Almost a decade later, REALTOR® effort has lasting effect

Howard Handler

In 2013, local Government Affairs Director Howard Handler described the domino effect of REALTOR® advocacy. Handler recounted how a successful REALTOR® effort from 2008, to beat back an illegal real estate transfer stamp program adopted by the city of Highwood, led to squashing a similar ordinance and proposal, respectively, in the villages of Golf and Riverwoods. Nearly a decade later, our advocacy still has legs.

When village of Deerfield staff, trying to tackle illegal sanitary sewer infiltration, toyed with the idea of requiring a village-issued transfer certificate prior to recording a deed, the North Shore-Barrington Association of REALTORS® (NSBAR) jumped in. NSBAR shared with Deerfield staff the written decision by the Lake County Recorder of Deeds to record deeds with or without Highwood’s faux-transfer stamp.

Deerfield staff in a memorandum to the Village Board wrote: “Upon reviewing the 2008 opinion issued by the Lake County Recorder’s Office… Village staff and the Village Attorney concluded that only non-compliance with a referendum approved transfer tax would be sufficient to prohibit real estate transfers in the Village.”

Deerfield village staff and Board of Trustees have instead decided to conduct an educational and incentive-based campaign to bring illegal sanitary sewer hookups into compliance.

“Deerfield staff were very receptive to our concerns that a transfer certificate requirement without voter approval was not only unlawful, but that it would unduly interfere with home sales,” said Handler.  “We recognize the problems caused by illegal sewer connections and look forward to working with the village on educating REALTORS® and property owners.”  Handler is also a Deerfield resident.

CCAR celebrates 100th anniversary

The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® celebrated its 100th anniversary of helping consumers Thursday with a party at its headquarters in Savoy and a video of past presidents.

More than 450 CCAR members work in the Champaign County area. Current officers include:

  • President Jim Waller of Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group of Champaign,
  • President-elect Max McComb of RE/MAX Realty Associates of Champaign,
  • Secretary-Treasurer Eric W. Porter of RE/MAX Realty Associates of Champaign, and
  • Immediate Past President Stefanie Pratt of Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group of Champaign.

CCAR members celebrate their 100th anniversary on July 27 (l to r): Todd Salen, Alex Ruggieri, Bill Craig, Liz McDonald, Max McComb, CEO Linda Green, Jim Waller, Stefanie Pratt, Jayme Ahlden, P.J. Trautman and Kimberly Suzanne Clark. (Jayme Ahlden Photo)

The Association Executive is Linda Green.

The Board of Directors includes:

  • Jayme Ahlden of RE/MAX Realty Associates,
  • Scott Bechtel of Keller Williams Realty,
  • Kimberly Krisman of RE/MAX Realty Associates-Champaign,
  • Liz McDonald of the McDonald Group,
  • Alex Ruggieri of Sperry Van Ness/Ramshaw Real Estate and
  • P.J. Trautman of Champaign County Realty.

See the photo gallery below:

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.

Make your voice heard in local elections tomorrow: vote!

Illinois REALTORS® can vote for local candidates who support private property rights and lower taxes and encourage local business growth, and they can help defeat Home Rule bids in four communities in consolidated elections Tuesday.

For a list of candidates who have received REALTOR® support through independent expenditures and a list of communities who are considering Home Rule, go here. For an brief explanation of why REALTORS® oppose Home Rule, read this.

If you need help finding information about voting registration, locating your election authority and checking to make sure you’re registered to vote, visit the Illinois State Board of Elections website at



NAR offers help for Illinois tornado victims too

Illini Valley CEO Gail Pyszka and Ottawa REALTOR® Katie Troccoli were two of the volunteers helping tornado victims near Ottawa in early March. Others included Andrea Greenwalt, Linda Taglia, Alice Green, Tom Guttilla and Dara Weikel.

Starting immediately, Illinois’ late February-early March tornado victims can apply for up to $1,500 in housing relief assistance from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) REALTOR® Relief Foundation, too.

REALTORS® can share this application with tornado victims whose primary residence has been affected by tornado damage. Victims can use the assistance to make a monthly mortgage payment or to pay for temporary shelter.  The maximum available amount is $1,500 per applicant, per household.

The deadline for application submission is July 1, 2017.

Your state association helps too

This financial assistance is in addition to money available to Illinois tornado victims through the Illinois REALTOR® Relief Fund (IRRF). The IRRF offers a maximum of $500 per application, with the money to be used for documented housing, subsistence, and other needs such as assistance with insurance deductible. Applicants must be full-time Illinois residents who meet program criteria. Assistance is needs-based and grants are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

Members of the Illini Valley Association of REALTORS® (IVAR) helped staff the Multi Agency Resource Center in Ottawa in the days and weeks following the tornadoes, passing out IRRF applications for disaster relief and Wal-Mart gift cards to victims whose homes were severely damaged in the storms. IVAR CEO Gail Pyszka says the generosity of REALTORS® around the state has been appreciated.

“We are so grateful for the outpouring of support by both our community and the surrounding area association members,” she says.

The IRRF has received 27 applications for assistance so far says Cathy Madaus, Illinois REALTORS® Director of Operations, and liaison for the IRRF.

The National Weather Service confirmed six tornadoes in northern Illinois the evening of Feb. 28, including EF-3 tornadoes that hit Ottawa, the nearby village of Naplate and Washburn, northeast of Peoria. Two Ottawa men died from injuries after a tree fell during the storm. Another man died in the southern Illinois town of Crossville, in White County, near the Indiana state line.

Damage was heaviest in Naplate and on the south side of Ottawa, with one fourth of Naplate’s 200 homes damaged.

One of the first local associations to offer assistance to the area was the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® delivering $500 of gift cards to the relief efforts. However, since then, the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® and the Heartland REALTOR® Organization have given $1,000 and $500 to IRRF, says Madaus. REALTORS® who would like to donate money to IRRF online can do so via debit card, credit card or PayPal account. Go here to donate.