CAR Global Council panel discussion encourages understanding of different cultures

Earlier this month, the Chicago Association of REALTORS® presented a panel discussion on the topic “How to Monetize Global Real Estate” at the East Bank Club. Mabél Guzmán served as moderator for three panelists: Sonia Anaya, Jim Kinney and Susanna Cherubin-Delisi.

The panel had a well-rounded collection of advice and experiences to share with the group.

Anaya highlighted the fact many members are probably engaging in global real estate and are not even aware of it. She said, “You may sell a home in your own backyard to a client from a different country. In most instances, the cultures and the common practices they are accustomed to are different than the way we do a transaction.”

Understanding those differences and having the ability to relate in a culturally astute way is becoming more and more important in today’s marketplace.

According to NAR’s Profile of International Activity (, foreign buyers purchased $102.6 billion of residential property from April 2015 to March 2016. While the global economy and currency fluctuations will impact annual global activity, international investors and home buyers are a part of our economy. Our members, as the trusted advisors, should have some understanding of culturally diverse business practices.

Kinney mentioned the value of the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation and tools available for REALTORS®, including the international property database through (
“These are here for the members to use and help their clients, both inbound and outbound,” said Kinney.



Kinney serves as liaison to United Kingdom

Jim Kinney

Jim Kinney

During his term as the Illinois REALTORS® 2015 president, Jim Kinney and members of the Global Working Group started talking about a pilot program that could help members make international business connections, learn more about foreign cultures and position themselves as experts in these areas.

As the chair of the working group and with experience serving on the NAR President’s Liaison Program, Kinney saw an opportunity in Chicago, where he says more than 50 countries have staffed consulate offices. After some research and discussion, the Illinois REALTORS® formed the Consulate General Liaison Program in early 2016 with eight representatives:

  • Kinney – United Kingdom;
  • Sonia Anaya – Mexico;
  • Maurice Hampton – Canada;
  • Jana Herdova – Czech Republic;
  • Don Pasek – Poland;
  • Michelle Shang – China;
  • Pradeep Shukla – India; and
  • Nancy Suvarnamani – Thailand.

“This program is a win-win,” says Kinney, “because it helps REALTORS® find new business and the state and national associations can use their resources (including committees and continuing education training) to build relationships.”

Immediate future

Kinney says applicants for the program must have earned a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation or be close to finishing the process. REALTORS® do not need to live in the Chicago area or even northern Illinois to be chosen as liaisons since consuls often travel within the Midwest as part of their assignment. Liaisons need to have the ability to speak the language of the countries they’re matched with. Those who have already cultivated positive personal relationships with consuls will be given strong consideration.

“Our liaisons will serve one-year terms, renewable, based on performance. They will meet regularly with the consuls – in person, by teleconference or phone – and provide us with regular reports. Our goal is to get matches for all the consulates soon. The 2017 NAR Convention is in Chicago and we want to host an event for the NAR Global Alliance Committee then.” Apply now for open liaison positions.

Patterned after the success of the Federal Political Coordinators (FPCs) and the State Legislative Contacts, Kinney says, the program would help REALTORS® lobby more effectively because of knowledge gathered about international issues such as global investing, immigration and the EB-5 Program (also known as the Immigrant Investor Program). New liaisons may travel to the countries they are matched with for trade missions.

Kinney, the vice president of luxury home sales for Baird & Warner in Chicago, says he’s had good relationships with various United Kingdom consuls during the last 20 years.

“We need to create an awareness for REALTORS® about the potential for future business opportunities,” says Kinney. “Real estate has become more global, especially with younger generations that are more mobile. We have a huge opportunity to educate the next generation of buyers and sellers. I think it’s an exciting time and an exciting program.”

Kinney has earned six designations during his real estate career of more than 30 years: ABR, CIPS, CRB, CRS, GRI and SRES. He was named REALTOR® of the Year by the Chicago Association of REALTORS® in 2002 and Illinois REALTOR® of the Year by the Illinois REALTORS® in 2004.

Kinney has been active with the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, serving on the board of directors and numerous committees and task forces.

On a statewide level, Kinney has held leadership roles with the Finance and Strategic Planning committees, Technology Working Group, REALTOR® Institute Working Group, Convention and Inaugural Banquet Working Group and was a four-time chairman of the REALTOR® of the Year Committee. He is chairman of the Illinois REALTORS®’ Hydraulic Fracturing Task Force.

At the national level, Kinney has served on the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Executive Committee, the NAR Board of Directors, the Institute Advisory Committee, International Operations Committee and is a past NAR Presidential Liaison to Ireland. He is a member of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) and is a past president of the National Board of the Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers. He currently serves on NAR’s Board of Directors and the Global Business and Alliances Committee.


Illinois REALTORS® showcase the state for a world audience

Snip20160315_110Members of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® are spending the next four days highlighting the state’s real estate market at one of the world’s largest real estate conferences.

IAR members are at the MIPIM 2016 conference in Cannes, France, where the association is part of the National Association of REALTORS® pavilion. In addition to Illinois, the pavilion is showcasing REALTOR® associations from Miami, San Diego, Missouri and Arizona.

Attending are IAR’s officers, President Mike Drews, President-elect Doug Carpenter, Treasurer Matt Difanis and Immediate Past President Jim Kinney. REALTORS® Alex and Noah Ruggieri, Maurice Hampton, Adriana Sidel and Bill Caton are participating.

MIPIM is a massive conference devoted to real estate development. This is the second year IAR has participated, furthering a mission of expanding members’ global expertise and the reach of the REALTOR® brand.

The conference runs through Friday. Illinois REALTORS® will be making presentations in the pavilion throughout the week.


Illinois REALTOR® visits Ghana to talk ethics

Africa with highlighted Ghana map and flag

Africa with highlighted Ghana map and flag. (Bigstock Image)

Efty Garba, a REALTOR® and managing broker/owner for Efty REALTY Group, Inc., in the Chicago area, visited Ghana in February to provide ethics training for Ghana Real Estate Professional Association (GREPA).

Efty Garba

Efty Garba

A summary of his trip appeared on the NewsGhana web site, in a story titled: “UT Sponsor Training for Realtors on Ethics & Lead Generation.”

Garba was joined on the trip by a REALTOR® and real estate instructor from Atlanta, Ga., George Ansong. Garba and Ansong were part of a two-day workshop held at the UT Bank Training Academy in East Legon, Accra, Ghana, according to the NewsGhana story.

Illinois REALTORS® take another step in global realm

Consulate General Liaisons

Members of IAR’s Consulate General Liaison Program listen during a recent meeting.

In an effort to expand the scope of global engagement, IAR has launched a new program.  Created as a sub-group of the IAR Global Business Council, the Consulate General Liaison Program began this week in its pilot phase and is uniquely designed to help position the REALTOR® community as a leading source for service and information for a growing global clientele.

Modeled after the NAR Federal Political Coordinator program and the IAR State Legislative Contact Program, this program has a bit of a different twist.  IAR has named several members who have a history in working with Consulates General on programming, trade missions, outreach, etc.  These members have the potential to create more robust relationships with prominent officials representing their home countries in Illinois.

Our launch team includes:

  • Jim Kinney, liaison to the United Kingdom;
  • Jana Herdova, Czech Republic;
  • Sonia Anaya, Mexico;
  • Michelle Shang, China;
  • Pradeep Shukla, India;
  • Don Pasek, Poland;
  • Nancy Suvarnamani, Thailand; and
  • Maurice Hampton, Canada.
Drews and Kinney

Mike Drews (left) and Jim Kinney

Thinking out of the box is in our DNA,” says IAR President Mike Drews,  who is looking forward to the growth and success of the program.  The NAR is also excited about this new venture and will help the cause through its work with the NAR President’s Liaison and the NAR Ambassador Association programs.