REALTORS® join US Rep. Kelly at 4th Annual Housing Expo

(L to R) Ken Holland, Tom Joseph, Larissa Jones, FPC Tonya Corder, US Rep. Robin Kelly and Jim Sim.

Illinois REALTORS® joined lenders, social service agencies, utilities, Cook County government officials and a variety of other organizations at U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly’s 4th Annual Housing Expo last week in Lansing.

Local Government Affairs Director Tom Joseph, Jim Sim and FPC Tonya Corder led a group of local and state REALTORS® that answered questions and passed out information to area residents who attended the expo. They used handouts such as: “What You Should Know About Property Taxes in Black & White,” “Don’t Go It Alone: Choose a REALTOR® as Your Real Estate Partner,” “The Consumer’s Guide to Real Estate Agency in Illinois” and “Homeownership: How Much Mortgage Can I Afford?”

In addition, Joseph and Corder relayed to U.S. Rep. Kelly (District 2) the REALTOR® perspective on several important issues, such as: the Mortgage Interest Deduction, 1031 Like-kind Exchanges, tax reform ideas presented to Congress, the health of the housing market and foreclosures.

“We have not let Congresswoman Kelly down in the four years she has held this event,” says Joseph. “The members of the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® and Illinois REALTORS® are there for her.”

For consumers, the expo featured presentations about:

  • estate planning,
  • loan modifications,
  • foreclosure prevention,
  • first-time home buyer programs,
  • property tax appeals,
  • Bettering Your Finances Through Financial Literacy,
  • Scam Prevention & Foreclosure Options (Hardest Hit) and
  • Understanding Your Property Taxes.


Illinois REALTORS® urges members to tell House members to oppose rent control bill

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Illinois REALTORS® is encouraging members to contact their state representatives and voice opposition to House Bill 2430 which would repeal the Rent Control Preemption Act.

The intent of the law is bad enough: Create rent control in Chicago. But by repealing the Rent Control Preemption Act of 1997 the proposal would by default open up rent control as an option for all home units in the state, not just Chicago.

To tell House members that this is a threat to private property rights, click here.

Illinois REALTORS® has a summary which lists the myriad of reasons REALTORS® (and their clients) should be concerned about rent control. You can find summary here.

Here are a few of the many reasons this is a bad policy:

  • Rent control is a disincentive to rental property investment because it caps returns on investments.
  • It will reduce the number of rental properties.
  • It sends the message that Illinois doesn’t want to develop, rehabilitate or improve its housing stock.
  • Property owners will be discouraged from maintaining and upgrading their properties because costs will rise but revenues will be fixed.
  • Chicago will lose property tax revenue it can’t afford to lose when property values go down.
  • Administration of rent control will require more bureaucracy.
  • The bill could encourage an illegal black market for rental property.

The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago.

According to Illinois REALTORS®: “Rent control is widely discredited by many if not most economists, and many housing advocates. Rent control is destructive and counterproductive in many ways, is very complicated to administer and would have many unintended consequences.”

Illinois REALTORS® is sending out an email to members with a simple, two-click way to tell lawmakers not to back this bill. If you don’t get the email, click here.

REALTORS® help Romeoville home owners avoid fire sprinkler mandate

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Before the Romeoville village board voted to update its building and fire codes on March 1 and exclude single family residences from a fire sprinkler mandate, Illinois REALTORS® made sure decision makers knew about the negative impacts of such a mandate.

During the village board meeting, Gideon Blustein, local government affairs director, acknowledged safety improvements that come with code updates but explained to the Mayor and Village Board our association’s position on residential fire sprinkler mandates. Blustein distributed copies of the Illinois REALTORS® “Impact of Mandating Residential Fire Sprinklers” study and explained to the village board some of the reasons why our members oppose a mandate for single-family residences.

Gideon Blustein

Those reasons include:

  • Without sprinklers, newly constructed single-family homes already have a significantly lower instance of fire fatalities than older homes;
  • The cost of installing sprinklers makes the price of new homes so high it reduces affordability for consumers;
  • Mandates take choice away from home owners;
  • Mandates discourage newer, safer housing from being built; and
  • Mandates can preserve less safe construction.

Following a positive conversation with the village manager, the fire marshal and fire chief, Blustein says the Romeoville village board voted to update to the 2015 International Building, Residential and Fire codes but not require new single family homes to be built with fire sprinklers.


TRAR helps Peotone plan for future growth and development

Judy Panozzo and Jim Sim present a check from the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® (TRAR) to Peotone Mayor Steve Cross and the village board of trustees. Others present for the ceremony include Barbara Sim and Gideon Blustein from TRAR, and Patrick Bowden, Kevin Hack, Kent Hamm, Roy Hupke, Michael Jones and Peter March from the board. #REALTORparty #IL

The Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® (TRAR) presented the village of Peotone with $16,500 to conduct a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) study at the February village board meeting.

“The ability to implement a TIF District for the village of Peotone’s downtown area is imperative for its future growth and development. Without a sustainable downtown area, residential, commercial or industrial growth can be hindered,” said Gideon Blustein, a local government affairs director for the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

Out of the $16,500 presented to Peotone, TRAR secured $15,000 through the National Association of REALTORS® Smart Growth Action Grants that encourage REALTOR® participation in community and economic development. TRAR is a non-profit organization that represents over 900 members in Will and Grundy counties dedicated to professional and ethical service to their real estate clients.

Recent growth trends have the village positioned to be a metropolitan center for surrounding communities. However, current residential and commercial capacity design do not meet future land use, transportation and growth needs. Proper planning must be done focusing primarily on the revitalization of the deteriorating downtown area. Also needed is new infrastructure and improved traffic patterns that will accommodate larger commercial businesses as well as provide pedestrian walkways and bike paths necessary for the health, safety and welfare of the community.

One of the ways the village plans to accomplish this is by designating a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in downtown Peotone. The designation of the TIF district in downtown Peotone will enable the village to work with local merchants and new developers to enhance the area through public private partnerships.

A TIF can be in place for 23 years during which time the village has an opportunity to capture incremental property taxes to reinvest in the TIF District. It will also have the ability to market the downtown area to both existing and potential developers as a TIF with available development incentives. As downtown Peotone is enhanced, other areas of the municipality should grow and prosper as well. New residential development occurs along with new commercial growth.


REALTORS® rein in Zion’s nuisance property ordinance


The Illinois REALTORS® does not just advocate against transfer taxes and government pre-sale home inspections — we took the lead in reining in the city of Zion’s chronic nuisance property abatement ordinance that was, among other things, targeting sexual assault and crime victims.

Zion’s chronic nuisance property abatement ordinance authorizes city staff to contact property owners when two of 13 defined nuisance activities are found to have occurred within a 180 day period. If a property owner does not respond or a proposed plan of action is not mutually agreed upon, the property must be shut-down for a period of 30 to 180 days and all occupants, regardless of culpability, must immediately vacate the building and be subject to homelessness. Other penalties include civil fines and judicial remedy.

The Illinois REALTORS® has long maintained concerns with these types of ordinances that often penalize property owners for seeking police assistance – the police services they pay for. Echoing our concerns, the Sargent Shriver Center on National Poverty Law, writes, in their report, the Cost of Being “Crime Free”: Legal and Practical Consequences of Crime Free Rental Housing and Nuisance Property Ordinances, “these ordinances present numerous potential pitfalls that can cause serious harm to tenant households, landlords, and the community at large and expose municipalities to legal liability.”

Upon hearing of escalated and abusive enforcement, the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® (MORe) Lake County Government Affairs Committee took the lead in investigating, and uncovered, among other concerns, that the city was violating its own policy by enforcing the ordinance even in cases of just one alleged nuisance instance and breaking Illinois law by enforcing the ordinance against the disabled and victims of domestic and sexual violence at risk.

According to a front page Lake County News-Sun story profiling our findings, Zion Mayor Al Hill says the city is now sending far fewer violation notices, no longer enforcing against crime victims, and violation notices now must have supervisory approval.

Illinois REALTORS® and MORe will continue to monitor this ordinance for continued abuse. To read the Lake County News-Sun’s story on Zion’s ordinance, click here; to read the Lake County News-Sun’s editorial calling the ordinance “misguided,” go here.