike trails and roadways and access to major tollways and commuter rail service. Recent growth and the potential for more development, however, uncovered the need for changes to the city’s pedestrian plan, which was last updated in 2003. The plan provides a guiding document that city officials and residents can use for future pedestrian infrastructure development. Pedestrian plans are crucial tools for creating desirable, livable communities that preserve historical elements while embracing growth. Pedestrian amenities can also improve property values.

The NAR Smart Growth Action Grants encourage REALTOR® participation in community and economic development. Three Rivers is a non-profit organization that represents more than 900 members in Will and Grundy counties dedicated to professional and ethical service to their real estate clients.

Elwood nixes 2-year old fire sprinkler mandate

Source: Bigstock

It all started with a text message.

Nearly a year later, the village of Elwood killed a policy mandating costly fire sprinkler systems be installed in all new residential construction.

The move on Wednesday is significant because Elwood stood alone in Will County as having the policy, one which property rights advocates say can add $10,000 or more to the cost of building a home.

REALTOR® Matt Persicketti

In that July 2016 text message to Illinois REALTORS® Member Outreach Manager and Local Government Affairs Director Gideon Blustein, Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® president-elect, Matt Persicketti texted Gideon to see what could be done about the Village’s strict requirement for residential fire sprinklers in all new construction.

Persicketti had a homebuilder client who had run into red-tape with the Village of Elwood in the middle of a construction project. Because of the sprinkler regulation, his future homeowners would ultimately have to pay more than $10,000 in unforeseen costs. The price was especially high because they had to have a special water main installed to accommodate the required sprinkler system.

The situation prompted Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® members and Blustein to repeatedly reach out to then Village President, William Offerman.

Offerman also serves as the Fire Chief in Elwood, and efforts to discuss the policy with him were unsuccessful.

Many weeks later, when Elwood hired a new Village Manager, REALTORS® finally got a meeting with the municipality’s staff.

Gideon Blustein, Illinois REALTORS®

In preparation, Blustein pulled the number of new residential building permits for Elwood and the surrounding communities; the numbers were staggering. While surrounding communities had seen steady growth over the past few years, Elwood’s growth was basically stagnant. Armed with these numbers and the RVOICE brochure, “The Impacts of Mandating Residential Fire Sprinklers,” Blustein met with the village’s staff. While they found the arguments compelling, they relayed that the issue was unlikely to gain favor with the village’s president and board.

In April, Offerman was ousted by a challenger, Todd Matichak, who stressed in his campaign that he wanted to see the sprinkler mandate rolled back.

In advance of Matichak’s first official meeting as Village President, he worked with the village board to shore up the votes necessary to repeal the residential fire sprinkler mandate.

Blustein assisted by sharing the RVOICE brochure and a letter outlining our opposition with Board members. Among the efforts to obtain a repeal:

  • REALTOR® Jim Sim

    Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® Immediate Past President Jim Sim stepped to the podium to speak out against the residential fire sprinkler mandate.

  • Blustein provided updated residential building permit statistics for areas surrounding Elwood which showed their growth as Elwood’s recorded stagnate numbers.
  • And the board was given as evidence the quote from the property owners whose case prompted the debate.

With arguments made, the vote on whether to repeal the residential fire sprinkler mandate was the final item on the June 21 agenda. The measure repealing the sprinkler mandate was adopted with a 5-1 vote in favor of repealing the fire sprinkler mandate.

After the meeting, property owners, builders and Blustein congratulated and thanked Matichak and board members for their leadership.

Matichak urged homebuilders to get to work building in the community.