About Tom Joseph

Tom Joseph is the Illinois Association of REALTORS® local Government Affairs Director (GAD) representing the Kankakee-Iroquois-Ford, Mainsteet Organization and Three Rivers Associations of REALTORS®.

KIFAR members share flood insurance concerns with U.S. Rep. Kinzinger in Watseka



U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (16th Congressional District) provided updates on legislative issues like flood insurance, tax reform and housing and answered questions from 15 members of the Kankakee-Iroquois-Ford-Association of REALTORS® (KIFAR) Wednesday in Watseka.

Federal Political Coordinator Ed Neaves led the discussion, which also covered developments with the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Neaves and his fellow REALTORS® emphasized the importance of extending national flood insurance past the Sept. 30 expiration date, since Watseka is in a flood plain and the National Association of REALTORS® estimates that 40,000 real estate transactions could be affected.

Kinzinger is in his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives and his district covers 14 counties in northern Illinois.

Hazel Crest officials meet with IAR, MORe representatives

(l to r) Tom Joseph, Hazel Crest Mayor Vernard Alsberry, Jr., Diane Abell and Jermaine Coney.

Delays for municipal point-of-sale inspections, required reinspections and occupancy permits – as well as excessive inspections beyond “health and safety” violations – were topics discussed by Illinois REALTORS®, Hazel Crest Mayor Vernard Alsberry, Jr., and Hazel Crest Village Manager Donna Gayden Wednesday.

IAR Local Government Affairs Director Tom Joseph, Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® South Government Affairs Committee Chair Diane Abell (a broker for Coldwell Banker in Flossmoor) and Jermaine Coney, Broker Prestige Partners Realty, represented Illinois REALTORS®.

Alsberry and Gayden pledged to “rectify these delays in administering the village inspection process.  Both acknowledged the need to encourage real estate and not impede it.”

An IAR economic impact study detailing the importance and local value of real estate transactions was shared with Alsberry and Gayden. Other discussion topics included the declining foreclosure market and overall improvement in the real estate market.

Will County code change vote doesn’t include costly fire sprinkler mandate

Will County's board opted not to include a fire sprinkler mandate for new single-family and townhome dwellings. (Image: Bigstock)

A multi-year effort to make sure that a fire sprinkler mandate was not part of changes to the building code used in Will County proved successful.

The Will County Board voted 25-0 on May 15 to adopt the new codes, but notable in the package of changes was the absence of any requirement that new single-family or townhouse dwellings have the fire suppression systems installed.

The campaign to avoid the costly sprinkler mandate involved the Illinois Association of REALTORS®, the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS®, the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®. The campaign involved mailings, a website, brochures and telephone calls to make sure Will County residents knew the high price tag that could come with a fire sprinkler mandate.

The county held six public hearings on the issue. Despite strong lobbying by the pro-sprinkler lobby and local fire chiefs, the mandate was left out.

Illinois REALTORS® are wary of mandates for the fire suppression systems in single-family homes due to the costs of installing and maintaining the systems.

IAR thanks the Will County Board for their consideration on this important issue for our members.

And the campaign would not have been successful without Karen Robertson and Jim Sim from the Three Rivers Association; and Ron Flatt and Tim Ryan from the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®. Also, thanks to the South Suburban Will Grundy Home Builders Association.

Fees for real estate signs nixed in Chicago Heights

The Chicago Heights City Council has amended and repealed part of an ordinance that required a permit and fee to place real estate For Sale signs.

Tom Joseph, a governmental affairs director for IAR, reports the action on Monday came after work by the association and the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® to get the rules changed.

The fees had been in place for decades and were a byproduct of home rule authority. The ordinance called for a $50 sticker that had to be obtained to place a For Sale sign in front of a residence. The sticker was good for just six months.

To get a sticker, a REALTOR® had to adhere to a 16-point list of guidelines which at one time required an agent to take the sign to the city to be measured for compliance. The rules were widely seen as restricting real estate sales.

The antiquated ordinance was believed to have raised only $7,000 to $7,500 annually.

In the case of a property that was a bank-owned property, sales could take much longer than six months. The result was that many REALTORS® doing business in Chicago Heights opted to forgo putting any signs up at all.

After hearing from REALTORS®, the Chicago Heights City Council under the leadership of their first-term Mayor David Gonzalez, worked with IAR/MORe government affairs and repealed the required permit and fee. The mayor wants REALTORS® to promote the community as a place to live.

For more information on this, contact IAR Governmental Affairs Director Tom Joseph at tjoseph@iar.org.

Joliet-area REALTORS® on the front lines of issues affecting the real estate business

Did you know there are groups of Illinois REALTORS® serving as watchdogs for homeowners and issues affecting the real estate business located all over the state? In this case we’re shining some light on the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® Governmental Affairs Committee. This group meets monthly. Among the topics from the June meeting:
  • Federal issues including the recent 60-day extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, what the changes mean for homeowners (and buyers and sellers) in flood plains and the potential impact on non-primary residences.
  • An initiative of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR) to redefine the USDA Rural Development Housing program and its impact in nearby Morris, Illinois. The Three Rivers Association has sent a letter to Congressman Adam Kinzinger asking for a more accurate definition as to what communities qualify under this program.
  • State issues recap of action by the recently adjourned Illinois General Assembly, including an expedited foreclosure process addressed by two bills (Senate Bills 16 and 2535) that ultimately saw no action.
  • IAR’s effective work to stop House Bill 506 related to erroneous homestead exemptions.
  • A county/local issue heating up, the ongoing Will County zoning ordinance rewrite. Three Rivers member REALTORS®  and the IAR local Government Affairs Director (GAD) are stakeholder participants in this proactive effort to be sure the rights of private property owners are respected.
  • A recent win for REALTORS® and the RVOICE advocacy program took place in the Village of Minooka. The Village has agreed to amend its ordinance and exclude any inspections of residential property that may be vacant and or foreclosed. Only registration will be required but there will be NO FEE attached.
In the photo, left to right: REALTORS® Judy Panozzo, Leo Koulouris, Linda Shafer, Rita Liberatore, Three Rivers Association Executive David McClintock, REALTORS® Kitty Vancina and Karen Robertson, IAR local Government Affairs Director (GAD) Tom Joseph, and Committee Chairman REALTOR® Jim Sim.